A Star Wars Fan Geeks Out in Ireland

My husband has a lot of family in Ireland, so we go back to visit often. We try to make each trip a little different and see new things so on this past visit I was intent on visiting a couple of the Star Wars filming locations.

It’s no secret I’m a Star Wars fan! So I was pretty excited just to see the spots in real life where they filmed parts of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Our first stop was to the Kerry Cliffs and Skellig Micheal, home to the ancient island monastery that serves as Luke’s hideout, Ahch-To, and is featured in both movies.

star wars in ireland
This is as close as I got

We arrived 30 min. past the last boat ride so we got to see the islands wayyyy off in the distance. It was still pretty cool. Actually getting on the island can be treacherous business, as it was the only excursion on our tourist map with a big red warning that said “deaths have occurred here.” It’s very steep and rocky so we thought maybe we should wait on bringing a toddler and plan for a future visit. It’s also recommended that you book ahead, as there are only a few boats that make the trip and they tend to book up. You can go around the island or book one that docks. Click here to read about a couple of bloggers who actually made it on the island and how they booked their trip. We made due with the replica beehive huts and the beautiful view from the cliffs.

The other place we visited was Loop Head in County Clare to view more beautiful cliffs, and one of the filming locations for Last Jedi. Apparently they were filming all up and down the west side of Ireland, known as the Wild Atlantic Way. All this scenery makes me want to watch the movies again and pay close attention to the locations!

I am going to plan ahead a little better on our next trip so we can actually go on the island and maybe see a few more spots. On a side note, I plan to add a trip to the Cliffs of Moher next time, which I haven’t seen in a few years and are always spectacular. You may know them by a different name though….they are the Cliffs of Insanity in The Princess Bride!

So who else enjoys visiting film locations from their favorite movies? What spots have you been to?

 

Tips for Traveling with a Toddler in Tow

We’ve been traveling with my son since he was seven months old. Our first trip was to Hawaii and it was a pretty rough experience. There was a lot of crying for everyone involved. After he turned a year old it started getting better, and now at three he’s an expert world traveler. We just returned from a trip to Ireland and by now I think I’ve learned enough to share my favorite traveling tips for both international and domestic travel.

** This is not a sponsored article, these are my honest tips from my experiences…but any product link is an Amazon affiliate link because a girl’s got to pay her bloggy bills you know **

Traveling with Toddler Tips:

* Don’t fill up valuable suitcase space with loads of diapers if you are traveling to a place with grocery stores. Just bring what you need for the trip there and a couple days. You can always buy diapers there! Otherwise you end up with half a suitcase of diapers for a two week trip.

* Should you bring a stroller? The answer with babies is an obvious yes, but what if they’ve pretty much grown out of it? We lugged a BOB all the way to Ireland and didn’t use it once! We should have brought the hiking backpack carrier. The only benefit was that is worked great as a luggage cart and we were put through the security line faster on the way back from Ireland. If you do bring a stroller, it’s very easy to just check them at the gate and pick up when you deplane. Unless somebody on the plane gets arrested. Then you don’t get your stroller. Because that totally happened to us and now there’s a very nice BOB that we can’t locate. (I’m looking at you, Aer Lingus)

* Stock up on toys, but leave the Play-Doh at home! Mine was confiscated. Apparently it looks like C4 explosives 🙄 Oddly enough, this was not covered on the many “What Not to Pack” articles I reviewed before packing.

* And speaking of toys- I always stop by the dollar store and pick up at least 10 random things to play with. These are great for whipping out during tantrums and turning things around! The key is to keep them hidden so each one is a surprise.

* And while we’re still on the topic of toys, the Trunki is pretty cool for keeping them entertained during layovers. They can pack toys in it, ride on it, or pull it around. It’s a little hard to open and falls over if you turn too fast, so it needs some improvement, but it kept my son entertained and that’s pretty much what my life revolves around these days.

trunki with toddler

* Have a sippy cup ready for take off and landing to help with the ear pressure. Swallowing helps their ears pop. But also be ready for the cup to explode when you flip it open! I know this happens and I still do it. It will come shooting out like a fountain if you open it after take off. The way around it is to unscrew the lid, release the pressure and then pop the top open.

