Adventures in Jeffland

I haven't really thought this through

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Ireland 2022 (the craic was mighty)

Pre Launch #

We got this trip off to a weird start because we booked the trip in January (before the huge price jump/gouge. Yeah!) for the weekend after the kids school let out, but then they had four more snow days and therefore we missed the last four school days. It seemed like they missed a bunch of movies and field days so it was probably fine. Thankfully, it seems we are the only people on the planet who flew to and from a destination and had no delays or lost luggage. I would not push my luck and try that again, for the time being. We also flew on Aer Lingus, which is a million times better than last time when we flew Norwegian Airlines. Norwegian decided that our flight would leave from a different city (Providence RI, not Boston) and land in a different city (Dublin, not Shannon) and the trip would happen on a different day. I try to go with the flow, but that was a lot.

Week 1 #

The whole reason we can do this trip is Herself's folks have an apartment and car in Killarney Ireland. Our trip would be about 2 days long if we had to pay for hotels and car rentals. This trip was different because Herself's sister (twin, ie Spare Parts) has relocated back to Ireland and is getting set up with her new life, so therefore is living in said apartment, driving said car. It is great to send time with her, and the boys eat up any time they get with her. It was a flashback to the days when she often lived with us in some cramped apartment outside of Boston.

I spent the first week commuting with La Twin to the next town over, Tralee, where she works at the university. I found a co-working space downtown that was very accommodating. Being a long time remote worker (a decade +), it's always a nice change of pace to work in an office, talk to folks, get tasty lunches out. Tralee is a really neat irish city, much less touristy than Killarney. I didn't make any new BFFs, like I did last trip (love you, Declan).

Week 2 #

We always do an extended trip to Herself's people in Collooney (County Sligo). There is about 100 relatives around and every night is something. Big dinners, night at the pub, bonfire, just lots going on. We did some amazing hikes (Queen Maeve's grave was the highlight). My brother-in-law and his family (who live 30 minutes away and we see every month or so) made the trek too were visiting this week as well. Even though we see them often, it was great to do this adventure with them. Probably the highlight of the week was going with an uncle to see a cousin play Gaelic football in Dublin's Croke Park, a massive stadium. The game was on national TV, but watching it live was amazing.

Week 3 #

Picked up La Twin and headed down to south west County Kerry, to the old home of La Granny. It's one of my favorite places on earth. It's a cottage, with some pastures (currently housing two horses) in front of it, and then Ireland ends. Off the coast you can see the Skellig Islands. You can barely see your neighbors house, and it's a good 20 minutes of driving on single lane roads to get to a place to buy milk/coffee/newspaper. A high-end restaurant/cafe opened up nearby, it's about an hour's walk along cliff roads to get to it. Amazing. We went out for our anniversary there and was able to have late night drinks with the couple who own it. Super fun night.

This was a work week for me, so it was back to co-working offices. Ireland has invested a bunch of resources to attract folks like me; remote workers who want/can spend extended time in the country so long as they have a place to work. It makes sense because visitors tend to spend lots of money, I assume, but it felt weird working in a completely empty rural office. I got the feel for what it might be like to live there. Commuting on small roads, dodging the occasional on coming car or cyclist (yikes). Listening to Irish morning radio. Becoming a regular at the local shop where I seek yet more caffeine and sweets. I liked it but it was a bit lonely. We couldn't be arsed to cook at night so often we went to the pub or a world class restaurant, because why not?

Week 4 #

Last week of the trip. A mix of looking forward to returning to the creature comforts of home, and knowing that you'll probably not be back here for a while. We tried to squeeze as much as we could in. Hikes on the Gap of Dunloe and Torc Mountain (the latter with the kids). Hit up an aqua park, which the kids love. More nights at the pub and Herself got to meet Declan finally. La Twin took us to a whiskey bar that was right up my alley. I took the kids to the horrible summer amusement park and tried not to get ripped off by too many ride attendants. It was tough to leave La Twin, the kids really enjoyed the time with her.

The flight back was uneventful, which was rare for that time frame. Most the larger euro airports were plagued by lines and delays. A couple weeks before the BIL flew out of Dublin. They arrived four hours early, the plan was delayed by one hour, and they still bareley made the flight. Nuts. I was able to split from my fam in Boston and go to a dear co-workers retirement party, which meant a lot to me. I managed to stay awake for 30ish hours, fueled by good company and drink.

I don't know how often we will be able to get back, but goodness do we feel blessed to be able to have and give the experience to our kids.