The first day of any trip seems to be a bit of a blur, and this day is no different. It is actually kind of 2 days put into 1! So there's where the confusion and disorientation sets in!
We left home around 5:30 AM to sneak out of the house before the kids woke up. Our flight didn't leave until 10:30 so we had a lot of time stuck sitting and waiting at the airport before we could even leave. A 4 hour (on time!) flight to Chicago and a quick enough layover to be able to grab a quick bite of dinner and then we were boarding the longer leg of the trip. This one ended up being a bit delayed because the entertainment screens wouldn't boot up. It's always a pain when the flight is delayed AFTER boarding and taxing because you can't move around. Fortunately they got it fixed on their own as they had threatened to go back to the gate if they couldn't get them up and running. Then we were on our way for the 7ish hour flight to Shannon Ireland!
Upon arrival, it didn't really take long to understand why people love the Irish! Our first experience with an Irishman was at immigration and we could quickly see the kindness, and wit awaiting us in this country. He exchanged a few accountant comments and jokes with Peter and we were on our way! The taxi desk was no different, with several older gentleman standing around chatting. They told us to enjoy some Brown Bread for them in Ennis. Our taxi cab driver was a very kind man who offered some travel tips and chatted with us on the 20 minute drive to our hotel. He seemed very curious about where we were from and mentioned that he knew of some very long lost relatives of his that traveled along the Oregon trail. He also seemed to know a bit about the weather and that the northwest part of the states is a bit similar to Ireland weather. Although Ireland is even greener than we have it in Oregon!
We made our way to our hotel where they were waiting for us. Peter's business was kind enough to check us out a room the night before so that we could get cleaned up and rest today, since we arrived a bit after 7 in the morning. Mind you, it was after midnight at home at this point and we had been up for quite awhile! And yet, the day was just beginning in Ennis! After taking a shower and unpacking, we decided to go check out the city a bit and find some food. We also knew a nap was on the agenda for the day.
We went for a quick little walk around 10 in the morning, and the small city was very much alive and bustling. I think Ennis is kind of perfect because while there are some tourists, the streets were mostly filled with locals going about their day and shopping. I quickly learned that the locals walk at a very brisk pace. I blame that on the wind and rain they are accustomed to! We ate a panini and a strawberry tart for breakfast and watched people bustle around the Saturday Farmers Market on the city streets. Thw Town Square for Ennis is adorable! Filled with tiny cobblestone streets and surrounded by hundreds of little shops. From clothing, to candy, to bakeries and meat shops. There is a little bit of everything!
We made a quick stop at the grocery store for some basics before returning to our room. I think we were both deliriously tired by this point. We didn't want to overdue it on the slumber but we had to force ourselves to wake up around the 4 hour mark! I also got some highly recommended pills called "Jetfighter" that you take to help you stay awake on those jetlagged days. After our nap, we popped a few of those. They work REALLY well and don't give you that jittery caffeinated feeling. So I highly recommend them for International travel. I found ours on Amazon.
After a little bit of wake up time, we decided some fresh air was needed! Since we have a full day of sightseeing ahead of us tomorrow, I needed to kind of get my bearings of the city because Peter will be working on Monday. So we tried to do some walking and help me figure out where I was and where things were. Oh boy!
The old buildings were really fun to look at. They had several churches here that were bustling with Saturday Mass. It is cool to see these old churches still alive and well! This one is near by and I've been trying to figure out when and why the bell goes off. It goes off quite often! I know it does every hour on the hour, but around 3:00 today, it went off for 15 minutes straight! I think it might have been for a wedding because we saw the wedding party across the street from it a bit later.
This old building is the city library. Again, it is just fascinating to see the history and age of these old buildings everywhere that are still active and very much used!
After our little walk we decided to find a pub and grab some fish and chips and watch some hurling. What better way to start off a trip to Ireland, right? Now to try and stay awake just a few more hours before turning in for a much needed night of rest! Lots more fun to be shared tomorrow!