August 22nd, 2017
Photo Journal: A Multi-Generation Trip to Ireland
Traveling with extended family gives grandparents, parents, and children the opportunity to develop powerful bonds that will last a lifetime—and Ireland is the perfect setting for the experience.
There’s nothing better than packing up your whole family and traveling the world together. Over the years, I have taken multiple trips with my extended family, including my children, parents, and grandparents. We always enjoy our special time away together, so we knew the best way to celebrate my father’s 75th birthday was with another trip. We chose Ireland, not only because it’s a beautiful country, but also because we were confident there would be plenty of opportunities for family bonding through activities like golf, horseback riding, and hiking.
The trip was a long one (12 full days!), so packing was a bit of a daunting task. Ireland can experience four seasons in just one day, so I needed to pack enough clothing—including extra layers, jackets, and footwear—to suit me for all types of weather. And because we planned to visit four different cities—Limerick, Killorglin, Killarney, and Dublin—it was important to bring bags I could easily transport. I divided my things between my huge Expanse™ Drop Bottom Wheeled Duffel 32 and the smaller Expanse™ AWD Carry-On. The heavy duty wheels on both bags make them easy to roll around any terrain, including the cobblestone streets found all over Ireland.
I used my Pack-It Specter™ Cubes to stay organized during the trip. Three cubes fit perfectly inside the base of the duffeI, leaving room for my bulkier items in the other compartments. The cubes made it easy for me to separate my belongings by type of adventure and clothing, which meant I didn’t have to dig through my entire bag every time I needed something. And at the end of my trip, I used the cubes to separate my clean clothes from the dirty ones.
The biggest bonus of my organized and efficient packing, though, was the fact that it allowed me to fully focus on our family adventures—and there were many.
It’s possible to walk the trails of the Killarney National Park (the oldest in Ireland), but we opted to traverse them by horseback instead, on a three-hour trail ride with Killarney Riding Stables. They cater to riders of all abilities, and experienced guides supervise the rides so that even first timers—like my son—felt comfortable. Plus, the stables provide all the necessary gear, including helmets and rubber boots, so you don’t have to worry about packing those things. The scenery along the ride is absolutely breathtaking: We had gorgeous views of Killarney lakes, Ross Island, and the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks Mountain Range.
Ireland’s landscape and terrain are a hiker’s paradise, and we experienced this first hand. The Caragh Lake Forest trail was just down the street from the house we rented in Killorglin. We hiked the approximately one-hour loop and were rewarded with spectacular panoramic views at the top. Not only were we overlooking Caragh Lake, but we could also see Cromane, Inch, and Rossbeigh Beaches in the distance.
My husband, my father, and my son were able to spend a full week golfing on some of Ireland’s most notorious courses, like Waterville Golf Links and Tralee Golf Club. But the highlight, for them, was playing at Ballybunion Golf Club, which is widely considered to be one of the best courses in the world. That experience alone created memories for my family that will last a lifetime.
My favorite way to get to know a city is to walk it. So when we got to Dublin, we booked a walking tour. Walking through the city with a knowledgeable guide (some even have PhDs in archaeology, classical studies, or art history) really helped us garner a deeper understanding of its history, architecture, and culture. A professional local photographer joined for part of our walk, and was able to capture wonderful candid images of our family. They’re the best type of souvenir we could take home from this trip.
No trip to Ireland would be complete without ducking into a local pub for a pint of Guinness, and we had no problem finding one—they’re on practically every street corner in Dublin, Killarney, and all the small towns in between. The beer was good, but drinking it with the locals was even better. The Celtic people are about as genuine as they come. Our favorite night of the trip was when our whole group went to Sheahan’s Bar in Killorglin to hear traditional Irish music. Slainte!
Have you visited Ireland? Let me know where you went, and your favorite parts of the trip, in the comments below.
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