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Trip Report Beautiful Ireland: a 3-week solo journey.

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Hello, Everyone! I'm aiming for brevity this time. :-) I drove everywhere (except Dublin) and had a great, fully automatic Renault that handled narrow roads well: Pre-booked through Auto Europe.

Here were the highlights:

Dingle town and the whole peninsula: LOVED it. I stayed 3 nights here and would have preferred 4 or 5, owing largely to the fact that there's traditional music in the pubs every night and the surrounding area is the deepest green color I saw in Ireland. Due to coming down with the flu when I arrived in Dingle (and still coughing!), I didn't have an opportunity to visit the Great Blasket Island, and a few other sights in the area, so I'm destined to return.

Connemara: Very beautiful area with interesting hill formations.

Northern Ireland's Antrim Coast, The Dark Hedges, & Glens of Antrim: Beautiful and I'm destined to return!

Trad On The Prom: This professional dance show at Galway Bay Hotel was outstanding!

Worth Seeing (in addition to highlights above):

Ross Castle & Dunguaire Castle (photographed both from outside - did not go in either)

Kinsale: Lovely town with the best quality knit shop (Granny's Bottom Drawer) - I bought home two beautifully made items from this shop. Don and Barry's walking tour starts at 9:30 and 11, daily in summer months, and definitely worthwhile!

Monasterboyce: Celtic Crosses dating back to the 6th century

Book of Kells at Trinity College Library

Knowth burial site at Newgrange -- very interesting. Tourist office not well organized in how tickets were sold. Was able to get a bus to see Knowth but not to Newgrange (disappointed I didn't see both).

Glendalough: Due to time constraints didn't get up to the lake area, but spent a sufficient amount of time photographing St. Kevin's church and tower.

Kenmare: Lovely town.

Lowlights:

Getting sick with flu or bronchitis and spending 4 days in bed at various hotels (room service was good!)

Missing the Aran Islands excursion I had already paid for due to illness -- spent the day in bed instead (and that turned out to be a wise decision -- it was rainy and windy that day - was trying to avoid getting pneumonia, but I think I did anyway).

Cliffs of Moher: spectacular day & setting, but way too many people and the parking was awful. Tacky trinket shops.

Giant's Causeway: The formations were covered with tourists climbing over. Overrated, in my humble opinion.

The weather. Was in Ireland 3 weeks in July and only had 2 or 3 days of sunny weather.

Favorite accommodations :

Newforge House B&B, about 30 miles southwest of Belfast. Fantastic Georgian Manor - my room was beautifully decorated with separate bath and shower in the lovely bathroom. Food here was exquisite: both breakfast and dinner!

Coopershill B&B: Another beautiful, and exquisitely decorated, Georgian Manor in the countryside of County Sligo (Riverston) Dinner offered but didn't partake due to illness.

Greenmount B&B, Dingle: A first rate accommodation with spectacular view of Dingle Bay from my balcony. Breakfasts here were wonderful & with wonderful views! Gary, the host, couldn't have been more friendly and helpful.

Old Presbytery B&B, Kinsale: I had a "single rate" room here -- but to my surprise, the room was lovely, and the owners couldn't have been nicer. Breakfasts here were excellent!

Here are my photos -- I'm told this link should work for public viewing, even if you don't have a Facebook account. The first group in the album were edited on my iPad and posted from the road. The last 10 have the benefit of Photoshop editing once I returned:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10204234875095893.1073741851.1348096687&type=1&l=e3f52f208a

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