Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Austin and I took our first camping trip this past Easter weekend.  We packed up his enormous four-bedroom tent, a cooler full of food & drinks, chairs, tailgate golf, and of course, Dozer; and set out on our adventure.
My husband did all of the setting up while I relaxed and read my kindle, listening to the sounds of nature.

 Our campsite was serene and beautiful.  Dozer had a blast searching out lizards, skinks, and squirrels.

After finishing up our breakfast tacos on Saturday morning, we went on a hike and soaked up the wonderful scent of the luscious bluebonnets.  After a couple of miles, we were beginning to feel the heat, so we headed back to camp to relax and grill lunch.  Hamburgers!

No camping trip is complete without smores!  We roasted marshmallows after dinner.

It was really nice to get away and enjoy each other's company.

I wish we could've stayed longer.  Dozer certainly wouldn't have minded!  The weather was absolutely perfect, it cooled off substantially at night - enough to need a blanket - and was bright & sunny during the day.

What's your favorite part about camping?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cooley Whiskey

Our last full day in Ireland began with a beautiful, chilly sunrise on the Cooley Peninsula.

Truth be told, I was cuddled up in bed while Austin ventured out into the cold for this photograph.

That morning, we had another fantastic breakfast.  I had crepes, and Austin had the same 'ole Irish breakfast.  (Apparently he never tires of sausage, bacon, eggs and toast.)  After eating, we packed up our bags and set out for the Cooley Whiskey Distillery.

I love me some whiskey!  After our own special tour of the distillery, the manager sent us down to Martin's pub on the end of the street for some samples.

We spent a couple of hours sipping whiskey, snacking on Irish cheese, and chatting with the bartender.  It was one of my favorite activities of the entire trip!

My favorite whiskey was the Connemara.  We didn't purchase it, though - we got a bottle of the Killbegan and a sampler pack of all the Cooley Whiskeys for my parents.  I'm hoping to find a bottle of Connemara sometime to try it again.  The flavor was very unique to Ireland, as it is a peated single malt whiskey.

After our whiskey-tasting fun, we stopped by the Proleek Dolmen, another portal tomb.

We enjoyed walking around and seeing the sights, amazed at how such a historical artifact is hidden behind a hotel in the middle of nowhere.

Isn't it mind boggling to think of how they lifted that huge rock, weighing 40 tons, back in the 3000-2000 BC era, when there was no such thing as a crane?

After lunch, we drove towards Dublin.  We stayed at Rathview House, a cute B&B just minutes from the Dublin airport.  This was key to our selection of a hotel, as we had to be at the airport extremely early for our flights.  (Of course, the flight was delayed and we ended up being there an extra 5 hours early, but anywhoo...gotta love international flights)

We walked around Swords for a while, and discovered one last castle to admire.

 We walked around town before deciding on where we would eat dinner, and finally selected Masterson's Steakhouse.  We shared a delicious appetizer, sweet beef stirfry.  For our entrees, we both had the sea bass fillet fried in lemon butter and drizzled with a citrus Beurre Blanc.

For dessert, we had a hot fudge chocolate cake.  And when we got back to our room, our hostess served us a glass of white wine.  Perfection.  Sweet dreams!

The next day we arrived at the airport at 7 am for a hellacious 24-hours of airports, planes, and delayed flights.  We were happy to be home.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hill of Tara

Monday was a lazy day of rest and relaxation. We arrived in Galway, checked into Summerville House, stopped at an ATM for cash, and went to lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant.  I had lasagna, Austin had a goat cheese pizza.  It was a fantastic meal.

After lunch, we found a shopping mall but were disappointed to have to park in a parking garage.  Since we were paying for parking, we didn't shop very long.  The mall was very similar to malls in the states, and the tourist shops had identical items to what we'd already seen.  So shopping was a bust, which is something I would personally never admit!  We headed back to the B&B - Austin watched a game of rugby while I took a nap.  Then we watched a few Friends episodes together and sipped on wine.  Finally at 8pm we realized we had better go find something for dinner.  Austin ordered an entree, and I ate a few bites, but saved my room for dessert.  We ordered two desserts: a chocolate eclair and berries and ice cream!

On Tuesday, we accidentally slept in past our breakfast time, but fortunately our host was kind enough to serve us still.  I finally had the opportunity to order something other than the typical Irish breakfast, so I asked for french toast (yum), and Austin stuck with his Irish breakfast.

We had a pretty long drive from Galway to Dundalk, so we planned a stop to see the Hill of Tara.

Mound of Hostages

The Hill of Tara is a beautiful, serene area with many ancient monuments, a sacral site associated with kingship rituals.

 The Lia Fáil, Stone of Destiny

We were intrigued by the Mound of Hostages, an ancient passage tomb.  There are hundreds of bodies, mostly cremated, buried in 1600-1700 BC, organized in layers beneath the passage.


The doorway faces directly east, and inside there were stones with inscriptions we were unable to read.

That afternoon, we arrived in Dundalk and found the Greengates B&B.  We took a drive out towards the Cooley Peninsula.

 For dinner, we went to a local pub and shared a bowl of soup and chicken strips with chili dipping sauce.  I had a Jameson and Austin had a couple pints of Carlsberg.  For dessert we had a slice of chocolate cake with ice cream.

Next up: our tour of the Cooley Whiskey Distillery...