Answering Your Questions & What I Brought Home From Ireland

It’s 5:30 AM as I write this, I’ve been up since 3 AM. The previous two mornings, I awoke at 4 am. This pretty much happens every time I travel to Europe. I’m not sure when my body will get back on Georgia time, but for now I’m enjoying the peace and quiet you experience when you get up before the birds even open their eyes.

 

It’s amazing all the stuff you can get done when you awaken at 4 am. I worked yesterday for 6-8 hours straight and got so much done around here. When I looked at the clock, it was only noon and I still had the rest of the day! You early risers know what I’m talking about. The downside is, come 8 PM, I can’t keep my eyes open.

Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I completely cleaned out the small closet in the bonus/upstairs living room, turning it officially into my “travel” closet. It was so great to get all those large suitcases and other travel paraphernalia out of my master bedroom closet. If you travel a fair amount and have the space, I definitely recommend dedicating a small closet or storage area to all your travel goodies. It will make life a lot easier when you book that next trip.

I ran into a very strange problem when I cleaned out the upstairs closet. I’ll be sharing that and a few other small updates/tweaks around here for Metamorphosis Monday.

Over the last few days I’ve had several emails, as well as comments here and on Instagram, asking questions related to my recent trip to Ireland and/or regarding travel in general. I’ve also had several questions regarding what I purchased while in Ireland.

I thought it would be fun to do the same thing I did after my trip to Kenya– answer your questions while intermixing pics of the souvenirs/gifts I picked up during my trip. That’s a lot more fun than just reading a bunch of words. If I miss your question in this post, feel free to ask it in the comments.

Please Note: I’ll include a caption beneath each photo giving a brief description of the item and its intended recipient or purpose.

Questions About Travel and Travel to Ireland

Q. A question I always get after every trip is: Do I normally travel alone and if so, how am I not afraid? I gave a pretty detailed answer to that question in THIS previous post, so I’ll just give an abbreviated answer here. (See that prior post for an even more in-depth answer.)

A. When I was younger, the answer to that question would have been a big, Yes. But as you get older, you realize everyone is the same and there’s really nothing to be afraid about, unless of course you are traveling to a known dangerous area, something I would definitely avoid.

But the real answer to this question is: Travel is not all the same. The type of travel I’m doing is known in the travel industry as, “small group travel.” That means I’m traveling with a small group of folks (usually  between 10-18) all of whom share the same interests I do: a severe case of Wanderlust and a desire to see the country or place we’re visiting.

This creates an instant bond and camaraderie with your fellow travelers and it’s almost impossible to not make friends quickly, maybe even some that you’ll stay in contact with and want to travel with again in the future.

So, if you’re single or married to someone who can’t or doesn’t like to travel, book yourself a trip with a company that offers small group travel, preferably one that doesn’t charge a single supplement (like THIS ONE) then pack your bags and GO! 🙂 You will only be traveling “alone” for the amount of time it takes to reach your destination. After that, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded travel buddies who are just as excited to get to know you as you are to get to know them! You only get one life, don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from making the most of it.

FRIENDS I MADE WHILE VISITING MAHALI MZURI WHILE ON SAFARI IN KENYA

 

By the way, if you do book a trip with the company I’ve linked above, mention my name as the person who told you about them and they’ll give you a $100 off your next trip, and they will do same for me. 🙂

Q. One BNOTP reader emailed to ask how I dealt with the inevitable dirty underwear and socks during the trip. In the past, I’ve always stashed dirty clothing into the large pockets in the top half of my suitcase so they were out of sight and out of mind. That way I couldn’t accidentally mix them back in with the clean clothes and wear them again.

How I Pack my Suitcase for Travel

 

A. I thought on this trip I’d try something several BNOTP readers had recommended in the comments of previous posts. Several folks shared how they take along their oldest/rattiest underwear when traveling, and toss it into the trash after wearing it.

Ireland T-Shirts for Children

T-SHIRTS FOR MY GRANDSONS, AGES 3 AND 1

I tried that at my first hotel and just couldn’t do it. We were staying in some pretty fancy hotels during this trip–most, if not all, were 4 and 5 star. I couldn’t bear the thought of a housekeeper finding my “used” underwear in their cute, little trash bins bearing the image of their gorgeous manor home/castle. lol I guess underwear could be discretely tucked inside a plastic bag (if one was available) with the hope the housekeeper doesn’t get too curious about what’s inside. Ha!

