Support Advisor | Seattle
Deb is back! And full of new stories and adventures. I sat down with her to chat about her sabbatical—both their time in the PNW and in Ireland where she traveled with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, and 10 year-old grandson. Though their party of five had never traveled internationally it sounds like they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and even survived the left-side, narrow road, sheep-in-your-path driving that is Ireland. Read on to hear more about what they saw, the food they ate, and the people they met.
You had a few weeks here before you left?
Yes. The first week we were just around the house, decompressing and enjoying slow mornings. Then week 2 we took our Fifth wheel down to Astoria with our daughter, Jessica, and two grandsons. It was really fun!
Then Ireland! Tell me some of your general impressions of the trip?
For most of the trip we stayed in a country cottage in Galway county. We encountered some international quirks such as, in order to get the hot water to work in the house, we had to turn on the heat, even though it wasn’t cold outside. So that was an interesting balancing act. But there was a window enclosed atrium on the second floor that looked out over the land. We loved spending our mornings there!
The one downside to our house was that it was an hour from anything we would want to see. So we ended up finding an apartment in Dublin two days before we left so we could be closer. My husband and I would get up in the morning and hop on the tram to go see things. MUCH easier to get around that way!
In general, the people in Ireland are phenomenal. Everyone was friendly and always open to chat. We really enjoyed the laid-back pace of life.
What were a few things you in particular loved?
Trinity College in Dublin was phenomenal. The Long Room there is an old library which has just stacks and stacks of books. The Book of Kells is also there. There are ceramic busts of historical Irish persons lining the walkways of the Long Room. You could almost feel the history.
The Cliffs of Moher – This was one of the main draws for going to Ireland in the first place. One thing they don’t tell you, however, is that it is right next to farmers’ cow fields so you can imagine the scent and flies. There were also so many people. It is an 8 mile trail from the visitors center to the farthest edge. We went about 5 miles and decided we didn’t need to go further.
Who did the driving?
My son-in-law, Kevin, did most of the driving. The driving was really uncomfortable for all of us. Narrow winding roads, plus left side of the car, plus left side of the road, then sheep in your way and roundabouts! And they drive FAST over there. I was glad that Kevin was willing to take on the driving and he did great.
What were some of the big things you saw?
We saw the Cliffs of Moher, we went to Clifton, Connemara, we toured an old silver mine, and Kylemore Abbey.
What did everyone else enjoy seeing?
My grandson, Conway, is predominantly Irish on his dad’s side. So he just loved to see Ireland, to meet people and to find out where his lineage comes from. He also loved the mine—we put on helmets and walked below the earth so that was really fun for him. He did really really well. He was just happy and happy for us all to be together.
Jessica liked the shopping in Galway and Clifton—we found a neat little jewelry store there that we went to a few times. And she and Kevin toured the Guinness storehouse and really enjoyed that.
Ralph loved the castles, particularly Clifton Castle and Kylemore Abbey.
What kind of food did you eat?
The food was pretty amazing most of the time. We had chicken kiev, bacon and cabbage. But their bacon isn’t like our bacon. It’s more like ham or Canadian bacon. And lots of Irish stew and soda bread. Breakfast would be things like eggs, bacon, toast. And Kevin tried Blood pudding!
How do Galway and Dublin compare to each other?
They feel the same, Dublin just a little bit busier. They both felt a lot like Portland. And there is a good public transportation system in Dublin, which Ralph and I really enjoyed figuring out.
Would you change anything about the trip?
I would probably do some bus tours out to some of the different things instead of driving everywhere—to relieve stress! We didn’t do any guided tours. I like to be on my own schedule and have that independence but alleviating that stress would be nice.
Was it hard to think about coming back?
We were ready to come home from Ireland. We all felt that 10 days was plenty of time. But the hardest thing to give up has been our easy mornings. The easy mornings were probably my favorite piece of the sabbatical. But being back here among the people of SoundView didn’t daunt me at all.
Are there any people you met or conversations you had that stand out to you?
The owners of our Air BnB in Galway county—James and Jessica. They lived right next door so we had a lot of interaction with them. They are a middle-aged couple with three kids. They were easy to talk to, very helpful, and ready to give us directions.
Has this given you a bit of the travel bug?
A little bit! Ralph would really like to go to Costa Rica next. And I’d love to make it to Italy at some point.
We’re happy you had such a wonderful Sabbatical, Deb! Welcome back!