Back from 9 days SW Ireland...

Jun 25th, 2003, 09:13 AM
  #1  
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Back from 9 days SW Ireland...

Just got home Sunday from 9 days touring SW Ireland. We flew into Shannon and used Hertz with no problems...but be prepared, if you "reserve" an automatic you probably won't get it. The counter person said they have very few and if we wanted to wait 2 hours, one may come in... Luckily my husband drives a manual transmission car back home anyway so we got a nice Toyota Corolla with manual trans and it was comfortable. Spent the first and last nights at the Radisson just south of the airport. The hotel was very nice but the buffet breakfast the next morning cost 45 euro for 3 people. Yikes! But a very comfortable hotel nonetheless. I reserved thru Expedia and paid about $103/night for 3 people for the first and last night of our trip.

For the remainder of our vacation, we rented a cottage just outside of Kilmallock, about 20 miles south of Limerick. The cottage is on a 60 acre working dairy farm and it was very private, quiet and furnished very nicely. If anyone is interested in a referral, just let me know and I will give you the e-mail address. The owners were fantastic and provided everything we needed. We bought groceries in Kilmallock which saved some money since we were able to eat breakfast at home and take sandwiches for lunches. It was a fairly central base from which to set out on day trips every day.

We toured the Waterford factory which was fascinating, went to Cork, Kinsale, Cobh (loved Cobh). We toured the Dingle peninsula which is absolutely the most incredible place on earth. We also toured the Berea Peninsula, the cliffs of Moher and the Burren. We went to Killarney and Muckross House and Farms which my 12 year old daughter enjoyed immensely. We saw the rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, Tipperary and Limerick. I preferred the smaller towns and villages over Cork or Tipp, but that's just my preference. Lots of traffic in the bigger cities which I was trying to get away from on this trip! Also lots of road work every where we went.

We drove 1400 miles in 9 days and this was our first endeavor at driving on the "wrong" side of the road. It took about a day for my husband to get used to it, and once back home, he had to retrain his brain to drive US-style!

The weather was fabulous every day with only a few sprinkles here and there. According to the owners of our cottage, we really lucked out with the weather. But all I can say is be prepared and layer, layer, layer. I usually wore jeans, a short sleeved shirt, then a long sleeved pull over and had a water resistant light jacket with a hood. Some days, just the jacket and short sleeve shirt were fine. It never got hot enough to wear shorts, and we didn't bring them anyway.

I can't really refer anyone to lots of restaurants or pubs. The best restaurant we found was in Cashel and it was called Cafe Hans. Most of the food was not great and the times we ate in pubs, the prices were too high and the quality not great. Most people we spoke to said that the Euro was the reason for the high prices and several people actually expressed concern that the tourism industry in Ireland would suffer as a result of high prices.

I could go on for hours here...but if anyone has questions about upcoming trips, let me know and I will try to answer them.

cheers,
Donna
Donna301 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 11:22 AM
  #2  
gbs
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Donna, thanks for the interesting update. We are going in Sept for 9 days, but were wondering about staying in 1 place vs. about 3 or 4 towns. Any ideas? Since the automatic is so much more expensive, were you re-imbursed for that? What size care did you get for 3 people? We are 3 adults + 2 golf clubs + luggage. Any thoughts?
gbs is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 11:52 AM
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Hi Donna, thanks for sharing your trip info. I'm wondering if you could offer an estimate of what the high priced pub meals were? I'm going to Ireland in September also and I've been to England many times and eat mostly in pubs because they tend to be affordable and offer vegetarian options. What are the pub meals like in Ireland?
thanks
emjoy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 02:43 PM
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I think it all depends on the rental place you go through. Or the time of year.

I have rented Automatics from Dan Dooley twice ( 11/00, and 04/03) and neither time did I have a problem getting my car. Both were ready the moment I got there. ( this last trip, we even got a brand new '03 Ford Focus Wagon

I would call customer service before booking if you are worried about there not being the car you reserved ready for when you arrive. Ask them what their policies are.
Debbie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 08:00 AM
  #5  
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Hi folks:
To GBS: I can only speak from my family's experience and preference as far as accommodation. We preferred the self catering cottage approach because none of us really wanted to pack up and move some place else every 3-4 days. We felt that even though some of our touring areas (Dingle or Berea) were a couple hours away from the cottage, that we would still enjoy the drive to get there! We had all the time in the world and didn't have to worry about re-packing our stuff till it was time to go home. So, it depends on your agenda and where you're touring, I guess. We got a Corolla...it was a 2-door hatchback and I don't think it would be big enough for 3 adults plus bags/clubs. I'd go for something a bit bigger, 4 door perhaps, but if you're going to be doing lots of touring, keep in mind that a van may be hard to negotiate narrow roads. There were instances when we barely squeezed by another, larger vehicle such as a tour bus and had to actually fold our mirrors in. And yes, we were re-quoted the price of the manual trans. car once we got there, so it all worked out.

to emjoy: I thought the pub meals we had were mediocre but they usually ran about 30 euro. One particular meal we had consisted of shepherd's pie for my hubby, a toasted for me and a burger for my daughter. No guiness either. I thought it was high, but if you're used to dealing in the pound, it may not seem that high to you.

hope you all enjoy your trips...we sure did and would go again in a heartbeat.

