Cliffs of Moher

We were up bright and early today, after a good night’s sleep in Limerick. We had breakfast at 7:30 am. Luckily the man at the hotel desk asked us if we were looking for breakfast. We said yes and he reminded us that today is an Ireland National Bank Holiday and not many places would be open. So we decided just to have breakfast at the hotel. Dustin, Josh, and Sarah had the mini-Irish breakfast which included sausage, bacon, beans, egg sunny side up, & fried tomato. I opted for the scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. Anyone who knows us, knows I ate Dustin’s beans and he ate my bacon. 🙂 I’m not a huge fan of the Irish bread situation, there are normally just two options, white bread or brown bread. And brown bread is not wheat bread, it’s soda bread which is made of cornmeal and not sure what else, something that makes it brown. 🙂 It’s ok warm but not cold. One morning the cafe had multigrain bread which made me happy!

We headed out to the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast. It was beautiful but despite being 50 degrees the wind chill was much colder. Our ears were throbbing. Here a few pictures below.





Then we drove through the Burren National Park. It is definitely a barren landscape, I’m not sure what to compare it to in the states, it sort of reminds me of part of the west but with stone vs. the red rock. Here are a few pictures.



Dustin’s Dad raises sheep and the Ireland countryside is full of sheep so here is a picture for Ron.

Then we headed back to civilization. It was a 3 hour drive back to Dublin from the Burren National Park.

We are about to board our flight to Paris…Here are a few things we learned while we were in Ireland:

Schemes is just their word for plans….there is no negative connotation. Signs for road schemes and water line schemes were along the way.
Cheers = good day, thank you, etc.
Food for “take away” = take out
Black and White Pudding = blood sausage and other sausage (none of us were brave enough to try, our waitress this morning when asked what it was said, ” you really want to know?”
Courgette = Zucchini
yeh ends almost all of their sentences, you want potatoes yeh?
Roads are extremely narrow.
Speed limits are ridiculously fast for type of roads. The Ring of Kerry crazy roads which in the US would have a speed limit of 10-25 mph were labeled 100 kph. Don’t worry we didn’t get past 50 kph. “Traffic calming” =slow down.

Ireland was a beautiful country…not sure if this will be a vacation destination again but it was definitely worth seeing! Flight is boarding to Paris!

Ring of Kerry

Today we headed west to visit one of Ireland’s most frequently visited tourist attractions, the Ring of Kerry. This is a 170 km drive around the Iveragh Peninsula. It was beautiful drive, although it made for a long day since we started in Kinsale and ended in Limerick. See the map below for the day’s drive.

Our first stop was Kilarney, the town where the scenic drive begins. We had breakfast at “The Street Cafe” which was right across the street from this pharmacy. Our good friend Marc is a pharmacist and his last name is Sweeney….his family name used to be McSweeney further down the family line. So Marc here is a picture of your family pharmacy!

While at the cafe we found reviews on-line stating the best way to drive around the Ring of Kerry was to start in Killorglin and drive counter-clock wise. This was the direction most people drive including the tour buses. This means you don’t meet a tour bus head on, on the side of a clif. Our first stop was Rossbeigh beach, here is a picture below.

Then we traveled on to a small town called Caherciveen, home of this barrack. This particular barrack was supposed to be built in India during a time when the British occupied India, but the plans got mixed up and it was built here instead.

Here are some other views along the way. Including Derrynane beach, one of the finest beaches in Ireland. It is way too cold for any kind of sun bathing. It got up into the low 50’s today. But since I love the beach I put my hand in, while Dustin, Sarah and Josh waiting in the car. They were cold! The ocean and beach refresh my soul, as I mentioned in my Seattle post, the ocean always reminds me of how BIG our God is and how BIG His love for us is. 🙂



As we rounded out the last part of the drive, which seemed like it might never end we saw the Lakes of Killarney at the National Park and the Torc Waterfall.



We were exhausted from this day of driving, we stopped back in Killarney for dinner at a bistro. The food was ok, Ireland food tends to be very plain. We waited a long time for our food but quickly consumed it and headed on the road to Limmerick where we stayed for the night. Sarah and I fell asleep in the car before we even got on the road 30 minutes. Not sure how many roundabouts we went through today but it was a large number. Dustin has them mastered at this point!

Tomorrow’s plan..Cliffs of Mohr and Burren National Park, and then head back to Dublin. Our flight to Paris leaves at 6:15 pm on Monday. I am super excited although I do wish I would have had more time to brush up on french before we left. Oh well I can say a few phrases & ask if they speak english!

Kilkenny, Waterford, Kinsale, Ireland

First stop of the day was Kilkenny. There we visited Kilkenny Caste which was completed in the early 1200’s.



Here is a picture of the streets in Kilkenny.


In Kilkenny we had breakfast at a small place called Kafe Katz. Dustin ordered the Salmon and Eggs…much to his surprise the salmon was raw shredded on top of the eggs. He was a good sport and still ate it. We don’t normally like many things raw. After breakfast we hit the road again.

Our next stop was Waterford, Ireland, home of Waterford Crystal. Located here in Waterford is their headquarters and prestige factory. We took the factory tour and learned how they make the crystal, it’s a pretty long process which is done completely by hand. No wonder it’s so expensive! We saw the “just in case” versions of the Superbowl trophy and many other trophies and beautiful vases. This first picture is an example of a mold the hot ball of crystal is placed into.


The next few pictures show the process of blowing and then the design is carved into the crystal.




