Ireland - Day 3

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Day 3 - August 18, 2018

Sleeping in and waking up around 11:30 in Co. Donegal was magnificent. The first opportunity on this trip to actually sleep in and feel rested. Although, I am the go go go type of vacationer, I enjoyed the slower paced morning.

I got up and headed downstairs to be greeted by Teddi (who woke up an hour before us,) Niall, his partner Mairead, her daughter, Annice, their adorable baby, Freddie, and Niall’s father. They were extremely friendly and made me feel welcomed and comfortable. The day started with some cereal and toast around the table visiting with one another. A short time later, Mairead and Annice leave and head to town to run some errands and get dinner prep for later in the night.

Once everyone finished breakfast, well brunch at this point, we got ready for the day and head toward Drumboe Forest. After a short drive, we park and Niall gets Freddie’s stroller out. While he was doing that, a friendly, stray dog walked up to us and greeted us with kisses and snuggles but had started wandering elsewhere when we started walking toward the forest. With Niall leading us (swiftly, I might add), we strolled through the beautiful trees overlooking fields and aged buildings. We also saw little fairy doors on multiple trees throughout our walk. I had never seen fairy doors before but they are the cutest concept for children and even adults!

Shortly after walking into the forest, our furry friend found us and followed us the rest of the afternoon. Turns out, the dog wasn’t a stray (he had a collar), but he was Niall’s friend’s pet. He followed us through the forest and until we walked into town.

We walked to a church where a wedding had just ended. People were leaving to go to the reception and standing outside of the church chatting with one another. Niall introduced us to some people he knew. The whole time we were out, he would chat with someone or run into someone he knew. It reminded me of the small town I grew up in. Anywhere you went, you knew someone. Whether it be a classmates family member, a friend, a friend’s relative, your relative, etc.

Once we were introduced to his buddies, another friend of his was walking on the street. So he hollered at him to come over and meet Katlynn, Teddi, and I. The dog was still around us but visiting with the wedding guests now. Niall and his friend figure out who the dog belongs to and his friend was kind enough to literally carry him home to his owners.

We walked towards what I assume is the downtown area. We stop at a popular store to just browse and waste some time. While we’re inside, Niall heads toward a restaurant/bar that we will all meet up at once we’re done looking around. We hang around the store shortly after he leaves before heading to the restaurant. Once we finished our browsing, we walk down the street to see Niall (who didn’t get too far before running into someone he knew.) He had stopped and talked to a woman Katlynn goes to open gym with but who also teaches his step daughter gymnastics. We tallked to her for about 20 minutes before arriving to the restaurant.

Once we get inside, we see the same wedding party men we had met earlier. Niall chats some more while we went to find a seat. We ordered some hot chocolate and scones to hold us over before dinner in a couple of hours. When we finished our drinks and snacks, we headed to Mairead’s house out in the country

We pull up to the long drive of her absolutely gorgeous Irish countryside home and go inside where I’d be meeting the rest of the family. Seriously though, this house was the epitome of an Irish house in the countryside. It is what dreams are made of.

Before having planned a trip to Ireland, Katlynn had been telling my mom and I all about Eva (one of Niall’s step daughters) and how she’s basically obsessed with her and vice versa. So once I booked my trip, I was like, “I need to meet Eva.” The time had come to meet her but they played a little prank on us. Katlynn was also excited to see Eva again, but we get inside and Mairead basically says that Eva went to her friend’s house instead, leaving Katlynn and I a little disappointed. Mairead is a great actress because we completely believed her. But then Eva pops out behind a chair and actually scares me. She had this planned all along.

She comes out from the behind the chair to greet Katlynn with the biggest hug. I was expecting to meet this firecracker child but she was shy at first when meeting Teddi and I. Though, it didn’t take longer than 5 minutes for her to get comfortable around us. We go sit in one of the many family rooms in the house to hang out and meet the rest of the fam, the only one left being Elin, Mairead’s oldest daughter. When we sat down, I heard the Kardashians (because who can’t spot those voices from a mile away?) Annice, the daughter we had met that morning, was watching the Kardashians. I thought it was so funny that she was watching that show.

