I got visitors! My loving parents generously came to visit me in Ireland!
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to know they were coming to visit! At the time of their visit, I was living just outside of Slane, and work kept me from being able to meet them at the airport in Dublin.
The dynamic duo landed in Dublin on April 7th and stayed in Ireland until April 19th. Papa almost didn’t make it actually! The little passport mishap was sorted the day before they were set to leave, so it all worked out in the end.
It’s a long trip, coming from Edmonton. When I flew to Ireland, it was a three part trip. Part 1 was Edmonton to Toronto (4 ish hours), followed by Toronto to London (about 7 hours), and then the jaunt from London to Dublin (1.5 hours.) That’s 12.5 hours of flying time, and does not include layovers and such. By the time you land in Ireland, it’s a day later than when you left, and you’re pretty messed up with the time change, and you’re exhausted.
Needless to say, they needed a restful night sleep to get the trip started in good shape.
The next day they took the bus to meet me in Slane. It was a beautiful spring day, and I so psyched to see my parents come off the bus!! They looked so happy and refreshed! We relaxed that afternoon. Sitting at a picnic table in the sunshine, drinking wine until dinner time.
We had dinner at Inside Out, a newly opened restaurant in Slane. It is run by Edel Healy and James Ausden who met working in a restaurant not far from Slane. It was a FABULOUS meal. We met Edel, whom I had spoken to over the phone numerous times over a separate reservation engagement for a group staying at the hostel. Edel is a wonderful woman who is generous with her time. Our experience at Inside Out was so enjoyable. The food was perfect, and the atmosphere so fresh and inviting. We were sitting at the table for a long time, catching up and drinking wine, and never did we feel as though we were being rushed by the serving team. If I go back to Slane, I will definitely be enjoying another meal at Inside Out.
In the morning, we took a taxi to Newgrange. To say that Newgrange is a busy place is an understatement. I had read up and been warned ahead of time that you needed to be there early. We got to the Newgrange information centre a half hour before it opened, and there was already a lineup outside the door. Luckily, we got into the first tour of the day and signed up to see both historic sites available to the public. You cannot tour Knowth or Newgrange alone. They only allow guided tours of the sites to ensure the proper preservation of these ancient historical sites.
We started at Knowth and also visited Newgrange. I suggest that if you do choose to visit these sites, to do the full tour – both sites. They’re different from each other, and they’re both fascinating and mysterious.
After our tours, we were picked up by John. John lives in Slane. He runs a small bed and breakfast there (C. U. in Slane) and is passionate about the area. He generously agreed to show us the sites and sights of the Boyne Valley. I had no idea what to expect, and it was one of the first times John was showing people around on ‘official business’…
It was a great day! We visited so many different things. Some were touristy, some were not. It was such a good thing to be able to do, and John was the perfect person to be doing it with. He’s a very kind man, and he knows a lot about the different sites. He is well informed about the history and is open to answering any question you might have about the area and sites. He’s honest when he says he doesn’t know the answer, but to be completely honest, there wasn’t much he didn’t have answer for!
John picked us up at Newgrange around 12:30pm, and it was past 8pm when he dropped us back at the hostel. I’ll say it again one thousand times. Since I have arrived in Ireland, I have been overwhelmed and surprised by the generosity people have offered. This was no exception. We were very grateful for the private tour John accepted to give us.
That evening, we ate some dinner, drank a little wine, but it had been a very long day, and we were exhausted. the next day, my parents continued their Irish adventure by heading to Galway where they met the Harveys, saw the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, waltzed my favourite streets in Galway, and enjoyed their time there before taking the train towards Killarney. I was meeting them there the following weekend for another couple days of fun!