* The Benadryl question. One of the first things people usually tell you when asking for flying advice is to give the kids Benadryl to make them sleep through the flight. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t always work and can backfire. Yes, I’m guilty of trying it. It made my son grumpy as hell and he slept for maybe an hour and then woke up even grumpier. My personal favorite sleep encouraging supplement is melatonin. The Sleep Melatonin Supplement by Zarbees works wonders. My son loves the grape flavored tabs and he goes to sleep usually within 30 min. The trick is to give it to them near nap or bedtime though. It’s a natural sleep aid, not a drug to knock your kid out. Plan accordingly. If it’s a daytime flight and they are bouncing off the walls, you just better have that bag full of toys ready.

* Should you get them their own seat? We’ve always gotten our son his own seat when flying so I haven’t tried the “baby in lap” approach. I cannot imagine trying to keep him on my lap for six hours. If you have one of those sweet babies that just snuggles and coos then by all means, save some money and have them ride in your lap. My child is more of the “get up and run the aisles” variety. Some airlines offer a lower fare for children. It’s usually not that much lower, but worth checking out.

family travel

* What about a car seat? We used a car seat on airplanes until he was two, and then it was more of a hassle to lug it around. It also made it way easier for him to kick the seat in front of him, unless he was turned backwards. We spent one flight taking turns holding his feet down and apologizing to the person in front. It’s easier to skip it and just add it to the rental car. It’s usually only about $40 for the entire rental time. Our last trip was his first without the seat, and we just buckled him in and during any bumpy parts I employed the age-old “mom seat belt” method of holding my arm across him. I know there’s a lot of articles insisting they need a car seat, but after two it just gets in the way.

* Plan your sleeping arrangements before you go. Hotels and a lot of Bed and Breakfast places will usually have a crib you can use, but you need to reserve it ahead of time. If you are past the crib stage, the safest option is a blow-up bed. I love this one I got on Amazon – the Intex Kids Travel Bed Set. It rolls up pretty small, doesn’t weigh that much and we easily packed it in our suitcase. It comes with a pump to help blow it up too. My son totally loves his travel bed!

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* Bring all the snacks! Pack tons of snacks in plastic baggies so you can pull out small servings at a time. It’s better to have extra food than a hungry kid. Or a hungry mom for that matter! Just think easy and not messy. Things get messy fast in confined spaces.

Traveling Internationally:

* Bring your own kid-friendly headphones and a laptop or DVD player to use with them. (This goes for domestic travel too) The ones on international airlines have two plugs, so you’ll need an adapter, or have to use their’s and the ear buds don’t fit in little ears. Most airlines have little screens now, but it’s always good to have back-up incase they can’t reach it, figure out how to make it work, or just really need to see their favorite PAW Patrol episode before they freak out. My son refuses to wear anything over his ears- not the cool Captain America headphones I got him, and not even the soft and lightweight CozyPhones that I thought were definitely going to be a hit. So he ended up just holding the earbuds up next to his ears. Whatever you go with, don’t be that parent that lets their kid blare their movie or game with no headphones and disturb everyone around you. Yes, I will totally give you the stink eye for that.

Be careful with the milk. On this last trip, after getting to Ireland and giving my son the full fat local milk, he got sick. He proceeded to get sick every time he drank it. My mother-in-law said she remembered that happening to my husband when he was little. She said just switch to low fat milk and he’d be fine, so we did and he was. Other people were drinking the milk, so it wasn’t bad. It could just be a coincidence that switching to low fat worked, but just keep that in mind if it happens to your child.

* Yes, you will need an adapter plug! If you are staying at a major hotel chain, most will have a USB for charging but everything else needs an adapter. The best thing is to get an adapter and then an extension with extra plugs so you can charge more than one thing at once. Or just get a set like this with it all in one: Ceptics World Traveler Adapter Set. And if you buy a set and are not sure which one to bring, just research it first. Do not leave the biggest weirdest one at home because you are SURE you won’t need that one, because then you’ll get to Ireland and have every plug but the one you need. Yes, I did that.

* Make life easier, use your phone. Just call your carrier and see what options they have for international travel. We have AT&T and they have a cool day rate of $10 for 24 hours and you are just using your regular data and messaging plan. No extra charges besides the $10.

