I just got back from a 9 day trip to Ireland. I had a wonderful time -Philadelphia to Dublin – then onto Galway.


The main purpose of the trip for my hubby, Ed and I was not really to sightsee, but to see our daughters. One is spending a semester in Ireland studying and the other whom we haven’t seen in over a year as she is currently serving in the Peace Corps in Africa flew up to Ireland with two of her Peace Corps buddies.

They enjoyed a bit more globetrotting beforehand as they like obtaining lots of passport stamps. Casablanca, Lisbon, Paris.    We also needed a break  – from living in limbo, 2 years of unemployment and dealing with aging parent issues. It was the perfect getaway.

My daughters in front of a florist shop in Galway– X O


It was so nice to see them and be together after such a long time. We Skype on a regular basis.

We were on a strict budget.  We used our accumulated timeshare points to travel on the cheap. We didn’t stay in a resort or hotel, but  in an authentic Irish cottage with a thatched roof in Connemara.

It is on the west coast of the country in the lake region.  We felt authentically Irish.  The interior was quite simple, but the kitchen was brand new and looked very IKEA-ish.  These are views from the cottage – most mornings there were sheep grazing right next to the cottage.

Ireland-Cottage-back in ConnemeraIreland-Cottage-viewIreland-view-from-our-cottageIreland-Cottage-Sheep

We felt pretty authentic by driving on the wrong side of the road, too. We rented a car and Ed drove – making right hand turns and going through many roundabouts in Dublin and Galway were a bit intense at first, but then he got the hang of it.   We could not have gotten anywhere without the GPS. It gave us freedom to do our own thing on our own schedule.  I would highly recommend traveling this way.


Our little cottage was up on a hill. It was also on the road where the bridge scene from the 1952 movie The Quiet Man was filmed.

The Quiet Man Video cover

Being quiet silly on The Quiet Man Bridge.


There is even a photo of John Wayne at the site. Tour buses stop here.


The cottage next to ours was getting a new roof. It was very interesting to watch the roofers work. A thatched roof will last 30 years – who knew? Simple yet amazing process.


Our cottage had the most unique glass doors – I wish I had found out more about the glass.


We went sightseeing. The first place was Kylemore Abbey.  It was sunny and warm – very pretty even though Spring was just emerging.



Ireland-Kylemoor-Abbey-Fence turquoise

Gumby and Pokey came along.  They got their photo taken everywhere we went.

Ireland-Kylemoor-Abbey-Gumby and Pokey on a rock.

This was the only day we had full sun all day – it was so pretty.  This is Kylemore Lough right in front of the Abbey.


Look closely below – YES- that is a thriving Palm tree growing on a North Atlantic island – not on a tropical one.

Palm-Trees-in-Ireland along a lake

They show up along the coast too –

Ireland-Palm-Tree along water's edge

Speaking of the coast – Ireland has lots of coast and ocean views – The most popular is the view  from the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. The day we went was overcast and misty.  I was a bit disappointed not to be able to see the cliffs in all their glory.




This is what they look like on a sunny day – I love nature and rocks – in my past life I think I was a geologist!  Such a wonderful site.


Since we didn’t get to really enjoy the cliffs – we did have fun in the welcome center.

Ireland-Cliffs-of-Mohr- image with girls in shadow in front of it.

We spent a lot of time in the car going from place to place and passed a few castles


and pretty vistas.



We passed through colorful villages and towns

Ireland-towns with colorful row of homes and shops


If you are wondering what is in the pretty pink bags that line the windows of this butcher shop below – potatoes.


walking along a cobble stone street

Unique windows –Here is the glass again – love it  – I saw it everywhere we went.

Ireland-Buildings with decorative glass windows

Perfectly named eateries


and quaint homes with perfect hedges.


We also saw lots and lots of pretty yellow gorse.   This is along the road to the cottage.


We went to a few pubs and watched more than one soccer football game on big screen TV’s with the locals.   “Mom – you are soooooo NOT taking our picture from across the pub are you?” 


and we downed a few of these…


We walked along Salthill in Galway and climbed up on a diving platform used in the summer months.  It was blustery, but was worth putting up with as  the view of the area and the Aran Islands was stunning.

Ireland-Salthill-in-Galway Dad and daughters

There were people swimming laps in the freezing water without wet/dry suits.  Crazy!


We spent some time in Galway enjoying all the shops

Standing in from of a Galway-Storefront

and scenery.

Ireland-Galway--River-with-row of homes

On our last day we went hiking up Diamond Hill at Connemara National Park.  It was overcast and got misty the higher up we climbed.

Ireland-Connemara-National-Park Hiking up

Not quite halfway.


Ireland-Connemara-Accent up the mountain

Yeah!  Jump up and down we are half way to the top.

Ireland-Girls-at-half-way mark up mountain and jumping up and down

jumping in excitement after getting halfway up the hike

At the summit – SUCCESS

Standing at the summit on Ireland-Connemarra-Nat-Park

The descent.  Kylemore Abbey is way down in the valley.

