One month in Ireland



If you've been around for a while, you might recall my propensity to load my kids in the car and take them on month-long road trips. Needless to say, I am grateful for the freedom that being self-employed homeschoolers affords us, and we seize the opportunity to travel together whenever we can.

The three of us took our first 4-week road trip when Lupine was not quite 4 and Sage was 8 years old (what was I thinking?!), and another one two years ago when they were 8 and 13.

In between there were more weekend-, week-, and two-week trips than I can count. But the month-long trips have been our baseline for what it means to jump in with both feet and have a life-changing adventure.

One month. There's no hurry. There's space to explore, meet people, and find your groove. Instead of skimming the surface you can dive deeper and just be in that new reality.

Honestly, for me it's ideal. 



Our budget is pretty tight, however, so our bigger trips are a few years apart and always of the couch-surfing or camping variety.

But then a funny thing happened. I remembered that when Sage was a newborn I got my first business credit card. On the advice of a friend I chose a card with a "hassle-free miles" type of perk associated with it. They never expire and they're easy to use. I had never had a card with perks before.

Logically, this means that I promptly forgot all about them. 

Recently I remembered. (As it tuns out, our personal credit card is on the same program.) I wondered if we might maybe have enough miles to take a small trip somewhere. Possibly on a plane. With passports. 

So I called up my credit card company to find out how many miles we had. The agent on the phone started to laugh and said, "You have a lot of miles. A lot. How long have you been saving these?!" 

Nearly fifteen years. 

Fifteen years of miles from every business and personal purchase we have made with a credit card.

Yes, we could cash them out for dollars, but you get about 1/2 their value when you do so. And honestly, it felt like such a gift from the universe to have this fall into our lap when Sage is on the cusp of grown. An amazing trip we otherwise couldn't afford? Yes, please.

Because it's time for an epic adventure. 



I'm not sure how we landed on the idea of Ireland, except that Lupine had her heart set on Paris but the rest of us were skeptical. We're not city people. None of us. Not even Lupine.

So in the way that homeschoolers so often do, we went down the rabbit hole of research, looking for rural regions of France to explore. This led us to read up on much of Europe which ultimately led us to Ireland.

And as soon as we started to study Ireland our decision was unanimous. This was where we wanted to go.



No, we're not Irish. But yes, Ireland feels just our pace.

Though we've teased the kids that we're only going because we miss having sheep and I need more yarn, there are countless things we're excited about experiencing there. From the natural beauty to castle ruins; from meeting local people to exploring the rich history of this fascinating place, one month feels hardly enough.

We've been doing our best to study up on Irish history (so complicated!) and Sage and Lupine have spent the past few months learning some Gaelic (with this program – afflink). Sometimes I overhear them making up jokes with one another that I don't quite understand, though I'm fairly certain bizarrely colored animals are involved, possibly eating or drinking bicycles (but don't quote me on that).

This trip will be their first time on an airplane, their first time in a different country, our first family trip abroad, and – most importantly – the first time Pete will be joining us for a trip lasting longer than 2 weeks.

We're beyond excited. 

Not a shabby start to "back to school" season, in my opinion. 



And so, dear friends, I turn to you.

Do you live in Ireland? Have you visited recently? Any great tips or generous offers that we can't refuse? (Indeed, we do still welcome the occasional couch-surf!) We're open to any and all suggestions that you may have. 

At the moment we have planned a three week trip around the island from Dublin to Dingle and Connemara, then up to Belfast and the Giant's Causeway. Our fourth week we'll spend traveling by barge (houseboat) on a canal in central Ireland.

We have secured only a few nights lodging in hopes of having a bit more freedom to follow our hearts and wander as the inspiration strikes, perhaps with some tips for off-the-path things to see and do. (Of course all this open-endedness make me worry we'll end up sleeping in the car, but that would be memorable too, I suppose.)

Our trip will take place throughout the month of September, and I'll certainly share our travels with you here on the blog.

And what an adventure it will be! 

So. What do you suggest? 


Slán go fóill!



7 thoughts on “One month in Ireland

  1. Fräulein Rucksack says:

    What a fantastic story! I’ve travelled Ireland a few times (before family and such…). Although it’s pretty everywhere I loved Donnegal region and a trip to Arranmore Island the most. And the very generous people. And the green of this land…

  2. Anne says:

    There is an amazing group on FB called Worldschoolers. Check it out. It would be the perfect place to reach out and have you questions answered! Have fun!

  3. Jolee says:

    We went to Ireland in September many years ago- prepare for lots of rain and a bit of cold. The beauty of Ireland is everywhere but you will want to linger on the western coast. Phenomenal. Galway and Sligo in particular. The history of Northern Ireland as you likely are diving into is worth spending some time there but the natural take-your-breath-away beauty is those cliffs and water and greenery and sheep and winding roads along the west. We want to go back. My heart is there still… (if you can listen to Irish tunes like Drinking Songs, you might find familiar tunes in the pubs if you go. My fave is Jug of Punch.) Have so much fun!

  4. Cristin says:

    You are probably aware of these already, but Newgrange ( a burial mound in Co. Meath near Dublin that’s older than the pyramids!!!), and the Skellig Islands in Kerry are amazing! Both are beautiful and full of history. Enjoy your trip- wherever you end up will be fantastic I’m sure!!!

  5. says:

    Pete is Irish. Our ancestors are from the Bantry area in County Cork. Their farm was called the Arnagoshal Farm. The family name is Kingston and William Kingston immigrated here from Ireland in the 1840’s to Muskego, WI.

  6. Mathidle says:

    You’ll love it! I can’t wait to see Ireland through your blog!
    I lived in Galway a long time ago as a student (I’m French the rest of the time!) and definitely, as someone suggested above, the Aran Islands are worth every little hint of seasickness and more. Beautiful, wild, sheep-filled but with cows too, and the best Guinness around imo. Galway is a fabulous little town, very quaint, super friendly, with live music spilling out of pubs all over the show. For good live traditional music, check out upstairs at the Crane. I also know a wonderful couple who live in Knock (1 hour away from Galway in co. Mayo). I wonder if they would take couch surfers… I think they’re that kind of random. Would you like me to check?

  7. Maggie Fitzsimmons says:

    My husband and I went to Ireland in September 2011 and stayed a week in the sweetest tiny stone cottage in Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula (about 10 miles south of Dingle Town). We could walk out our front door and hike for miles in either direction along the coast, which is mostly what we did while there. We wore rain coats most of the time, either for the occasional rainfall or for the wind. It was breathtakingly beautiful, with amazing views of the Three Sisters, and we took hundreds of photographs. The cows went in and out to pasture along the street in front of our cottage each day and we had several stray dogs who visited regularly. We burned peat in the little stove inside and it smelled smokey and delicious – and like scotch! 😉 The town itself was tiny and all the signs are written in Gaelic. We enjoyed some live music and food in Dingle. I can’t find the listing for the cottage itself anymore – if I could, I would share it with you! I hope you have a fantastic trip! <3

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