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16 days and 2500 Miles later--Ireland was wonderful!! Part 1 of 2

16 days and 2500 Miles later--Ireland was wonderful!! Part 1 of 2

Jul 29th, 2006, 01:44 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 351
16 days and 2500 Miles later--Ireland was wonderful!! Part 1 of 2

Just got back on Wednesday and wanted to thank all of the Fodorites who helped answer my "pretrip" questions. Will give you a trip update and hopefully this will help all of those going to the land of the green in the upcoming months.
My girlfriends and I (all teachers and over 50ish) had started to plan this trip last December, and had our airline tickets on AerLingus, our rental car lined up and all 6 Bed and Breakfasts confirmed in January. We reserved an automatic with super damage collision waiver so we wouldn't be worried about dents, scratches and windows getting smashed and this was a smart choice as we were constantly brushing against side hedges on the left and even had our side mirror hit by another car. Reserving our B and B's so early also allowed us to get the best rooms with the best views too!! More to come on those. We landed in Dublin on Tuesday raring to go once we dropped off luggage at B and B--we chose ABC Guest House a little ways out of Dublin which was right on the bus line from airport into Dublin--this was great as we bought one day passes for 3 euros and used them all day to get places. Full Irish breakfast was great and Joseph helped us with maps and directions. That day we saw Trinity College, O'Connel Street, Ha Penny Bridge, St Patricks Cathedral and Christ Church and Dublinia--a very full day!!
Day 2 saw us on the bus using another Day pass and we road south to Dun Laoghaire and Bray which are adorable small towns where we drank in the atmosphere and found wonderful bakeries for our noon break. We then headed to Powerscourt gardens via bus and this was a highlight of our trip--you can't miss this if you are in the area. Then we road the bus back to spend the evening in Dublin and Stephens Green and where I had my first real Irish meal of a Boxty. Thursday found us riding the bus back to the airport to pick up our rental car which we would use for the next 13 days (everyone said not to drive in Dublin and am so glad we listened--traffic was terrible!!) I was the designated driver with my 2 girlfriends the co-pilots both armed with 2 different maps (we swore my our Michelin one!!) I had had nightmares about driving on the left, but leaving the airport I thought I was handling things very well for the first 5 minutes...that is until I look out my window and see a Garda (that is Irish for Police)on a motorcycle knocking on the drivers side window motioning me to move over to the left hand lane. You see I didn't realize on a 4 lane road the left lane is for the slower drivers and the right lane for those wanting to pass. After my heart stopped racing I pulled over into the slower lane and we were merrily on our way. The rental cars all have stickers all over the car so the locals can tell who are the foreigners and they understand our erratic driving I hope! On this day we headed to Kildare to see St Bridgets church/tower, Kilkenny Castle and Jerpoint Abbey on our way from Dublin to our next B and B in Cashel. We stayed at Joy's Rockside which was 2 houses down from the Rock of Cashel. Our host Joan and Rem were amazing. The room was beautiful with nice big beds and the breakfast menu had wonderful choices to chose from including feather light pancakes and Potato waffles (Rem did the cooking!!) Joan would greet us each morning with a set of written direction for our days trip with many new and exciting things to add to our itinery. Each day she would ask if we were ready for our "Mystery Trip". We used this B and B to branch off each day for side trips in every direction. The first day included Lismore, Waterford (not excited about this town as it was crowded and more big townish than we wanted but the Crystal factory was neat to visit even though the prices were way too high!), Tramore where we sat on the beach to enjoy the sun and great fish and chips, Ormond Castle Carrick on Suir. Joan recommended a very neat show to attend which is right next to the ROck of Cashel called Bru Boru, which is an 2 hour musical/dance presentation by local townspeople including wonderfully talented kids doing Irish dancing, singing and playing all types of musical instruments like pipes, harps, accordians, and bag pipes. Well worth the admission fee. I should state at this time that the first 10 days we were in Ireland they were experiencing a heat way with temperatures in the 80's which the locals aren't use to. Luckily I had packed all short sleeved shirts unlike my 2 friends who packed sweaters and long sleeve turtle neck shirts so we had to make a shopping trip to get them lighter clothes...the last 6 days of the trip we had normal Irish weather which included cool temps and rain.The 2nd day out of Cashel we did Cashel Rock, Cahir Castle,Swiss Cottage, Blarney Castle, and Fort Charles in Kinsale--loved shooping at the Blarney woolen mills too!! Had a great dinner in Cashel at Hannigans pub of Shepards Pie. We stayed 3 nights at this B and B. The next day we headed out to our next destination of Dingle, but on the way got to see Hore Abbey, Adare Castle, Desmond Castle. Dingle was a cute little town and we were so happy spending the 4 nights with Maggie in her gorgeous Emlagh Lodge B and B located on the waters edge overlooking the bay. This room was magnificent!!! We did enjoy a good meal in John Berrys pub where my pork roast was great--only regret not getting the Banoffie pie which everyone said we should try (and after Dingle we never did find a place to get some!!) Once again we used the Emlagh lodge as our starting point each day for day long side trips. To be continued................
bornintheusa is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 04:13 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Can't wait to read more. Thanks, bornintheusa. Joan
chatham is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 07:45 PM
  #3  
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PART 2--