This mirror is lined with beautiful crystal…this was one of my favorite pieces but not something I could ever afford nor would want to pay that much for!20120505-220605.jpg

We grabbed lunch in Dungarvan at a cafe. Ireland has so many town home buildings all with different color doors. It’s fun to see all the bright colors against the stone buildings.


If you don’t already know….Dustin is a HUGE fan of Apple Inc, and their European headquarters is located in Cork, ireland, which happened to be on our way (sort-of). It did cause us to have to drive up hill & a very very very narrow street, where cars were coming the other direction and bikers in our way. But we made it and here is Dustin next to his favorite logo.


Near Cork is the famous Blarney Stone and Castle. We thought we could get a glimpse of the castle without paying, but it turns out they charged 12 EUR to get in the gate and you couldnt see it from the outside. Since we have lot of days left on this trip and didn’t really want to kiss a stone that 1 million other people have kissed, we decided not to go in. As we were driving away we were able to get a few glimpses from the backside of the property.

We then headed to our stop for the night in Kinsale, Ireland. The countryside today was very beautiful and the Kinsale area was no exception. Our hotel is just up the hill from town and this is the beautiful view from the backside.



There are a lot of people here this weekend, apparently it’s their biggest weekend of the year. There is a big rugby tournament going on. Rugby players and spectators are everyone. We headed downtown to find fish for dinner…they are known for their seafood here. Dustin and I split the Crab Rissota and Yellow Fin Tuna. Both were excellent! We were hoping to find an Irish band to watch but they didn’t play until much later in the evening.

All of these towns were very quaint each with restaurants, and shops. There were not many big stores, they were smaller specializing in one type of product. It made us feel like we had stepped back in time, it was fun!

That’s all for today…getting rested up for tomorrow’s big day of driving. We are headed to the Ring of Kerry which is supposed to be beautiful. The sun is supposed to be out tomorrow too which is a plus!

Dublin, Ireland

Hello Friends and Family!

We made it to Ireland this morning, arriving at 8:45 am local time, 3:45 am EST. We did get a few hours of sleep on the plane and for the most part it was smooth sailing on our journey from the states.

Today we explored Dublin before heading out to the countryside tomorrow. It was a tiring day, as I type this Dustin, Josh, and Sarah are already fast asleep despite the fact the sun hasn’t gone down yet. For some reason I’m not quite as tired. One reason they might be more tired than me is they put a little more effort into helping out our sticky situation.

Flat Tire (hours in Ireland = 1.5)


We were graciously given a free upgrade to a slightly larger car…which is nice for all 4 adults plus luggage. Dustin is doing a great job with the left side of the road driving and using the manual in all the city traffic. Unfortunately the garage we were parked in briefly for breakfast was being remodeled and they were having the traffic come in and out the same direction. They had workers directing traffic, and the turn to go back up the entrance was quite narrow. Our left front tire hit the curb (passenger side here) and went flat.

Sarah, Dustin, and Josh did a great job changing it! I never knew Sarah had changed a tire before.


I was the photographer…because well we all were laughing and thought, well at least it’s a funny story to tell so we must have pictures! It was a blessing we had a space in the garage to change the flat, and were not on a busy street. Josh snapped a picture of me with my mocha latte cheering them on.


We went about our day in downtown Dublin, first visiting the Guinness Brewery. Here is a picture of Josh and Sarah outside the gate.


There were lots of pharmacies downtown, so of course I had to get a picture!


Then we walked around downtown and taking pictures of the beautiful churches. Here are a few. We visited St. Augustine and St. John Catholic Church, which was free to go inside, then we walked to the Dublin Castle and went into the cathedral there, as well as walked by St. Patrick’s Cathedral the largest cathedral in Ireland. Here are a few pictures from the afternoon!



The churches were all beautiful inside and out…but it made me a little bit sad too. So much money and time was put into these buildings that now function mostly as tourist attractions (some do have mass still). But I think it was a good reminder for us that the church is not a building or fancy walls… we are the church, the body of Christ. We need to spend our resources building the church through discipleship and ministry, through the people.

Ephesians 1:22-23
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

After walking for what seemed like a long time, we got a snack on the way back to the car. 2 for 2.50 EUR Apple Pastries…YUMM! 1 for the Hartzlers, 1 for the Rodewalds.


We decided it would be a good idea to head back to the rental car company by the airport and see if they wanted to give us a new car just a new spare tire before we headed out of Dublin tomorrow. Well despite having very expensive FULL coverage insurance, the only 2 exclusions were tires & if you break a GPS unit. So we could have Budget fix it for 160 EUR at least or we could try to have it fixed ourselves. We then headed to the hotel and on the way, we saw a “tyre” shop. Praise Jesus for providing this man. He normally was already closed but he got us a brand new tire and took the spare off and put the new tire on for 70 EUR. We saved more than half. His shop was really already closed, but he was very kind to stay opened. We were very thankful God put him on our path today.

At this point we had been in rush hour traffic back from the airport to our hotel for at least an hour before stopping to fix the tire. We all were very hungry and Dustin’s brain was hurting from all the driving. We found a great pub near our hotel and had dinner. I had chicken with veg and potato & leek soup. The veg was cabbage and turnips. I don’t think i’ve had a turnip before, but they were good.

I think that is about it…we are planning to check out the cities of Kilkenny, Cork, and Waterford on our way to Kinsale tomorrow. Hoping for no more flat tires for this trip. 🙂

Excited to get 8 hours of sleep tonight!