Donna301 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Donna, thanks for your report. I'll be in the same locations in August (except we are doing B&Bs). I have been figuring on about 30 miles per hour as an average when driving around that area - does this seem reasonable? Another question - since the pub and restaurant meals sound overpriced and not that good I'm thinking mostly picnics and maybe even fast food (take out). I rarely do that on trips but if the food isn't very good anyway I might consider it. Did you see much in the way of take out, inexpensive ethnic, pizza - that kind of stuff? And if so, where - small towns, bigger towns? Were there plenty of places to get supplies to make up a picnic? And did you see prepackaged sandwiches - every place I went in England this spring seemed to have some place to get them and they were actually quite good. Are they available in Ireland? Thanks
isabel is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Yes - 30 - 35 mph is a good estimate to use when planning your driving days.

I personally have never felt that food , especially pub food was overly expensive there.
On our trip in April, I budgeted about 30 &euro per day for food, and we pretty much stayed to that for Lunch and Dinner every day. ( Lunch was usually one of the many Fabulous Soups!).
I think the ave cost for dinner was 17 &euro , most expensive 24. We ate in pubs and moderate restaurants -nothing fancy , but nothing shabby either.

You can also save money by eating dinner early - look for early bird specials.

Debbie
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Jun 26th, 2003, 01:13 PM
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Donna,
I just re-read your post.
If I apply the prices I recall(?) from my April trip, and it is broken down , it doesn't seem that out of place.
(I really thought you were talking about 30€ per person, not for 3 people)

Shepards pie probably about 9 or 10€ ( these are usually pretty good serving sizes, and served with vegetable)
Toasted Sandwich - about 4 -6€ depends on if it came with chips, etc.
Burger - probably 7 - 10€ (again, usually good sized, served with veges / or potato)
sodas are 2€ each
------------------
so - food = 20 - 26€
3 sodas = 6 €
------------
total 26 - 32€ for the full meal .

There aren't really a lot of pubs you could go to in the states and eat those kinds of entrees for about $10 each.

FYI - soup and a roll usually ran around 3 or 4€
Debbie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 07:40 PM
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Hi:
We found some things for picnics at the Super Valu in town. Esco (I think that's it) also seemed to have a decent selection of sandwich makings/chips/cookies, etc. I know what you mean about those pre-packaged sandwiches in England. We discovered those on our trip there in July, 2001 and really liked them. They always seemed fresh and never soggy...wonder how they do it? I didn't find them in Ireland, unfortunately.

I noticed "take away" in a few towns, but you won't find McDonald's or Pizza Hut on every other corner. We had to search to find take out food. We discovered a place in Kilmallock that had really good fried chicken and bought plenty for dinner and left overs for lunches. A good sandiwch shop is O'Brien's which we discovered in Mallow on our way back from Cork one day, and I believe that is a chain. Very good variety of sandwiches and some breakfast items as well.

I guess I wasn't too clear on our pub food experience. When I said I thought 30 euro was high, I meant as far as the value for the money. 2 euro for a soda is a lot when it's in a little glass. One meal we ate burgers and chips and that one I remember was 29 euro. The burgers, even though the menu said "beef" had to be some kind of beef-like material, the veggies were like mush and ice cold, and the chips were the only decent tasting thing on the plate! I do admit we really didn't spend a lot of time looking for good deals on food...we were hungry so we just stopped at a pub. So that's probably why we didn't have a great experience eating at pubs in Ireland. I have never eaten at a pub in the US, so I have very little to compare it to.

cheers.
Donna301 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 09:31 PM
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Donna -
I have to agree with you that one of the biggest shocks for me - every time I travel -is how much more expensive soda is outside the US.

Since I was the driver, I rarely had any alcohol, and those tiny sodas sometimes cost more on the tab than the pints of beer did.

I eat out pretty often here, sometimes bar food, sometimes casual restaurants, and it is not unusual for me to spend 12 - 20 food & soda, for just me. That is why I didn't consider the prices high.

I am surprised though at the quality of the food you had. In 2 trips to Ireland ( 22 days total) there was only 1 meal that we didn't care for. And that was our fault - we didn't read the full description of the meal.

We probably split our meals 1/2 and 1/2 between moderate restaurants and pubs - Some that come to mind that was great , was Brogans in Ennis, Flesk in Killarney, the cafe at Powerscourt, Kearney castle in Cashel, Lynhams pub in Laragh/Glendalough and Paris Texas in Kilkenny.
Debbie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 11:33 PM
  #11  
sss
 
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I had the book Michelle Erdvig's Best Little Guide to Ireland that I got from the web www.irelandyes.com. I followed it religiously and the food at the reccommended restrants were delicious. Some were more expensive than others but there were good cheap ones listed and pubs with very good food. I also picked up Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland and ate at a couple of those. They were very good but more expensive. I think you just have to know where to go.

sss is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 08:12 AM
  #12  
 
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Donna301: we are going to Ireland the last week in July. Can you give us the email address of the place you stayed? and how much did it cost?
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