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Beautiful Ireland: a 3-week solo journey.

Beautiful Ireland: a 3-week solo journey.

Aug 28th, 2015, 11:23 AM
  #1  
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Beautiful Ireland: a 3-week solo journey.

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/?...1&l=e3f52f208a
susan001 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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You are a talented photographer. I have been to all those places but didn't take pictures like that. I think we were lucky on Giant's causeway, there were tourist but not that many. I also want to return to Northern Ireland.
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Aug 28th, 2015, 12:57 PM
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Thanks so much for the kind words about my photos, fpab. I realize I visited some of these places in high season.
susan001 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2015, 02:23 PM
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Thanks for the report and the pic's.. have to confess sneaking a look at the Haworth pics as well seeing that I lived and worked around there for a lot of years,
Tony2phones is offline  
Aug 28th, 2015, 03:03 PM
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Thanks, Tony2phones, and also for your help when I was planning. I LOVE Haworth.
susan001 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2015, 06:55 PM
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Lovely photos as always, Susan. So sorry you had to deal with being ill while on vacation!

I also admire you for getting out there and driving yourself, especially in Ireland!! So many people talk about what a challenge that is.

Surprised you still travel in high season even though you are now retired!! You need to travel in April/May or September/October when there are fewer tourists and usually good weather.
bettyk is offline  
Aug 28th, 2015, 08:00 PM
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Hi Betty -- Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to comment. My brother also doesn't understand why I continue to travel in summer, though i'm no longer teaching. I guess in the case of both Ireland and England, I thought I might have a better chance of experiencing good weather in summer. The locals told me to come in September or October. Two years ago, I went to France in mid-September and had cold, rainy weather there. I guess i've been trying to avoid that. I did have great weather in July last year in England.

For the most part, traveling in July in the UK & Ireland has not been an issue with tourist crowds -- only at the most popular sights.
susan001 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2015, 09:13 PM
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Betty -- forgot to mention: Driving in Ireland was not a challenge at all, in fact I thought most of the roads were better than some I had experienced last year in England. It simply was not an issue! My GPS guided me well, and I only got me lost 2 times, I think.

For anyone on the fence about driving in the UK or Ireland, it really is not difficult. Having driven for 4 weeks in England last summer did help me this trip. My sense of driving on the left and through roundabouts kicked in immediately as if no time had passed. It's SO much easier than driving in LA!
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Aug 29th, 2015, 08:48 AM
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I forgot to mention Galway Bay Hotel under accommodations. I booked this one because the professional dance show, Trad On the Prom, is performed on a stage here. It turned out to be a great decision -- my superior room facing the bay was very nice, and room service & food was great. I was very sick here, so stayed in bed a full day, skipping the Aran Islands excursion I had planned. I had arranged for the bus to the ferry launch to pick me up in front of the hotel, but had to cancel. For the show that evening, all I had to do was take the elevator down to the basement.
susan001 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2015, 10:44 AM
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I wish there was a way (hope Fodors' is listening) to edit the title of this post. It's really a trip report through photos!
susan001 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2015, 05:27 PM
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Susan, glad to hear the driving was easier than I've heard. Maybe I can convince David that we should try driving. Otherwise, I have found a tour that includes Dingle as not all of them do.
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Aug 29th, 2015, 09:22 PM
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Betty, you two should consider driving. At one stop along a lake, a tour bus pulled up and several Americans got off to take photos... I was so glad I had my car! If you think you can relax more with a coach tour, go for it. But the driving was no more difficult than it is in England.
susan001 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2015, 03:01 PM
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Hi SUSAN101,

So happy that you have posted your Ireland trip. Sorry that you were sick for so long - that is a bummer!

" Giant's Causeway: The formations were covered with tourists climbing over. Overrated, in my humble opinion." I felt the same way.

" The weather. Was in Ireland 3 weeks in July and only had 2 or 3 days of sunny weather." Really too bad. I spent a week in Dublin for Bloomsday in mid-June and had perfect weather, although a bit cool at times. What did you do and where did you stay in Dublin?

I enjoyed your lovely pics too. Just curious - location of the grove of trees with branches overlapping on the road? Really nice.
latedaytraveler is offline  
Aug 31st, 2015, 05:03 PM
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Hi latedaytraveler!

Nice to hear from you! Good that we agree about Giant's Causeway.

I stayed at Brooks Hotel, about 2 blocks west of Grafton Street -- a very nice boutique hotel. My first full day in Dublin was rainy with freezing cold winds. It was just too uncomfortable to be out and about, so I went to two museums (archeology museum and the national art gallery). The next day was rainy without winds, so I was able to walk around a bit. I visited Trinity College and Book of Kells that day, along with the Yeats' exhibition in the basement of the national library (fantastic exhibition).

The shot of the trees is at The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland, near the town of Stranocum (south of Bushmills).

Thanks for the lovely words about my photos!
susan001 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2015, 05:40 PM
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Loved your photos. The ones with special effects were wonderful; so often people overdo the special effects.

thanks for sharing!
irishface is offline  
Aug 31st, 2015, 07:56 PM
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Thanks, so much, Irishface! Nice hearing from you, as well.
susan001 is offline  
Sep 1st, 2015, 04:18 PM
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Hi again SUSAN101

" My first full day in Dublin was rainy with freezing cold winds. It was just too uncomfortable to be out and about, so I went to two museums (archeology museum and the national art gallery). The next day was rainy without winds, so I was able to walk around a bit." Too bad, not feeling well and nasty weather.

As I said, I got lucky with great weather in Dublin in June. As a former English teacher like myself, you might be interested scanning through my trip report of my Bloomsday experience. It worked out very well and I had the opportunity to visit the north (Howth) and south ends (Sandymount and Dun Loaghaire) of Dublin Bay - yet I did not see a sheep or horse along the way.

I participated in several events at the JAMES JOYCE CENTER where I mingled with other congenial "book people" from far and wide. It was an excellent experience.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rary-odyssey.c

Glad to hear that you are considering another jaunt to Ireland...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Sep 1st, 2015, 08:07 PM
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Thanks so much, Latedaytraveler! I would have loved the whole Bloomsday affair. I guess I need to return sometime in mid-June. We have no known ancestors from Ireland. My interest comes from a long-time study (and performance) of Irish Tradition music. I came to see the green, and to hear music in the pubs.

Your report is fantastic, as always. I look forward to reading more of it tomorrow.

Speaking of literary tours, a friend and I have tossed around the possibility of visiting Walden Pond and other literary sights in Massachusetts. She's a former colleague; we've both taught American Lit.
susan001 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2015, 03:09 PM
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Beautiful photos!!! Yes, you should try going back in Sept/Oct. I have been going home in that time period for a number of years and usually have great weather! Also, not many tourists. Most places I go are empty or very few people.
maureencol is offline  
Mar 11th, 2016, 07:37 AM
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I don't know how I missed seeing this last year but I'm glad I found it. What a great report and fabulous pictures, as usual! We visited the Cliffs of Moher in '97 and have a video of that same harpist/singer... bought one of her CDs, too. Glad she's still there.

Do you have plans for this year?

Thanks for a wonderful report!
Trophywife007 is online now  

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