We didn't stick around too long though because we knew we still wanted to go to Dingle and drive all the way back to Dublin in a day. After refueling we hit the road and after we were on a good solid road, I turned the radio on (when we listened to the radio we listened to an Irish Gaelic station which occasionally played some traditional music but usually had some sort of conversation in Gaelic.) and was instantly confused by what I was hearing. On the one hand, the tune sounded a lot like "I've got a feeling," by Black Eyed Peas, but....that definitely wasn't Black Eyed Peas singing, because Black Eyed Peas sound good, and they don't sing in Irish! It was partly hilarious and partly...just awful. We listened to the remainder of the song that played, but I'm glad we didn't hear it from the beginning. It really was terrible.
I decided as we drove that I want a house with a thatch roof, or if I ever have a house that needs the roof replaced, I want thatch. I haven't researched thatch at all, but it just looks awesome.
We finally arrived in Dingle and drove through the town and a little farther. We met up with some cows and had a friendly chat with them.
And then back to Dingle where we had the most fantastic ice cream out there. Especially the mint. Really, it tasted like mint leaves! Absolutely fabulous ice cream. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone heading in that direction, though I think they have a few other locations.
We did a bit of shopping there and then took off for Dublin! We passed back through Tralee, through Abbeyfeale, through Adare (all three of which would be wonderful places to visit), back through Limerick and on until we reached Dublin late in the evening. I'm sure Dublin is a wonderful city, and I'd really like to spend more time there, but I don't have any desire to drive there ever again. I don't think any of the roads are straight. We made it to our B&B alright (a lovely place right on the bay, Annagh House) but were very relieved to be there.
The next morning we had a lovely breakfast and headed for the airport. No trouble returning the car or getting to the airport. However, when we got there and checked in, the agent told us that we could get through (somewhere) at 9:15 but that we could probably go straight there since there would be two hundred or so people in front of us. We didn't understand exactly what he meant then, because when we went through security, there weren't that many people in front of us. I fact, the Dublin airport felt more like a huge mall than anything else. We wandered around a bit but then I headed for where our gate was supposed to be, only to find another check point leading down some stairs to another area. Understanding that we would be going through customs in Dublin, I ran back to fetch my Mom and we headed down (at this point, approximately 50 minutes before out flight). At the check point the agent told us that our flight had started boarding half an hour earlier so we might need to listen for them calling us. We still didn't really understand any of that until we got down the stairs to where a much longer line was waiting to go through customs. Finally all the pieces had come together. We nervously waited in line, our flight time creeping closer, but made it through just fine and were able to get on our flight right away. Slightly more stressful than necessary (especially since it was all so unknown), but just fine in the end.
Our flight to JFK was painless, but arrival in JFK significantly less so. We arrived earlier than planned, sat on the tarmac waiting for our gate to be open, finally pulled into our gate only to discover that there was something wrong with the jetway, which seemed to be stuck half way between the front door and the door just behind business class. They finally sorted that out and let us off where we mixed with a flight just arriving from Narita, all of us heading towards customs. A lady working at the airport separated us into two sections and let those from Narita go on ahead. It wouldn't have been a problem if she had told us why, but she didn't. So, a number of passengers from the Dublin flight began to get very angry at being held back. And they started to yell at her and she yelled back. It was all pretty ridiculous while also being pretty amusing. It was fairly clear to me that the most likely reason for us having to wait was because we didn't need to go through customs again, having just done that in Dublin. The Narita flight likely hadn't gone through customs so the airport staff were just trying to separate us so that the Narita passengers would go through customs, but we wouldn't have to. If that silly lady had just told the angry passengers that, the whole fiasco would have been less heated.
We did finally make it through and onto another flight home, but I think I safely say that of all the airports I have ever been to, JFK is easily the worst.
All of that aside, Ireland was wonderful! The people couldn't have been friendlier (except for that 23+ rule) or more welcoming. I'd recommend it to anyone with the remotest interest in going, and I'll be going back as soon as the opportunity presents itself!