One thing about travel is always trying to pack as much adventure as possible into the shortest amount of time without getting stressed out. On yesterday's trip to Ireland we managed to make one of those things occur.
Our plane from Charlotte, North Carolina landed in Dublin, Ireland at 6:35 am. We then had exactly 13 hours until our plane left from Dublin to Edinburgh. Determined to see as much of Ireland as we could, we decided to book a tour of the beautiful Wild Wicklow with a little time in Glendalough.
From the airport we got coffee at Cafe Nero (delicious) while waiting for our "Wild Wicklow" tour bus to arrive. Our pick up location was just across the street from the posh Hotel Shelborne in the middle of Dublin, which may we say had some very pleasant doormen! Once our tour bus arrived we met John, our tour guide and proper Irishman, "You best believe".
The tour began with a short trip through the City Centre as well as surrounding villages on our way up to the Wicklow Mountains. Our first stop was in Dun Laoghaire at Sandycove Beach where wetsuit-clad Ironman contestants were practicing for competition and let's just say this was not proper swimming weather for us Florida girls.
As our journey continued we got to see both Bono and Enya's castles and stopped again at the Avoca Kilmacanogue Store and Cafes. This is where we found a beautiful garden/greenhouse housing gorgeous native and non-native plants including an amazingly beautiful California Redwood.
We saw some sights and landscapes that you only see in movies. In fact, we stopped at a bridge that had been used in the film "P.S., I Love You" which had a beautiful little stream running through it. We also passed an adorable little church which we were told was the church that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were secretly married in after filming the movie "Far and Away".
We stopped for lunch in the little village of Glendalough where we found a mom and pop cafe that used locally grown and sourced produce to create their Vegan fare. This was the first real restaurant overseas. The owner even gave us a couple of fresh plums that she had just picked from the tree out back, and they were delicious!
After lunch, we made our way to our final stop, St. Kevin's Monastery, which is also considered Glendalough. John led us on a guided walking tour of the monastery and then released us to take the hike up to the Upper Lake to see one of the most photographed locations in Ireland. The Upper Lake was of course absolutely gorgeous but one look down at the watch and we realized that our flight from Dublin to Edinburgh was quickly approaching.
We made it back to the bus early but we couldn't say the same for everyone. Needless to say, we started to stress a little which is when our amazing tour guide John swept in to rescue us. First, we all toasted to a wonderful tour with a shot of Jameson Whiskey. John was honestly so awesome! He told us that not only would he take us to the airport himself, but he would also personally make sure we were not late (a big promise). Every minute made our hearts beat faster but true to his word, with only us aboard, John rushed us to the Dublin Airport.
We arrived at the airport with a little time to spare... or so we thought. In reality, our flight was supposed to be boarding at that very moment and according to our tickets, the gate would be closing in five minutes. Stressful? Just a little. After practically breaking down one of the security gates, we were so luckily assisted by members of the Dublin Airport Security team. Now all that stood in our way was a sprint across what seemed to be the largest airport terminal ever!!! But in the end, we made it to our gate on time, and ironically enough, our flight had actually been delayed. We had plenty of time, which gave us a chance to catch our breath, use the restroom and board the flight comfortably.
Once aboard, it was hard to believe that not even 24 hours before we had been in the United States. Thus ended our first day aboard and then we were on to Edinburgh. What an amazing and thrilling way to start our trip!
But you know what we say! It's an adventure!