Aran Islands in late March

Jan 16th, 2007, 12:09 PM
  #21  
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Bit, I'm so sorry to have made the assupmtion that you were male! But very glad to hear that you're female. Please don't take this the wrong way, but I was a little bit apprehensive about how "welcomed" two females would be in a pub full of locals. I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois where the taverns have always been the social life of the town. To this day, I'm not sure that two women traveling together would be drawn in to conversation to the extent that two men would be. So I find your comments about Joe Waddy's pub even more interesting knowing that you're a woman.

Thanks for your good wishes!
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Jan 16th, 2007, 12:17 PM
  #22  
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Bit, I just read your website. If I'd done that first, I wouldn't have made the mistake! I'll bet your shows are one heckuva good time!
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Jan 16th, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #23  
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Meant to emphasize that are! It's a very interesting concept and sounds like a lot of fun.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 12:31 PM
  #24  
 
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CAPH52, I've noticed CowboyCraic just recently and wondered if their posts are a form of advertising. I e-mailed and recieved a very curtious reply. They've been 4 times and are working at doing something similar to Michele Erdvig and Pat Preston. Both those ladies have been many, many times and they do not post on Fodors. Yes, we talk about them. CowboyCraic has some good info about places they have been to and places they've really stayed.
Have a wonderful time with your daughter. Regards, Joan
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Jan 16th, 2007, 01:08 PM
  #25  
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Thanks, Joan!
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Jan 16th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Joan, CAP,

I guess I passed the litmus test? I am not advertising at all. I want to make sure that everyone who travels to Ireland has the best possible time. If they can learn from the mistakes I have made and the good resources I have accumulated, so much the better. I would never suggest a place at which I or a member of my family circle hadn't stayed or which I haven't been invited to tour. You would be surprised how many doors open to a Cowboy in Ireland!

I would never put myself in the same league as Michele & Pat, though I offer my experiences on their sites, as well. They are light years ahead of me. I have only just begun on the road they have paved.

CAP,

My first trip over was with my best friend, also female. We had no qualms about going into the pubs. We were chatted up by local men to be sure. However, everyone was very friendly wherever we went, even when we wandered into a pub in Belfast where American tourists apparently don't go. If anything, 2 females traveling through Ireland are offered more help, clearer directions and are approached often for conversation.

You and your daughter will have the best time, just wait and see! If you go to Dun Aengus on Inis Mor, wear sturdy shoes with good tread as the walk gets steep and the rocks toward the end slippery, but it is all quite well worth it! When you come down from the fort, stop in for a cuppa and a piece of the most delicious chocolate cake or baked goods you will find in the little tea shop across the courtyard

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine
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Jan 16th, 2007, 04:42 PM
  #27  
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Thanks again, Bit. I really appreciate your taking the time to share your experiences with me. I love guide books and always read several before any trip. But nothing compares to the advice and experiences of "real people". And it's people like you, who are willing to take the time to share those experiences, who make Fodor's the wonderful resource that it is.
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Jan 16th, 2007, 07:45 PM
  #28  
 
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Hi CAPH -

Sorry for the delayed check-in on this thread; I've been off the board for a few days.

You didn't need me though. Cowboy Craic said it all for me.

But I'll say it again anyway:

Take the ferry, as long as you're not easily affected by seasickness. It's a very atmospheric way to get to the Inishmore (we saw sea lions in the Rossaveal harbor). Besides, it's a island with a seafaring history. Approaching it by boat only seems right.

Stay for the night. Again, for the atmosphere. We awoke in the morning to the sounds of hoofbeats on the road as a man drove his horse into town.

Late March was good for us: We had some rain and some sun during our 24 or so hours on the island. Dun Aengus was deserted (we spent a couple of hours), as was a small beach not far from our B&B, which was...

The Man of Aran. I'd book ahead (we called from Galway the night before our excursion and that worked well - but no guarantees if you leave it that late). Even if it rains, the hosts will have a peat fire going and there are books to read if you don't feel like talking about the island's history with your hosts.

Personally, I would go regardless of the weather. One of my fantasies is getting stormed in at the Man of Aran, winds howling across the stone fences, waves pounding on the shore -- and nowhere else a sound.

That's heaven.

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Jan 16th, 2007, 11:49 PM
  #29  
 
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Hi all, I'm from Dublin,Ireland but have been living in Galway for the past year. It is such a lovely town and a nice change from the hustle of Dublin City. I went to irish college nearly 10 years ago now on Inish Iirr which is the smallest of the aran islands.Very little to do and definetly would not recommend an overnight stay but for a day it would be nice.

However I went to Inis Mor last Easter so around April time for two nights. I went with my best friend. There are two hostels and we stayed oin the one further inland. It was reasonable and did us fine but is your looking for comforts steer clear. There are many B&B's scattered around the island but go for one that is within walking distance to the pier and little village as that is where any of the life is. The Aran Islands are very traditional and All locals speak Irish but they will obviously speak English to you. There are a nice number of little pubs around and although quiet they will still be open in March (its Ireland remember!!)

