Glendalough, Leighlinbridge and Cork, Ireland

Well, I only have five days until St. Patrick's Day so I better get this Emerald Isle recap moving if I am going to capitalize on the whole March = Irish = window for a six-month late Ireland recap hullabaloo. We started off day two of our trip in Scotland, but then hopped on very cheap and very short Ryanair flight to Dublin. International trips aren't going to very common for us so we fell to the temptation of planning jam-packed days. So we grabbed our luggage from the left luggage man, picked up the rental car and set off on a day that would include 200 miles of driving. Four hours in the car is not a bad thing at all when the view rolling by your window is the Irish countryside. It is just vividly GREEN. I could not believe it, and I kept saying that over and over. My favorite line from my dad from the whole trip was his reply, "That's what happens when you get a lot of rain." The ever practical farmer.  

Our first stop was Glendalough in County Wicklow just about an hour south of Dublin. Chris planned a lot of the trip, and when Chris researches something, he really gets into it. He spent days working on it and then gave me an Excel spreadsheet with groups of possible sights to see all organized by their locations. Then I just would google-image the places and pick out the ones from the list that were the most scenic since they were all historic. 

Glendalough was one that I marked as one that I really wanted to visit so I was happy that it worked perfectly into our first day in Ireland. It is home to a monastic city dating back to the sixth century that was founded by St. Kevin. Very neat and very fitting to visit since that is my Dad's name! My photos really do not do justice to the beauty of the valley at all. 

I loved all of these celtic cross gravestones in the cemetery.

My Irish men! 

Chris, of course, had to go off the beaten path and climb up the mountain along the littler waterfall. He was much higher than it looks in the photos. 

After walking around Glendalough for about an hour, we got back in the car and made our way to the little town that my ancestors came from! Bet you never would have guessed that I'm Irish :).

My great-great-great grandparents immigrated to the US from Leighlinbridge, Ireland, a tiny town in County Carlow. We found the church that they were married in, St. Lazerian's, and peeked inside. It was so surreal to imagine the wedding that came five marriages before mine and to think about my great-great-great grandchildren peeking into the Basilica. I'm a sap.
St. Lazerian's Church
The interior of the church
Five generations later :)
We didn't see any family stores with my maiden name, but we did find this!! I guess the town knew who I would marry ;)
After we found a place serving lunch, which was actually pretty hard to do because it seemed like the entire town was empty, we ventured off to find the town cemetery so we could find some of my great-great-great grandparents' relatives. My grandma, uncle and aunt had found the graves during their trip to Ireland a few years back so we knew they existed, and my Aunt Laura, the family genealogist, had given instructions to make sure to go to the old cemetery by the old church not the new one. We thought we found it, but that one turned out to be the new cemetery since the oldest grave in it was maybe from the sixties? Yeah, we were looking for 100+ year old graves. So we drove around the little town until we found a man who was out walking and asked him where the old cemetery was. He gave us spotty directions, and we somehow found this cemetery behind the ruins of an old church that was behind a little house with a dog. This cemetery was plenty old as you can tell by the photo below. Most of the gravestones were covered in thick three foot tall grass or were completely illegible. After twenty minutes of searching  every grave above the sea of grass to no avail and my dad vaguely remembering that my grandma mentioned that the cemetery was pretty unkempt, we decided to snap a pic and move along. I actually just did some google-searching about the cemeteries in Leighlinbridge, and there might be one right past the church...which we never went past, just to. I kind of hope not or else that would mean that we were so close to it, but missed it.

Maybe my ancestors skipped some rocks at this very same spot?

After we left the cemetery, we made the drive to Cork, Ireland which is where we think Chris' family is from! We stayed at a quaint and cozy bed and breakfast, Glencairn B&B, that was run by a man from Ohio (imagine that!) and his Irish wife. And on the way to Cork, we spotted this beautiful rainbow adorning the Irish countryside. Surprisingly, we did not find a pot of gold.