Ireland-Connemarra-National descent

Ireland-Connemara-Nat-Park- family photo

I also went to- not TJ Maxx, but TK Maxx.  I didn’t buy anything, but it sure was tempting.


We had a great time and it flew by. Before we knew it – it was time to say goodbye.

It was hard saying goodbye to my daughter’s, but I live for Skype so we can stay connected with them.  We stayed in a hotel that evening and the next morning we flew to Frankfurt, Germany to meet a relative of Ed’s.


After our visit we were back in the air flying home. It was a 9 hour flight. I thought I would sleep, but I made the mistake and drank really strong German coffee during our visit. I was wired – so I ended up watching 3 onboard movies to pass the time, read a book and ate too much.  US Air does not let you go hungry.

Even though we had a wonderful time, when I come home after traveling I am always reminded of this song by Frank Sinatra.

It’s very nice to go trav’ling
To Paris, London and Rome
It’s oh, so nice to go trav’ling
But it’s so much nicer
Yes, it’s so much nicer to come home

It’s very nice to just wander
The camel route to Iraq
It’s oh, so nice to just wander
But it’s so much nicer
Yes, it’s oh so nice to wander back

It’s very nice to go trav’ling
But it’s oh so nice to come home

No more customs
Burn the passport
No more packing and unpacking
Light the home fires
Get my slippers
Make a pizza

It’s very nice to go trav’ling, but it sure is nice to be home!

Home sweet home  - my house

9 days traveling through Ireland Text overlay says 9 Days in Ireland

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  1. Vacations in Ireland says:

    Ireland is such a perfect place in lap of nature. The scenic beauty of Ireland is just awesome. Seems, you people enjoyed your vacations to fullest. That’s so nice. There is so much to do and see in Ireland.

  2. Leslie Rott says:

    Diane, love your blog but I have a stupid question. Since when does the Peace Corp give EU and exotic vacations to their volunteers?

    Graduating IUP with a degree in Nutrition ED in the ’80’s, the Peace Corp did a lot of recruiting at our department, but no where did I hear of a hiatus from this gov’t funded program! Had I known, maybe I would have considered the program. ;)


  3. florist lisbon says:

    Such a beautiful place i really love travel and this looks pretty good to visit and finally for eeryone the best place always is home. :)

  4. I am so glad you were able to make the trip. My parents were from the very area you visited. I have been there twice and hopefully will be able to go again. Your pictures were beautiful and made me lonesome for my parents.
    Thank you for sharing your memories.

  5. Your pictures are wonderful! I want to visit Ireland so bad. I also love the move “The Quiet Man”. I have fond memories of watching it with my grandfather who was a boxer (wayyyyy back) and who reminded me so much of John Wayne. Thank you so much for sharing:)

  6. thank you for the great pictures of my favorite place in the whole world! Have made 2 visits plan to go again next year

  7. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says:

    Diane, great pics! and wow what a trip you took. I have always thought Ireland would be fantastic & the pics are super great. I know you must have had a great time seeing your girls and traveling with the family. So glad you did! Wishing you & your hubby the best on the job front. I know about changes myself & while they are not easy, it can be done.

  8. What an awesome vacation! Your pics are lovely. I’m sure the best part, though, was getting to see your two beautiful daughters. I can definitely understand how you and your husband needed this after 2 years of uncertainty. I hope he finds something soon.

    1. Thanks Vicki-

      Things seem to be picking up on the job market and we are hopeful that he will land a new position soon. We will probably have to move – but we are at that point in our lives where we can, plus it will give me lots of new things to blog about.

  9. Diane, I would love to visit Ireland. What wonderful photos and I know you enjoyed spending time with your family. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  10. What beautiful photos! Kelly & Mandy look great and I’m so glad you got to spend time with them and have such a great experience. Love the cottage!

    1. Hi Toni-

      The cottage was charming. It had a central room where there was a big wood table and benches. The rest of the rooms were around this central place. The interior was all white with pine doors with wrought iron latches. Lots of windows so the light streamed in. Simple yet homey.

  11. How delightful! Your family looks like they really know how to have fun. That first shot of your cottage reminded me of The Quiet Man right away. So happy you got to enjoy your beautiful daughters and I know just what you mean…it’s so nice to come home!

    1. Hi Bettsi-
      Now that we have been to the bridge and know about the movie we are going to get a copy to watch. It is nice to be home and it looks like Spring has finally arrived so I am enjoying getting outside, opening the windows and letting lots of fresh air in. Our pets – one dog, two cats are happy we are home now too.

  12. Marilyn Holeman says:

    Hi Diane, What a wonderful post! I was wondering where you were. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    Happy Easter,

    1. Hi Marilyn

      We were in Connemara which is on the west side of Ireland right above Galway. We were in a pretty rural location, but I think the address of the town was Recess.

  13. Julie @ Practically Spent says:

    Beauty of a trip, Diane. What a refreshing and memorable trip, it seemed. Glad you’re all back safe and sound.

  14. Diane- What a wonderful adventure. Ireland calls my name – My grandmother came from there. What a blessing to be able to spend the time there with your family. The pictures are wonderful! xxoo Diana

  15. Rebekah {All Thingz Related} says:

    You just took my dream trip! Wow! I’m so glad you had the opportunity to go! Amazing!

