My parents are not travelers. They do not have much interest in seeing the world or touring places like we do. My parents live in what I like to call the Pan. In the middle of the pan is their house, a few miles away from their house is the house where my dad grew up. Out the pan handle is their Cabin on Mason Lake, and a bit past there is the Dump where dad hauls shit to be processed. Mom and Dad own a septic business and dad hauls about thousands of gallons of poo from the house to the processing plant almost every morning. Inside of the pan is where about 90% of their lives have taken place.
Nothing wrong with living in a pan. Mom and dad are very happy people who live a great life that pleases them. Travel is not part of their happiness like it is for Michelle and I. What is at the core of happiness for my parents is getting to be spectacular Grandparents. Michelle and I moving the family the Dublin rates up there as one of the least popular things I’ve done for my parents because we took their Grandkids away. When our flight back home to visit this year was canceled due to snow it broke their heart.
Almost a year of not seeing grandkids broke mom and dads heart enough they broke down and bought tickets to visit us in Ireland then went out and applied for their passports. At first, I did not believe my parents, who dislike traveling and have left Washington state fewer times then they have fingers to count were going to leave the country and fly to Ireland for a visit. Then mom forwarded me a plane ticket confirmation. Nope still don’t believe it, they bought refundable tickets.
Then a few weeks later mom said they applied for passports, and I am thinking wow this might happen. A few weeks later and we are making plans, then their passports arrive and mom sends me a picture of her passport. Now I am shocked and start to believe it is actually going to happen. My none traveler parents are going to get on a plane for 9 hours and fly to Ireland!
Day one – Arrival
May 31st, finally comes around and mom and dad get on a plane and fly to Ireland. They arrive at the airport about an hour early. They fly through customs and pick up their luggage at baggage check in record time. Mom tried to text me but none of the numbers in her phone have the country code so they fail. She manages to call me and ask where their driver is. I texted him and he said he could see mom and dad and was heading over there to meet them. Their plane landing an hour early, which threw off the drivers schedule. Mom says their driver, Ivan, was Russian and drove like he was in hurry.
Around one thirty, after Michelle has left to pick up the kids from school, they finally make it to the house. I now offically believe Mom and Dad are coming to Ireland. Hard to argue now, they are here in our house. After some bathroom breaks and unpacking and hugs. Mom and dad get a quick tour of the house when we walk down to the LUAS to surprise the kids getting back from school. We waited at the stop for the kids to get off. When they got off they started running towards the house without noticing us. I yelled at them to get their attention and they turned around and spotted us. The older kids ran full speed at their grandparents for some hugs and kisses.
The kids showed their Grandparents around the house and caught up. Then Maddex and grandpa started to play some games while we worked out what to do with the rest of the night. We decided we’d head up to a park and play for a bit, come back to the house and have fried rice and sausages for dinner then call it a night.
The park is maybe a 10-minute walk from the house. Fairly certain I added gray hairs to dear with our aggressive road crossing behaviors. Mom has no clue where cars are coming from and we cross these streets multiple times a day and know how to read the stop lights and cars. We generally don’t wait for the walking man to show up at the crosswalk light before we’re crossing and back to moving towards our destination. Grandpa was happy to be at the park and find some trees to hide behind and pee on. He’s not happy peeing indoors. We don’t have any exposed soil in our yard at all so his first pee here had to be in doors – glad we found him some trees for his visit.
After playing with the kids at the park for half an hour we carried on home where I cooked dinner and the kids played with their grandparents. We ate pretty late, and the kids had no interest in TV with grandparents to play with. Everyone played hard until bedtime. Putting the kids down without a cool down period always takes a bit longer. While we put the kids to bed Mom and Dad found a nice spot in the backyard to sit and relax in. After the kids were in bed we covered plans for tomorrow, caught up on the gossip for a bit then called it a night before nine. – Impressed how well mom and dad dealt with time zone differences.
Showing mom and dad their room and chatting with them about the time zone differences and their experience getting here, Dad puts his hand on my shoulder and says ” Don’t worry, we’re travelers now, we travel” – one of my favorite quotes from the visit. I hope you two do become travelers – get out and enjoy life!
