Days 1 and 2   


My trip got off to an inauspicious start. A serious line of storms was moving through the North Texas area, and happened to be situated over the airport for the better part of the day. Accordingly, almost all the flights in and out of DFW were delayed. It was awful! Of course, I wouldn't want my flight to depart with lightning striking all around, but you can't help but feel really ticked off. We waited and waited, and finally I boarded the plane over an hour over schedule. That wasn't the worst part. We didn't get off the runway until 2 hours after that.
 
Here are my mom and I at the airport. I'm clearly exuberant that I'm finally able to get out of the terminal, and she's glad to finally be able to go home.
My sister, Echo, who wasn't really thrilled about being at the airport the whole afternoon. Notice that she's sitting in the handicapped seats.
My plane didn't land in Newark, NJ, until almost 10 pm that evening. My connecting flight to Shannon, Ireland, had already conveniently left. To add insult to injury, my bag was in limbo between airport terminals, and I was without it that evening. (Always pack spare clothes in your carry-on! It saved me!) I had to shack up in Newark that night, which, when the sun came up the next day, I found out was a pretty scary place. Luckily I was able to secure passage to Ireland on a Monday flight out of JFK in NYC, and got American Airlines to pay for my hotel stay and cab fare from Newark. That cab ride was my first ever, and it was nuts! The driver was swearing at other people, driving wildly, and actually got in a mild accident at one point! He promptly got out of the car and traded cuss words with the driver of the other vehicle, then drove on. That was the wildest 40 miles I've ever ridden. But I got to JFK Airport safely, and was finally on my way to Ireland Monday evening... a full day behind.
 
Here I am kicking back in my hotel room in Newark after a rough Sunday.

   Day 3   

When I arrived in Limerick on Tuesday morning around 6:30 am, I was beat. I hadn't slept a bit on the trans-Atlantic flight from NYC, and the 5 hour time difference was getting ready to smack me around. But everything was getting back on track: I had my luggage, I got to the hotel in time to meet my tour group before they departed for the day, and I was able to clean up and eat breakfast.
 
Here I am standing outside our hotel in Limerick, getting ready to begin my first day on the tour. Everyone else was fully rested, having had their break-in day on Monday. Not me though. It was my turn to get roasted by jet lag.

That morning we drove through western County Clare along the Atlantic Coast to the Cliffs of Moher. I had really wanted to see the cliffs, and I wasn't disappointed. However, the precautions against foot-and-mouth disease were almost to the point of extreme in Ireland when I was there. We couldn't go on any grassland or pasture land, and so had to stick to the lookout point. At least we got to see more than the people visiting the week before... The entire visitor area had been closed due to foot-and-mouth worries.

It was a little cooler than I would have liked it, but we were definitely blessed by the weather, as the sun shone on and off all day.

Here's what we were up against throughout most of my trip.

After the cliffs, we took a ferry across the Shannon River on the way to Killarney. Having missed the first day, which was spent entirely in the Shannon area, this picture of part of the ferry, the "Shannon Breeze", was the only thing with my name on it that I had a chance to take a picture of.

After we arrived in Killarney that evening, I was thoroughly drained. I went to my hotel room, slept for 3 hours, and completely missed dinner! However, I woke up in time to join my group on a trip to an Irish singing pub, which was pretty fun. Had I been thinking, I would have brought my camera to take pictures, but there are other fun pub pictures later on...
Day 4 - Ring of Kerry
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