Aran Crafts Sweaters for Children

SWEATERS FOR MY GRANDSONS AND A HAT FOR MY DIL, SAVING THESE TO GIVE AT CHRISTMASTIME

One BNOTP reader who emailed to ask how I dealt with the dirty underwear issue shared a really funny story. She wrote:

I have actually tossed undies at times but my best story is an aunt – she died in 1997 but went to Europe several times in her younger days. She threw her underwear in a waste basket in a hotel in France and a few weeks later a package was delivered to her door – all the underwear was actually washed and PRESSED-she assumed a maid did it!!! She was so embarrassed.   

So if you’re going to toss those already-been-worn undies, you may want to shred them or label them as “no longer wanted or needed!” lol

Haunted Ireland Book, Book with photos of The Long Room, W. B. Yeats Poems

NEVER IMAGINED WHEN I WAS STUDYING POETRY IN COLLEGE, THAT I’D ONE DAY BE STANDING IN A CHURCHYARD IN DRUMCLIFF VILLAGE, IRELAND, ALONGSIDE THE GRAVE OF W. B. YEATS. HAD TO BUY A BOOK OF HIS POETRY AS A REMINDER OF THAT DAY. THE HAUNTED IRELAND BOOK WAS JUST FOR FUN. PURCHASED THE TRINITY COLLEGE BOOK MAINLY FOR THE PHOTOS OF “THE LONG ROOM.”

Q. I received a lot of questions/comments about the weather in Ireland and what it was like.

A. Ireland, being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, has what is described as “maritime” weather. For the first couple of days it rained off and on, thankfully there were times when it wasn’t raining. Then the rain came and stayed all day for a couple of days. Fortunately, around the middle of the trip the sun came out, and when it did rain it was short-lived.

Guinness Polo Style Shirts

TEXTED MY SON WHILE IN THE GUINNESS FACTORY GIFT SHOP ASKING IF HE WANTED A SHIRT? I WAS SURPRISED WHEN HE REPLIED, “YES, PLEASE.” HAD TO CHOOSE QUICKLY AS OUR BUS WAS SOON DEPARTING. I’M AFRAID THESE MAY BE TOO BIG, HOPEFULLY THEY WILL SHRINK SOME IN THE DRYER.

The way to describe the completely unpredictable and changing weather of Ireland is to share what our guide told us as we were approaching the Cliffs of Moher for our visit there.

Ballynahinch Castle Hat and Ballynahinch Castle Candles

HAD TO PICK UP A FEW SOUVENIRS FROM BEAUTIFUL BALLYNAHINCH CASTLE. WISH THEY HAD EMBROIDERED SWEATERS/SHIRTS, DEFINITELY WOULD HAVE BOUGHT ONE.

He cautioned that upon arrival, if it was not raining we should immediately make our way straight up to the top of the Cliffs, adding that it would be a mistake to eat or shop first because the weather can completely change in a matter of minutes. As soon as the bus stopped, we beat feet for the top and were rewarded with beautiful weather and breathtaking views.

 

I’m looking forward to sharing more photos of beautiful Ireland with you very soon.

 

Cliffs of Moher Long Sleeve T-Shirt

THERE’S A REASON WHY EVERYONE VISITS THE CLIFFS OF MOHER ON A VISIT TO IRELAND. IT IS BREATHTAKING! THANKS BARBARA FOR TALKING ME INTO BUYING THIS SHIRT! 🙂

 

Q. A few folks have asked about using electronics while traveling. Recently someone emailed to specifically asked about blow dryers.

A. I always take along an adapter (you need the G adapter for Ireland) and THIS trusty voltage converter.

I know people always say you don’t need it for phones and computers, but there’s no way I’m taking a risk of frying my smart phone or my $1,800 laptop. They just cost too much to chance it! Also, it’s awesome being able to charge as many as 7 things at one time. I often have 3-4 things charging at once, like my laptop, phone, Bose noise-canceling headphones and Kindle.

