Fenechs et al in Ireland: Goodbye Galway…Goodbye Ireland

29 04 2011

Our last day in Galway, Easter Monday, dawned. After our breakfast we decided to head to Dublin for my family’s last day in Ireland. We dropped our luggage at my apartment and then headed to Dublin City centre, where our first stop was LUNCH :). After that we did some shopping (we needed to update my sister’s wardrobe, so Bernard, Michele, mum and myself set on that task, whilst my bro and her boyfriend scuttled off). We managed to make her spend quite a lot of money (Ireland needs to recuperate its economy) and I again ended up buying some stuff. That occupied most of the afternoon. After that we went back to my apartment where we relaxed a bit and discussed plans for my brother’s wedding in August, and we booked accomodation for our stays in Tallinn (for my, Ann’s, Michael’s, Bernard’s and mum’s pre wedding trip) and Helsinki, where my brother is getting married.

We then went to Eddie Rockets since Bernard had been wanted and Oreo Milkshake and then came back home to sleep :). 7 people managed to successfully sleep in my room (and in comfort I must say). Thanks to Monika and Rachel (my apartment mate) who supplied me with inflatable mattresses and David (my other apartment mate, who offered but there was no place to put any more). We had a short night’s sleep, cos at 4:45 am we all woke up to go to the airport.

Thankfully all flights were within a short time frame, so we got the car and headed towards the airport. We dropped off Stephen and Michele (departure 7:10am to Helsinki), Mum and Bernard (departure 7:20am to Malta) and Ann (departure 7:30am to Berlin). Then Michael and myself took the car to the car hire place, which opens at 6am, and dropped off the car. No issues there wippie 🙂 We were then dropped off at the airport where I said goodbye to Michael (departure 8:15am to London) and I got the bus back to DCU, where I snuggled back into bed for a couple more hours of sleep before heading back to Uni to get back to my daily routine.

Overall, I must say it was a really successful trip, especially considering it was our first trip as a family in ages, and the first ever with the extended family. I was expecting it to be much more stressful, which it was not, and I think everyone had a great time. The next time we will all be together is at my brother’s wedding in August. However we are already planning our next family Easter trip in 2 years’ time. Destination: Unknown. Depending on where the different components of this family are (which is not easy to say 🙂 ).

Thank you all for coming to visit 🙂 Come again 🙂

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Fenechs et al in Ireland: in Galway

29 04 2011

In our first (and only) full day in Galway, we decided to visit Connemara, and more specifically Kylemore Abbey. But before leaving to make our way there, we were informed by our Danish informant that the Easter bunny had successfully made the trip to Galway. So he left to meet up with him in the nearby park whilst we finished our breakfast. We then went to the park where we went on our Easter egg hunt.

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt

I am pleased to say that I found the most eggs (7 small, 3 big), followed by Bernard (8 small, 2 big). The others trailed miserably behind. So I guess Bernard and I make a good team…goooo team 🙂 Happy with our chocolates, we made our way to Kylemore abbey. Where we got to meet the Easter Bunny ourselves:

Kylemore Easter Bunnies

Kylemore Easter Bunnies

Apart from the Easter bunnies, Kylemore is really breath taking, as can be seen below:

Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

We took a tour of the Abbey, had tea in the tea house, walked around the vast area and visited the walled garden (followed a tour organised by Mr Bernard Brincat himself and his ‘posh’ accent). After a couple of hours here, we then started our way back, taking the long route through Clifden, and then back to Galway, where we headed back to town for some lunch/dinner, and walked round for a bit.

In the evening, mum, Stephen and Michele went home early as they were tired, but all of us remaining wanted to take in Galway for just a bit more, and so we stayed in town. At 9:30pm we however made our way to The Crane where we got to experience some great Irish music in the upstairs room, which was really nicely decorated (simple but nice) with candles. We got chatting to the people around us whilst waiting for the music to start (being Ireland it started more than 30minutes late I think). However we had around 8 musicians, most of which switched instruments continuously. The music was great, the atmosphere was great and we really enjoyed ourselves. Have a listen yourselves. The quality is not really that good, but you can get an idea of the amount of people playing, the amount of people listening and the general atmosphere.

