July 9, 2015 · 9:37 pm
This would prove to be an especially exciting day! We awoke in the castle and headed down to the formal dining room to have our breakfast complete with hot chocolate for the kiddos. At breakfest we met the boat captain who offers tours of the lake and he talked us into a delighful one hour boat tour. We had to be back on shore by noon sharp because we had a special appointment at 12:30.
Castle View from the Boat
The tour lasted an hour and The Princess even got a chance to steer the ship. Those of you who have watched John Ford and John Wayne’s Quite Man will recognize the name Inisfree!
The next stop was the school of falconry.
The Captain it would be cool if we scheduled our own falconry lesson for the family. While I personally wouldn’t have chosen this activity, I wasn’t against the idea and booked it. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of the whole trip.
We worked with Red Tail Hawks, not Falcons. It seems these hocks do better with people they don’t know because unlike
Just a little something the birds caught
Falcons and most other birds of prey the Red Tails hunt in groups. Another funny thing about this bird, is that it’s from the American Southwest not Ireland. And when we got home to America and we’re visiting the Las Vegas Springs preserve we actually saw a plaque about the Redtailed Hawk!
Our guide was delightful and gave us an almost 90 minute course on the Hawks, other birds, and falconry in general. He was truly passionate about the subject and a delight with which to work.
me and the hawk
Everyone (both Cinco and The Princess) held the hawks and took a turn sending them out to hunt. I think the kiddos were a little nervous at first, but they never shied away from the birds even one. The hawks were named after famous Irish writers– Wilde and Stoker. Our guide told them apart based on the color of their claws (something I never really got the hang of in our 90 minute lesson.)
Post hawking it was time for a walk of the grounds. Including a number of hidden gardens.
Next stop was a stroll into town for a little something to eat. A pretty good day, I’d say
July 2, 2015 · 9:01 pm
Leaving Galway we decided to make a stop by Athenry before heading to Ashford Castle. Like any good Irish family, we are fans of the song Fields of Athenry. The Captain and The Princess often play the song on the guitar and sing together. With a little extra time on our hands we decided a trip to Athenry was in order.
We toured the castle… Which really wasn’t much compared to other castles in England and Ireland.
And we tried to go to the Athenry priory. But, it was closed.
Then it was on to Cong home of Ashford Castle and the town were some of the John Ford film The Quite Man was filmed.
In Cong there are a number of deep caves and caverns. We decided on a nature walk before checking in at the castle. Our first stop was Pigeonhole Cave.
view looking up from the bottom of the cave
We also took the Pigeonhole Cave walking loop–without the actually researching how long the loop was! It seemed to simply never end. It was alively walk in the woods along a stream, but the kiddos started to get a bit grousey after the 1st 45 minutes.
One bonus was the path lead us to Cong Abbey. It was located right on the river and the ruins included an old stone fishing house the monks used.
Cong Abbey cloister ruins
When we finally made it back to our car it was time to head out to Ahford Castle!
The castle welcomed us with personalized cookies and tour. After discovering welcome gifts for the kids (a bear for The Princess and a sword for Cinco), we set work exploring…
The Billard Room
watching Ben Hur in the movie room
After dinner in the Dungeon it was bedtime for all!
Filed under Mom camp 2015, Mom Camp International, Travel with kids
Tagged as Ashford Castle, Athenry, Athenry Castle, caption, Cong Abbey, Fields of Athenry, ireland with kids, mom camp, Travel with kids, traveling with kids
July 2, 2015 · 9:00 pm
After the day in Dingle, the Captain took us on the long drive. We we’re trapped in the car for almost 7 hours!!!! Okay. It wasn’t all bad. But we certainly spent more time going the LONG WAY than I would have liked.
The drive did include a ride on a ferry, which was a new experience for the kids.
We also hit the famous Cliffs of Moher. It was probably the most crowded tourist spot we encountered during the whole trip.
At the end of the longest day we made it to Galway. We walked the Latin Quarter and had dinner in a nice little pub with live Irish music. That made The Captain very happy.
July 1, 2015 · 10:12 pm
Mom Camp Day 6
Before leaving Cork, we needed to grab a picnic lunch for our drive to Dingle. We decided to stop by the Cork English Market. The place was fantastic. We only had 45 minutes to stay and I wish we had had longer. It had everything you could want Greek olives, fresh fish, chocolate, fresh produce and of course Irish tea. The Captain and the kids had a delightful time roaming the stalls.
Then it was off for the drive to Dingle. But of course along the way I had to insist on a stop on the mom tour of the of the obscure! Took a quick detour to see where Michael Collins was assassinated–Beal na Blath. The site has a tasteful memorial cross dedicated to Collins.
Inch beach was the next stop. We did some amazing shell collecting and stopped for a beachside picnic lunch.
Before hitting the village of Dingle itself, we stopped by the South Pole Inn. This little bar was operated by local hero Tom Crean. For those who don’t know, Crean was 2nd command on the Endurance.
