The journey to Ireland started with a very long layover at JFK. When we finally left, I settled into my comfy seat, popped a couple of sleeping pills and sipped my champagne. I was sad to miss out on the delicious dinner options, but the secret to avoiding jet lag is to sleep on the way over and party hard on the way back!
While I waited for them to finish the boarding process I settled in. There was a problem loading the luggage (not mine of course, I carry on) so we got a late start. By the time we took off I was ready to sleep. As soon as we were airborne I reclined fully and I was out! Next thing I knew it was daylight and we were making our initial approach. I zipped through customs and out to the Hertz desk to pick up my car.
I was sad it they didn’t have a MINI but after driving the behemoth around Scotland during Thanksgiving, I was thrilled that they’d given me a tiny little Citroen. I remembered to walk around the outside of the car and look for damage, which is progress since I usually forget, loaded up my bags, made sure I could back up, and fired up my Google maps. I pulled out and made my way to the freeway before I realized that the low tire pressure light was on. I took the next exit and drove back to the airport and ended up at the Hertz return lot. I parked and an older gentleman came out to meet me. He asked me if I was returning my car and I told him I was just leaving when I noticed the low tire pressure light was on. He said, all the cars have low tire pressure lights on, they don’t often remember to reset them. He walked around the car and literally kicked every wheel. “Yep,” he said, “they are all right as rain! Nothing to worry about! Have a good time!” I climbed back in and took off.
My first stop was the Hill of Tara. I wanted to see the Stone of Destiny, but the ground was completely mushy, the gale force wind was icy cold, and I was a little tired from fighting it to get up the hill to the welcome center (which was closed!)
The mounds I did see were impressive, though I imagine an aerial shot would have done them more justice. It’s too bad I don’t have a drone! I got back in my tiny car and drove on and the narrow, little country roads I took to get there made that choice totally worth it!
Once I got on the freeway I stopped at a service area and got a bacon roll and a flat white. It was busy, so I got take away and hopped back in my cute little Citroen. I was making great time until traffic suddenly came to a slow crawl behind a police car that was driving down the middle of the road with his lights on. We drove that way for a couple of miles to the next exit where everyone was being forced off the road. My GPS was terribly confused when we got to the roundabout so naturally I followed the pepper white MINI in front of me. I wasn’t sure where he was going but he was in a MINI so it was bound to be fun right? That plan went off the rails when he whipped into a driveway to make a U turn and I couldn’t do it and had to continue on. I ended up on a little village road, and in little villages, people tend to park right on the road which means there’s only one lane in either direction. There were cars piling up behind me so I kept going until the road suddenly turned into a one way going the other way. I turned into a long narrow driveway and had to go to the end to try to make a U turn. Halfway through my eight-point turn (it’s a tiny car but there wasn’t a lot of space) the cars who had followed me into the driveway began to figure out there was nowhere to go and started backing up. That’s when the hailstorm started…
When my GPS finally caught up to me I was on my way through Galway. From there, there’s one road that winds around the mountains and out to the western coast. My castle was in Clifden and it was a spectacular drive to get there.
I pulled into Clifden and arrived at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel just in time for tea.