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9 nights in Ireland

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Oct 10th, 2013, 03:26 AM
  #1
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9 nights in Ireland

We (me, my daughter and family friend) arrived in Shannon with no problems. We prepaid our car rental at Dan Dooley. Went to their counter, only took a couple minutes for paperwork. Then went out the door and their shuttle picked us up in about 2 minutes. Their shuttle driver was very fast, efficient and friendly. Gave us some quick words of advice "stay left, look right" and we were on our way to Ennis.

The weather was nice and we were early for our B&B check in so decided to head right on over to the Cliffs. My friend decided to drive since I was the better navigator. We found the cliffs of Moher easily by following signs. We pulled into the parking lot and were told they take cash only, no credit. We forgot to stop at the ATM at the airport. The male working the booth said no problem, gave us a ticket and told us to pay inside. This was all done on the "honor system" which we found was throughout most of our trip. The Cliffs were gorgeous. We walked around and took lots of pictures. We hit the ATM in the gift shop which only allowed 120 euro at a time. Did a little souvenir shopping and left. We were going to try for Doolin for a visit, but the driver was was having anxiety already from the drive so far and by me yelling "move right" a bunch of times. She liked to drive in the bushes and off the road. My left hand was sore from me trying to push the door away from me when we went towards the bushes. My daughter was in the backseat holding onto to my headrest with a death grip. This continued for a couple days.

We got to Ennis quite easily. After circling the city 3 times we finally stop and ask for directions to our b&b, the Grey Gables. It was literally 1 minute drive from where we were at. We checked in easily. This was an average B&B. The room we had was extremely small for 3 people. TV didn't work, clock didn't work and a light bulb missing from the lamp. Breakfast was just average. Mary always asked where we were going and always gave us directions, maps etc. The great thing about it was it was close to city center and could be walked easily.

Most of the restaurants were closed by the time we got there so we ate at a chinese restaurant. We were hungry so it was good. We stopped at the Poets corner for some "trad" music. We asked the waitress for a good Irish beer. She suggested Smithwicks which we all liked. The music was good.

The next day Mary gave us directions to the Burren. We were on a very small road. Then we got behind a road crew that closed the road down while they worked on it. So we had to turn around. We followed signs and made it after a couple wrong turns and with me screaming "move right" several times. We found the Poulnabrone Dolmen quit easily. Stayed there for awhile exploring until a tour bus came. Stopped at a couple old cemetaries and old buildings along the way. Then we went up to Ballyvaughan. Had lunch at Monks Pub. And yes, it was the best clam chowder I've had. Explored a little around there and decided to head back.

We thought we were going the same way we came but we weren't. We ended up going down a very small street where 2 cars would be a tight squeeze. I told my friend to turn around. She did not. I swear every corner we came to, she slowed down to nothing and all 3 of us were trying to peer our heads around the corner to see if anyone was coming. Then she turned down another street and this should not even be considered a street. Only one car would fit and grass was growing in the middle of the street. I told my friend I strongly object to this road, which made us all laugh. We saw 2 hikers a little while into the street and I took a picture of them. They had to get off the road completely when we went by. Then another car came. I think I screamed "a car a car" My friend starts immediately pulling off the road. I tell her to stop because the dirt doesn't look flat. She doesn't listen and pulls right off the road and the whole left front of the car goes down. She tries to back up after the car passes and just spins the tires in the mud that shes stuck in. I get out to look and the mud is covering almost the whole tire. The other driver sees and stops to help as do the hitchhikers. Together the 5 of us push it out of the mud. We manage to make it back to Ennis.

Went back to Poets corner and ate. Food was great. Clam chowder was good. Cheesecake better. Listened to some music and made our way back to our b&b. The next day we head on over to Loophead. We stopped a few places along the way, whatever looked interesting. Stopped at bridges of Ross. Stayed there for awhile. It's gorgeous!. Nobody else was there. Probably because it was very windy and light rain. By the time we left and got to Loophead it was raining. Sat in the car for a little while until it let up. Went up the lighthouse. Saw the mist coming. Only had a few minutes of visibility before it hit. There were only 3 other cars there. The cliffs here are pretty impressive, almost comparable to Cliffs of Moher with a LOT less people milling about.

