One of the highlights of this month was having my (Tiffanie’s) parents come to visit with us for a couple of weeks. This was not only their first trip to Ireland, but their first trip to Europe. We were excited to share in our ministry here and a completely new type of adventure for them. We’re just going to share some of the highlights from when they were here.
On their second night here, we went into Galway and saw a show called Trad on the Prom. There we heard some fantastic Irish music and singing and saw some fabulous Irish dancing as well.
We took a few day trips while they were here. One day we went to the Connemara National Park in Letterfrack and hiked up Diamond Hill. While it isn’t the most difficult mountain to climb, it’s also not for the faint of heart. Despite some fear of heights from my Dad, my parents were champs and made it the whole way to the top and back down. From there we went to Clifden where we ate and walked to the ruins of an old castle.
Another day trip was spent going to Ashford Castle in Cong. This is a huge castle that they have actually turned into a hotel. We had a good time exploring the castle and gardens and walking around Cong village for a while. They also have a school of falconry at the castle. Although we didn’t pay to do it, we did get to watch a few other people doing it and came very close to some falcons!
One of our day trips was a spontaneous trip to the Cliffs of Moher after church one Sunday. We had some fantastic weather and decided to make the most of it. Mom and Dad had seen our pictures and heard us talk about it, and they were not at all disappointed when they saw it for themselves. Such a beautiful part of God’s creation!
During their visit, we also took some longer trips which resulted in us exploring most of the west coast of Ireland! On our first adventure, we went up to County Donegal. There are some cliffs there called Slieve League that we wanted to see. When we got there, we were surprised to find out that getting up to them actually required hiking up to the top. After what we put my dad through going up Diamond Hill, he decided to sit this one out. So Luke, Mom, and I continued the hike to the top. We got to see the view from the top for about 5 minutes before the fog started setting in very quickly.
We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast that night and then set off the next morning to do some more sight seeing. We drove to a very neat beach and also to a huge waterfall in Ardara. We continued on to Glenveagh National Park. Unfortunately, the weather was not completely on our side during our time in Donegal. It was raining on and off most of the day, but in Ireland, you can’t let the rain stop you! So we did a short hike at the park and then did a tour of the castle that was there. We walked all around the castle grounds, through the gardens, and up to the top of the tower! Although things didn’t go completely like we hoped or planned there, we enjoyed Donegal, and we hope to see more of it sometime in the future.
Our next adventure was down south to Counties Cork and Kerry. Our first stop was at the Blarney Castle in County Cork. We walked around the castle grounds and gardens and made our way to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. For those of you wondering why in the world we were kissing a stone, legend has it that those who kiss the stone receive the “gift of eloquence.” So for many years now, people have been lining up to kiss the stone. After the castle, we went on to Cork city. We walked around a lot of the city to the National Monument, Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, and to the English Market. One of the highlights of our time there was getting some Swiss cheese and bread from the market and sitting on a back street to eat it. We went to a famous pub that night called the Oliver Plunkett. There we got some traditional Irish food, fish and chips and shepherd’s pie, and were treated with a show of more Irish singing and dancing. A very fun night!
We left Cork and drove on towards County Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is supposed to be a very beautiful drive, so we started towards the ring. Our first stop on the ring was at Killarney National Park. We took a lovely walk by a lake with a backdrop of mountains and saw some very large deer and another beautiful waterfall. We went from there to the Gap of Dunloe. We had ran into someone who had been there and said to ride one of the “jaunting cars” (horse and buggy) through there. So we took their advice and had a great experience! There were mountains on either side of us as we passed by lakes, horses, and sheep. We continued along the Ring of Kerry, stopping to take pictures whenever we came to a pretty spot, which seemed to be about every 3 minutes!
The next day we walked to an abandoned castle, went into a stone ring fort, drove on the beach, and stopped for many more pictures!
We stayed the night in Dingle and walked around the village there the next day. We did another scenic drive, called the Slea Head Drive around the Dingle Peninsula. This was the end of our wonderful holiday in Cork and Kerry.
The rest of the time with my parents was spent mostly around our neck of the woods. Mom and I had a special afternoon tea date in Galway at a specialty tea shop. We enjoyed some flavored teas and tasty treats!
We all spent a couple of days walking around Galway, sight seeing, and shopping. They helped us out with our Kids Community at church, came to Community Group, and got to spent two Sundays at church with us. We went to see some of our neighbors and had some over here so my parents could put a faces with the names of all our friends we talk about. We watched movies together, played cards, went for walks, and just had fun being together. It was hard to see them go, but we are very thankful for the time that we were able to spend with them.