Our Irish Adventure Commences

Please excuse me while I hold you hostage to my vacation photos–I feel a bit like that annoying relative who forces you to watch a slide show of his trip to Walla Walla.  I’m live blogging for our friends and family but you can enjoy the photos, too!  If this isn’t your cup of tea, feel free to come back next week when I’ll be back to my regular book blogging posts.

We arrived safely in Ireland after a perfect flight–Ant hasn’t flown since 1995–and we both had a ton of anxiety before leaving.  I was afraid he’d dart out of the airport and go home, and/or that motion sickness would overcome me on the flight.  Neither happened, but I did manage to pack a 70 (SEVENTY!) pound suitcase.  Hello, surcharge!

I was so excited that my bag was exactly 70lbs--I thought that was the limit. Sadly, the weight restriction is 50lbs.

The lady at the US Airways counter was so sweet–she moved our seats to a bulkhead row with an empty seat between us.  While it wasn’t the first class seat I’d been hoping for, I could SMELL the luxury and comfort from where I sat.

Ant rethinking his decision to accompany me on our anniversary trip.

Once we landed, we zoomed through Customs–one of the employees tried to flag Anthony into the European Citizen line–must be that red hair and beard.  Then we were off to get our car.  I was joking with the agent about the insurance options and must have made him nervous about my driving skills because he gave us a real beater–it’s dented and has damage to the tires.  I sat in the driver’s (passenger’s) seat for about 20 minutes mustering the courage to pull out of the spot.

Our little chariot. Seriously, driving on the left is a bit harrowing.

We zoomed down the M50 south towards Kilkenny and made it safely.  Our hotel, the Lyrath Estate, is gorgeous and the reception agents were so good to us.  They didn’t raise an eyebrow at our 10:30am arrival–check in isn’t until 4pm–but they graciously got our bags, parked our car, and showed us to our room.

The living area of our room. There were candies and champagne upon our arrival. I might move in permanently!

Though we just wanted to fall into bed, we dragged our sorry selves into town for lunch and some window shopping.  Kilkenny is so charming–we kept joking that it felt like we were on a movie set. (Side note: First order of business was to buy an additional carry on bag so I can split my luggage and not have to pay a fee on the way home.)

Look at the tiny streets I have to navigate! Makes driving in NYC look like amateur hour.

We had a nice lunch at a restaurant that’s been around since, oh, the 1300s, and then it was back to the hotel for nap time!

The original manor house. The hotel lobby is in this building.

While Ant dove into bed, I took a few more photos.  My nephew asked if I could bring home some candy for him.  I once gave him a box of Smarties–UK M&Ms–and he became smitten with international treats.  I may or may not have already devoured the Kit Kat–sorry little buddy!

A medley of candy for my nephew and sister.

Tomorrow we’re off to some other great cities and towns and the photo tour will continue!







  • At 2011.10.13 16:06, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    Driving on the left is very harrowing and I admire you for taking it on! That hotel is fabulous!! Make sure to pick up some Kinder Surprise for your nephew. I hope you’re having a blast!
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog post ..Review: American Gods

    • At 2011.10.13 16:38, Beth F said:

      What fun. I drove in the uK and managed not to hit anything or kill anyone. If I can do it, you can too.
      Beth F´s last blog post ..Thursday Tea: Fables 8: Wolves by Bill Willingham

      • At 2011.10.13 16:41, Meg said:

        Oooh, Double Decker bars are the best! One of my ex-boyfriends (because oh, there were so many) lived in England as a kid and fell in love with them. On our first visit to the UK, I had to bring back a boatload of them for him!

        So glad you had a safe journey and have arrived! How nice is your hotel room?! Gorgeous! And I can’t believe how brave you are to drive over there… just riding on the bus — on the “wrong side” — completely freaked me out. We had lots of other international travelers on our tour this spring, many of whom also drive on the left, and they were laughing at how the Americans cringed entering round-abouts from the wrong side. Seriously, just… scary!

        Can’t wait for more updates! xoxo
        Meg´s last blog post ..Homecoming and the What Comes Next

        • At 2011.10.13 17:24, Mary said:

          My kids became fans of Aero bars the last time we were in Ireland. I love Ireland – can’t wait to go back. Have a great time!! There’s a great little bookshop on the square in Donegal (or at least there was in ’99).
          Mary´s last blog post ..Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

          • At 2011.10.13 17:49, toothybooks said:

            glad to hear that you and ant made it to ireland in one piece! good luck maneuvering those roads. i think i would of flipped out if i had to drive on the “wrong” side of the road, not to mention those tiny little roads.
            toothybooks´s last blog post ..A Not So Wordless Wednesday

            • At 2011.10.13 20:01, Jenners said:

              You are staying in a much nicer place than I did when I was in Ireland. Wow! Looks gorgeous! And I didn’t work up the nerve to drive in Ireland … but it was tricky. Besides the “wrong” side of the road, the roads themselves are horrible. And I hope this doesn’t happen to you but when we were there, we hit and killed a sheep!
              Jenners´s last blog post ..Writer’s Workshop: Never, Ever EVER Ask Your Spouse…

              • At 2011.10.15 04:11, Natalie said:

                oh my gosh! thanks for instilling me with confidence. you killed a sheep?!? i actually joked with our travel planner about doing that so i’d have a souvenir to bring home. now i know that it happens it’s not nearly as amusing. :c(

              • At 2011.10.13 22:45, stacybuckeye said:

                I’m loving following on your Ireland tour! Thanks for inviting us. That hotel is awesome!
                stacybuckeye´s last blog post ..Current Giveaways

                • At 2011.10.13 23:15, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                  Holy mother look at that room!! I want to touch it. And the manor house…and the pharmacy….and the 70 pound bag!! I love it all. I’m just jealous. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip…try to stay from sheep.
                  Jess – A Book Hoarder´s last blog post ..Lions of Kandahar – Major Rusty Bradley and Kevin Maurer

                  • At 2011.10.15 04:13, Natalie said:

                    yes, that room was swanky! my sister texted me and asked if the sofas were in our room or in the lobby! it was a gorgeous hotel–too bad we were only there for one night.