A very enjoyable day. The driving has gotten way better. I actually took my hand off the door and my daughter sat back and stopped gripping my headrest. I still yell "move right" occasionally, but only when I have a stonewall on my side. I just let her hit the bushes now. We got the insurance. Back to the Grey Gables for our 3rd and last night.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 04:36 AM
  #2
 
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reading with interest...we are going too..but luckily we are accustomed to the left side of the road...i have never driven on the right so i have sympathy for your friend!
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Oct 10th, 2013, 04:36 AM
  #3
 
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Ireland is really a beautiful place to travel. After reading your post it seems you have enjoyed alot during your trip.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 06:08 AM
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Don't let the secret of Loophead out or it will be overrun like Moher. I was there last month on a gorgeous sunny day, but very windy. The lighthouse was closed unfortunately, but just walking around the cliffs, viewing the birdlife and enjoying the picnic I had packed was a pleasure! There were about five other cars there.
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Oct 10th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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The next morning we ate our Irish breakfast, thanked Mary and headed towards Dingle. I had already printed out maps of our route before we arrived. This helped a lot. There were times the map said to turn right 2.2km to go somewhere. When we went 2.2km it was a very small road with no signs.

We decided to stop where ever looked interesting to us. Our 1st stop was Adare. A very picturesque town. We explored for a couple hours before continuing on. We also stopped at a couple little cities along the way. We finally made it to the Dingle peninsula. I felt I was saying "pull over" for a photo op quite often. Either that or my friend driving pulled over to pet sheep. She's a sheep fanatic and this never got old. To her anyways.

We finally reach our B&B in he late afternoon. We stayed at the Coastline. The Coastline was built to be a B&B so naturally the set up was nicer. Vivienne was very pleasant. She gave us a map of the city with suggestions on restaurants and pubs. Our room was huge. 2 queen beds and 1 single. 2 lounge chairs with a coffee table. Large bathroom with a large tub. And walk in closet. We put down our stuff and headed on out.

We were hungry so we stopped at the Boatyard Restaurant. It was close, the menu looked good, plus Vivienne suggested it. It was the best meal we had in Ireland. I had the Atlantic Platter which consisted of crab claws, chowder, clams & mussels and crab quiche. The crab quiche was exceptionally good. We asked for a local beer that was good but not heavy like Guinness. The waitress suggest Tom Creans which is brewed locally. We enjoyed that also.

We went and headed for some music. It was kind of late already so most places were full and we wanted a seat. We went into Dingle Hotel Pub. Got a seat right up front. Ordered a few Tom Creans and listened to music. Not trad music, but was 2 Irish guys who single really well and we enjoyed it.

Woke the next morning and went to breakfast. Ordered the Irish breakfast. This was a lot better than the last place, and I had liked the last place. During breakfast one of the other guests called us outside to see a rainbow. So we went. We saw a very large, thick full double rainbow. The end of it hit the water in the bay directly in front of us. I then told my daughter to run upstairs to get a camera. Absolutely perfect!

The weather was perfect. Sun was shining. So off to do the Slea head drive. We stopped many places along the way: Mulcahy pottery, Gallarus Oratory, Dun Chaoin Pier, famine cottages, beehive huts and several beaches to name a few. Oh yes, let us not forget the sheep we visited on Dingle.

We finished early afternoon and walked through town. It was a weekend and very busy. We decided to jump on a dolphin watching cruise. We went out into the harbor and before you know it, there it was. Funghi they call him. Lots of photo ops. Would have been more enjoyable if they didn't allow dogs on. This couple brought their 2 dogs. One was so scared it pee'd on the floor. But I enjoyed it anyways.

