My husband and I have tried to find time and money to go to Ireland for several years now. Work schedules and college tuition bills were always to blame. Hadn't had a week long vacation in 3 years. We finally squeezed it in this year in December using the only week left to use our vacation hours in between 4 weeks of work training and 5 weeks of business travel. It was very much an 'enough is enough we're getting the heck out of here in the 1 week free we managed to have.'
We booked a B&B 6 night stay self-drive around Ireland with 2 additional nights at the stunning 200 year old Dublin Renaissance in the center of Dublin to decompress in luxury before we headed back to work hell.
The morning we landed in Ireland they had their freak early snow and ice storm with record lows that broke a 42 year record. 11 hours instead of 6 hours before we were driving out of the airport, a well-used compact car ill-equipped to handle unplowed, unsalted roads, and a country of green that was now buried in white with most roads impassable.
There were mountain roads the car slid downhill backwards on because of thick ice. There was a strip of roadside thorned hedges that will never look quite as dense as they did before we hit them. (and a car paint job that won't either) there was a road on the high Cliffs of Moher that we slide down without our tires moving while we calculated how fast we could jump out of the car doors if we hit the stone guardrail at the hairpin turn at the bottom. There was a mountain road where we got buried up to the hood of the car because it was the last opportunity to see a view and all the other roads were blocked. There was the sliding back hill down near missing a row of parked cars that tested our 25 year marriage. There was the 6 nights of B&B that were simple and pleasant but freezing and a challenge with driving because of the abrupt weather change. And there were the traffic reports that told everyone to stay home, while we had a driving trip to press forward with.
We slowly stumbled back to Dublin on the day a second wave of ice storm hit and we located the hotel after going in circles with streets that were only thick layers of ice heading in the direction towards the hotel.
With warm cookies at the front desk, a glass of orange tea in the lobby, our upgraded room on rewards points, a bathtub enough for 3, a book with the stories about the endurance of the hotel through wars and other troubles, a view of a cathedral out our window, the Christmas decorations over the rooftops across Dublin's shopping hub on the next block, and more pubs than a person could count, I had tall glass of Bailey's over ice, a bed you could get lost in, and the Shelburne Dublin turned bad memories into good memories.