Our last trip to Ireland was in 2011 and the boys were very young. Our youngest and middle, while they had fun, had no memories of Ireland and our oldest had the uncomfortable memory of barfing on the streets of Cork. We assured him that wasn't likely to happen again and hopped on the plane to Shannon.
On the way over to Ireland, my middle son asked if we might just have fun and if I could not try to make them learn something on this trip. I told him I couldn't promise anything.
The high jinx began upon arrival. Despite their sleep deprivation (the flight over is a mere 5 hours) the boys were eager to start taking funny photos.
We stayed in Co. Cork for most of our visit and spent a lovely afternoon at Fitzgerald Park near UCC visiting my husband's cousin and his lovely wife and three daughters. The playground looked the same as when we were there in 2011, but my boys enjoyed it so much differently. While earlier they had been content on slides, see-saws and that spinning circle now all they wanted to do was kick the soccer ball that came as carry-on in a backpack or make themselves sick on the tire swing. Two of my boys were shy around their newly-met cousins, but one made friends rather quickly. One guess as to which boy made friends first.
By the time the party rolled around, there were unfamiliar faces every where. Introducing my children usually went something like, "This is my oldest son, he's nine, then my middle, age seven,…" etc. So after a few rounds of that, my middle soon took over and answered for himself and then followed up by asking adults THEIR names and how old THEY were. He's a delightful child. My boys loved meeting and playing with all the cousins.
The Irish food agreed with them very much, especially the Pringles and candy found in every siopa, or shop. I had to remind them we weren't in Spain and they didn't have to call Fanta Lemon "Fanta Limon" anymore, but they couldn't break the habit. I was a little surprised to find Finn McCool bars. I didn't have one, but I did pick up a Wellington Square at a shop near Beal na Blath - where we squeezed in a little learning - and was not overly impressed.
While in Cork City we did get a chance to cross something off my Irish bucket list - a visit to the Butter Museum! We squeezed in a little more learning at this museum near the famous Shandon Bells and where the butter market used to be. While it's a small little museum it tells the grand story of how Irish butter, once a small disorganized production system evolved into the massive globally recognized Kerrygold brand. I was incredibly impressed by that bit of history and also impressed by this thousand-year old crock of bog butter. They did not offer tastings at this time.