Just before we received news that our visa clearance for Japan had been successful, Dillon’s parents came from North Yorkshire to visit us in Mullingar. It was so good to see them both, and we all had a great opportunity to explore more of Ireland. With Storm Doris travelling over from the UK that week, most days were fairly wild, wet and windy, but that didn’t stop us from packing lots in.
After a visit to the walled garden at Belvedere House, we went to Trim Castle and the distillery at Kilbeggan. I really enjoyed seeing how the water wheel at the distillery was covered with healthy and green pond life! (Thank you to my mother-in-law Tracy for these lovely photos of Trim Castle, the Jealous Wall at Belevedere House, and Kilbeggan distillery.)
We then took a hike up to Loughcrew Cairns, where you can see all across the Irish counties. I couldn’t make it all the way to the top as it was an incredibly windy day, and I had just been allowed to stop wearing my sling (and knowing my luck if I had tried to go further I would have fallen, hurt myself again and been stuck at the top of the hill!) It’s incredible to think that in prehistoric times people found a way to shift immense weights of rock all the way up to the top of the hill – here are some more photos:
Possibly my favourite trip we took was to the Irish Military War Museum in Starinagh. Run by a small group of military history enthusiasts, who have curated their own private collection over decades, the museum explores both World Wars in detail, as well as featuring relics and memorabilia from a range of other conflicts too. The audio commentary was particularly interesting, as the knowledge and passion these men had for their craft came across so strongly. I especially liked the cabinets dedicated to artifacts they had literally picked up off the Somme battlefield and transported back to Ireland, as well as those filled with buttons and badges for the individual regiments in the Wars. If you are passing through Co. Meath I highly recommend visiting – you can even handle the decommissioned firearms.
On Dillon’s parents’ final day in Ireland, we visited Dublin Zoo. I love zoos because they make me feel incredibly child-like, and this one did not disappoint. We were especially lucky that this was the one day it didn’t rain at all until we all had to leave! My favourite animals were probably the orangutans, and the baby elephant and baby rhino, but it was amazing seeing a tiger and snow leopard too (thank you again to Tracy for the final five photos below). I got frightened by the huge hippopotamus!
It was great to see Dillon’s parents again, and we both feel really lucky and grateful to have been able to see them and my parents before we leave for Japan in a couple of weeks.