I thought that I would take a break from maternity posts for the moment and revisit my trip to Ireland from last year. It's so hard to believe that it has been a full year since we were there. I miss it so much and the fact that Roibeard and I have decided to postpone our wedding only makes it worse. We were scheduled to get married in October. When baby Micheal came into the picture we decided to put it off, but it was too late as his family had already made the payment at city hall. For the past few months we've been trying to convince ourselves that we can do it all...just for the sake of not losing that money...
Now that everything is getting closer though we've both spent a lot of time talking and thinking it over and have come to the decision that putting it off for a year is just the best thing for us to do.
Planning a wedding in a different country, worrying about visas, worrying about taking additional time off right after my maternity leave, trying to find a new job, recovering from giving birth, and traveling with a two month old baby is just too overwhelming for me. For both of us actually.
Don't get me wrong, it really sucks that we are going to lose the deposit that was put down at city hall, but looking at the big picture...we haven't spent any money on vendors or the reception yet. We never sent out save-the-dates because that's not a thing in Ireland. I haven't yet bought a dress (due to not knowing what size I would be two months post birth). We haven't booked our plane tickets or spent the money on a marriage visa. So in the long run we are saving ourselves from unnecessary stress and we'll have some extra money set aside for when the baby comes. Plus we won't be losing money from booking off work for the wedding.
But...it means not seeing the Emerald Isle again for a whole year...
Cong pretty much captures the image that pops into my head when I think of Ireland. Stone walls...green hills for miles and miles...sheep...a cool breeze...and clouds that always have the slightest threat of rain. It's certainly a very romantic image and dramatically different from what Roibeard's image of "back home" entails. Even so we both found ourselves awed by the charming little village of Cong.
Although the bus dropped us off right outside of the downtown area finding our b&b was a bit of a hassle. Like most places in Europe, Ireland isn't the best at posting street names. So of course we started off by walking a mile in the wrong direction before realizing that we should have found the b&b by that point. So we headed the mile back to where we started passing by all of the serene farmland on the way. Then we had a walk a mile or two in the other direction before we finally found our place of rest. Only when we got there we were informed that they had accidently overbooked and we would have to stay at another b&b five miles down the road. Our hearts sank at that point. Five more miles of walking? With all of our luggage? NOOOOO! Luckily the hostess offered us a lift to the other place. Phew!
We ended up staying on a farm with the cutest elderly couple. The husband tended to the farm duties while the wife ran the bed and breakfast. They were a good team and really helpful. They told us a back way of getting into Ashford Castle (where we didn't have to pay...hehe...) and offered us a lift to the bus station once our stay was up.
Cong is located in county Mayo on the western coast of Ireland and is just a teeny tiny little village with a population of 185 people. Its claim to fame is that it is where the 1952 film, The Quiet Man was shot.
Its other main attraction is Ashford Castle, a 13th century castle that was built by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke. Today it is a luxury hotel. That's right...you can actually spend the night in the castle!!!! (As touristy as that sounds....I was really into the idea...that is until we discovered one night there costs around 300 pounds...)
Roibeard and I spent our day there exploring downtown, the old abbey ruins, the castle, and the castle grounds. For such a little village there was quite a bit to do and see.
Unfortunately our camera battery ran out just as we made it to the castle, so we ended up with very few actual photographs of it. I really wish we could have gone inside and explored all of its secrets. Oh well. Next time. ;)