Going home via Dublin, Belfast, and Chicago’s Cloud Gate

arriving home header

It’s so good to be home. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be composing this blog post from my own little writing nook at Safe Haven Farm. I loved Ireland so much. We had such a wonderful adventure, enjoyed so much tasty food, saw so many beautiful sights, but boy do I love coming home!

Coming home may be my favorite part of traveling.

I’m still struggling through my jetlag for some odd reason and didn’t sleep at all last night, so this post will be brief, although I plan to have a fairly extensive photo gallery available in subsequent posts.

Andrea and our leaning tower of luggage in the booth at Costa

Andrea and I enjoyed our week in Ireland to the fullest. June 1, after we said farewell to our fellow travelers, we left our Airbnb in Temple Bar to hang out at the local coffee shop until time to check in to our next place. I stayed in place and worked on some story outlines, and Andrea went shopping in some of the nearby vintage shops.

Vintage shops in Ireland mean something very different than vintage shops here at home. In Ireland, vintage is actually antique! Andrea found a lot of great stuff.

We found our way to our Airbnb on Bunratty road, a nice brick home where we would be camping out in our little room with its even littler bathroom for the next week. On arriving, we explored the area a bit, wandered the next door shopping center, had dinner at a pub down the street, and returned for a good night’s rest.

A reproduction of a viking home Inside Dublinia

The following day, we roamed Dublinia, the viking museum. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but let me tell you, it was one of my favorite museums. Very cool, very informative, and a lot of fun!

The day afterward, we took a day trip up to Belfast and walked around St. George’s Market and C.S. Lewis Square. We’d had grander ambitions for the day, but we ran out of time. Still, we found some wonderful curry, some incredible Narnia statues, and had a generally fabulous time.

Sunday, June 4, we went to Phoenix Park, and I vastly underestimated the size of this place. Again, I’ll be posting better pictures later on, but my goodness—if you’re ever in Dublin, Phoenix Park is a must-see attraction. But give yourself a whole day and bring your walking shoes.

Road leading out of the Farmleigh Estate, home to the Guinness family

We ended up on the far side and toured Farmleigh Estate, which was founded and owned until 1999 by the Guinness family. It’s a beautiful house with magnificent grounds. But there was a lot of walking—a LOT of walking. By the time we finished there, we were so tired, we could hardly move. And sitting for several hours sounded like a fabulous idea. So we went to the nearest movie theater and saw Wonder Woman.

Review coming later, but holy cow, that was a great movie.

Lamb Stew

After Wonder Woman, we returned to O’Shea’s, a pub we’d been in before, and I had a delightful bowl of lamb stew with mash. Unbelieveably tasty.

Our last full day in Dublin was dedicated to shopping, but unfortunately it ended up being a bank holiday. So most of the shops I wanted to hit were closed. But we still found plenty of awesome things to do and see. We found several very quirky things too. And for dinner that night, we went to a pub inside a converted church. They feature live traditional music and dancing every night. It was pretty awesome! And the beef and Guinness stew wasn’t bad either.

Live performers at The Church, a converted cathedral in Dublin

That evening, we came home and packed up, and we departed for the airport in our taxi the next morning. I watched several movies on the flight back to Chicago, and when we arrived, we had a nearly 8-hour layover. So we ventured out into the city, ate at McDonalds, and went to visit the Cloud Gate (also called The Bean). Talk about a cool piece of art! If you’re even in Chicago, go see it. It’s absolutely worth it.

I’m not sure why human beings are so fascinated by shiny objects.

We made our flight with time to spare and arrived back at the good old Wichita airport just short of Midnight.

Again, I’ll be posting more information and better photos later on, but I did want to check in and just report that we had a highly enjoyable and very successful trip to Ireland. I would absolutely do it again, and I’d travel with all the same folks again too. It was a great time.

Now, the next trip on my radar is the AWSA Conference in Cincinnati in a few weeks. I’m excited about it, as well as the possibility of visiting the Creation Museum!

Stay tuned for Ireland photos from a “real” camera!

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