Alex and returned last week from an amazing three weeks traveling through Ireland and Spain. It was a great trip for so many reasons. We shared it with family most of all, with Rosemary in Dublin, Annie and Helen Geoghegan joined us in Spain to visit and travel with Sara and her friend Fran-Tastic, and then back to the West of Ireland to spend more than a week in its beautiful ruggedness with great old friends and family!
The days in Dublin were very interesting, with trips to Dublin City and the Guinness brewery, out to Howth, and down to Killarney for some horseback riding.
Our time in Spain was also great! Barcelona held some amazing experiences for us as well. Foremost amongst these was the Sagrada Familia, the amazing creation of Antoni Gaudi. The best way to describe it from the outside is a gigantic drip sand castle. A surreal and awesome sight to behold. The combination of organic forms and massive structural designs was very beautiful and impressive in so many ways. The interior did not disappoint either, with the amazing open spaces held up by more tree-inspired columns of concrete, steel and stone. The small details and artful forms designed and refined by Gaudi himself were everywhere, and you could really feel his presence in the building, even as it is still being built 85 years after his death.
From there we drove a couple of hours north up the coast to an area known as the Cap de Creus, and a small seaside town of Cadeques. As typical and idyllic a Mediterranean Spanish town you would not be able to find! Stacks of white and blue houses, with red tile roofs, and almost all clad in one way or another with layers of the local stone. Crystal clear water filling the bay, and clear sunny days. Amazing!
Upon our departure from Spain, and the return to Ireland, we drove across the country to the West, and Annie's beautiful home Siochain in Clifden. It had been four years since we had been there to visit, and it was as beautiful and peaceful as always. It is a great place to spend time, relax, and take in the natural beauty of this part of the country. We took several day trips around the area, visiting familiar spots from years past, and finding new and beautiful ones to remember for next time. From crab claws and Guinness at O'Dowds in Roundstone, shell searching on Omey, a climb up Diamond Hill, and great nights at home and in town with great friends and family!
Alex and I, after spending a great week full of the above experiences, and many more, made our way South for a couple of days in the Burren. This area of Ireland holds some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery there, and in the world. Vast areas of exposed limestone from an ancient Carboniferous sea that once lay between North America and Europe have been sculpted by rain and wind over the millenia after their protective coating of Ice Age ice sheet debris following deforestation by some of the first inhabitants of the island. Cracks, peaks, valleys, of limestone are contrasted with small patches of vegetation, and everywhere long lines of stone walls dividing the landscape into a patchwork of rectangular shapes. And scattered throughout the whole area are the marks of a long history of human habitation. Portal and wedge tombs are present by the dozens, some obvious and well marked, others hidden by the terrain and time. But all mysterious and wonderful to see in person.
A night in Doolin and some good Craic at McGann's got us ready for the next day which had as it's centerpiece the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. If you have ever seen The Princess Bride, then you have seen them as the Cliffs of Insanity! Massive layers of slate, shale, sandstone, and limestone laid down over 200 million years ago are now being slowly carved back by the sea, creating a constantly evolving vista.
Down through Lahinch, another beautiful seaside town, and then down to Bunratty and a nice night of pints at the original Durty Nelly's pub - serving beer and grub from 1620! The next day we set out early for our trip home, and almost 24 hours later, we were home safe in our bed again, and re-united with our girl Molly!
And through it all, Finn was a great little boy! He grew up a lot over those weeks, and really made his presence known with many kicks, punches and rolling all around! Alex is feeling great, and is being such a great mama already. She's been working hard on the nursery, painting and decorating the first space Finn will know as his own.
She and I are both hard at work getting back into Crossfit after our time away, and it is good to be back! I am getting ready to start the garden for the year now, with cold weather seeds like spinach, kale, carrots, and cabbage going in this weekend, and the seed starter getting fired up next week with tomatoes. We are ready for spring to get going here too - it has been colder and snowier than anyone can remember this year, and some warm sunshine is much missed!
More to come soon, so stay tuned!
Eric, Alex, and Finn