As we’re sitting, Eva brings in presents for us (which is so so sweet!) They got all of us a keychain and an Irish pin. And Katlynn got a little stuffed sheep in addition to those. I was actually very excited for the Irish pin because I was going to Niall Horan’s concert a few days after I got back. What a perfect time to wear it! After opening the thoughtful gifts we received, Annice and Eva took us upstairs to give us a tour of their rooms.

Dinner was ready….penne pasta with vegetables and some kind of meat (chicken, I think?) Whatever it was, it was soooo good. We had great conversation during dinner and it reminded me so much of family dinners at home when I was in high school. It’s the little things people! This is one of my favorite memories from the whole trip. We also had dessert once everyone was finished with dinner.

After our lovely time around the table, Annice and Eva wanted to take us on a walk to see their grandparents sheep and this patch of wood across from their street. We put our raincoats on and head out the door. We make out first stop at their grandparents farm, which is like 100 feet from their house. Us Americans were just oooooh-ing and ahhhhh-ing at the cute sheep and the girls though it was funny that we were infatuated with the sheep. Sheep are as common as cows in America, they are everywhere and so many families raise sheep.

We leave their property and head down the road to their little cousin’s. We make a pitstop there because, long story short, there was a man walking alone on their country road and we were afraid something was going to happen. Totally Annice’s thought (but also kind of mine too, haha.) We make it to their cousin’s driveway as the man passes by and all was good. We go inside to meet their aunt and cousin. Their aunt was very friendly as we just popped in and out.

Continuing our walk to the woods, I must say it was quite an exciting and eventful walk. We stopped multiple times to take self-timed photos on my iPhone (see below.) And Eva is just a hyper blast. So full of energy and you literally have no idea what will come out of her mouth next. She said and did some of the funniest things.

After all of our shenanigans, we make it to the woods. We climb over the gate and walk into the trees until we see a loose sheep. Annice warned us that we don’t want to mess with free roaming sheep because we don’t know what they are capable of and we also didn’t know if it was a ram. So we immediately turn around and head back to their house. Here’s to another entertaining walk featuring Eva and Annice.

It had sprinkled on and off while we were outside but it wasn’t a downpour so thank god for that. We all come inside and sit back in the living room to reconvene with Niall, Mairead, and Freddie. But then Eva or Annice have the idea to have a “dance-off” against each other. Us adults are thinking, “absolutely, let’s do this” because helllllo, it’s going to be gold. We go into the other living room where there’s a bluetooth speaker and a disco light. Katlynn, Teddi, and I sit while Annice prepares Eva’s song. Let me also add that Eva was also wearing a unicorn onesie this entire time.

The music starts, and of course, it’s “Low'“ by Flo Rida. In front of us is Eva giving it her 200%. Lots of booty shakin’ and gettin’ low. She did this about 2 times before Annice got her turn, haha. Annice was up next and she did something more contemporary and stylistic. Niall had told us she did dance lessons but quit because she got bored. But you could tell she has dancer in her. Once she finished, Eva was right back up there dancing to “Low” in her unicorn onesie for her mom and step-dad to see, but this time with the disco light on.

At this point, it’s like 8 or 9pm and time to leave so Niall could put Freddie to bed. We all gave hugs goodbye and nice to meet you’s. it really was sad to leave because I don’t know when I will see them again, if ever! We get out the door and drive back to Niall’s where we then sit in his living room for awhile while he puts Freddie to sleep.

Later in the evening, we get ready for bed since Katlynn and I need to get up early, yet again, for another tour! Told ya I like to book them up. Look forward to my next blog all about our day at Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, two things I had never heard of before booking the tour.

iPhone photos below:

TravelTeah Rushing