Day 3, and our last day in Dublin, was filled with some small adventures and travel up to Castlewellen Castle. We also had another great day of unusually nice weather. The first night at the B&B Willow was tired but had a tough time adjusting to the new sleeping arrangements. Sunday night she slept through quite nicely, and she was very excited to wake up and find her Upsy Daisy dolly.
*Lo & Upsy Daisy from ‘In the Night Garden’
At the B&B we enjoyed round two of the Irish breakfast, so delicious, and another morning chat with our English friends, Lewis and Georgia. There were more talks of politics, English chocolates and treats, and everyday livelihood. We talked about comparisons of car prices, home sizes and grocery costs. We were surprised to hear that car prices are about half the cost, but their groceries and home costs are about 3 to 4 times higher. Things that make you go, “Hmmmmm.”
*Our friends, Lewis and Georgia, that we met at Avoca House B&B from Manchester, England.
Lewis and Georgia were sweet enough to share some of their Cadbury Dairy Milk flavored chocolate bars with us as a parting gift. They sure know how to make this girl happy! I can’t wait to break into that chocolatey English goodness later!
With only a couples hours remaining before we needed to head to the airport, we decided to take the 15 minute walk over to the Drumcondra Botanical Gardens. It was a short walk from the B&B, down some fun steps that Willow thought were really funny, past a lot of cute little homes, and just down the road from ‘The Pyramid Church’. Not to be confused by its real, and not as fun, name, ‘Our Lady of Dolours Catholic Church’.
*Some of the cutes houses we passed on our way to the Drumcondra National Botanic Garden.
*Pictures from the Botanic Garden.
There were so many neat trees, art sculptures, and flowers. We could have spent hours there, but before we knew it it was time to head back to grab our things from the B&B and say our goodbyes.
*There were some really beautiful flowers and a pretty gazebo made of these very fantastical trees.
*Willow enjoying all of the beautiful flowers and sights at the Botanic Garden.
*Willow and Daddy at the Botanic Garden. The hut is a replica of an old Viking House. In the bottom left, Willow is always being friendly with the local Irish folk. Bottom right is a Weeping Ash tree.
As we spend time across the pond, we are continually surprised by how vocal and interested in American politics the Irish people seem to be. When people hear our accents, or see us out and about, that seems to be one of the first comments or questions people seem to ask. We also have seen quite a few interesting signs and graffiti voicing their political thoughts about America’s upcoming election.
*Here is a political poster on the end of the bus stop building. The ad is for the airline we used to fly over from the US to Dublin, Aer Lingus.
*This is some graffiti on the wall from one of the bathroom stalls inside the Botanic Garden.
We got back to the Avoca House B&B, and we said our goodbyes to Jack, Audrey, Peanut and Chilli. They are such a sweet couple, and I hope we can someday come back to bring Emery. He would love Peanut and Chilli!
*Ryan, Willow & I with the owners of the Avoca House B&B, Jack & Audrey Turner and their dogs, Peanut (Chihuahua) & Chilli (Pom Pom).
*Willow & I saying goodbye to Peanut & Chilli. Call me immature, but I found Jack’s nickname, PeaPea, for Peanut quite funny. 😂
We grabbed all of our bags, and we made our last walk back to Drumcondra Rd to grab the bus back to Dublin Airport. We met up with the rest of our team, and we waited for the bus to arrive to take us to Castlewellen Castle. Ladena was kind enough to entertain Willow for me for a few so I could catch the wifi on the side of the building to check in with Emery.
*Willow & Ladena walking around while we waited for the bus to come (on the left), and Ryan snapped this photo of me, on the right, snagging the free wifi from the airport by the door.
The bus ride was about a 2 hours trip from the Dublin Airport to Castlewellen Castle. Thankfully that was the perfect time for Willow to cuddle up and take a nice nap. We also were able to take in some of the beautiful scenery from the nearby villages, beautiful mountains, and the rolling hills covered in sheep, cows and horses. Or as Adrian likes to call them ‘wooly pigs’. He claims that they are really a thing, but Chennel and I’ve decided that until we actually see and touch one they aren’t.
*Some of the views on the way to Castlewellen, Northern Ireland.
While we were on our bus trip our home closing was taking place back in Greenville, MI. It is still crazy, and a story to be retold for years to come, that we closed on a house in our new town while over in Ireland! Things haven’t gone according to my, or our, plan but God has been in it the whole way. That alone makes it exciting. We knew we had to close by the end of the month, and it just didn’t happen before we left the country. My prayer was if it was meant to be it would happen in time, and if not God would close the door on it. Well it happened in time, but we had to get our senior pastor, Bryan Savage, to sign as power of attorney on our behalf. How crazy is that? A year ago I don’t know that I would’ve had the same kind of faith that I do now to trust that God would provide and take care of the details. It’s just awesome!
*This is the clock inside the bus that took us from the Dublin Airport to Castlewellen Castle in Northern Ireland. Our home closing was taking place at this time, 1:05pm in Greenville, MI.
Once we arrived at the castle we carried our bags into the lounge and got warm by the fresh fire. There they have a big moose head from Canada hanging over the stairs. They have named him Amoose after Amos from the Bible. 😂
*Ryan warming up by the fire.
*Amoose (Amos) the moose, in the top right, hanging over the stairs in the castle. Ryan & Willow enjoying the ballroom for a short meeting. Willow was loving playing with Daddy’s shoelaces.
After our meeting we headed into the dining room for dinner. I was so hungry by this point that I forgot to snap a picture of our main course. We had a lovely bake chicken breast, green beans, and some chips (fries). It was really good. The Irish also use this condiment called “Brown Sauce”. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it is kind of like A1 in the sense that you can basically put it on anything because it’s delicious!
For dessert we had a corn flake topped fruit tart of some kind, and we topped it with fresh, warm custard. Holy Moly it was sooooo gooood. I LOVE fresh custard! 😍
*Ryan & Terry enjoying dinner and dessert in the dining room, and Willow waving at the camera.
We then were surprised with a nice evening activity. Since it was Halloween, the nearby city of Newcastle was putting on a fireworks display for the holiday event. So we piled into a couple vehicles and took the short drive over. Newcastle sits right off the Irish Sea in Northern Ireland, and we sat right along the boardwalk to watch the fireworks. Willow wasn’t quite sure what to think of the whole ordeal, but how can you not enjoy fireworks with the fresh smell of the sea?
*Fireworks display in Newcastle, Northern Ireland.
Our driver from the castle to Newcastle was Richie Shilliday, and he is the Youth Director at Newcastle Presbyterian Church. He is also the Manger of Riot, which is a local youth centre outreach program in Newcastle. His wife, Jen, and their three children were also there enjoying the fireworks. They have an 11 month old named Harrison, and he and Willow seemed to enjoy one another’s company.
*Fireworks fun, and Willow & Harrison talking to each other. 😊
Before we headed back to the castle, Richie was kind enough to let us have a look around the sanctuary of his church. There was beautiful woodwork and detailing around the entire room. The pews were set up still from yesteryear where each family had their block of seats in their row. Each section had old copies of ‘The Psalter’, and each pew end had a bar that folded down with a tray below where people could place their wet umbrellas during the service. How clever!
*Newcastle Presbyterian Church
We had a great day of travel, closing on our new home from out of the country, and great memories with new friends on our first day in Castlewellen Castle.