Blarney Mills Navy Sweater with Pockets

LOVE THE MERINO WOOL SWEATER I FOUND IN THE BLARNEY MILL. I WANTED TO BUY MORE BUT RAN OUT OF TIME. IN THE PHOTO THIS SWEATER LOOKS SORTA SHINY, BUT IT’S NOT. IT’S 100% MERINO WOOL, “MADE IN IRELAND” AND SUPER SOFT AND COZY. I THINK THIS IS THE SWEATER I PURCHASED HERE: https://www.blarney.com/irish-shop/grace-full-zip-aran-sweater/ LOVE THAT IT HAS POCKETS! I PURCHASED IT IN A SIZE SMALL AND IT FITS GREAT. THE SWEATERS ARE PRETTY GENEROUSLY CUT.

 

Carraigdonn Merino Wool Sweater, Violet

FOUND THIS CARRAIG DONN MERINO WOOL SWEATER INSIDE THE RED FOX INN GIFT SHOP WHILE VISITING THE KERRY BOG VILLAGE. I’VE WANTED A SWEATER IN THIS STYLE FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND COULDN’T WAIT TO WEAR IT. I PUT IT ON AS SOON AS I GOT BACK TO THE BUS AND GOT SO MANY COMPLIMENTS ON IT THROUGHOUT THE DAY FROM MY FELLOW TRAVELERS AND FROM TRAVELERS WITH OTHER TOURS. EVERYONE KEPT ASKING WHERE I FOUND IT. I THINK THIS IS IT HERE: http://www.shamrockgift.com/product/carraig-donn-collar-patchwork-cardigan/ I PURCHASED MINE IN A SIZE SMALL. ALL THE IRISH SWEATERS SEEM TO BE GENEROUSLY CUT.

 

Regarding blow dryers, hotels almost always have them in the rooms because they know that travelers need them and that they are too powerful to work plugged into most voltage converters.

I didn’t take a hair dryer on this trip since I knew the hotels we were staying in would provide them, but I did take along my 2-in-1 Hot Air Styling Brush. It worked fine plugged into my voltage converter, as long as I didn’t have anything else charging. If I had my laptop and cell phone plugged in at the same time, it would cut off.

I think it has worked in the past with a small travel blow dryer I used to carry before I realized hotels almost always supply them, but it may not be recommended for use with a regular blow dryer. Again, most hotels will have them in the room or available upon request.

A sweet friend I met through blogging came along on this trip and she surprised me with this shirt. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you may recognize this phrase. I don’t watch a lot of TV and hadn’t been keeping up with Game of Thrones, so she clued me on the phrase on the front. 🙂

Shall We Begin long sleeve T-Shirt, Game of Thrones

 

But look what was printed on the back, I couldn’t believe it! I’ve never had a shirt with my blog name on it. What a thoughtful gift and one I will cherish, especially since it comes from such a lovely friend! Thank you so much, Teresa for this awesome shirt! I will definitely wear it the next time I visit my son and dil. They are both big fans of Game of Thrones and are going to think I’m super hip when I show up wearing it! 🙂

Between Naps On The Porch T-Shirt

 

During this trip I also purchased three items inside Belleek Pottery…read more about that in this post: Shopping in Belleek Pottery.

This was definitely the most souvenirs/treasures I’ve ever purchased during a trip. Learn from my mistake: when traveling to a country that’s known for producing things you love (like sweaters, crystal, dishware, etc…) take an extra suitcase or be prepared to ship some things back. Thankfully all the Belleek goodies are being shipped and should arrive in 5-7 weeks. They are being hand-crafted so it takes a little while to get those.

 

This post is getting a little long, so I’ll stop here, although I’m afraid I didn’t get through all the questions. If I missed your question, leave it in a comment below and I’ll answer it there.

Ireland is a wonderful country with just the nicest people you would ever want to meet! I definitely encourage you to visit if you haven’t already. I’m looking forward to returning one day!

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, dear Friends! See you on Monday for Metamorphosis Monday!




