Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goodbye Ireland

Too soon I find myself rushing around the room, measuring 3-ounce bottles, shoving socks in the black holes of our many suitcases, and praying for a miracle at the weighing station tomorrow. One more round at the airport and we are on our way east from Ireland to our final destination… Budapest.

But first… a quick wrap-up of our week in Dublin…

It all started with a seven-hour, overnight flight from New York to Dublin. We were able to grab a few hours of sleep with children piled on our laps while the car seats we lugged through two large airports sat empty beside us. We stumbled half-awake into our cab, somehow managed to juggle our mounds of luggage up to our second-floor hotel room, and each fell into the nearest bed for the longest, most beautiful naps of our lives…

Post jet-lag fog, here were a few of the highlights…

Our favorite place was a small pub called The Portobello. With a meal deal including a large dinner and a pint of Guinness for 10 Euro, we couldn’t resist. Joel and I enjoyed the best beer we ever tasted, Finn was psyched about his chicken nuggets (which he told everyone about), and Aiden shoved down his food as fast as possible so he could hang on the small brass pole beside our table, tipping his conductor hat to the passersby as though they were seeing the same thing he was (The Polar Express, of course).

We tried our best to control them, but besides sliding down poles, waters were spilled, tables climbed on, and of course noise sufficiently increased. Still, as we left our second visit, a sweet lady at the next table (who I thought was annoyed by the chaos) took a moment to talk with our children and tell us how good our boys were.

After wiping the shock off my face I started to think about all I heard of the Irish and their love for children. And though it took four days to find a high-chair or straw here, the kids were so warmly embraced that I think my definition of “kid-friendly” is forever changed.

After a day of sight-seeing in Dublin, we joined a bus trip to the Wicklow Mountains. Aiden explored castle ruins where he swiped the keys from the castle man’s pocket and saved the day (in his mind, of course), Finn chased after chickens and bunnies with a running commentary to anyone who would listen (English-speaking or not), I enjoyed the gorgeous views and Joel the “historical stuff” at Glendalough and New Grange.

Between sight-seeing and bus trips we made sure to appease our train-loving son with a ride on the rails. We rode to a small (but crowded) fishing village where the boys first felt at home in Europe… in nothing but their undies (and even less for Finn) running freely through the water.

At the end of the day we returned to our favorite restaurant in Dublin where Aiden proclaimed, “I’m glad we’re here.” To which I asked, “Where Aiden? In the restaurant or in Ireland?”

He didn’t even hesitate. “In Ireland.”

And suddenly it was all worth it.

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