When we visited Europe during the first few months of this trip, we were all sad that we didn’t make it to Dublin to see our dear friends Jen, Eoghan, Ryan and Zoe. So, it was with great excitement that we planned a long weekend there on our Euro 2.0 swing. In 2016, the boys and I had traveled via the Virgin “rail and sail” from London, and had really enjoyed the trip, so we planned a repeat, to show Kyle how fun it was. It didn’t go quite as planned, and Kyle has included the less-than-fun trip in his Best Worst Moments blog. We did make it to Dublin, about 6 hours behind schedule, and the ever-gracious Jen met us at the port close to midnight.

On Saturday morning, Eoghan was off on an excruciating-sounding endurance race, so the rest of us went for a lovely, leisurely hike in solidarity. We walked a loop up though the Ticknock Forest to the Fairy Castle, passing by coconut-scented gorse and stopping at a babbling brook where the kids scooped handfuls of clear water while I waited for a far darrig to come spirit them all away because clearly we had entered an Irish folktale.

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Luckily, we all made it back to the car safely.

Jen had emailed a few days before we arrived offering up whatever domestic opportunities I had been missing while on the road – full use of their beautiful, fully stocked kitchen, a washer and dryer, etc. What I didn’t anticipate was that she would engineer a flat tire for me to help change as we were picking Eoghan up from his race. I’ll fully admit that Eoghan did most of the heavy lifting (after running and biking some ridiculous number of kilometers up hill and down dale), but I got my hands dirty, at least.

Saturday night, the boys all went to see Captain Marvel while Jen, Zoe, and I settled in with a cozy fire, good conversation, and some reruns of the Great British Bake Off. It was my favorite kind of evening.

We recently watched and loved Sing Street, so on Sunday morning Jen was kind enough to take us to Dillon’s Park where we could get a good view of Dalkey Island, a key location in the film.

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Then we headed over to watch the second half of Ryan’s rugby match. It was a brisk, windy spring morning, and I hopped around trying to stay warm, wishing for a hot coffee, while adolescent boys of all shapes and sizes ran around comfortably in shorts and rugby shirts. We got a primer on the rules of rugby and Ryan’s team emerged victorious. I think, however, that after seeing some of the more emphatic tackles, Max and Henry will probably not be taking up the sport.

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In the afternoon, our friends Greg and Caroline came to the house for lunch. Greg and I worked together in San Francisco in the early 2000s and his open heart and Irish humor tended to be a highlight of my days. We met his wife, Caroline, when we visited in 2016, and liked her instantly. She matches him in wit and kindness, and exceeds him in beauty (sorry, Greg). It was a great afternoon of laughter, reminiscence, and delicious food.

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Jen, Greg, me, and Kyle  – looking exactly like we did when we all lived in SF

Speaking of delicious food, I can’t really put into words just how much delicious food we ate over the course of the weekend. I’m not sure if Eoghan and Jen were worried we had been malnourished on our travels or if they were just being their regular generous selves, but we ate our weights, at least. Even Ryan got into the act, making pancakes (that the boys devoured) for breakfast the first morning.

Monday was a bit of a logistics and organization day for us. We took (probably too much) advantage of Jen’s generosity, and left her with a box worth of stuff that we had been carting around but not using, to be shipped back to the states.

Needless to say, we loved our time in Dublin and it was only the anticipation of meeting up with even more friends in Paris that kept the boys from abandoning ship and just staying in Dublin. We left Monday afternoon with full hearts, full bellies, and slightly lighter backpacks.

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