For dinner we went to Dingle Hotel so we could listen to more music. It was trad music that night and we wanted a good seat. Had fish and chips. It was good. Ordered our Tom Creans and enjoyed ourselves until a group of kids, about 10-12yo came in with their parents to join in the music. These same kids were by the pier earlier that day playing for money. Exploiting kids is not my cup of tea, so we left for the night. Back to our B&B for our 2nd and last night in Dingle.
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Oct 12th, 2013, 10:48 AM
  #6
 
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I'm enjoying reliving our time in Ireland with your report. We also stayed at Grey Gables and had the same experience---couldn't find it by her directions and we were only a few blocks away when we asked directions. I agree that the rooms are old and small but the location can't be eat for walking to town.

It was perfect to practice driving from the Shannon airport. The initial driving experience in Ireland is always a challange so it was nice to be able to leave the car at Grey Gables and get over the first drive.
Poets Corner was one of our favorite stops.

I got a good laugh at your "move right" saying. Mine was "drifting!". I yelled that a lot.

You're hitting so many places we went----Yes, I know it's the usual tourist trek but lovely none the same.

Looking forward to your next post and maybe some photos???
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Oct 15th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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Day # 6 had another great breakfast at the Coastline and we head out to Killarney. It was raining on/off most the day. Not bad, but enough to be annoying. So we decided to check out the town instelf. Stopped at Ross's Castle on the way and did the guided tour. I really enjoyed this. Our guide was very knowledgeable and you could tell she loved her job and Killarney. We learned quite a bit and it helped us with undersand other castles throughout the rest of our trip. The area near the Castle is beautiful. We then went to the city center & did some shopping. Ate at Mac's Pub on Main st. We all had some version of seafood. It was good. The chowder good too. Not the best in Ireland though. But it was convienent and no waiting.

So after we "do the town" we head on over to our B&B Killarney View House. DO NOT STAY HERE.. This is not an exageration. These are the facts. When we first walked in there was an overwhelming smell of mildew. Owners son greeted us. Showed us to our room. On the way there was a fan in the hallway turned towards a room. So I assumed thats where the mildew smell was coming from. We get to our rooms, I knew it was gonna be just basic. But that was fine and what we paid for. I did find 3 spiders in the bathroom. I killed them then shut the window so no more could come in.

Went out for the night. Went to a hotel just down the road within walking distance. I think its called White Gates hotel. Went to the lounge because we saw the sign for music. It wasn't very crowded. There were 3 girls playing Irish music. So we had a good time. Left after a couple of Smithwicks and back to the B&B.

Upon entering there were people in the lounge (even tho suppose to be closed) and young men with boxers on. As we walked by I noticed a spider on the ceiling. Only then did I start looking up and scanning the ceiling. They were everywhere from one end to the other. I counted 24. Spiders don't freak me out, but I'd just assume not be sleeping with them either. My daughter damn near ran to her room trying not to scream.

No one takes a shower because there is another spider in the bathroom and we'd just assume not see whats in there. My friend noticed her sheet was dirty on her bed and took it off and left in on the floor.

Next day we went for breakfasts. I'm not a picky eater so it was ok to me. Looked like it was pre-made and reheated. But I could be wrong. My friend hated it, but she's a very picky eater. We were going to do the Gap of Dunloe but it was still rainy/misty outside so we chose to do the Ring of Kerry. I hadn't looked up much about the Ring of Kerry because we weren't going to do it. It was a nice drive. But there is no comparison to Dingle. We did stop at many places along the way including Rossbeigh beach. I love this beach. It's gorgeous. Stopped for lunch at some town at a restaurant called Kitchen something or another. Not good. looked cute, but it was food none the less. It wasn' that bad where you couldn't eat it.