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Comments

  1. Great post: interesting and useful info plus gorgeous photos. Just love that violet sweater. And the navy one. And the green shirt 🙂
    Yes, just put the undies in a plastic bag, roll it up and/or tie it closed, and toss in the trash. Anyone in the habit of sorting through the trash has found far worse by now.
    Mystery Problem in Upstairs Closet–that has Nancy Drew written all over it 🙂

  2. We spent three weeks traveling in Ireland. Had great weather most of the time. Loved our trip. We went because Navy’s home game against Notre Dame was in Dublin. Part of the time we traveled on our own and part of the time with a tour group set up by Notre Dame. Then Ireland set up a wonderful game weekend! Some alumni arranged to send the Notre Dame band. It was amazing to watch people drop what they were doing and take pictures of a marching band! We had a blast!

  3. Sarah Smith says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! Traveling with family and friends is great but I discovered traveling “alone” in my 60’s…what a luxury.

  4. Re a place for your used undies/socks. Years ago I purchased some large plastic bags that look like big ziplocks. I got them at my local AAA after they had a travel seminar. We put our dirty clothes in them, closed the ziplock top. Then you rolled the bag starting from the ziplock end. There is a little air valve at the bottom, so as you roll, it expels all the air. Then you have this nice flat vacuum sealed bag that doesn’t use up any space. You can use it day after day. I had one & one for my hubby. I’m not sure where you’d find them now, as it’s been many years since I’ve purchased them. But knowing you Susan, you’d find them if you wanted them!! Thank you for sharing your travel adventures with us!

    • Becky Sloan says:

      Love your blog Susan! Regarding traveling and underwear, another solution is Exofficio Women’s underwear https://www.exofficio.com/womens-underwear/. They are designed for traveling. You need only a couple of pair for a trip because they are light weight, easily washed and dry by morning. They are a little pricey, but so worth it. I can find them on Amazon and different web sites to get a better price.

  5. Rhonda Bridges says:

    Looks like you had an absolutely wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures!

  6. Bonnie Brown says:

    I always carry along a zip lock bag for worn undies so they stay separated from the fresh ones in my luggage. I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip. It’s my favorite place we’ve traveled and the people are wonderful as you said. I don’t know if we just happened to go at a good time or what, but it only rained one day while we were there. Our visit was in month of July. Looking forward to seeing more pictures of the trip.

  7. My husband & I and another couple went on a golfing trip to Ireland a few years ago. While the guys played 8 beautiful courses, we toured and shopped. The Cliffs of Moher was one of my favorite sights; such a beautiful creation! Linen was a favorite purchase and staying in B&Bs was a great choice. I, too, enjoyed this welcoming, beautiful, lush country and recommend it.

  8. This was very interesting!!! I always travel with a few plastic bags for undies and for shoes that need cleaning when I get home.

    LOVE the violet or is it Magenta……..sweater!! What a great color for you!!

  9. Don’t be afraid to travel alone as a woman. It’s not the big deal people make it out to be. You miss out on a lot of life if you you think you need someone with you to go places.

    For several years, I had a job which required a moderate amount of travel, including annual trips to Alaska where I would take a few days of vacation as well. I never had a problem getting around by myself. I avoided potentially dangerous situations like a hotel in a bad part of town or the narrow gravel road over a mountain pass with no guard rails and no bars on either of my cell phones. Things can go wrong -one missed connection put me in a motel overnight the only time I did not have a change of clothes in my personal item bag. Another connection issue left me sleeping on an airport floor. I lived. Now that I am retired, I may go to Europe alone to explore my heritage.

    • I just don’t want to do any of the planning, much prefer letting someone else handle all the planning, driving, food, tickets, etc… I just want to relax and enjoy. Plus, I know I see so much more on these trips than I would ever see if I was in charge or arranging all the transportation, etc… Kait, try it sometime…it’s so carefree!

  10. Kristin Dimmich says:

    My husband and I are going on the same trip next summer! So glad you were happy with the accomidations, etc. We like the idea of the small size travel group. We have only spent 2 days in Ireland so we are looking forward to seeing more of it. So EXCITED!

  11. Glad you are home and still on Irish time. I can see you cramming in as much as possible in the wee hours.
    Susan, I need your help. What are you using to make the Frye stand up in our GA weather? I’m thinking of taking it to my cobbler and let him do it, but if you have a better ideal I’m all eyes.
    Also, did your silverware boxes come from the container store? No longer space for another utensil whatever it’s called.
    Liked your Irish booty. Had to lol since I would have bought the same.
    Puffins of a feather.