We were all tired but tried to stay as long as possible, but when they stopped for a 30minute break we decided to head home to our beds.





Fenechs et al in Ireland: On to Galway

28 04 2011

On leaving Kerry, we made our way up to Galway, stopping first at the Cliffs of Moher:

The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher

My honest opinion? Yes the cliffs are impressive, but that is what they are…just cliffs. I would certainly not pay 6Eur just to stand on the top of the cliff. In fact we took the advice of the Lonely Planet guide and parked slightly further down from the visitor centre, and walk to the cliff side, where you can get such impressive views of the Cliffs of Moher nonetheless 🙂

The Fenechs at the Cliffs of Moher

The Fenechs at the Cliffs of Moher

We then drove through The Burren, which looks quite similar to the Mediterranean landscape of garrigue, and made our way to Galway. This time we were staying at Griffin Lodge. This place is just next to the city centre, such that we could walk to the main street within 5 minutes, making it quite convenient. However the rooms were much smaller, although sufficient for our needs. We settled in and made our way to Galway city, which was full of people who had come out on Easter Saturday to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Busy Galway Street

Busy Galway Street

We had some lunch/dinner and walked around the city, did some shopping (supposedly for Ann, but ended up buying clothes for myself too…and Ann and I now have identical tops weee…we haven’t had any for ages) and then went for the Easter Sunday service at St. Mary’s Priory. This time it was much more to my liking, as the service was short but to the point.

At this point we again walked to the city centre for some food/pints before going back to the B&B. We planned to hear some Irish music, but most venues were too full and were playing more ‘commercial Irish music’ with a guitar.





Fenechs et al in Ireland: our last Kerry Day

28 04 2011

Friday arrived, and with it our last full day in Kerry. We decided to make our way to the Dingle peninsula, where we made our first stop at Dingle, where we walked around the town, visited some shops and went to the farmers’ market. What was really surprising at this farmers’ market is that no one gives anything to taste, which is completely opposite to what we say in Howth, where everyone was offering samples. There was even one (rude in my opinion) lady who as we passed by kept putting some of the food in her mouth and going MMMMMMM MMMMM. We did not buy anything (we had had a huge breakfast as usual and it being Good Friday we were not going to eat sweets were we?). However I always enjoy going to such markets, and it is a pity there is not one close to DCU (or at least one that I know of). There were also lots of brightly painted and nicely decorated houses/shops in Dingle, which I really enjoyed 🙂

A Cool House in Dingle

A Cool House in Dingle

However we could not stay in Dingle all day long, so off we went to do the Dingle peninsula. I think the Dingle peninsula, though beautiful in its own right, is not as impressive as the ring of Kerry. However it might have to do with the weather being a bit less bright than the previous day, and us having seen enough of the Kerry countryside, and the lots and lots of sheep (we saw lots of lambs which were quite cute, but there is an extent to the OOHHHH factor I guess).

Hills of Sheep

Hills of Sheep

We also made it to the Blasket Museum. It is quite an interesting museum, especially hearing about all the culture that came out of these small Islands and all that is now missed due to them having to evacuate the islands. I would be devastated if I ever have to evacuate my Island of Malta…but I understand what a harsh life they led.

At this point we made it back to Dingle, where we attended the Good Friday service at the Dingle church. The service was long (too long and dragging) for my liking…and for all of us in the group. But it served a purpose in one aspect for me. After the service we had dinner in Dingle and made our way to the B&B where we settled down for our last night there.

The next morning, we woke up to another gut busting breakfast and made our way to Galway, catching the ferry at Tarbert Island, where we said goodbye to the Kerry experience.

