Our week (6 days) in Ireland flew by. I probably could have just spent the rest of our trip here. We spent two days in Westport, on the northwest side of Ireland, with Kelly Anne's family. It was so lovely. After traveling for so long, it was nice just to be in a house and ride in a car! We had home cooked meals!!! We got to pet dogs! It was so exciting.
We stayed with her aunt and uncle just outside of town. Rhona (her aunt) came to collect us from Dublin and on our way back, took us through Galway so we could say that we'd "been".
Westport itself was gorgeous. It gets loads of tourists every year and we could totally see why!!
Our first day, we walked around town, did some shopping (I'm going to need a marketing expert to explain why we do not have Penney's/Primark in the States bc I'm not sure there's actually a good reason), went to Westport House (an old estate that the town is based around), and took a boat tour off the coast. While shopping, I bought a winter coat. In June. Toto, we're definitely not in the South anymore.
The boat tour was frigid but we saw seals!!! So it was all worth it, clearly.
The second day, we climbed Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain. It's a big pilgrimage and certainly not an easy climb. But we all agreed it was totally worth it and one of the highlights of our trip so far. (I wore four layers!!!) That night, we went and experienced some authentic Irish pubs with a few of Kelly Anne's aunts. It was definitely a lot of fun, especially with locals. :)
The next day, we took a train from Westport to Dublin - our last train of the trip. :( It was weird to be off on our own again. Dublin was also a bit weird because the length of our trip really started to hit. Five weeks of hopping from place to place is /exhausting/ and after being in Westport with family, I think we were all feeling a little homesick. Still--Dublin was loads of fun and we all liked it a lot.
We had two full days there as well and spent the first one doing a walking tour (with our awesome guide Rex!!) and after that was done, we wandered around the city and did a bit of shopping.
That night, we went out to the Trinity College area to drink pints where Guinness was started. Cities become so different at night and Dublin was absolutely beautiful.
The next day was our last and we spent it doing the Guinness Brewery tour (Allie and I learned to properly pull pints!), viewing the Book of Kells, and exploring the Long Room in the Trinity College Library. The Library was /huge/ and--fun fact, inspired George Lucas so much that he insisted on virtually recreating it for the Jedi Library because they weren't allowed to film there.
We were all a little sad leaving Ireland (and the Euro) and I can't wait to be back.