    1. Hi Rebekah-

      It takes a lot of prep to plan a trip, but is so worth it all once you go. I hope you get to go soon.

  16. Oh, that looks like a great trip! I love the photos (and antics!). About 10yrs ago, Idid a one day in Dublin – never saw the countryside – I so want to go back. I’m sure it was a difficult decision to take the trip given the tough times you’ve had, but I’m so glad you went because the opportunity may not come again. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Nan-

      The antics became part of the trip – which made it all the more enjoyable for us. We did go back and forth about going or not, but like you said the opportunity would probably not come again. I would have loved to take two weeks and gone to Paris, but I will have to do that trip in the future. Mandy and her roomie left for Paris this morning for 6 days. I told her to please take lots of photos so I can see the city through her experience.

  17. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures with us Diane. It looks like you had a wonderful time and you have a beautiful family!

    1. Thanks Denise-

      I took so many photos – it was hard choosing which ones to include in the post. One of the best things about having a blog is being able to share trips as well as other stuff with my readers.

  18. Thanks for this tour, I love Ireland and my husband and I toured around it for our Honeymoon (we are from England) 14 years ago. That glass I think is called Pilkington. You were lucky with the weather, it often rains in Ireland.

    1. Hi Nicky-

      Thank you so much for sharing the name of the glass. I loved it, as it was so pretty and clear, but offered privacy and light at the same time. It did rain – actually poured one day, so we just hung out in the cottage until it passed.

  19. Sooo glad to see pics of the girls, especially Kelly looking so healthy! She’s been on my mind. After being in Ireland, I had no concerns for Mandy other than possibly having too much fun. The scenery is gorgeous and the people there are so nice. Which is not always the case when traveling (hello France) I have to go back and take Martin. Maybe next year.

    1. hi Debbie-

      That was one of my biggest concerns to see how Kelly was. The villagers feed her well – as they take it as an insult when she doesn’t want to eat all they put in front of her. I have been sending her lots of “greens” in the way of supplements as vegetables are very rare. The Irish people went out of their way to help us out and were the most courteous drivers ever!

  20. Stephanie@cre8tive says:

    Oh what a beautiful vacation you had. Your girls are so fun and cute. The scenery is unbelievable, I have never been out of the country, so I am living through your pictures :) Traveling now a days just isn’t appealing to me, all the rules and regulations at the airport and airlines, the crowded planes…I am waiting for the day we get a private jet…that could be a long, long time :) Welcome back Diane, we missed you.

    1. Hi Stephanie-

      I agree that the regulations at the airport and airlines are getting more intense. We had to make sure we didn’t pack our bags over 50 lbs or we would have to pay an average of $75.00 and up for each one. Crazy! We packed light which made it easier all around. In Germany and Ireland we had to go through a few security checks, but never had to take off our shoes like you have to do in the states. Being able to fly in a private jet would be the ultimate way to go. :)

  21. Hi there! what an amazing trip and how amazing are your daughters to be studying abroad and working in Africa- so great- thanks for sharing!

  22. Diane,

    The pictures are absolutely breathtaking…I just loved looking through them.

    Your daughters are gorgeous…what a great chance to get to see them!!

    1. Hi Ashlyn-

      We had a great time and traveling with grown kids is a whole new experience – going to the pubs with them was enlightening, plus the fact they just want to have fun. I was not allowed to take “boring” photos of them. They made sure there was something fun or action packed in each one I took. I have many that I didn’t post of them hanging upside down on fences, doing cartwheels, making faces, etc.

  23. Antia @ GoingalittleCoastal says:

    That looks like it was a great trip! Your pictures are amazing. You have some beautiful girls. How lucky that they get to travel around. My sister went last year to Ireland and she loved it. One day I hope to get there!

    1. Hi Anita-

      It is a fun place to travel and no language barrier to deal with. I put my little camera on auto and just shot away. Most of the vista shots I took while we were driving and moving – I can’t believe they even came out. I hope you get there one day too.

  24. Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants says:

    Wow, thanks for taking us along. This may be the only vacation I get this year! A goo d friend of mine is planning to go to Ireland later this year. I need to share your story with her. Welcome home!

    1. Hi Laura-

      This is the first trip we have taken in the last two years. We thought hard if we should do it or not, but decided yes we can. I am so happy we did. I hope you get to get away even if it is a short trip. I always find travel renews me and broadens my view on so many things. I am happy that you enjoyed my little travel log.

  25. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    How beautiful, Diane! It sounds like you made the most of your trip. I would have had to restrain myself from spending, too. My son was lucky enough to go to Ireland and England last year. He really enjoyed Ireland and he DID buy lots of things to bring home.

    1. Hi Kathy –
      I would have loved to brought some things home, but with the new baggage weight limits it costs way too much if you go over the 50 lb limit. We packed light so we had an extra bag to bring home – 50 lbs worth of things my daughter’s didn’t need anymore – like winter boots, excess clothes, and books that will not fit in their bags when they do come home.

  26. Wow! What a lovely trip!