                  • At 2011.10.14 00:13, Carol said:

                    Hello, its your mother and it is a little after midnight. I will be turning in now as I am exhausted. I stayed up until 2:30AM last night watching your flight cross the ocean on my computer. So relieved that you and Ant survived the flight in relatively good health. I am loving all the photos, but am still a litttle angry that the two of you didnt let me come along. LOL Now for the motherly advice, please park the car and take cabs, buses, trains or walk as much as possible.. The whole driving on the on the left side of the road is freaking me out… Enjoy your trip. Miss you already. xoxo

                    • At 2011.10.14 11:02, Steph said:

                      Loving the pictures! And I can’t even fathom driving on the “wrong” side of the road… I am sure I would goof and destroy something expensive (like the car I was driving!). Hence why all of my travels in the UK were done by train!

                      FYI, we have Smarties in Canada, so if you ever want to get your nephew some of that sweet awesome goodness without traveling across an ocean, you have another option!

                      P.S. your suite is sweet! It looks bigger than my apartment! 😀
                      Steph´s last blog post ..Surprise!*

                      • At 2011.10.15 04:15, Natalie said:

                        thanks! before i left home, i tried driving on the wrong side of our street but it just didn’t work because i was sitting on the american side. my mom told me to ask my postman to let me drive his truck so i could have some practice. lol. as for candy, i shall keep that in mind. we spent a half hour in a grocery store yesterday stocking up on even more treats! lucky i purchased another suitcase for the way home. as for the suite, yes, it was huge! loved it. :c)

                      • At 2011.10.14 11:23, Erin said:

                        Love the photos! Wow, 70 pounds? Was it mostly books? 😉 That hotel is exquisite! I don’t envy your driving situation. I have ridden on the wrong side of the road, and that is about all I can handle! Have a great time (seems you already are), and I’m looking forward to seeing/hearing more!
                        Erin´s last blog post ..Reading Buddies Discussion: “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides

                        • At 2011.10.14 14:41, Dishy said:

                          SO happy you’re there – and safe! That look on your poor husband’s face.. oh my. You two are far, far braver than I.

                          Could your hotel be any nicer? And it’s truly like your home away from home – lovely furnishing, white sofas and all! LOL

                          Can’t wait to hear what you’re up to next. Hope you’re having a blast — I’m certain you are! XO

                          PS: your mom is too cute.
                          Dishy´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday to MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

                          • At 2011.10.15 04:16, Natalie said:

                            OMG! i forgot your bday! happy belated!!! hope it was awesome. 30 looks great on you. (i turned 29 myself this year.) hahahaha.

                          • At 2011.10.16 01:14, Colleen said:

                            Driving is quite an adventure in Ireland – I am not surprised your car was a little beat up! The first time I drove down to Mayo from Dublin I took off someone’s sideview mirror as I cruised through a town and I constantly had brambles and bushes swiping the side of the car!

                            Love your photos – keep them coming!

                            • At 2011.10.17 19:19, KKBMOM said:

                              So glad you are blogging. Love hearing about your trip and seeing pictures.
                              I want to know how you are scoring the upgrades!

                              • At 2011.10.18 09:42, Natalie said:

                                come now, jenny! surely someone who knows me in real life could see how my charm and wit would score me upgrades and perks wherever i go. hahahahah.

                                honestly, we’ve been treated so well and the only reason i can think of is because our booking agent told our hotels we’re on a second honeymoon and it’s kind of a weird time to travel–a bit of an off season, so maybe the upgrades are available? whatever the reason, we are definitely not questioning it. luxe living is grand.

                                princess natalie xo

                              • At 2011.10.19 16:57, Amy said:

                                I am thrilled you’re sharing photos of yor trip…
                                Nice 70 lb. suitcase! lol Your poor husband looks a little freaked out sitting in the plane, poor guy…so happy for you he made it there and back!
                                Holy cow, check out the living room area of your room at Lyreth Estate, that’s gorgeous. Oh I loved Kilkenny! It’s been years since I was there but I actually have a similar photo!

                                Great ‘tour”!
                                I could look at photos of Ireland over and over again. I visited Ireland for the first time with my parents just before I started high school. We stayed in a town outside Galway and took day trips…my father took tons of photos of everything: scenery, people, buildings…when we returned home and looked at the photos, there were so many of them they started to look alike after a while! Love your photos!
                                Amy´s last blog post ..Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin, SJ

                                • At 2011.10.20 17:12, Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick said:

                                  The living area is GORGEOUS!! And I oh so love international treats as well.
                                  Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick´s last blog post ..The Colorado Kid, by Stephen King and the SyFy Series, Haven

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