On the ferry: Leaving dock

On the ferry: Leaving dock

Once again: thank you Michael for the photos 🙂





Fenechs et al in Ireland: Kerry Days contd

28 04 2011

On our second day in Kerry, we again started our day with a delicious breakfast. Then we made our way to the car as today was the ring of Kerry day. I had often heard about how beautiful this place is, but in all honesty had expected it to be all made up hype. But it was a really enjoyable day. The fact that we had great weather certainly helped. But look at these photos (taken by Michael 🙂 ), and see for yourself. My suggestion to others taking on the Ring of Kerry: go to Valentia Island, go a bit away form the main roads, and you will be rewarded. Our 30min detour turned into at least 1.5hours and it was really great fun:

First up was the Kerry Bog Village Museum, where we got to see the Irish Wolfhound, and enormous specimen of a dog. We also got to see the way that people lived in bygone eras. The museum is not much, but quite interesting nonetheless, especially if you read the information available, as you may be able to understand how these people lived. After that we did not visit any other museum, but just enjoyed the views:

The Vast and Expansive Ferry Terminal for Valentia:

Valentia Island Terminal

Valentia Island Terminal

Views from Valentia Island:

The whole family on Valentia

The whole family on Valentia

Apparently there is a Top Toilet Award…we must say that this toilet is truly deserving. Whilst there Michele noticed that the hand dryer was not working. A lady who was there cleaning said that it was working that morning and that it could not be and that she needs to call somoene to fix it ASAP. Whilst having some snacks outside, i.e. within 10mins, someone in an Electricity Department van came and fixed it. We are truly impressed.

Top Toilet

Top Toilet

On the beach, where we paddled in the Atlantic for the first time (OK wet our feet), I had a surprise message (thanks to Bee 🙂 ) and we saw what we concluded to be (lots of) fish eggs, but we are not so sure are we:

Sand art especially for me

Sand art especially for me

Fish Eggs?

Fish Eggs?

At one of the last towns we had some dinner (lunch was sandwiches and fruit) and then made our way to the B&B where we just freshened up and made our way to church for the Maundy Thursday service at Milltown. After church it was straight to bed. A successful day 🙂





Fenechs et al in Ireland: Kerry Days

27 04 2011

On our first full day in Kerry, we decided to go for a hike/walk, since we had spent most of the previous day sitting (in planes, the car etc). Anyways, after the humungous breakfast prepared by Gret and Podge we definitely needed to walk, so we made our way to Killarney National Park, and took off on a hike around Muckross Lake. The views we saw were spectacular, and though we walked quite a bit the stunning views made it worth while.

Group Photo on the Bridge

Group Photo on the Bridge

On the Old Weir Bridge

At the Old Weir Bridge

At the Old Weir Bridge

The stunning Torc Waterfall (some of us wanted to go up Torc Mountain but sadly (boohooboohoo) the path was closed…oh the disappointment)

Bro, Sis and soon to be Sis at Torc Waterfall

Bro, Sis and soon to be Sis at Torc Waterfall

Another stunning bridge and view

Another stunning view

Another stunning view

We then made our way to the car, had a late lunch at Killarney and made our way to the B&B where we had a short rest, then went to Killorglin. After walking around the area for a bit, we went back to the B&B, where we planned the next days, saw a movie and then went off to bed.

Again, I thank Michael for taking these beautiful photos.





Fenechs et al in Ireland: Arrival in Dublin and on to Kerry

27 04 2011

After the 4 days with Bee and Mum in Dublin, my sister Ann, her boyfriend Michael, my brother Stephen and his fiancee Michele came to Ireland. First up were Ann and Michael, who came to Uni where I showed them around the lab and we had some lunch before going to my apartment to pick up all our luggages to make our way to the airport where we met Stephen and Michele on arrival, and went to the car hire desk to get our car. Things went smoothly and off we went to our first B&B: Kilburn House.

Kilburn House

Kilburn House

As you can see, Kilburn House is situated in an area of greenery. However it is not too far away from the nearby village Milltown (2mins by car maximum). They have a couple of cows and two really cute and playful dogs, Brandy and Bailey. Brandy (the smaller dog) is a bundle of energy who gets really jealous of any attention given to Bailey. Bailey is the most good humored dog ever, cos I would never put up with Brandy constantly jumping on me 🙂

The Cows

The Cows

Brandy and Bailey

Brandy and Bailey

We settled in to our rooms, and off we went for some dinner at a nearby pub: Larkins.

Dinner at Larkins

Dinner at Larkins

We chatted a lot, made the waiter (James) blush a couple of times and had a good time. But by now we were tired, so off home we went to make plans for the next day and sleep.

PS: I would like to emphasize that these photos have not been taken by myself, but by my sisters bf Michael, who is much more capable than me 🙂