We were getting tired of eating so in Dingle we began to shop at a grocery store for salads,fruit, bread, meat and cheese to make picnic dinners which we enjoyed sitting at a picnic table in front of Emlagh lodge looking out over the bay---what was really strange through out our trip is that it didn't get dark until 10:30ish at night but we were always in bed before that due to our long sightseeing days. The next day we headed out to Killarney National Park and took in Inch Strand,Ross Castle, Muckross House, Torc Falls, Ladies View, and Kenmare. The Ring of Kerry and Valentia Island were seen on the next day, with Slea Head Drive the following day.We had the chance to seee Dunbeg promatory Fort,stone Bee Hive huts, Cloogher Head and even spend some time sitting on the beach at Com Dhineol reading a book along the drive. We were of the thought that Slea Head Drive was more spectacular than the Ring of Kerry and way shorter drive. Finally it was time to leave Dingle and head out to Doolin. We took the Ferry from Tarbert to Killimer to shorten the drive. We stopped in Kilkee for a deli lunch overlooking the ocean and arrived in Doolin. It isn't much of a town but our B and B sure made up for it. We stayed at the Atlantic View right in Dingle (there is also another Atlantic View close to the Cliffs of Moher but not as nice). The room was huge with a window overlooking a cow field and the ocean.Eileen O'Brien, the owner, was wonderful. She even took the iniative and reserved us spaces on the ferry to the Aran Islands when we mentioned we wanted to go.With rain being forcast, we head out to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands on the Doolin Ferry. The hour trip was great as the water was very calm. Once on the island, my friends chose to ride a pony cart to see the sights and I was crazy enough to rent a bike to become one with nature. I sure saw a lot, but it took about an hour to ride to the stone fort, Dun Aonghas, which is the main sight. The fort is amazing and well worth the effort of riding there. Unfortuately, on the way back the skies opened and I got soaked riding back into town. I think I would opt for the pony cart next time!!Saturday brought cold, wet weather again so we decided to drive around the Burren. This was interesting and enabled us to see the vast differences in the Irish landscape, seeing as everything so far had been so green and lush. We had not yet gotten to the Cliffs of Moher, but decided the only way to see them in all of their glory was to go on a boat cruise so we signed up to do just that. We figured you can't see much of the cliffs from the top of them, just the water down below. Unfortunately the weather was making the water choppy with white caps, but we went anyway. The ride was an hour and if it hadn't been so rough I would have really enjoyed it. The views of the cliffs are unbeatable from down below in a boat, and the tour boat driver even stops so you can get great photos of the whole area. Several people ended up getting sea sick on this trip. It is getting to the end of our trip, and we started to take it easy with less sights to see. We drove from Dingle to Galway with a stop at Dungaire Castle in Kinvarra Bay, as well as stopping at several wonderful thatched roof homes. At the entrance to Galway we discovered the Galway Crystal factory which had gorgeous crystal for a fraction of what the Waterford Crystal went for. Needless to say I bought several items. In Galway we stayed at the Liscarra Ba nd B where our hosts Ethna and Brendan Regan were friendly and helpful. We had a room that gave us views of the Ocean. Once we got settled in (Brendan brought us tea and cookies after arriving!) we left to drive the Connemara. I think this section of Ireland is by far my favorite as the sights were astounding with all of the lakes, waterfalls, and greenery. We made a short stop at Connemara National Park and then on to Kylemore Abbey. We arrived there too late and they were closed but seeing the Abbey perched next to the lake was breathtaking. We had planned nothing on our last day in Galway except shopping as we knew this was our last big town to get some of the items we wanted to take back, but didn't want to lug them all around Ireland on our travels. So we spent a few hours in the rain shopping on High Street and see the Spanish Arch. Visited a great bakery near the Arch called McCabe's which has decadent pasteries. Once back at our B and B, we decided we really wanted to see Kylemore Abbey, so we headed back to see it. Not only did we get in to see the Abbey but since it had been raining we got to see some spectacular waterfalls cascading down the mountains all along our route. Our last day in Ireland consisted of a short drive from Galway to Bunratty. On the way we stoped to see the Athenry Castle, and the Ennis Friary. On a small road we finally were rewarded with a wonderful sight we had yet to see--we had to stop in the road for a herd of cows and their owner to stop. We arrived in Bunratty where we stayed at a gorgeous B and B, Bunratty Lodge, owned by Mary BRowne. Only wish we could have stayed there more than the 1 night we had left. The room was huge and had 2 bathrooms!!! She recommended The Creamery to eat at after we saw Bunratty Castle and did last minute shoppy at the Blarney Woolen Mills store. All in all, the trip was marvelous, the Irish people were friendly and helpful, and we had a great time. We weren't even on the airplane home and we were talking about where we wanted to go next!!!
bornintheusa is offline  
Jul 30th, 2006, 07:44 AM
  #4  
dcd
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Thanks for posting and please keep it coming. This is great stuff but please break up the long paragraphs into smaller ones. Makes it much easier to read. We hope to be in Ireland next May and I'm bookmarking this one.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 07:48 AM
  #5  
dcd
 
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Oops, I posted before reading part 2 and realizing you're done with the report. Again, thanks for all the useful information.
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Jul 30th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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Join Date: May 2003
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I really want to read this report, but I gave up after reading the first loooong paragraph. Please break into paragraphs.

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