Friday – Dublin tour and Duck ride
When Michelle and I were planning out our week with the grandparents we knew Monday was a bank holiday the kids had off school. We figured we’d take the kids out of school on Friday too; making a four day weekend for the kids. Maximize their time with their grandparents. Much earlier in the week we almost booked our Viking tour for 10 am on Friday, but figured we would hold off until mom and dad made it. A few days later, before the parents arrived Mila informed us she was performing at 0900 Friday morning at an assembly in front of the school. Princess Mila most certainly did not want to miss her singing number at school, so 10 am tour is out.
Change of plans Michelle and the grandparents will go with Mila to school and watch Mila’s performance. I will bring the other kids to school and meet them when she is all done. By the time we worked out our plans, the morning Duck tours have booked up. We ended up booked on the 1500 tour. Way back when we first explored Dublin after arriving, the kids saw the Duck bus. Since then they’ve been wanting to ride on it. We told them we’d ride on it when a guest came and wanted to go on the tour. Those guests are Grandma and Grandpa Miller
Mila did an amazing job up on stage singing with her class. From the video and first hand accounts Her singing was louder than the rest of the class combined; thats our extra loud princess. We all met up at the kids school around 1000 and walked towards the LAS for mom and dads first ride on our tram. It was not planned, but bonus nice that their first ride was not in the middle of rush hour. The train we rode on was not crowded at all. Shockingly the children behaved themselves on the LUAS and we did not want to instantly get off to spare everyone around us from the chaos created by our terrorists.
We detrained at Stephens Green to walk Grafton street. Before we could explore we had to visit the toilets in the Graphton street mall. My parents are not people we relax and take things slow. They are almost constantly doing things (read working). Cleaning, building, working, projects, walking dogs, rarely sitting still. Watching them walk around Dublin and slow down enough to stop and enjoy looking at things and take pictures pleased me bigley. See a few pictures below of my parents enjoying the scenery, I borrowed form their phones.
With a stop at the Disney store, and another stop for coffee we headed north from Grafton street and stopped in at Trinity college for a walk around the square where Maddex was jumping on a chain and knocked over a bunch of bikes. Then carried on across the river down O’Connell Street towards the spire. We stopped at Mcdonalds to get the kids some lunch. We sat way upstairs on the top floor of the McDonalds. We had to use the bathroom before eating and after eating. Grandparents are just like kids; we’re always on the lookout for the next washroom. Kids had Happy meals. Mom, dad and I had some gourmet burgers that were, dare I say it, good burgers. The bun was some amazing bread, and the meat was not horrible. Michelle had a cheeseburger and fries. I forgot to order it without onions.
After lunch, we walked east down Parnell street towards the more sketchy part of town then back over the river through Dublin castle. From the castle, we walked down Dame Lane towards Grafton street. Where we stopped at a burger kind to use their toilets. While there we figured we’d all get sundaes and more coffee for the grandparents. The girls found crowns they wore for the rest of the day. We still had an hour or more to kill before our Viking bus ride, and kids always need to burn off energon. Next stop the kids play area in Stephens Green park.
We made it to the tour about 30 minutes early and mom started harassing the bus driver as soon as we arrived. Our drivers name was Anto, short for Anthoney, and he was a riot. In typical Viking tour fashion, the first thing he did was to educate us on how to yell at people on the street as we drove by. Anto was a riot as a tour guide, he made the tour one of the highlights of the visit. Mom and Dad both commented how much fun they had. We drove around the city for a bit hearing some history then we made it to water part of the tour. We stopped before the water where they put pontoons on the bus, and gave everyone life jackets then into the water we went.
After the spectacular tour, we took the LUAS home at rush hour. We tried to get on a Stephens Green, but the train was too full for us to make it on. Instead of waiting for another full train at one of the busiest stops we walked one stop further from our destination, one stop closer to the start of the Green line and got on a Dawson. The LUAS was almost as full at Dawson as the one we were not able to get on, but we managed to find room. Hot day, full Train, glad this was not Mom and Dads frist experience on the LUAS or they might not have gotten back on
Back home we played with the kids, had some dinner and everyone was in bed sleeping before 9. Long fun day. Tomorrow is Saturday and it’s a three-day weekend in Dublin, most everything should be extra crowded. We’re planing on Cabinteely park then Dundrum for some shopping.
Was going to add in the pictures and story about Saturday but we’re over 2000 words and 50 pictures already so – we will now end Part 1
Bonus pictures – because more pictures are grand