* Check with your credit card and make sure you are using one with without foreign transaction fees. And while you’re at it, make sure they know you are traveling. This is good for both domestic and international travel. You don’t want your card frozen due to what might look like suspicious charges.

* Get the bigger car. Even if you have just one kid, you are going to need the larger car size. Compact in the US and compact abroad are different! We had to upgrade after arriving because we couldn’t fit us plus the luggage in the vehicle.

General Traveling Tips

* Check your shoes. Especially if you are going to be hiking cliffs in Ireland and decide to pack the hiking boots you last wore two years ago. Shoes don’t always hold up, as I found out first hand on Day 1 of our Ireland adventure, when suddenly the sole of my shoe just crumbled away.

traveling tips

* Instead of packing full size toiletries, bring all your samples! I love experimenting on vacation and save up all my little sample sizes for trips. That way if you leave it, lose it, or if it explodes as soon as you take it out of your luggage, it’s not a big deal.

sample size beauty products

I think that covers it for my favorite traveling tips! I hope I answered some questions you might have had, and some you may not even have thought to ask. If there is something I didn’t cover, please post in the comments. I’m happy to answer questions!

A Little Hello from Ireland

I’ve been in Ireland for a week now and haven’t had a chance to update the blog once! I was itching to post something but I’ve gone over my data limit and ATT has slowed my Internet to dial-up speed and most of my attempts to connect are just met with a little spinning wheel that tries in vain to connect. The Wi-Fi, when I can find it, doesn’t seem to be much better. I’m hoping to be able to post this on the day I actually write it!

It’s been a great vacation with a lot of adventuring. We’ve seen many castles, churches, ruins and rocks. The highlight for me so far was visiting the filming locations for the last couple Star Wars movies. (That will be a whole blog post on its own)

Loop head star wars
Loop Head where they filmed The Last Jedi

We arrived in Dublin at 4:30 AM, and after getting our bags and rental car squared away, we got on the road to Rock of Cashel. We arrived around 7AM in a very quiet and empty town and soon discovered nobody in Ireland gets up until at least 10AM. Therein lies the secret of seeing places without the crowds- just get there before 10.

The castle ruins didn’t open until 9AM so we went searching for a place for breakfast and eventually got lucky with an early opening bakery. The guidebooks warned that Rock of Cashel can get pretty crowded, but we were the only people wandering around when it finally opened. It was pretty amazing having the whole place to ourselves!

Rock of Cashel is mine! All mine!

As we were leaving we saw loads of tour buses arriving bringing the crowds. By then we were ready for our next adventure!

Our vacation plans were pretty relaxed and our main goal was to just stop at anything that looked interesting on the drive from Dublin to Kilkee.

We maintained that plan each day as we set a destination and then stopped off along the way to explore.

So far we’ve visited the cliffs of Kerry, Loop Head lighthouse, The Burren, Rock of Cashel, Listowel Castle and various other castles, cliffs and places of interest.

Mom and son
Field of flowers in Kilrush

We head back to Dublin tomorrow to wrap-up our trip with a tour of Guinness, a visit to Temple Bar and whatever else we can find in the city.

So bye for now! I’m off to try and get this to post. I’ve only been attempting to upload it for the last 45 minutes 😆

*also this is the first time I’ve tried posting using just my phone so I have no idea if my pics are enormous or if the layout is weird

Blogger on Vacation! Follow the Adventure on Instagram

We are getting ready to head to Ireland soon! I ambitiously planned to have blog posts scheduled to post throughout my trip, but that never happened so here we are with just a little “On Vacation” notice. If you’d like to keep up with our Irish adventure, I’ll still be posting on Instagram, as long as I can find Internet! @SewGeekMama

http://www.instagram.com/SewGeekMama

This will be Keelan’s second trip! My husband’s family is from Ireland and most still live there so we try and visit every year or so. I’m sure this trip will provide me with plenty of blog material about traveling with a 3-year-old.

Hope you all are having a great summer and I’ll be back to posting at the end of this month!

Also, I’ll be visiting Dublin for the first time, so if you have any recommendations let me know!