I'm back! Truth is, I've been back for some time now, but work and the awful stomach ick (my favorite medical term) has kept me from doing most anything but sleep.
Ireland truly is a magical place with breathtaking landscapes and warm, amiable people. We were fortunate enough to have two weeks of spectacular weather after what everyone said had been a "monsoon summer" with three steady months of rain.
We landed in Dublin at seven in the morning, rented a car and headed directly out of the city. Our first stop was Bru na Boinne , visiting the neolithic sites of Newgrange and Knowth. The tombs are older than the pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England. The tour was wonderful and informative. It was spectacular to finally see the sites in person after reading about them online for months.
Burial tombs at Knowth
Entrance into tomb at Newgrange
You can actually go inside Newgrange, and they have a simulation of how the sun shines through the opening during the Winter Solstice, illuminating the inner chamber. It was remarkable and if you're planning to go to Ireland, this is a must see. Don't make the mistake I made by not buying souvenirs at the gift shop. I thought I'd be able to find most of what I wanted in Dublin at the end of our trip and thus save our backs from lugging everything around for two weeks, but that wasn't the case. Dublin had great city finds but very little from other areas. The gift shop at Bru na Boinne had beautiful jewelery with the ancient three spiral design which I wish I'd just gone ahead and purchased. There's always next time.
Note the beautiful blue sky!
The next day we went to Hill of Slane. Unlike monuments in the United States, the monuments in Ireland are rarely guarded or roped off. We arrived at Hill of Slane early in the morning, the air crisp and cool, and were pleasantly surprised to find the ruins of the monastery in a large field inhabited by cows. Careful to dodge cowpies, we were able to get close and examine the stone engravings.
More to follow! Hope you come back and visit!