Monday, December 14, 2009

Two Months After Ireland

We have been back from Ireland for two months now. Flying home was miserable to say the least, with long lay-overs and the time change affecting us so.

We made it home safely however, and immediately immersed ourselves back in to our everyday lives. When we first returned home we had a hard time coping with the everyday. There was a process of grieving, almost, that had to be done. I at first thought it was because we had never had a “real” vacation before. That we were yearning for the “getting-away-form-it-all”, more than anything else.

After two months I realize I was wrong. I am so unbelievably homesick for Ireland… and Ty feels the same.

This country will always have part of my soul and as much as I want to see many parts of the world – I feel the need to return to Ireland sooner rather than later.

I was going through my blog, not to long ago, and realized I left the blog hanging. I wanted to write an entry summarizing our trip. However… how can you put in words such a beautiful, spiritual experience as we had in Ireland? I have tried to vent to people, in my life, about being homesick. The question I keep getting is – “How can you be homesick for a place you have never lived”. I have no answer for them… it is something I can not put in words.

Ty and I want to continue our travel tales. We now have the “bug” and are already planning our 2010 trips. In the spring, I am going to Virginia alone to visit my best friend, Rayvnn for a long weekend. Ty and I are also planning a long weekend away in the last spring/early summer to New Orleans – staying in the French Quarter. Finally, we want to take a 4-5 day cruise to the Bahamas, the four of us, this fall.

2011 was supposed to be when Ty and I would travel to Italy. Now we are looking ahead to see how we can also return that year to Ireland… the country we hold so dear.

The Terrell's Travel Tales do not stop here... actually we are just getting started. Stay tuned. :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Our last full day in Ireland. The only thing I still had left on my "to do" list was day trip to the Aran Islands. We finished our breakfast and made the 40 minute drive to the ferry dock. It was once again a beautiful morning and I can't believe we did not have any rain the entire trip.

One thing I noticed since arriving on the West coast of Ireland, is it's more common to hear Irish (Gaelic) spoken as the primary language. There are many towns where the street signs are only in Irish/Gaelic. The people who live on the Aran Islands teach Gaelic as the primary language and English as the secondary... this way their language will not be lost.

We decided to visit Inishmore which is the largest of the three Aran Islands. The Aran Islands are famous or their sweater making and knit goods (made of 100% wool). Generation after generation are taught this skill and each family has a unique stitching method. The sweaters are catagorized by family name.
Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands only has a population of 900 people. It was import to visit the Islands as I was facinated to see their way of life.
As soon as we got off the boat we were bombarded with tour guides wanting to know if we wanted a horse & carriage tour, or wanted to rent a bicycle. With Ty's neck we knew we wanted to take a bus tour of the island. We decided to go with the tour guide who had his own small mini-bus... as opposed to the bus tour company. He promised us a good tour (along with the other six passengers) and he was eager to please.
I have never seen so many rocks in my life as I saw on Inishmore.
In order to live and farm the people have spent centuries digging up rocks and clearing land. All the rocks were used to make, what else, walls! They lined the entire Island.
This Island had many ruins and old run down houses.
This is an old Thatch house - where the roofs are made of straw. We were fortunate to see this one still so well intact.
Here is a newer Thatch house which is currently occupied by a family. They are cozy houses but now rare, as it is much work to change the straw and rope every year.
This house, along the Island shore, was where the movie "Man of Aran" was made. The documentary movie was made in 1932 and the Islanders are very proud of it.
These little tiny houses where everywhere on the island. I thought they were adorable and assumed they were play houses. I was delighted to find out they were built for the Leprechauns!! Too funny.

The Aran Islands, like most of Ireland, is very religious. In Ireland we have seen statues of the Virgin Mary in the middle of roadside walls, statues of saints in town "centres" and churches everywhere. These monuments were on the island.

The island had many horses and some sheep. Here are some of the other animals we say as well:
Baby Donkey
These beautiful red flowers are all over the west coast. Ty took this beautiful picture:
The grass was so green and so incredibly soft and thick, that the wind left waves in it:
Our tour driver insisted on taking a picture of us. Here we are on the island of Inishmore
The beautiful ruins of an 8th Century church and monastery:

I had Ty stand by the doorway to give perspective on how short the people must have been!
Tomb stones are everywhere and becoming unearthed.

Irish/Gaelic tombstone

The tour guide dropped us off so we could make our way up to a prehistoric fort located (called Dún Aonghasa) at the top of a cliff. It was a twenty minute walk up a very steep, rocky hill.
Ty stops to pick (what else) but blackberries on the way.

The fort at the top of the hill.
The long, steep hike to the top.
Rocks jutting out of the ground, surround the fort.