    • Thanks, Kem! Okay, have a long answer for you. I purchased a stiff, felt organizer. I’ve seen a lot of YouTubers add organizers to their totes/bags, so that’s how I first became aware of them. A lot of the organizers aren’t stiff enough, but I found one that was very close in size to the Frye bag. I called Frye to ask them if they made one for the tote and they said, no. They are missing out on a big opportunity because most folks do want an organizer inside a large tote so stuff is…well…organized! lol

      I looked and looked online EVERYWHERE and no one makes an organizer that is the exact same size as the Frye bag, so what I did was I bought this one in a size X-Large, because it’s really close: http://amzn.to/2wwQKt9.

      It was bugging me that it’s not the exact size, though…it’s a couple of inches too wide…it’s the perfect length, though. So right before I left on my trip, I took it to a seamstress near me. I asked her to reduce the width and I left the bag with her so she would have it for comparison while she worked on the organizer. I will blog about all this since I know a lot of people have these bags. Anyway, she did a great job, but I had her make one adjustment…I’ll mention that in the post when I blog about it.

      Now the insert fits absolutely perfectly, just like it was made for it. When I returned from Ireland, I took the other insert/organizer to her (I had bought two organizers since I have two bags) and she’s working on it right now. It will be ready middle of next week.

      They work excellent and keep the bag standing up when it isn’t very full. Google and see if you can find an organizer that’s an exact fit for the Frye bag, I wasn’t able to…but this one is pretty close. I just wanted it to fit exactly so that’s why I decided to have the width adjusted by a seamstress. I would have done it myself but the felt is so stiff, I didn’t think my sewing machine would be able to handle it.

      Just make sure that the organizer you buy is a really stiff felt material or something that will support the bag. A lot of organizers aren’t that stiff. I love an organizer because they also help protect a bag from stains…like pen stains, makeup stains , etc…

      About the silverware containers, do you mean the plastic bins I’m using in the cabinets in the garage? I found those in Home Depot for $1 each.

  12. Oh, a travel closet sounds sooooo luxurious and fabulous! You know how to live!

    I toss my underwear , and since I prefer to travel very lightly, I find a laundromat with an attendant to do the rest of the laundry for me. I bring 2 gallon ziplock bags for my dirty clothes, as well as for my shoes (can’t stand the thought of the bottoms of the shoes touching my clothes) my scarves, and a few spares for emergencies or a wet swimsuit and such.

    I bring several sizes of ziplocks, they come in so handy. I even keep a quart size in my handbag to use as a mini trash receptacle! (A lifesaver when you catch a cold and are using a lot of Kleenex)

    You did surely get some lovely treasures! Can’t wait to see your Beleek, and find out about your strange mystery….

  13. Wonderful post, interjecting all your goodies along the way. The sweaters are my favorites here. 🙂
    PS – Mornings are the best!

  14. Oh Susan, what a wonderful experience. Glad you enjoyed and are home safe. Love all the goodies, especially the navy and purple sweaters. Merino wool would be great for Chicago winters.

    Do you find that the organized group tours lack the time you wish to spend at some places or in shopping? That would be a real problem for me. :-/ (In high school, I was left at Notre Dame Cathedral by the tour bus!)

    As usual, I catch a lot with your photos. I’m sure I have seen these before…As an avid blue and white lover of anything, I love your bed linens and pillow(s)… As I ‘ve enquired of many of your items…Where oh where did they come from? A great balance with the tertiary colors yellow/rose!

    You live the life Girlfriend!

    • There are definitely times that I wish we had a bit more time to linger in a spot, but once I’m back home from a trip, I am always astounded at how many places we visited and how well organized the trip was. With this trip, I felt like we had sufficient time at all the sites we visited. There was only one of two places I would have like to have had a bit more time to linger and explore. The great thing about a tour like this is it introduces you to the best parts of a country, while you learn about other places in the country, as well. Then you can always go back again and see it more in depth, if you wish. With a small group, you can just see so much more…love that!
      Of course, I would have loved more shopping time. I wish we had been able to stay a little longer at Blarney Castle, but when I look back, I managed to get everything I really wanted to do there accomplished. There’s never enough time though…I could have stayed in Ireland for a month and still would have wished for more time.

