The trip of a lifetime is over and we had a wonderful time. There were thirteen of us who went on the trip: me and Mary, my friend Marcy, my dad, my nephews Aaron and Steven, my sister Joan and her daughter Shannon, my sister Maureen and her husband Jim and daughters Bridget and Kelsey, and Bridget's boyfriend, Joe. We all arrived in New Jersey on Saturday (June 12th) - our flight to Ireland wasn't until the next day. My niece Bridget lives in New Jersey, so the kids spent the night at her apartment and the adults in a nearby hotel.
The beer of choice in Ireland is definitely Guinness. I'm told that there are fewer calories in a Guinness than a Bud Light. I was also told that Guinness in Ireland tastes better than it does in the US. I did drink a Guinness because - well, when you are in Ireland you MUST drink Guinness! However, it's not my favorite beer (at home or in Ireland) - I preferred Carlsberg beer (a pale ale). The drinking age in Ireland is eighteen which made Mary very happy. A lot of beer was drank by all on this trip, but everyone was responsible and behaved themselves!
Day three we toured the Rock of Cashel (also known as St. Patrick's Rock) located in Cashel, South Tipperary. The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century. All that remains today are remnants of the early structures.
Day four, we headed to Blarney Castle - home of the Blarney Stone. We all climbed to the top of the Castle (quite the climb, I might add) to reach the Blarney Stone. Several of the kids kissed the Blarney Stone. However, I passed. (Something about touching my mouth on something that thousands of other people have done the same just didn't appeal to me!) I didn't really see a "stone" - it was just a area at the top of the castle that they sectioned off and called the Blarney Stone. After seeing the Castle, we walked through the Blarney Gardens - which were beautiful. We had lunch in Blarney and did some shopping at the Blarney Woolen Mills.
At the top of a (very high) hill we climbed. When we got to the top, we were in the clouds.