Ty next to the fort wall. (built 2nd Century B.C. !!)
We think this is some type of fire place.
View of fort from the cliff.
Beautiful cliffs the fort sits on top of.
Unlike the Cliffs of Moher, we were able to crawl/walk to the edge of these cliffs and look over. Here is my view from the cliff edge.
Hopee at the Aran Island cliffs

We saw this bar as we were getting ready to leave, it cracked us up. The Statue of Liberty looks angry.
We took the boat back from the Aran Islands and arrived back in Galway around 6:30 pm. We decided to go have dinner at The King's Head, where we had the wonderful muscles a couple nights before. The muscles were, once again amazing!! I drank the last Guinness I am sure I will have, as I do not like Guinness in the States.

Ty and I are ready to go home... but there is a small part of me that never wants to leave the beauty of Ireland. We returned to the B&B for our final nights sleep.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I woke up this morning to a beautiful, sunny day. I had been preparing myself for a rainy, Ireland… but we have been very fortunate to have had no rain what-so-ever. This apparently is very unusual and everyone keeps joking we brought the Florida sunshine with us. People in Ireland have misconception about Florida, as we get a lot of rain ourselves.

Report on Ty – Ty woke up this morning still hurting, but not nearly as bad as the day before. He said he felt well enough to go ahead with our plans for the day, which we were both glad about.

We had been looking forward to this day, the entire trip. We planned on driving into County Clare to visit the Burren Perfumery, Ailwee caves, the Burrens and the Cliffs of Moher.

After breakfast we headed out and arrived at the Perfumery first. I was interested in visiting the perfumery as they make their all-natural-products from flowers/herbs found in the Burren. The Burren holds over 70% of Ireland’s different plant species.

Inside the Burren Perfume shop:

I was purchasing some items for myself when Ty saw some Arnica balm. He rubbed it into his neck and shoulder and instantly felt some of the pain draw out of the muscle. I then immediately bought some of the Arnica balm. It is great stuff!

After we made our purchases, we went strolling through their wonderful herb garden.

I love the little signs which named the herbs and told what medicinal purposes they have.

Ty hanging out in the herb garden

After the perfumery, we made our way through the Burren to the Ailwee caves. The Burren is absolutely beautiful and Ty and I kept stopping to take pictures. The mountains are made up of limestone, which also covers the land. Even in such a harsh terrain, many beautiful plants and flowers grow all over the land.

The Burren (We took hundreds of pictures… here are some of our favorites)

I am fascinated by all of the man made stone walls that cover the Burrens. They are not held together by anything… the stones are simply stacked. They are all over Ireland, but in the Burrens they form a patchwork pattern, lining every property. It is amazing when you think of all the hours put into putting up these walls.

Another thing about Ireland, is around every corner are ruins. Ty and I are fascinated by ruins and they are a big deal to us. I wonder if the same is true for the people who live in this country and see them everyday.

I though this tree was beautiful. I have seen several that grow just like this in the Burren

We then headed to Ailwee Cave which is an undergound cave system discovered in the Burren back in the 1940’s.

Just before the cave is a Predatory Bird exhibit. We went through there first, before heading inside the cave. They had many gorgeous birds but they were all caged, making them difficult to photograph.

Trainer and his Falcon

After the birds, we headed to the cave. There is nothing like a five minute walk up a steep mountain slope to let you know how out of shape you are.

This sign should have really read “5 minute walk of death”

They had these cool statues carved out of tree trunks on the path to the cave

European Brown Bear remains found in the cave during the 1970’s. (This bear has been extinct in Ireland for 1200 years now!)

The tour guide called this formation “pillowing”.


A waterfall inside the cave. We couldn’t get a good picture

Quartz in the cave walls

Walking down the mountain side is so much easier that walking up it

After the Ailwee caves we headed to the Cliffs of Moher. We drove along the Atlantic shore, it was so beautiful.

We stopped in a little town called Doolin and had lunch at a pub. We have learned that the nicer restaurants do not hold a candle to good pub food. With our bellies full, we made our way to the Cliffs of Moher. It was a lot of uphill/up-steps walking but very much worth it. I have never seen anything so stunning in all my life.

O’Briens Tower – a look out point on the Cliffs

It was cold and very windy standing at the tops of the cliff. This poor dog was crouched down along the wall trying to shelter him self from the wind. When Ty bent down to tie his shoelace, the dog came over to him. Looks like Ty made a new friend.

Chilly Ty and Hope at the Cliffs of Moher

We drove back to the B&B exhausted and sore. We did so much today and really had a great time. I feel fortunate to have almost checked everything off my to-do list, while here. I can’t believe we go home day after tomorrow.

I leave you with one more picture… of a sign we found amusing (can’t go a day without one). It may not be funny to some, but we thought our kids would get a kick out of it.