This blog is by Darren, because I'm in Ireland too! :-) Actually, Stacy is still in London right now, so I guess I'm her surrogate blogger.
If you've noticed a missing update, well, there's a story to that. It turns out the electricity was scheduled to be shut off to our area from 9:00am to 6:00pm Friday the 22nd. (Andrew and Tracy, your neighbors ratted you out [told on you] and said you knew this was coming. Now I know why you wanted out this week! ;-) ) Anyway, the water pump for the area was apparently also out during the power outage, and didn't get restarted until 4:00am today. Stacy was terrified that she was going to London without a shower. And the internet also stopped working until about 4:00pm today. All in all, it practically felt like the Ireland of 20 years ago, hehehe!
Seriously, Ireland is just catching up on modern conveniences. I understand they've made huge strides with their booming economy, but it is still not quite like the States. Which, I think, is maybe more of a good than a bad thing . . .
The biggest difference I've noticed is in the size of modern man-made stuff. The cars, roads, stores, appliances, groceries, and practically everything else is much smaller in scale than what we're used to. We stopped at one tourist site yesterday with a famous tower and some spectacular 1000-year-old stone crosses standing 18 feet tall, intricately carved with just about the entire Biblical story. In the US, you'd have an enormous visitor center, a couple-thousand-space parking lot, shuttles, a large entrance gate, turnstiles, the works. Here, a 10-foot-wide, theoretically 2-way road leads to a parking lot which holds maybe 15 cars. A little old woman sits in a 6x6 shack at the entrance, willing to talk your ear off if you'd like, but equally as happy to chat with her neighbors. A quaint gift shop is large enough for no more than 5 shoppers at a time. And the ruins with their still-active cemetery are tranquil, save the sounds and smells of nearby tractors and sheep.
Here's a picture of a narrow Irish road:
Here's Stacy and I cruisin' with the sunroof open:
And here's a photo of Grandma and the kids following along in the rental car:
I sometimes wonder what the kids, especially the boys, will remember, if anything, from this trip. Certainly it won't be the fascinating Neolithic tombs we saw on Friday, some of which predate the pyramids of Egypt. Or the beautiful Irish crosses. Or the centuries-old stone ruins. Perhaps, it will be climbing on boulders:
Or running around a big grassy field:
Or crawling through a thousand-year-old escape tunnel (people were smaller then):
Or even eating at McDonald's with Grandma:
Whatever it is, we're all having a great time, and though we miss our friends, we're not yet looking forward to coming home. So far, it's been a great adventure. And now, I need to sign off, because I hear a fresh-baked raspberry/blueberry turnover calling me (berries purchased from a local roadside stand). Slainte!