landed in belfast wednesday around 3pm. got our car and out of the airport about 4. then came the moment of truth. i’d sprung a couple hundred bucks for a chip that slides into my GPS that has all the roads of northern europe, and should make the GPS work just like it does at home. YES. it works perfectly. my dad and i even changed the voice prompt to a british accent (there wasn’t an “irish” option).
we drove straight through to galway, only stopping once for a guinness. found a hotel, found a place for dinner. slept.
this morning my dad couldn’t find his passport. we tore apart the room and his luggage and everything else we could think of. we went to the restaurant. we looked in the car. nothing.
so, today, our plans got altered a bit, as we needed to end in dublin, so we can go to the embassy tomorrow morning and get him a new (temporary) passport. we left galway in frustration, but quickly lost that as we drove the coast road to the cliffs of moher, stopping in a little town at “monks” for the best bowl of seafood chowder i’ve ever had (i’ve had it there once or twice before, and knew we couldn’t miss it). the drive around the south shore of galway bay is my second favorite drive in ireland, only behind the antrim coastline. stopped at the cliffs. yeah, nice. big. all that. then we planned to head to cahir castle. but we were passing bunratty castle at one point, and thought, “hey, that’s supposed to be cool.” it was. amazing. fully restored four-storey medieval castle.
back on the road, we dumped plans for cahil, and went straight for cashel, to see “the rock of cashel”. unfortunately, due to traffic in limmerick and tipperary, we got there about 10 minutes after they closed. we walked around it (the light was gorgeous), and drove over to – and walked through — a very cool abbey ruin in a nearby field. then, we stopped for a nice pub dinner in cashel, before heading to dublin.
now we’re in a funky old hotel in dublin’s city-center. tomorrow morning, embassy and passport photos, then drive all the way to the tippy-top of ireland: coleraine, where i’m speaking tomorrow night through sunday.