Leaving Killarney, it felt like our adventures were truly about to end – though we still had three more nights in the country. Goose’s appetite at dinner the night before had definitely been off – maybe that was our first signal that we were winding down. If that signal was not enough, Chicken made her thoughts known on the way to Dublin.
“You have to kiss the Blarney Stone.” I think I heard this a dozen times before we went. I debated long and hard about going to Blarney Castle
. We actually almost skipped it entirely. However, ultimately, it felt like one of those things that we needed to do. Chicken, on the other hand, did not like the grounds of Blarney, the castle, and she certainly did not like climbing the stairs (while being carried) to the top of the castle where the stone was located. I should add that the grounds are beautiful – possibly more worth seeing than the stone. Low Key calmly managed her the entire time. I stuck close to Goose. Low Key and I successfully made it to the top of the castle with one child slowly fading and the other screaming – the stone knew we were coming. After kissing the stone, we got out of the castle as quickly as possible.
The Road to Dublin
After Blarney (and a quick stop in Cork for Starbucks), we headed towards Dublin intent on making a stop in Cashel to see the Rock of Cashel. I am glad we stopped to see the ruins of the ancient church. While exploring the site, we were beaten with strong, cold winds from the west. Looking out into the distance, you could see dark clouds coming our way. We hopped back in the car – much to the protest of two kids who were pretty much over being in the car.
When we arrived on the outskirts of Dublin, we were pacing a little early for checking into the apartment we rented through airbnb. To pass some time (and get the kids some food), we stopped at a mall in the Dublin suburbs.
Even as an adult it amazes me that sometimes we do not realize we do not feel well until presented with food. For Goose, that moment came in the food court when I handed him a small hamburger. He was done.
Laying Low in Dublin
After checking into the apartment, it was abundantly clear that Goose was seriously sick – and it was not from being in the car. He was running a pretty decent temperature and food was now the enemy.
Note: we stayed in airbnbs in both Belfast and Dublin. Our Dublin hosts were absolutely tremendous. Such a lovely couple. I was infinitely grateful that we had a nice two-bedroom apartment to stretch out in during our last few days of the trip – and right next to a grocery store – perfect!
We had to re-prioritize what we were going to see – or if we were going to see anything in Dublin.
The next day we drove across town to Guinness Storehouse. If you are going to really experience one part of Dublin, it might as well come with a free sample, right? Low Key had samples for all of us.
To the credit of the Guinness, it is a really well done and engaging museum/exhibit. Even though Goose did not feel well, he did manage to get up and see some of the displays and enjoyed the stop. In case you are wondering, the storehouse is very kid friendly.
That night we went to a bit of a cliche Irish dancing and singing dinner show. It was kid-friendly and was definitely a different sort of activity. Would I recommend it? Um, no.
Inadvertently, I somehow landed us in Dublin on Easter weekend – the year of the 100 year celebration of the uprising (when Ireland started its rebellion against Great Britain that led to its independence – great miniseries on Netflix called “Rebellion” that explains the history of this). This would have been great if Goose had been in a state that would have allowed for us to get out and see the parade and other celebrations.
Unfortunately, we spent Easter in the car looking for an open pharmacy to buy more medicine for Goose. We then spent several hours in traffic – as many of the central roads to Dublin were closed for the festivities.
The funny thing about that day is what the kids remember. When I talk about how sick Goose was and how we missed most of the Dublin sites, you would think the kids would not have good memories of Easter in Dublin. The thing they remember the most about that particular day of the trip was that the Easter Bunny found them in Ireland!
The Adventure Ends…
On Easter Monday, we made our way back home. It was a long day of travel – 23 hours from the time we got up that morning till we arrived at our home. Goose slept during the long flight, while Chicken spent the quality time with Low Key talking his ear off about every topic – real and imaginary.
We were glad to be home. Goose eventually made it back to school a couple of days later. We also learned that many other kids had spent the prior week with similar symptoms.
When I reflected on his illness after we returned, well-meaning people said, “oh, that’s why kids should not travel.” By that logic, no one should travel. Adults do become sick as well.
Sick or not, we had a great trip. In time, memories of the trip will start to fade. However, it is trips like this that bond a family. It gives kids (and adults) a new perspective on the world. My biggest hope is that the kids learn to appreciate and accept other cultures through their experiences in our travels. It is through appreciation and acceptance of others that the world can be made better by the next generation. And that is definitely worth many bumps along the journey.