Friday, April 20, 2012

Ireland Trip 2012, Post 3

So, the trip to Newgrange didn't work out quite as planned, but we did go eventually. On Wednesday, we got up early, left the kids with the grandmas, and walked across town to the bus station. When we got there, we learned that there is no day tour on Wednesdays. So we went back to the hotel and found everyone about to head out the door, and all 6 of us went on the hop on-hop off bus. It circles the city giving tour information and has 20+ stops at various places of interest. SNG and his mom hopped off at the Guinness brewery, and my mom, the kids and I hopped off at Phoenix park and the Dublin Zoo. It was windy and cold, but worth the visit to see the penguins and seals at feeding time.
The siberian tigers were right up at the near edge of the enclosure up against the thick glass window, and I was surprised how scared e-baby was of them. Jambuca thought they were wonderful and got nose-to-ear with one of them through the glass. Later, e-baby found some tiny black macaques that  were more her speed, and they were at least as interested in her as she was in them.
After the zoo, all 6 of us got back together and went back to the hotel. SNG and I went to dinnr at a local brewpub that has small craft beers from all over the world but no Guinness (on purpose). I didn't care for the food and the service was pretty poor, but it was a cool pub.
The original plan for Newgrange had been that SNG and I would go alone Wed, and the moms would go along on Thur. The revised plan was to combine and all 6 go on Thursday instead: the day tour runs on Thursdays. I wasn't excited about taking the kids on an all-day bus tour of an stone age archeological site, but you just roll with these things and hope for the best.
We got up early, and walked across town (2 littles in tow) only to find that the tour was cancelled. Not enough people. The ticket agent recommended we check at the tourist office, so we hoofed it over to the tourist office (2 littles in tow) and luckily, there was another private tour coach going to Newgrange in half and hour, picking up at the tourist office! Tickets in hand, we got on the bus. The guide, Mary Gibbons, has her own access to the arheological sites in County Meath apparently owing to her brother being "one of the foremost archeologists in Ireland." I would guess she has some strong history credentials as well; she knows everything that is Ireland's history. The only problem is that she talks nonstop and has a strict no-sound-while-I'm-talking policy. That's hard when Jambuca starts to softly hun to himself as his head rests in SNG's lap. She didn't like that at all. But she adored e-baby because e-baby stayed quiet. I wouldn't really recommend the tour for anyone with kids, though.
Newgrange and the Hill of Tara were the stops on the tour. Newgrange is a 5200 year old tomb/temple. That makes it older than the pyramids or Stonehenge, and it is in surprisingly good condition. The Hill of Tara has one of the loveliest green countrside views in Ireland, and we had clear weather. The only real downer was when e-baby went hunting for fairies under a tree and landed in a bed of stinging nettles. At least we know how to spot them now, but poor kid was in horrible pain.
Last night after we got home, Jambuca started feeling badly - bad belly, a little runny. At 2am, he woke up with explosive diarrhea, and then again at 2:30. At 3, he vomited all over his bed. Since we have no spare sheets and there is no one at reception until 8am, he spent the rest of the night sleeping on towels. Fortunately, there were no more disasters, but he has had diarrhea all day today.
This morning, SNG and I took a walk all around town and had lunch at The Farm. My mom took Jambuca to the playground until he had to get back and go to the bathroom. Granny took e-baby to Dublinia, the Viking museum. Now I'm spending the afternoon with the kids while the others have a walk. We only have one more full day in Dublin, and I've pretty much checked everything off my todo list, so it will probably be parks and playgrounds tomorrow, since I mostly want the kids to have some find memories before we go on to Galway Sunday.
In spite of the several setbacks, we are having such a wonderful time. This is a fantastic group of traveling companions. I am already thinking about the next vacation the six of us will be taking together...

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