July 4/5-- Hello!  Last year I blogged about the summer international trip Shirley and I took to Korea to Australia.  It was fun for me, to write a diary, post pictures, share those with family and friends.  

So here we go--international summer trip 2014, this time to Ireland, July 4 to 17.  The last five days we will spend at the International Health Economics Association (IHEA) meetings in Dublin, where both Shirley and I present papers.  But for July 4-11 we will driving around Ireland.

Ireland is, of course, the land of most of Tim's ancestors (I am 75% Irish).  More on that family genealogy as I go along, but my mother was 100% Irish and my father 50% Irish.  This is my first trip to "the auld sod."

(For example, all over Ireland you will find department stores called "Dunnes Stores". My grandfather was named Pierce Dunne, and his family obviously came from Ireland.)

Shirley and I left July 4th about 330 pm, flew through Chicago, and landed in Dublin at 8 am.  Shirley did not like the flight - an old American Airlines, inferior technology for the price we paid! (only about 3-4 small TV sets in coach and no choice over movies).  A far cry from the great service Korean airlines offer (Asiana).

We landed in Dublin airport, got our rental car, and we must say the better part of our first day was learning how to drive "on the wrong side of the road" without killing ourselves or anyone else.  It was a little frightening at first, but by this evening we both feel we have the hang of it.  Don't let this hold you back.

We stopped halfway across the island in a little town called Tullamore for a bit to eat -- a nice place, and Tim got meat and potatoes of course. The people are all charming, and sound like my wonderful sister-in-law :-)

Perhaps it was n Omen -- we hope so -- that when we left our hotel for dinner the afternoon rain left a FULL RAINBOW for us to see! (see the picture).

We arrived at Galway about 430 pm and got a rest (I swam and visited the steam room and whirlpool; very refreshing), then we ventured down to Galway city center for the evening.  

Galway is exactly what I would expect a small Irish town to be like... the main drag is full of pubs and restaurants, street musicians and performers.  Some street scenes...

We saw evidence of no less than two bachelorette parties in action and and one bachelor party (and here is a short film of one party--note the blown-up dolls they have with their Guiness).  

We enjoyed a nice meal in a pub/restaurant, saw a few sites, including the Eyre Square, where JFK spoke when he visited Galway, and headed back to our hotel.