Teedo & Lindsay Do Ireland: In The Beginning
How many of you out there have a bucket list? I've personally kept a list since 2011 but admit I need to check in to see how I'm doing. What about a joint bucket list with another person? I never had but realized that can be just as doable when one day out of the blue I flicked my mom a text. The question? "What's on your bucket list?" She replied with five places: New Zealand, Vietnam, Glacier National Park, Hawaii (one last time, but this time without her husband/my dad), and Ireland. If you know us at all, then you know that was the start of an elaborate plan...
Rewind to my 20's. Long story short, Teedo and I, like many mothers and daughters, grew apart during this season of life. We had our differences, you know how that goes. But then unexpectedly something tragic happened in our family. The core, the glue, our favorite travel buddy of our family passed away. My dad. Her husband. To say that it knocked our world upside down was an understatement. He was the one who sparked a deep love for travel in us. Eventually, bit by bit we began to heal. We decided we needed to move on without him physically by our side.
Thus began the initial bucket list text. Within a few weeks of that message we had purchased tickets to Vietnam. Sixteen days to rekindle our relationship, friendship, and start a new adventure series together. From that moment on a fire sparked in us both and something beautiful began to emerge again. Travel was strengthening our bond and continuing to help heal our aching hearts. Since 2012 we have been on the journey completing the bucket list together ticking off New Zealand, Vietnam, Glacier Nat'l Park, & Hawaii.
Up next was the Emerald Isle: Ireland! I had left behind all three boys during our extended stay in Ohio with Chip’s family and embarked on a mother-daughter excursion. There we stood on the turf of our final bucket list destination, each of us scanning the many smiling faces at the Dublin airport arrivals gate seeking that one familiar face we have both known since my birth. When we finally caught one another's eyes a sense of relief spread over both our bodies as we ran towards each other and collapsed in the sweet embrace of a familiar hug. We had made it to Ireland!
A Bumpy Start
The first real chore of the trip was, well, getting to the Emerald Isle. Let me back up. Months prior we had both purchased the same flight from Chicago to Dublin but found out on the day of, my mom's flight wasn't going to make it in time. So change of plans and change of planes. She took off to Philly, then on to Dublin. Meanwhile I'm ready to board my flight in Chicago when unexpectedly the dreaded PA system chimes and a calm demeanored man announces our plane is having mechanical issues. This is one of those times when your subconscious goes "maybe someone is telling us not to go to Ireland?!" Have you seen the movie Final Destination?! Within a few hours though, I'm on a new plane sitting in bulk head seating (so. much. legroom.) with a fork in my right hand and a cool glass of white wine in my left. The on-board food and beverage was on point that night. Things seemed to be looking up. I happily dozed off after consuming all of both. Not long after we had safely landed in Dublin.
“Drive On Left”
Now that my mom and I were reunited, the second real chore (after holding my pee in a two-hour long customs line) was the rental car. First off, do we recommend renting a car in Ireland? I feel like we both would answer with a resounding YES! But the real trick is driving in Ireland. Left side of the road, a lot of round-a-bouts, tolls, and narrow roads. Let me repeat: NARROW ROADS! I will never forget the first hour of driving as we headed off to our airbnb outside Kilkenny. We had googlemaps volume turned up to deafening levels and the voice from inside the phone commanded that we enter the roundabout and take the second left. Remembering I had to look right, then turn left at the yield, I thought I was nailing it and my inner self spoke the same phrase. It was at that point that she demanded we exit the roundabout. So I did. And down the wrong way we went! I actually didn't think we were doing anything wrong until we hit the intersection and a car began heading straight for us. A four letter word (or a couple of them) were likely said in that moment.
Needless to say, we made it all in one piece (including the car) to our airbnb, which was a recently renovated (and very cute) stable. All I have to say is this point is one of my favorite moments of the whole trip. The thrill of being somewhere new set in and we were both running around like giddy children oohing and ahhing over our stylish airbnb, the surrounding grounds complete with shabby sheep, picturesque Irish countryside, and a couple free beers in our mini fridge! We were on cloud-nine, and we were also a little sleep deprived. With that we set off to purchase some dinner which meant we had to drive into town on very narrow roads. It was the first and last time my mom drove the entire trip. Read on...
Now as a good daughter should, I will lend my mom some grace in this situation. By no means did anything crazy happen, however there was a too-close-for-comfort encounter with the left side of our vehicle and an embankment lined with thick, scratchy shrubbery. But in all honesty, that car came out of nowhere sending ours off the road. I’ll side with my mom here because you must get a clear understanding on the size of these roads. The road was no larger than your typical river path/bike path (can you picture it?!). The car, in my mind, must have been going 50 mph (but if it were to replay, I’m guessing it was more like 50 kph). Either way everyone survived but I think we both silently and mutually agreed that I’d be doing the rest of the driving in Ireland.
The best night of sleep I think either of us will ever have in all our lives happened on our first night in Ireland. We were jet lagged, had come down from our high, slept a combined total of four hours the night before, and then spent the day navigating our way through a new country on the opposite side of the road. By 8:30 pm Ireland time (2:30 pm US time) we pulled the shades and retreated to the most comfortable beds in all of the land. The sun was up when we went to bed and it was up when we rose. At 8:30 am.
Getting Our Feet Wet: Kilkenny
The medeivel town of Kilkenny was on the agenda for the day. Our plan was to take it easy by wandering streets, seeing castles, and eating (anything European or Irish!). It had begun to rain so the very first thing we purchased was an umbrella (I know. Who comes to Ireland without an umbrella? I do). The second purchase: one of those European croissants with the chocolate in the middle. Afterwards, we wandered. And saw the Kilkenny Castle. Then wandered some more. We found St. Canice's Cathedral. Then wandered. By then we had stowed our umbrellas not because it had stopped drizzling but because we had had enough of the wind flipping them inside out. I found myself swearing like a sailor every time it happened so away those went. But even in the rain, Kilkenny was a charming and beautiful Irish town. I'm so glad it was our first.
We had only spent 24 hours in Ireland and we were already embarking on an exciting adventure together as mother and daughter. Next up, you won't want to miss what we encountered on our wrong way (or long way) to Kinsale, our scenic drive along the Dingle (that's a place!), and a visit to a centuries old Irish castle.
Original arrival time In Ireland: 8 am
Actual arrival time in Ireland: 12:30 pm
Number of times I contemplated just peeing my pants in the 2-hour long customs line: 3
Miles driven: 92
Number of times my mom got in the right side of the car (driver's side) thinking it was the passenger side: Every time so far
Hours slept the first night: Between 11.5 and 12