My wife had left me in charge, wrong, of planning the summer holidays – our stay-cation in Ireland – so phase two of the phase 17 plan was kicking into action. The time had come to be more adventures than just day trips and we had leave the safety of Dublin – or should I say “Get the hell out of Dodge!” as it is probably safer to be standing with an umbrella in a field during a thunder storm, than walk around Dublin north inner city.
This time, even the dogs were going on holidays, so I had booked them in with our German kennel storm trooper for two days (1 night). The dogs love going there and getting plenty of exercise … and get to play with the wolves.
As we had an early start Saturday morning, we went to bed early Friday evening. I had packed the car with all the essentials and we were ready for life on the road. All I needed was a CB radio, my Stetson and of course my chewing tobacco. Pretty ambitious plan I know, but we only live once – well, James Bond lives twice!
We were surprisingly up on time, before the alarm clock had a chance to ring, and got going straight away. There were a erie feeling in the room of excitement and the kids were amazingly coorperative. So, within an hour, the kids had finished their breakfast, teeth brushed, car loaded and dogs squeezed into the boot. We were ready to rock ‘n roll.
The iPhone was connected to the car stereo, so we were singing along with Tracy to Hairspray, while rocking and drinking coffee from the termo cups. I love family road trips.
We had to drop the dogs off between 8 and 9 in the morning, or so I thought, but it was in fact between 9 and 10. For a change, we were early. We made a planned road stop at the car station, tanked the car, had a breakfast roll and bought the paper. Finally we dropped the dogs off and programmed the famous GPS to its next destination; Birr.
On the way to Birr, we stopped at Kinnitty Castle and OMG, what a dump. Not worth writing about – don’t go there! Moving swiftly on.
Birr, is in my humble honest opinion a boring tourist location. I know I’ve just managed to offend my brother in law, his family and the entire county, but there’s NOTHING to see or do. We spend more than 30 minutes trying to find a pub to have lunch in and ended up having lunch in a cafe. It was alright.
Next stop on the plan was Dromoland Castle, and I punched in the coordinates. My wife hava had this fetish for years, to visit Dromoland Castle for afternoon tea, so we did – I’m a man, so I’ll do my best to please my woman or at least make an effort to get some brownie points. It’s an amazing castle and the afternoon tea was great; excellent atmosphere and friendly staff. Even better, it was only €45 for tea and scones!
We then headed towards Corofin, which resembles coffin, where I had booked a B&B. As usual, the fecking GPS took us the back roads, on roads that were the same size as a footpaths. BUT, the cool thing is that, when you go down these unknown roads, you experience and see things you wouldn’t see from the main motorway. Just like in “Cars“. Obviously, some things were better left unseen.
The real family adventure is only complete when you experience a roadside stop to help your daughter to pee. It always happen shortly after you’ve left civilisation or 30 km from the nearest toilet. You do your best to hold your child in a comfortable peeing position, but it is VERY difficult to control the flow of pie from a girl. Unfortunately, this resulted in my daughter peeing on her pants and my shoes. I’m sure it was my fault. Thankfully we had an extra pair of pants. Quick change and we were back on the road again.
Corofin is actually a lovely little village, or rather a gathering of houses, and we stayed the night in a B&B just outside Corofin. Apparently, according to the B&B landlady, the place really starts rocking after 21.00, so too bad the kids were in bed!? We had dinner in a lovely pub in the village and headed back to the B&B for an early night.
The room temperature in the B&B was around 35 degrees (Celsius) and it was impossible to turn off the heaters, even with the help of my Leatherman. As you can imagine, we didn’t sleep well. I need the winodws open when I sleep, otherwise I get a headache next morning. The kids slept well woke early as usual, singing and playing at 06.30am. We had a lovely full Irish breakfast; eggs, sausages, rashers, tomatoes, beans, etc. All the fuel you need for a full-grown man on the Atkins diet.
After breakfast we headed towards the main attraction, the Cliffs of Moher. Before leaving, I asked the B&B landlady how far it was. 20 minutes. Then I asked how far to the Dormen (Burren) and it was also 20 minutes. Something wasn’t right here. Should I ask her how far it is to Dublin? 20 miutes?
The drive to Cliffs of Moher was easy and well signposted. It took us almost 40 minutes to get there – surprise. We parked the family Hummer and walked towards the Cliffs. Jaysus, these cliffs are huge. It looks like a giant seamonster took a huge bite of the coast. Breathtaking views, but beside the cliffs there is nothing to see. The viewpoints were well protected with fences, but you could still get right to the edge, if you walked a few miles along the cliffs’ edge. My wife almost fainted by the thought and had some twitches when I took my daugther up in the view tower, to the roof, to see better
We spent about an hour at the cliffs and then we headed for the hotspot Doolin. From Doolin you can go to the Arann Islands, and that’s the only thing you can do in Doolin. We drove all the way to the port in Dublin and went straight back out. It didn’t take long to visit Doolin.
We had to head towards Dublin again, as we had to collect the dogs before 18.00, otherwise the German kennel trooper would send us away again and charge us for another day – these Germans have great processes.
Talking about great views. You have to drive through the Burren in Co. Clare. It is stunning. I have never seen anything like it, and probably wont, but I’m so happy we brought the camera. The landscape is like a fairy tale.
We had loads of fun, even if we spent most of the time in the car. Even the kids had fun. However, it wasn’t that funny when my son left something in his diaper that resembled toxic waste. It was amazing how such a small thing can be shared so quickly, in regards to the smell. What was worse, we had to change him at the roadside and drive with the diaper in the car, until we found a bin. When you need a bin, there’s none around for miles! The windows were all foggy on the inside, and we were getting dizzy, but we couldn’t open the windows due to the rain!
As Dublin approached in the horizon (Bono, there actually is a line in the horizon), we knew we were almost home. Exhausted, we had to go another 40 minutes to pick up the dogs. On the way home we stopped at the local chipper, McDonalds, to get some nutricious food. A burp and a fart, and you are hungry again.
The trip was almost 800 km, but worth it. Well, my wife had a thing or two to tell me and the kids, after not having slept well in the B&B – things I will not utter in public. But, after a group hug and mummy tickle attack, she was laughing again. My bruises, a lovely present from my wife during the tickle attack, will eventually disappear – I hope.
Go and see the backroads of Ireland, visit some of the castles (not Kinnitty) and see the mighty Cliffs of Moher.