      Thanks, Sheryl! You can see that bedroom better in this post…it’s my guest bedroom: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/hardwood-flooring-for-the-guest-room-a-reveal/

      I purchased that duvet/shams many, many years ago. It’s by Ralph Lauren and I think the pattern name was something like “Porcelain.” It was available for several years and I used to see sets on eBay occasionally. I don’t know if it’s still around though. I love blue and white so fell hard for it when I ran across it. I think I purchased it in either Macys or Dillards, been so long I can’t remember now.
      I had the pillow, curtains and tablecloth made by a company that’s now out of business. Again, that was many years ago and I’ve forgotten the pattern name of the pillow fabric but I do remember it was by Sanderson and had the word “ribbon” in it because there’s a blue ribbon that runs all throughout the fabric. I just wanted to introduce another pattern/color to the room and loved how it looked with the blue and white bedding. It was a risk since it was a bit pricey to have made, but thankfully I loved how it looked in the end.

  15. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    You are so thorough, it’s amazing! Ireland sounds wonderful and I am glad you had a great time. I might just start packing!

    I have used the plastic bags that are usually in the closet of your room that are provided for hotel laundry service for worn items, although that is probably not an option at a castle or b&b.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your lovely experience.

  16. Just returned from Ireland myself. Ten days in Ireland, 10 days in Scotland with free time before, after and between tours. I do regret not getting a poncho I loved thinking I’d find another I liked better or found a better price. We called it power shopping. You may only have 45 minutes to shop and had to return to the bus. On our free days we did flee markets, festivals and boutiques, my favorites. I would recommend to anyone traveling to add a few days to a tour for down time to dine and shop casually. Also, check your hotel for laundry service. One of ours had an $20 fee per bag of dirty laundry to be returned the following morning. Awesome.

  17. Bobbi Duncan says:

    Hi, Susan. I love all your goodies, especially the violet sweater. I know your family will be so pleased with your thoughtful gifts. Sounds like such a wonderful trip. I hope that I’ll make it to Ireland one day so that I can see where some of my relatives were born and raised. Know what you mean about those early hours; I get so much more accomplished early in the day, and it’s such a peaceful time. Hope you have a fun weekend.

  18. I love hearing about your travels and the preparations. So glad you had a wonderful time. You have posted about travel pillows before. Which one did you finally decide is the best? Thanks

    • Thanks, Barbara! The one I purchased before I went to Morocco worked wonderful for that trip…you can see it here: http://amzn.to/2eyFBU8
      I slept so long with it, my seatmate asked where I got it when I finally woke up. He said he was going to shop for one as soon as he could. lol

      It didn’t work quite as well on the flight to and from Ireland because the plane we were in had a pillow built into the back headrest. I don’t think the plane I flew on to and from Morocco had that. The built-in pillow got in the way of my new pillow so I couldn’t get it positioned quite right. I hope all Delta planes don’t have that built in…I definitely don’t like it.

    • This is the other pillow I’ve used and it works well, too. http://amzn.to/2vUMJwH
      Not sure how it would do on a plane with the built-in pillow in the head rest, though.

  19. Your trip to Ireland sounds divine. Have been to many other places in Europe and going on my third river cruise next month. Love river cruising through Europe. Large plastic ziplock bags are a MUST for shoes, gallon size for unmentionables. I place all my dirty clothes flat in a tall kitchen bag as the trip advances. Then it is placed on top of clean clothes for the return trip. When the trip is over, the bag is dropped off in the laundry room. Makes unpacking much easier. The zippered elongated mesh bags from travel stores make storing undies very handy. Infact that is a permanent solution to my closet drawers too. Just grab a full bag and put it in suitcase. No refilling or folding. Mesh bags come in multiple sizes. I always carry an assortment of ziplock bags in many sizes to enclose shampoos etc. Wal-mart carries inexpensive thin, light-weight, plastic-coated hangers that lay flat in my suitcase ready to hang up clothes for cruising where I can leave them behind when it is over. Never enough hangers.
    Hope these suggestions help.
    Looking forward to more posts from your trip.

    • I like the large kitchen bag idea, would really help with unpacking. Thanks for that suggestion, Vicki! I’ve only been on one river cruise and really enjoyed it. I don’t care too much for large cruise ships but the river cruise felt a lot cozier. Definitely would do that again. Great idea on the hangers, too!