As for scenary it is beatiful and we rented bikes and rode to the other end of the Islands to Dun Aoghsna which is the furest point until you hit America. Its a sheer drop and then just sea,well worht the trip. Also we went looking for the famous blow holes,of course it was lashing rain and winds were high.We spent 2 hours hiking trough fields and over walls but to know avail.Absolutly drenched and tired we gave up and on returning to the road realised we had missed the sign for a walkway striaght up to them!!!! But that is typical Ireland for you and all we could do was laugh and laugh!! So if you can find the blow holes they are suppose to be worth it!!

You asked wheather or not it will be worht it in march if the weather is bad and my answer would be yes. You can never predict the weather in Ireland especially around that time of year. Put it this way our bike riding day I got burnt and the next was the blow hole day!! It could be cold but very clear and even if its not and its misty and horrible just find a pub with trad music,pop in and curl up in front of the fire with a hot whiskey and enjoy the age old Irish tradition of the craic agus ceol!!
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Jan 17th, 2007, 04:07 AM
  #30  
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Thanks, worktowander and ktmcloughlin. I'm convinced! If I do nothing else during my stay, I will definitely get to Inis Mor! I'm really looking forward to it.

I really appreciate all the posters who've been so generous with their time in replying to me.
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Jan 18th, 2007, 06:40 AM
  #31  
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I just realized that there's something else I should ask about. Is there any advantage to going on a weekend rather than during the week? Or vice versa?

Is there any chance we'd find music in one of the pubs on a Saturday night that time of year? Traditional music in a pub that isn't jam packed just might be my idea of heaven!

Or are there things that would be open during the week that might not be on a weekend?

Any thoughts on the subject would be much appreciated!
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Jan 18th, 2007, 09:03 AM
  #32  
 
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Joe Waddy's would be the one most likely to have music. However, in the off season it is more of an impromptu session which occurs. I would say that your chances are better on a weekend or closer to one. There seems to be more regular sessions during the summer season than in the off-season, for obvious reasons.

You could ask the bartender whether there will be music that night. If asked earlier enough, he might put out the word that music has been requested.

As a singer, I have a different experience than most. When you walk into a pub in cowboy hat, western wear & boots carrying a guitar, the music seems to happen.

Slan Go Foill,

Bit Devine


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Jan 18th, 2007, 09:39 AM
  #33  
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Thanks again, Bit!
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Jan 18th, 2007, 10:04 AM
  #34  
 
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Bit, your walking into a Pub in cowboy gear reminded me of a street concert I saw one year in Ennis. In the main town square there were a group dressed in Native American outfits and some music playing from some kind of machine. People were giving them money, as I did. I waited around to speak to them and ask them what State they were from. I had a good laugh when I found out they were not from the States and could barely speak English. At least when you walk in a Pub people are getting the real thing. Love to hear you sometime.
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Jan 18th, 2007, 10:09 AM
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I think I got were and was mixed up. I'll pretend I was thinking in Greek.
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Jan 18th, 2007, 10:11 AM
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..was in innismore in February. Had to take the plane as the sea was so rough there had been no ferries for 3 days. A wonderful quiet visit. Don't have your heart set on a specific B and B. Many are closed in the winter months.
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Jan 18th, 2007, 02:36 PM
  #37  
 
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No matter the season, it can be hit or miss in the pubs. I found that asking the person behind the bar about music for the evening usually led me to the perfect place.

In some pubs, the conversation as gone along these lines:

"Will there be music here, tonight?"
"To be sure, there might and then again...."
"If not here, then where could I find some Trad?"
"Are you going to listen or are you looking to play?"
"I sing, he plays (pointing to my partner)"
"Well then,..........

It would either end up with them calling the musicians they knew out for a "church meeting" that night or with them calling ahead to a few pubs to let them know that a couple of REAL cowboys were looking to sit in on a session. I ahve neverbeen disappointed following the suggestions of the man pouring the Jameson.

Slan Go Foill,

Bit Devine
www.cowboycraic.com
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Feb 17th, 2007, 05:29 PM
  #38  
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As I mentioned to Bit on another thread, now that I know more about what my situation will be when I visit my daughter, I have more questions!

I originally thought we'd pretty much have to go over the weekend. But now know that my daughter will be able to go during the week. So now I'm wondering which would be a better time to go.

On the one hand, my daughter has already noticed that the weekends are more crowded in Galway. So I wouldn't mind getting away on Saturday night. But, even at that time of year, would Inis Mor also be more crowded on the weekend?

I guess, basically, we have a choice of reserving ahead and staying on a Saturday night or winging it on a weekday, going whatever day the weather seems best. In which case, of course, we'd be taking our chances of getting a place to stay.

Or I guess a third option would be deciding ahead of time on a particular weekday and reserving ahead.

The only two things set in concrete so far for this trip are that my daughter and I want to fly to Paris for a weekend and that we want to go to Inis Mor. So I'd like to try not to screw up those two parts of it!

I'd love to have some opinions as to whether a weekend or a weekday would be better that time of year. And whether, if we choose a weekday, we can wait until the last minute to book a B&B.

Thanks again!
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