Over the last few months my wife and I were looking forward to visiting Ireland. The ICCNE membership drive winning trip offered by Tenon Tours was excellent, however we decided to extend the length and celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary in Ireland!
We left for Ireland on Aer Lingus on Friday, May 4 in the evening and landed at Dublin Airport very early on Saturday morning. We followed the instructions from Tenon Tours and arrived at the Trinity Hotel in Dublin pretty exhausted. We identified ourselves with Tenon Tours and asked to leave our bags at the hotel. We received a warm welcome from the front desk manager, and seeing us looking so fatigued, so early; she offered us an open room and suggested we check in early.
We grabbed a few hours sleep and were raring to go at noon and we took off for a brisk walk across Dublin to the Guinness Storehouse. After the walk and touring the storehouse, it was time for a pint at the Gravity Bar with its amazing views!
The next day we jumped on the “Hop on Hop off” buses Tenon had arranged for us. We visited many historic sites in Dublin such as the General Post oFfice and Trinity College,but the tour at Kilmainham Gaol was the most moving. The guide at the Jail was very knowledgeable as he explained how the majority of the Irish leaders in the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867 and 1916 were imprisoned there under horrible conditions. Having retired from the US military, I left with a profound respect for every Irish patriot. To fight against such overwhelming odds, and put yourself at risk of being sent to this place – truly they are heroes!
On Monday we were met by the Tenon Tours guide and headed off to Galway. It was a scenic ride across the center of Ireland with many interesting comments by our guide. We arrived late in the afternoon and visited a local pub for a quick bite to eat and a pint. On a whim, the next day we jumped on a bus to Kylemore Abbey.
On Thursday our Tenon Tours guide picked us up at the Hotel and we headed off for the Cliffs of Moher and Killarney. We had planned to relax in Killarney for a day before returning home, but Ireland’s first National park beckoned us. An entrance to the park was half a block from our Hotel and we ended up hiking most of the day through the park. The views and natural beauty were spectacular. Truly a wonderful ending to a trip of a lifetime!