  20. Cindy Peterson says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I will be going to Ireland (Dingle, Doolin) in November, so all this information is really appreciated. One question I have about your purple sweater – is it scratchy at all, being Merino wool?

    • Thanks, Cindy! It isn’t to me and I’m pretty sensitive to regular wool. When I wore it in Ireland, it was over a shirt and in the places where it touched my skin like my neck/wrists, etc… it wasn’t scratchy at all.

  21. I’d like it if you could tell us about the food over there!

    • It was very much like ours. One thing that was different, their “bacon” is little, round slices of what looks like ham that’s been cooked/fried in a pan. So their bacon doesn’t look anything like ours.
      They also eat these little round things for breakfast call pudding, they looked like little mini hockey pucks. They were on every breakfast buffet at every castle hotel we stayed in. No one in our group ever seemed interested in trying those. I ate one and it tasted pretty good.
      Everything else was pretty much like our food. We had potatoes at almost every dinner, so potatoes are definitely a big part of the meals. They have a bunch of fast food places there, just like here. I saw Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds when we were riding through some cities.

  22. Susan, I love seeing what you brought back as souvenirs. You think like I do. I like to find things that are useful and reflect the area in which I traveled. I also like to do my Christmas shopping when I travel. It makes the gifts a bit more special. Thanks for sharing all the tips. Hope you can get your body clock back in a routine.

  23. No Waterford? I could not go to Ireland without buying at least one piece in a pattern unusual for the USA. I loved the pattern used on Downton Abbey. The artistry of hand cut lead crystal is fascinating to me, especially when signed by the artist. From tiny to large, I decorate with my pieces year round. It’s my favorite.

    • Unfortunately, all the Waterford you normally think of is no longer being made in Waterford, it’s being made in Slovenia now, per our guide. They still make some one-of-a-kind/special requests pieces in Waterford, but from what he said, I think that’s about it. I already have a good bit of Waterford: Ruby Hock wine glasses, the 12 days of Christmas champagne glasses and Araglin is my fine crystal pattern. You can see all three of those glasses in this tablescape: http://betweennapsontheporch.net/tablescaping-with-dept-56-a-christmas-tablescape-welcome-to-the-67th-tablescape-thursday/

      We did go to a crystal factory and saw it being hand-made so that was really interesting. I hadn’t planned to buy Waterford on this trip since I already had some and have heard it’s just not the same as it once was. Most folks these days try to find the older Waterford for that reason. Seems nothing stays the way it was in the “good ole days.”

  24. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. Ever consider being a tour guide ? Do you think the tour guide always says to go up the Cliffs of Moher first and says to himself “It works every time” ?
    Love the purple sweater.

  25. Cynthia Raines says:

    Beautiful sweaters and they will for sure keep you warm! I do the same for dirty clothes by using the tall kitchen garage bags and various zip lock bags. For bras and undies, I have also used the clear plastic zippered bags pillowcases come in. I can’t wait to see that beautiful lamp in your office. What a joy it will be, every time you look at it!

  26. So great reading about your trip(s) … can’t wait to hear more!

  27. Welcome Home, You’re just like me, when I go on a trip the grandchildren always get gifts and not only do they look forward to seeing what I brought them, I also look forward to seeing them wear them. Grandchildren are so precious aren’t they. Looking forward to more post.

  28. I love to travel and have been fortunate to see many places in the past…But you are now inspiring me to start to travel on my own…Instead of whining anymore about my husband’s lack of interest to go anywhere, anymore, I need to take the plunge and start the process! I am getting older, last child finally left the nest this past year and I dont want to regret in my later years all I could have still experienced while I was healthy and able! I signed up for the OAT newsletter, but do you also suggest an agency , similar, that does tours of our states?

  29. Glad you had a wonderful time and picked up some treasures…how did the Frye tote work out for you?

    • I never got around to waterproofing it with the Frye weather stuff that I purchased, so I didn’t take it. I hate weatherproofing stuff…afraid it will change the color. But I know I need to do that. I’m glad I didn’t take it since we had a good bit of rain during the first half of the trip. I’m going to post about those bags again soon, though. I did something with the insert I purchased for them and I’m going to share that soon.

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