Ireland – Day 6

Today we are heading back toward Dublin!


Day 6 Itinerary for Thursday, February 25, 2016:

  • 6:45 AM: Leave Hotel
  • Traveling To:
    • Leap Castle
    • Glendalough
    • Phoenix Park
    • Newgrange
  • Hotel: Dunboyne Castle Hotel

This is how the day ACTUALLY unfolded:

We left the hotel very early (thankfully the valet agreed to leave our car out front so we could simply leave in the morning rather than getting someone to fetch it from the illusive valet parking lot) and there was frost and fog covering everything. Because Leap Castle is privately owned, we decided to forgo it and head straight to Glendalough. It turned out to be a great decision! On our way, we stopped at a petrol station to fuel up and get some coffee at Costa Coffee. The coffee was pretty good and the chocolate fingers were very good too. We also had a very low tire so we filled it up with air while we were there!

Glendalough was breathtaking. The lake was like glass reflecting the huge mountains and we didn’t even really encounter people until we reached the monastic site.

After exploring Glendalough, we headed into the mountains on our way to Newgrange (we decided against going to Phoenix Park because we had already visited it twice on our bus tour the first day). We stopped at the Glencree Center for lunch. The food wasn’t great but the coffee was good.

From there we went to Newgrange and did the tour. Our bus diver was an absolute crack up telling us about all the funny things tourists ask such as, “Where are the other undiscovered ruins?” or, “Why did they build this so far from the airport?” HA! Newgrange was surprisingly (for me) awesome. I didn’t have high hopes for it and didn’t even think we’d make it to the site with everything else we had planned, but I’m sure glad we did. Our tour guide was so interesting and even did a bit of the tour in Irish.

On our way to our hotel, we got stuck in serious rush hour traffic, so by the time we got to our hotel we were famished. Some of the locals at the pharmacy told us about a restaurant called La Bucca and it was absolutely lovely!

Our final stop was to a local grocery store where we spent around $100 on chocolate and candy for the kids (and us). Have I mentioned how delicious the chocolate from Ireland is? It’s DELICIOUS!

This hotel was much different from the others as it didn’t have the castle feel to it. It was nice, though, and comfortable.


Tomorrow we leave on a jet plane, saying goodbye to Ireland.

~Thankfully Exhausted


Safety on the Ice

Fishing has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. I remember donning all of my snow clothes many Saturdays, not to build snowmen, go sledding, or skiing (though we did those things too), but to go ice fishing. Ice fishing was a relatively safe procedure in my child eyes. 

Step 1: Get on the snowmobile.

Step 2: Wait on the snowmobile while dad set up the tents, heaters, drilled holes, and set up fishing poles.

Step 3: Sit in chairs and watch a tiny bobber float around a watery hole in the ground. 

Step 4: Eat lunch.

Step 5: Pack up (meaning sit on the snowmobile while dad packed up). 

Step 6: Warm up with hot cocoa that mom had waiting for us at home. 

Catching fish was not always a part of the equation and safety never crossed my mind. 

When I turned 18, I decided to join the local volunteer fire department. One of the many trainings involved in being a Firefighter near mountain lakes is ice rescue. The first time I ever considered the ice dangerous was during my first ice rescue training. Instead of donning my snow clothes, I was donning a “gumby suit” – a suit that has the ability to keep two grown men afloat (one is presumably wearing the suit and the other is usually being rescued) and keeps the person wearing the suit nice and toasty in freezing water.

ImageIn this suit I was required lower myself into the water through a (typically) pre-cut hole in the ice to simulate the rescue of a fellow Firefighter. Now, after completing ice rescue training more times than I can count with two different agencies, I am fully familiar with the dangers of being on ice. Will this stop me from ice fishing or bringing the ice fishing experience to my girls? No. Will it help me be more aware of safety practices while doing so? Absolutely. 

Some tips I’ve learned: 

1. A dog that goes through the ice is more likely to self rescue than the person that goes out to rescue the dog and falls in, whether the person goes onto the ice or not. 

2. Life jackets are a great tool when going onto the ice, especially with kids. If they go in, they’ll float. 

3. If you’re snowmobiling and hit open water, stay on the throttle. Do not stop. If you stop, the machine will end up at the bottom of the lake and you’ll be in the water. If you keep going, you may just make it across to the next piece of ice or land. 

4. A rope and ice picks that are easily accessible are great self-rescue/assisted-rescue tools. 

Some additional references:

~ Thankfully Exhausted