We head back to our B&B to put all our shopping down. I notice the window in the bathroom is open and a bunch of nats are in the bathroom now. I close the window and the door to the bathroom. So ok, we'll use restroom somewhere else tonight. This is almost funny now. We head into the lounge at the B&B. This lounge really is nice. The view is great! Fire place going. It was by far the best thing in there. We went to use the WIFI there because it's not in the rooms. It wasn't very good there eitehr. Kept getting disconnected. The best place was at the front door--so there all 3 of us stood trying to connect w/family. Then it went down and stayed down. My friend ask one of the help about it. She said she had to call the neighbor over to help and then even stated she did't know why they didn't get better WIFI or TV service.

We go back to the White gates to eat and listen to music. Had fish and chips, and ofcourse our Smithwicks. Music was good and we had a good time. Back to the B&B and we get to our room and the smell is now of a septic tank. Fun times. We heard the people in the next room complaining about their toilet backing up. Turned in for the night when my friend noticed that the dirty sheet she left on the floor was back on her bed. And no shower again with nats flying around.

( I ofcourse did not give this B&B a good review. It really was that bad. The owners son commented on it and just said lie after lie. Ofcourse he was trying to save face. But that just goes to show you their mentality )

Even so Killarney was fun. The best parts for me was Ross Castle and Rossbeigh beach.
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Oct 15th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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So sorry you got a bad B&B, which can really ruin a trip. Looking forward to your next installment and hoping the next place is better.

We stayed in Grey Gables a few years ago and despite the convenient location, we would never recommend it to anyone.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Day #8. We leave early for our long trip to Kinsale via Mizenhead. We stop again at Ladies View and it was still misty and pictures didn't come out that well. We drive straight through to Bantry.

We spent a couple hours at Bantry house and gardens. It was very pleasant. We were the only ones there it seemed. The sun finally made it out today. First time since we left Dingle. It was nice, it lit up the gardens beautifully. Made a huge difference.

After Bantry we go to Mizenhead. We made a couple wrong turns along the way because we apparently don't read signs that good! All is well. Its raining when we get there. So we decide to "wait it out" inside their coffee shop. Had something to eat. Not a good idea, should have packed a picnic. So the rain stops and we decide to go across the bridge. This was a little freaky. The winds are so loud here that you could barely hear yourself talk. At the bridge I take some pictures over the side. It took me a few times to get a decent picture because apparently I don't like leaning over bridges! lol The views are gorgeous.

We then continue on climbing the steps to the platform. This took some time due to the winds. We literally had to hold onto the rails & fence to keep from being blown backwards. My friend turned around about 3/4 of the way up. My daughter and I were on a mission to get to the top! And it was amazing. The views were worth it. We stayed up for only about 5 minutes though. My daughter literally got blown off her feet and went up in the air a few inches. She grabbed onto the rail in the middle up there and we held on to the fence and got back down. Seriously thought she was a goner for a minute!

We head back down and went into the gift shop. I was looking for a t-shirt that said I made it out alive. But, none was to be found.
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Dec 19th, 2013, 12:03 PM
  #10
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So we leave Mizenhead and head towards Drombeg Stone Circle on the way to Kinsale. We find it easily enough. If you go here, pack a picnic. Its the perfect place. The views are amazing. And it was so green, so peaceful. We spent awhile here just soaking it up. Again we were the only ones here. As we were leaving a car had just pulled up.

On the road again to Kinsale we stop at Timoleague for a short trip at the Friary. We didn't stay long because it was getting towards later afternoon, we were hungry and wanted to check into our b&b at a reasonable time.

On this day of travel I would definitely say Mizenhead was the highlight. I'd go there all the time if I lived there...
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Dec 19th, 2013, 03:15 PM
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Still enjoying your travelogue. Looking forward to more, please!
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Dec 19th, 2013, 04:33 PM
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Great report. Following along. Seems like you have a great attitude to travel.
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Dec 21st, 2013, 02:30 AM
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seems such a shame to have to put up with bad lodgings at b and bs...can understand if its some huge hotel chain...impersonal and removed but to have the owners right there and not providing decent food and rooms is really embarrassing ...surely?
glad it didnt spoil your trip ...i dont know that id be so gracious...ireland is not cheap
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Dec 21st, 2013, 04:51 AM
  #14
 
