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Category Archives: ireland

Some lessons learned

Brenda again…

Now that I’ve had time to cogitate a bit on our travels, I’ve come to appreciate a few of the lessons we learned along the way. The first and most important is: Flexibility. A mom and two grown daughters, traveling around Europe with just backpacks, we were bound to encounter a few unexpected snags. But for the most part, we were willing to roll with the punches (not that there were many of them, really) and adapt to whatever fate threw our way. This ranged from Dawn brushing her teeth in the bidet in our convent room in Rome because Bethany was using the sink for laundry, to eating take-out Chinese our last night in Ireland because we waited too long to get to town and all the pubs had closed their kitchens. All part of the adventure!

Another lesson (and small triumph!): enough walking can more than make up for LOTS of ice cream (and fish & chips, and Guinness, and croissants…) I was delighted–and very surprised–to discover on my return that I hadn’t gained any weight at all, after two weeks of decadent eating. The walking is the only explanation, since I’m sure I must have been consuming roughly twice my normal quota of calories. In fact, I actually lost a pound (since rediscovered, alas).

Finally (for this post–I’ll post other lessons as I think of them), it really is possible for three women to get along for two weeks without killing each other, even when you’re talking two sisters and their mother and more than one case of PMS along the way. We committed to regular attitude adjustments, so if any one of us started getting cranky (this was most common if we made the mistake of getting hungry), at least one of us would speak up and say, “Hey, this is an adventure, remember? We’re in freaking EUROPE! To eat ICE CREAM!” Amazing how that reminder could turn a frown upside down.

Next: our picks for Top Three Ice Cream spots on this trip!

–Brenda ūüôā

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Ireland looks fake

Beth here.
So the past few days have been spent driving all over the Irish countryside, seeing some of the oldest human monuments in the world and enjoying some of the most ruggedly beautiful scenery I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. We headed North from Dublin (where we toured the Guiness museum and drank a pint right there, in the Gravity bar high above the rest of the city… talk about your perfect experiences… also ran into a hilarious group of rowdy Manchester boys on the bus who complimented my teeth and rolled joints right there on the bus…) before we went West and went to the burial mound at Newgrange, Knowth. It’s about 5,000 years old–I had no idea that real civilization went back that far–in Ireland anyway–anybody know when the Mesopotamian civilizations started springing up? Anyway, this thing took generations to build and was covered with megalithic artwork, so these people were well and truly civilized, in the historic sense. Many random castles and detours later (navigating in Ireland requires both a sense of adventure and of humor), we arrived in our tiny, windswept little seaside town of Doolin. Over the next few days we and the locals took turns charming one another. Margaret Carey, the woman who runs the B&B we’ve been staying in for the past three nights, is pretty much the perfect woman. She’s like everyone’s grandmother–makes an incredible Irish breakfast and is always there with tea and scones right when you need them.
Some highlights of County Clare include the dramatic and awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher (which I can share pictures of, but they won’t do them justice), the Poulnabrone Dolmen (which is one of the oldest human structures in the world at about 6,000 years old), and the wild, rocky landscape of the Burren.
Yesterday we took a car ferry to get to the Dingle Peninsula and spent the day exploring this mountainous and sheep-covered spit of land. Murphy’s ice cream in Dingle town is a must-visit if you ever get the chance to go there… also, the scenery is just obscenely, ridiculously beautiful. As Dawn put it, “Ireland looks fake. It’s too pretty to be
real.”

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle to the sea

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2007 in food, ice cream, ireland, travel, Uncategorized

 

Dingle Peninsula

Murphy‚Äôs Ice¬†CreamWe did indeed make it to the Dingle Peninsula our last full day in Ireland, and to the town of Dingle. Alas, we missed meeting Kieran Murphy by just a few minutes (we got off to a late start, missing the 11am ferry and then stopping many more times than planned to ogle the spectacular scenery). We did, however, get to sample Murphy’s Ice Cream and it was wonderful stuff! Our favorite flavors (that we tried) were the honey lavender and the chocolate with Bailey’s Irish Cream, though the chocolate raspberry and the non-chocolate Bailey’s were also very good. They didn’t have the brown bread flavor we’d heard about, so we weren’t able to sample that, alas.

I can definitely say that anyone visiting Ireland should make an effort to see the Dingle Peninsula if you can at all manage it. The intensity of the green, the mountains with stone walls crawling all over them and dotted with sheep, the blue of the ocean, the ancient ruins around almost every turn… it’s almost too breathtaking to describe. As soon as I figure out how, I’ll post some pictures.

We’re home now, and over the coming days and weeks I’ll be filling in a lot more details about our experiences (and the ice cream!) from the copious notes I took along the way. Those two weeks were among the best I’ve ever spent. A wonderful time seeing wonderful sights with wonderful company (my two daughters) and eating wonderful ice cream!

–Brenda ūüôā

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2007 in food, ice cream, ireland, travel

 

Western Ireland

We never did find an open internet cafe in London, and we only had an afternoon in Dublin, but much to our surprise,¬† there’s an internet cafe in Doolin, right by the Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland!¬† A bit pricey, so I’ll be brief now and catch up on everything once we get home in a couple of days.

London was much more about the pubs and the beer than the ice cream, though we did have some excellent double chocolate ice cream from a little stand at the Tower of London. Definitely recommended.¬† Also an amazingly decadent triple chocolate dessert involving ice cream (and warm brownie and hot fudge) at the Pizza Express (these are much nicer restaurants than the name implies) right next to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.¬† We saw an amazing production of Othello there a few nights ago and had that fabulous dessert afterward. I think it took the three of us about two and a half minutes to demolish it.

Ireland is mainly about the Guinness, which is SO much better here than at home! But we did find a little gelateria (Boticelli’s) right across from The Temple Bar in Dublin that was up to Italian standards, if not quite up to Florence standards.¬† Tomorrow we’re planning a day trip to Dingle, where we’ll sample Murphy’s Ice Cream, if all goes well. I’ll report on that from home, as we fly out the following day.

Erin go Bragh!

–Brenda ūüôā

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2007 in food, ice cream, ireland, travel