The South Pole Inn
We started hitting the Dingle sites after that.
June 29, 2015 · 6:30 pm
Mom Camp Day 4: This was one of those days when things just seem to go sideways on you. We spent the night at a rather odd hotel in New Ross (a town founded by the Marshal) and we overslept. We had a full day’s agenda that had to be majorly altered. We skipped the Dunbrody Famine Ship as well as Waterford and made our way to the Irish Tintern Abbey.
We made a trip the parent Abbey in Wales last year, (for those interested in the original Abbey). For those of you who don’t know, the Irish Tintern Abbey was founded by the Marshal. He had a pretty rough sea crossing to Ireland. He pledged to found a new Abbey if he made it to shore. Thankfully he made it and he was as good as his word and founded the Abbey.
Personally, having been to both, I prefer the Irish Abbey. The grounds at the Irish Tintern are far more lush and evocative of the past. Unlike it’s parent abbey in Wales, the Irish Tintern is surrounded by lovely forests and walking paths. It also features a lovely bridge that crosses over a small river near the abbey. It is very picturesque! My only complaint was that we didn’t have more time to spend there!
inside the abbey
Next, it was off to Kilkenny another Anglo-Norman city. In Kilkenny we stayed in the castle’s old carriage house that has been converted to a hotel. Very nice. It had an English style garden between the carriage house and the castle across the way.
Kilkenny also prides itself on maintaining a lot of its medieval history. They have the medieval mile you can walk and imagine what the city might have looked it. In town there is also a pub that date backs to the 1300s. Back in the day it was run by a witch! Of course it’s a tourist trap. But with two kids, who could skip it? We were treated to an Irish drum circle lesson.
The Captain also discovered Kilkenny is where Smithwick’s Beer is brewed. So we stopped into the shop for a t-shirt.
Filed under Mom Camp 2013, Mom camp 2015, Mom Camp International, Travel with kids
Tagged as ireland, ireland with kids, kilkenny, Middle Ages, mom camp, tintern abbey, Travel with kids, William Marshal
June 28, 2015 · 6:30 pm
Day 3: By day 3 it was time to leave Dublin. We drove down the old military road and the Sally Gap on the way to Glendalough.
We stopped road side to explore a stream and the poor Princess fell in! We had to do a roadside outfit change… It was horribly cold for a Vegas kid with soaked pants and all… Then it was get back in the car for another bit of driving.
At Glendalough we walked the grounds and forests. It’s easy to see how the Irish folk tales started about various bad fairies. The woods were far more lush than our trip to the 100 acre woods in England. Darker and certainty more mysterious!
There we also a high number of ferns!!! This of course was very exciting for us because we love the Incorrigible books (See our reviews: book #2, book #3, book #4. We are still reading #5. But, look for a review of it soon!) In the books, there are A LOT of side bars on the different types of ferns. The desert kids loved seeing them in their natural environment.
And speaking of ferns leaving Glendalough it was time to rush to Ferns! Okay, why Ferns you might ask? Well, it was the seat of power for the kingdom of Leinster. The castle there was built by none other than William Marshal (Shameless plug for my book here!).
Ferns Castle built by William Marshal
Two fire places at Ferns. The lower more primative fireplace may have been built by Strongbow
We made it to the castle just in time for the last tour of the day. Our guide was a delightful young man who was pleased to see we were interested in the Marshal, Strongbow and Diarmait Mac Murchada (Modern Irish: Diarmaid Mac Murchadha), anglicised as Dermot MacMurrough or Dermod MacMurrough. He spent a long time with us discussing the castle history and the history of those men.
Dry moat at Ferns
We also made our way to the Abbey founded by Strongbow as well as the place thought be be Dermot MacMurrough’s grave site. After visiting the grave a small lady bug and we took it as sign from the warlord himself.
June 26, 2015 · 7:53 pm
This year Mom Camp set off across the pond one more time. This year we took advantage of the cheap Euro and made our way to Ireland.
Hello cold weather and shamrocks!
Day 1: On arrival, it was off to the races. I am a believer in never giving into jet lag. No rest for the weary!
We hit Dublin Castle and saw the underground Norman Castle section of the old place.
We went to Christ Church as well as St. Patrick’s and walked the old Viking portion of the city.
Next stop was a little shopping for father-son matching Irish caps.
The final experience of the day was a visit to the book of Kells.
Day 2: We took a walk to the famous Kilmainham Goal. The jail held prisoners who stole nothing more than a loaf of bread during the famine as well as the Irish rebels from the 1916 rising. We saw their cells and the place they were shot.
Next, we had lunch in Temple Bar and walked around the area. A stroll through St. Stephen’s Green followed. Cinco made the observation that it seemed a lot like St. James Park in London. I had to agree.
At the National Museum of Archeology we entountered ET…