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  • Writer's picture Jana

Goodbye Ireland, Hello Scotland!

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

We departed Ireland on Sunday morning. We were so sad to go. We absolutely loved our time there! We even chose our very own favorite Irish surnames to coordinate with our first names: Garin Gaffney, Catherine Cavanaugh, Graham Gallagher, and Miles McGuire. I couldn't choose one, sadly, because there are none that start with the letter J.

We loved so many things about Ireland it would be hard to know where to start. But a few things that come to mind are the warm, friendly, and cheeky people. We also loved the sheep (all 6 million of them in a country with only 5 million people). How can you not love all those sheep? We loved RTE Radio One. This is Ireland's equivalent to the BBC and we listened to it for hours a day in the car as we wound our way through the country. There was little music played on Radio One, which is in stark contrast to what we play in the car at home. However, there was such an interesting array of hosts and shows that allowed us to really immerse ourselves in the present-day culture of the Ireland. We didn't even miss listening to music. We loved the rain, except for the few days that it was torrential. We loved the multiple potato offerings at each meal. Sausages served with mashed potatoes and chips (French fries) on the side. One night I had Shepard's pie (which is topped with a good heap of mashed potatoes already) and the side dish was chips. They love their potatoes in Ireland and we did too. There really isn't much not to love about Ireland.

However, our time was up and we had to say goodbye to Ireland (for now) and hello to Scotland!

We were up early and at the Dublin airport by 8 AM for a 10 AM flight to Edinburgh. We were booked on Air Lingus but flew on Emerald Air (their regional carrier) on a prop plane. The kids were so excited. They had never been on a prop plane before. The plane appeared a bit old to me, so I innocently asked Garin to research the model before we took off. That turned out to be a bad idea It turns out there had been 66 accidents with this ATR 72, twin-engine turboprop. which dated back to the 1980s, with the most recent one in Katmandu, Nepal, in January 2023, killing everyone on board! All I could do at that point was say my prayers as we took off and try to sleep through the 90-minute flight.

Thankfully we arrived safely on Scottish soil!

Garin found us a really clean and efficient tram from the airport to Edinburgh town center, which took about 35 minutes. From there we had to kill a few hours (with all of our luggage in tow) before we could check into our Airbnb. That was challenging since we were all tired and had a fair amount of luggage. We found a place to grab some In-N- Out style burgers to tide us over until dinner, but unfortunately, no place to sit to eat them in the restaurant. We were glad to finally check into our Airbnb around 2:30. We were also pleased to finally have some real space to spread out, especially in contrast to our hotel in Dublin, which was cramped, to say the least.

After dropping off our luggage, we immediately headed out to see a bit of the town. We did a little shopping and even listened to a bagpiper performing on the street. We also headed to the National Museum in Scotland, one of the largest museums I have ever been to. Our hope was to make a small dent in the afternoon, probably to return again while we're here. We saw a taxidermy "Dolly," the cloned sheep on display, as well as a real guillotine called, The Maiden. There isn't much this museum doesn't have. And entry was free! To learn more about this fabulous museum use this link:

Lastly, we headed to one of our favorite European markets that we remember from Portugal, Lidl, and bought some supplies for dinner and breakfasts. We were so excited to be able to eat in. When we returned home, we put a load of wash in our washing machine (after three long weeks, we finally had our own washer for a few days) and then used the ingenious hang drying contraption that hangs from the ceiling, For dinner we had one of our favorite Airbnb meals that we recall also from last summer in Portugal - fresh baked crusty bread, cold cuts, delicious (Scottish) cheeses, and fresh fruit.

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