• cliffs of moher 2017

    10 Must See Places in Ireland if You Like Castles and Nature

    I routinely receive emails from people asking what they should do when visiting Ireland. It’s an impossible question! Especially if you are only visiting for a week. For a small country, Ireland has a lot to see, experience and savor. I should know – I lived there for two years and didn’t see or do everything on my list. Oh, the regrets! With St. Patrick’s Day only a few days away, I thought it would be fitting to round up my favorite, must-see places in the Republic of Ireland especially if you like castles and nature. I’m leaving Northern Ireland off the list (this time!) only because I’m trying to help you…

  • blarney castle 2017

    Living in Ireland: Practical Advice for Americans

    I realize most of my readers are not expats, but I have to get this information out of my head before I forget! If it saves just one person a tiny bit of anxiety about their move to Ireland, it is worth it. On with the show… We spent two years living in Ireland. I don’t say this lightly. It was the opportunity of a lifetime! People say about our experience, “That must have been amazing. Ireland is so beautiful.” Yes, it was. Yes, it is. However, this is real life and real life under normal circumstances can be freaking hard at times. Throw in a foreign country and you’ve upped…

  • Ireland,  moving

    Living in Ireland: When to Move Back to the U.S.

    This was a hard article to write. If you’ve been living in Ireland, how do you know when it’s time to move back home? In our case, home is the United States. If you are an American citizen who moved to Ireland for work, then you probably entered Ireland in one of two ways: on a contract or as a permanent hire. If you were on a contract with a set end-date, then you know when you’ll be leaving. If you entered Ireland as a permanent hire, then your end date (if there is one) is more ambiguous and something you’ll have to determine for yourself. My husband works for…

  • trinity college long room
    Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: The Book of Kells

    It’s hard to prioritize what to do and see in Dublin if you are visiting for a short period of time. You’d think this process would be easier if you are living in Dublin, but NOPE! It took us two years before we got around to seeing the Book of Kells. I’m not sure why we waited so long. No one else does! Close to a million visitors a year view the Book of Kells making it the 5th most popular tourist attraction in Ireland. If you’re a history buff, a book lover, a believer in the gospels and/or a Star Wars fan, this is the tour for you! WHAT IS…

  • Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: Kilmainham Gaol Museum

    When we arrived at Kilmainham Gaol Museum on the west side of Dublin, we were greeted at a big imposing door by a stout-looking Irish man with grey hair. He looked at me and with all seriousness said, “Ah! I see you’ve brought us some long-term guests!” My kids stared at the man and then slowly looked at me like, “He’s joking, right mom? RIGHT?!?!” Have I mentioned that Kilmainham Gaol is a prison? Technically, it WAS a prison. Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 on a site known as Gallows Hill. If that doesn’t set the stage for an 18th century prison, I don’t know what does. WHY YOU SHOULD…

  • Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: St. Patrick’s Day

    Visiting Ireland any time of year is special. Visting Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day? Well, that’s taking things up a notch or ten million. Let’s start with some basics. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who is believed to have died on March 17 around the year 460 A.D. Record keeping might not have been quite as stringent in the 5th century. Hence, all the qualifying words. It is believed that St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland or, at least, had a large influence on Christianity in Ireland. Many of the stories about St. Patrick aren’t necessarily factual. However, they are impressive if you have certain phobias. For…

  • Ireland

    Living in Ireland: Surviving a Snowstorm

    Surviving a snowstorm. Yes, that’s a bit melodramatic. However, snow is not something I thought I’d be writing about while living in Ireland. This island is supposed to have a temperate climate, after all. But every decade or so conditions are just right to deliver a weather wollup to the country. In this case (March 2018), it was in the form of Storm Emma colliding with “The Beast from the East,” which was a disruption to the stratospheric polar vortex that normally stays right where it belongs – up above the Arctic Circle. (And, yes. I had to google that.) When these two meteorological forces combined over the country of Ireland,…

  • Family,  holidays

    Happy Halloween

    It’s here! It’s here! My kids are busting with excitement. They love Halloween! For those of you who have wondered, yes, Halloween is celebrated in Ireland. The kids do dress up and go trick-or-treating, so that is on the agenda for later today. We also carved pumpkins! The teeniest, tiniest pumpkins. Honest to goodness, I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner. See that little hole in the top of the pumpkin? Mom and dad cannot fit their hands in there. Therefore, mom and dad’s ability to help with this process is very, very limited. Or so I told my kids. Worked like a charm. These were Irish grown, “medium-sized” pumpkins. They…

  • seaweed on the irish sea on the happy list
    Family,  Ireland

    Living in Ireland: Exploring Our New Country

    For our friends and family back home, today is just a little bit of random life as viewed through our iPhone lens. We know Ireland’s beautiful summer weather is fleeting, so we paused for a picture one night. I’m not 100% sure, but I think Handy Husband was trying to blend into his surroundings. This is hard to do when you are standing next to a kid wearing multiple colors and prints. I admire her sense of style bravado. Wearing an uniform to school is going to be a big adjustment for this 9-year-old. She did ask me if she could wear any headband she wanted to school. My answer? Well, they didn’t…

  • Family,  Ireland

    Moving to Ireland: A Day Out and About

    Can I get a hip-hip-hooray for Friday? I have a bunch of posts in progress to share with you, but I just wasn’t feeling it for today. Instead, I thought I’d just share some random pictures. These all happen to be taken the day we got the keys to our new house, but have nothing to do with the new house. In the last month, we have become quite adept at taking the DART train. We’ve taught the kids to swipe their own train tickets and to read the signs so they know which train we are taking and when it is due to arrive. Tourist Tip: The trains are marked with their final…