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Well, that B & B has some bad reviews, but the vast majority were good or excellent.
Mrs J. Is sensitive to dust and mould, so we would have picked up the cases and left.
Even if we had stayed one night for convenience, the next day would have been spent finding an alternative. I'm surprised you spent three nights there
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Dec 28th, 2013, 10:53 AM
  #15
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We get into Kinsale by crossing over the harbor. The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous view. After circling the city several times we decide to pull over and get directions to our B&B The Cloisters. It was just up the hill a block past the line of cabbies. My friend driving will not try and squeeze between the cabbies and the building. She insists the car is too big. So I have to get out and wave her through. She goes inch by inch shaking her head no as i'm waving frantically and shaking my head "yes you can". All, and I do mean, all the cabbies are rolling on the ground laughing their butts off at the "dumb tourists". She makes it through and I get back in the car hanging my head in shame.

Cloisters is a fun little B&B where the front door is basically in the street. Its at the end of the building and the road turns drastically at the end. We learned to stick our heads out the door before stepping out to make sure a car was not coming. This is a fantastic B&B. Very clean. Nice decor. Aileen and Orla are the proprietors and they are great. We got maps of the town with their suggestions on food, entertainment, etc. Their Irish breaksfasts were hands down the best on our trip.

We put our stuff in the room and we walk into town.. Just down the hill is a restaurant they suggested called Crackpots. The wait staff was a bit snobbish in my opinion. But the food was really good. But would not go back again due to the atmosphere. We walked the town and headed back to our B&B. Showered (finally) and slept so peacefully. We slept in for the 1st time.

Next morning after our delish breakfast we had into town to take the Don & Barry's historic walking tour. I was the only one that pre-booked so i got an old map of kinsale. Yes, I had a smug look on my face "ha ha I got one and you didn't". It was a nice tour and very interesting on the history of the town.

Went back to pick up our car, dropped off some dirty laundry in town and went over to Charles Fort for a couple hours. We were told you can walk it, but it would be a long walk. Came back to town, dumped the car off and set off on foot on someplace to eat. It was kind of busy and we couldn't agree so we ended up in Blue Haven. It was ok. Then listened to some music afterwords. Very mellow crowd.

Heading back to our B&B and slept peacefully again.
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Dec 29th, 2013, 03:55 AM
  #16
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http://s998.photobucket.com/user/shaizme/slideshow

Hope that link works for pictures. Morning of day #10. Our last day. We leave Cloisters after another fabulous breakfast and start heading north towards Shannon. We stop at Blarney Castle on the way. The line at the castle is out the door. But we're here, we're going up. From the beginning of the line to getting back down was just short of one hour. So not bad at all.

Heres the thing. I am not afraid of heights. We get to the top. I was a little apprehensive because I heard you have to lean over backwards down a hole. After seeing it I felt much better. There are metal bars over the hole plus someone up there helps you back and holds you in place. Now, my head knows this. But my heart didn't. When he pushed me back I screamed like a stuck pig! It shocked me, him and everyone else. There is this old man that probably has been doing that job for 50 years and has seen everything. He could not stop laughing. Even as we were going back down I could still hear him laughing. I don't think I actually kissed the Blarney Stone, but I'm sure I scraped the heck out of it from my forehead to my nose. I am not afraid of heights! I am not!

We continue on to Shannon, stopping at whatever looked nice. We turn in our car with no problems. I was a little concerned about the scratch down the middle from one of the branches we hit. But apparently the employee didn't see it. The most we would have had to pay was an extra 100E.

Off to Scotland! But we'll be back!
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Dec 29th, 2013, 04:15 AM
  #17
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I also wanted to thank everyone for their input on my trip. My itinerary changed dramatically a few times. From staying in one place the whole time to changing B&Bs every night! lol We did hit most of our "must do" list. Of course, we could not do it "all". But we also found many things not on our list.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 09:32 PM
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Very fun (and funny) trip report. Thanks.
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