Image and text by Gabrielle.

The roadtrip destination has been decided — I’m writing this from a Ferry to Ireland!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the reasons we ended up extending our stay in France from the original plan of one year, to the current plan of 2 1/2 years, is that we wanted to fit in more traveling. We want to A) take advantage of how geographically close everything is here, and B) make the most of the frequent school breaks. (The schedule in French schools is something like 6 weeks on 2 weeks off.)

For this particular school break, we had long daydreamed about going to Egypt. It’s the number one destination on our kids’ travel wishlist — and really, on mine too. The pyramids! A camel ride to the Sphinx! And it’s only a 5.5 hour plane ride away! But we weren’t able to make it work. Yes, there is instability in Egypt right now, but we’ve done our research and sought out trusted advice, and really felt like we could safely and confidently take our family there. So that’s not actually what stopped us. Mostly, it’s a budget thing (we’re putting our savings elsewhere at the moment).

So last week, we started dreaming up alternate plans and Ireland was the winner! Yesterday, we drove 2 hours to Cherbourg, a port city here in Normandy, then boarded a ferry (the boat is called Oscar Wilde!) last night at 8PM. We drove our van right onto the ferry, so we’ll have our car when we arrive. We booked two side-by-side cabins to fit the 8 of us and slept through the night. The ferry is big — not-cruise-ship-with-swimming-pool big — but big enough that there are restaurants and a couple of shops. So we’ve spent the morning exploring the ship.

The ferry lands at 2PM today in the Irish town of Rosslare. From there, we’ll be driving to our hotel in Cork and the first tourist spot on our schedule: The Blarney Stone!

I know very little about Ireland, so I’ve been reading as much as I can over the last few days. If you have recommendations or advice, please let us know! We’re planning to use County Cork as a base and explore from there. Ben Blair wants to see the Cliffs of Moher. And we all want to see Dublin. But we’d love more particular advice.

P.S. — I posted the image of Ben Blair at top about a year ago, but I had to share it here because I think he looks so Irish! I’m not actually sure if Ben has any Irish heritage — I believe his Blair line of relatives are Scottish and English. But my grandmother Lucille was an Evans and apparently, my whole Evans line hails from Ireland. (Genealogy is cool!)