Looking into the backyard of Claire and Gerard's farm
On our bike ride in Killarney
Ross Castle in Killarney National Park
Anna and Francis
Us at the top of the mountain
We arrived in Dublin, Ireland in the afternoon, and hung around just for two days. And we will get to that a little later, fast forward to our next help exchange. We took a four hour train ride from Dublin down to Tralee; a small town in the south west of Ireland. Claire greeted us at the train station and took us back to the house to meet the rest of the family. Her husband Gerard and her live on a dairy farm with about 70 cows, and 100 chickens. They have three adopted Vietnamese daughters, Anna (7), Francis (5), and Lan (11 months). It is not a busy time with the cows at the moment, most of them start giving birth in February (Although one birth happened while we were there).
We did a variety of things while we were there; stain a table and benches, help organize the garage, put up shelves, clean windows, pick sea-weed from the beach and bring it back for fertilizer in their green houses. We also collected eggs, helped milk the cows, give teenager cows medicine, Dana tried to consolidate two address books into one and Steve fixed a bunch of things around the house! We even babysat the kids in the evening twice just so Claire and Gerard could have a night out together to celebrate their birthdays before things get really busy on the farm. On one of our days off we went with Claire and the girls to the local church for mass, then we went hiking with Gerard and his two friends up a mountain in Kerry county. It was actually a tough climb, but very enjoyable. On our other day off we took bikes and hopped on the train to Killarney. There we tried biking on the Kerry Ring road, but were pressed for time. So we took a detour and went into the National Park and rode to Ross Castle. The area was quite wet in parts and we had to bike very slowly through some flooded paths. It took us only half and hour to get down to the train station, and 2 hours to get back up the hill to the farm in the dark on a country road with no lights! We are definitely not in as good shape as we wish we were! Claire, Gerard and the girls were great hosts and we were sad we were only staying for one week, but Friday morning we said good-bye and took our next set of trains to the south east corner of Ireland to Waterford. Then we caught a 40 minute bus ride to the town of Tramore to go to our next help exchange with Karen and her daughter Kayleigh!