We were almost at the end of the school summer vacation (2009) and we were still planning the last few weekend trips with the kids. It’s not that it is difficult to find stuff to do around Dublin, but it is somewhat difficult to find something that interests the kids for longer than 33 minutes – unless it’s Barnyard or Disneyland.
We were meant to go visit a farm, petting all the smelly animals and stepping in all kinds of pooh, but that didn’t happen due to “Project Total Makeover” (see blog). We have visited a petfarm since the release of this blog, so the kids were not cheated of that experience and neither were we parents. Because of the busy schedule, we decided to do a short trip to Kilkenny, which is only 1.5 hours drive from the house, so we could always make it back fairly quickly if the kids staged a revolution.
This time, the dogs were staying in the house, but Snowflake (the labrador) was going to stay in the kennel due to Angel’s incident. And, no need to send them to the kennel when were only gone for a few hours. Might as well save some hard earned cash – which my wife spent on “Project Total Makeover”.
The usual bags were packed with snacks, diapers, drinks, butt wipes, changing clothes, DVDs and of course rain gear. The kids were strapped into their seats during take-off, wife with her cool shades on, sitting comportably in the passenger’s seat, acting as my co-pilot. The GPS was turned on, with the coordinates punched in and the iPhone had been connected for on-the-road entertainment.
We left around 10ish (at least that was the plan), but didn’t hit the N7 until 11.30ish. So, first stop would be Carlow to get lunch. You might remember, from previous blogs, that my son needs his food around 12.30 (+/- 4 minutes on either side) or we the parents would experience a new apocalypse in the car.
We spotted a nice traditional family restaurant outside Carlow and pulled in. We were looking for a traditional Irish pub, as these serve fantastic Sunday lunches, and that’s exactly what we found.
My god, my son was licking his plate approx. 7 minutes after being served and I was still cutting my meat. He sometimes scares me with the speed he eats and the amount he can consume. The food was fantastic and great value for money. Food for 4, incl. drinks, less than €50. Pretty impressive. We are definitely coming back.
Off to Kilkenny, which is only 30-40 minutes drive from Carlow. You know you are in the countryside when the smell of cow shit hits your nostrils like a shovel in the face. You are finding it hard to breathe, until you remember not to use your nose. Pretty dangerous if you are the driver, but I didn’t pass out. On the plus side, it’s a better smell than the smog and car fumes in the cities.
Upon arriving in Kilkenny, I had to wake up my wife. She had managed to fall asleep 5km outside Kilkenny! The fun bit, for me at least, is to hit the brakes hard while screaming, as that certainly wakes her up. She hates that for obvious reasons.
The car was parked at the local Dunnes Store shopping centre and we made our way to the main street – after the entire family had visited the first attraction, Dunnes Store’s toilet, which you have when you have kids.
Kilkenny is a very nice little town. The streets are narrow and there are plenty of shops. It is so much nicer than Galway. It surprised me in a positive way. We spent the nice 3 hours in Kilkenny, seeing everything that could be seen, and slowly headed back to Dunnes Store’s toilets before leaving Kilkenny.
Before telling about the return trip, I need to tell a short story about my dad, from my childhood, just to set the mood for the next few paragraphs. He always had a short fuse, especially when driving with us kids. The slightest noise, kicking or argument and he would go off. He is adamant that it was because he couldn’t concentrate and it was in the best interest of safety. Once, while I was playing with my newest (and coolest) toy, he suddenly stopped the car, took my toy and flung it out the window. Then he continued the journey, as if nothing happened, leaving me fairly startled.
I now know what he went through.
We had barely left Kilkenny before my daughter started to scream. A small brown butterfly had invaded her personal space and was sitting looking at her on her window. I twisted my arm around and managed to release the poor thing. At the same time, my son was trying to pull his DVD cable out, much to the frustration of my wife.
Then the DVD started to skip the movie, causing sections to be re-peated or skipped, constantly. For some reasons, kids don’t mind. The sound was blaring straight into my ears, which made me twitch the left eye.
Then the evil twin, of the brown butterfly emerged from nowhere. My daughter screamed frantically again, “Dad, KILL IT!”, while kicking my seat. The DVD was still blazing (and skipping) beside my ear, my son started act up due to this, so my nerves were shattered. Suddenly, the 2nd butterfly apparently died, just like that, by itself!
All this within 20 minutes of leaving Kilkenny. It was going to be a long way home!
I was so tempted to rip off the DVD player and throw it out the window, but the movie they were “watching” was a rental. It would be pretty difficult to explain that to the rental store. So, I pulled out the power instead, which my daughter did NOT appreciate.
My wife quickly jumped in to be UN and put on the kids’ favorite music. That thankfully calmed things down a bit. The only problem was that I couldn’t have a conversation with my wife, as the volume was at 50 (55 is max), but at least the kids calmed down. My hearing will gradually return I hope.
We made it home in one piece again, and despite World War 7 in the car on the way home, we had a very nice trip to Kilkenny.