Budman's Trip Report to Ireland

Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Budman's Trip Report to Ireland

What a wonderful country -- We had great weather from the 22nd of May until our departure on the 31st. Rain only one late afternoon thru the evening and on the day of departure.

I must start out saying that the highlight of our trip was the Ireland GTG with HappyCheesehead and her husband at the Crookhaven Inn on the 27th followed by a pint or two at O'Sullivans. We had a great dinner (pub type food), exchanged experiences and sites we liked, lots of fun chit-chat, but we were interrupted by the rain & fog that was rapidly moving in and had to call it an early evening because of the distance we had to drive to get back to our B&B's.

We did meet up again the following morning at Mizen Head lighthouse when it opened at 10:30. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting this scenic site with them, exchanging pictures and assisting in getting my wife back & forth across this bridge in one piece. http://www.westcorkweb.ie/mizenvision/ (she is not fond of heights).

Upon arriving, we went to pick up our rental at EuropCar, and I wasn't really happy finding out that we had to pay approx $30 airport pick-up fee. Yes, it says something about it in the fine print, but I would have preferred them including it in the original quote.

We started out heading for the Cliffs of Moher via Lahinch. We had been there on a previous trip when it was raining and cloudy, but it was sunshine and a beautiful day and thought it would give a different perspective.

Cost was 4 Euro for parking. They had a souvenir shop where you could get snacks & drinks. It wasn't crowded early in the morning with only 1/2 bus full of French speaking tourists.

Headed up to Doolin. Had to have my first pint at O'Connor's while my wife wandered thru some of the shops. We then headed up the coast thru the Burren for lunch at Monk's Pub in Ballyvaughn. They were not serving lunch for another 1/2 hour or so by the time we got there so we made the decision to head back to Lahinch for lunch & shopping.

By now I was fading a little so we headed to our B&B in Kilrush, which was 15 minutes from the Ferry. http://www.hillcrestview.com/ Nice place, nice room, nice host, and traditional Irish breakfast.

Took 2-hour nap (my wife would have preferred longer), shower, and headout to Kilkee and to explore the Loop Head Peninsula.

As we headed into Kilkee, they had a beautiful beach, and we drove to the right up to a parking area where we could get out and walk up to view the cliffs, those similar to the Cliffs of Moher. Got some beautiful photos of the area and the town.

Kilkee was the type of town that I would put on my list of places to spend the night on a future trip.

We headed back thru the town and headed south and took the road with the sign that read "Scenic Route." Came upon a sign for Ross Bridges. Stopped and walked around. I didn't see any bridges, but great scenery of the coast. I later learned that the bridges were part of the landscape. Now, I'll have to go back to search them out.

We continued on to the lighthouse. You couldn't get into the lighthouse that had a fence & gate, so we walked around to the back of the lighthouse. Our host at the B&B said that you would get a feeling of peace & tranquality as if you were at the end of the world. Well, she was right. I kept walking back as the landscaped sloped down. I had to stop as I was getting the feeling that I might be walking to the end and off a cliff. I turned back. My wife later said she was ready to yell at me toss her the car keys and some money if I decided to keep walking.

We headed to Carrigaholt for dinner. They had 2 restaurants in the town, one a fancy and expensive one, and the other a pub restaurant. We opted for the Pub, The Long Dock, and had a great dinner -- boy, they like to pile on the potatoes -- served mashed and boiled with dinner -- great fish!!!

Headed back to the B&B -- it was getting dark -- I understand they had a couple of pubs in Kilrush worth visiting, but I got the "veto" sign.

More to come later.





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Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 06:03 PM
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Ooooh, I can almost taste that first pint!

We were in Kilkee in July and it was so crowded that it was almost unpleasant. But, such a beautiful area that I promised myself to get back there during an off-season trip.

Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 06:07 PM
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It's about time, your fans have been waiting!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Great so far! Haven't yet made it Mizen Head and I too would like to spend more time than the pass through we've made in Kilkee.

Keep it coming!
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Budman:

I read this a couple of times and it sounds like (the non Mizen part I mean) that you did this all on your 1st day. You are an Iron Man!!! Sounds like a great trip. We had fun in England and Wales ourselves. I'm trying to sort through the 1500+ photos from that trip now.

Keep the stories coming.

Bill
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Bill, yes I did, thanks.

Looking forward to reading about your England and Wales adventure. That and Scotland are on my short list.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 11:25 AM
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Budman:

I found some great spots over there. Generally I found that the closer I got to Ireland, the more I liked it. Cornwall and Wales were great. The most unusual thing was the almost total absence of American tourists. Mainly British, some Italian and German. With very few exceptions, we experienced few crowds. It was nice.

The beer was fabulous, had a different cask ale every night. I'll come up with a full report soon.

I'm glad you had a great time on Mizen. It is so quiet compared to many of the popular places. I hope I get to go back soon.

Looking forward to more of your trip stories.

Bill
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 11:29 AM
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Sunday morning after a good night's sleep, we had a late breakfast then headed for the ferry on our way to Dingle. On our way, I asked my wife if she wouldn't mind if we stopped by Ballybunion. I wanted to look at their course. As we drive by I decided to see if we could go inside the Club House/Pro Shop to brouse and take a few pictures of the course.

We parked and I thought that maybe they wouldn't let me in because, darn it, I was wearing jeans. I remember Old Head on our first trip we tried to get into the Clubhouse for a drink and I was rejected because of the Jeans.

As we walked to the front door, we noticed two couples carrying bags they obviously bought from the Pro Shop, so we were in luck. Purchased a couple of gifts for golfers in the family then walked out towards the course and saw a sign that pointed to a path down to the beach. We headed down the path, over some of the dunes and got some great pictures of the course.

In the pro shop a couple of guys asked me if I was going to play. I told them no because I didn't bring my sticks. One guy told me that this was one of the top ten courses in the world, and I should promise my wife anything if she would allow me to play. I could even rent the clubs there. I would have been tempted if we were with another couple to keep my wife company in the town, which by the way, was very nice and scenic. Cost to play the Old Course was 125 Euro -- next year.

We headed to The Shores -- http://www.theshorescountryhouse.com/

Best B&B we've ever stayed at. The room wasn't ready (it was only 2:00). She gave us a sheet of things to see and do on the Slea Head Drive. We headed over the Conor Pass to Dingle. It was a great day and we got some great pictures.

On the way out to the Dingle Peninsula (take the clockwise route or you will be in trouble with the buses on some of the corners) There was a sports pub on the left hand side before you got too far down the road. I stopped for a pint and quizzed the bartender for some information, including a place for lunch.

A couple of miles down the road, across from a so-called "fort," there was a "Stone House." Closest thing to getting a deli made sandwich we've seen so far.

The drive was great and my wife picked up a pamphlet on the Great Blasket Islands. As we headed out to Dingle, she kept saying that tomorrow we needed to take the boat out there.

Wondered around Dingle shops, did some comparison shopping on sweaters and the like, had a pint at Murphy's, then headed back over the Pass to check in to our room -- Our room overlooked the beach and has a small balcany out front.

Since it was a Sunday, the B&B did not serve dinner that night. We had a very nice dinner at a restaurant about one mile down the road -- It was a bright yellow so we couldn't miss it. I had the fish and it was great. We met some other couples at the restaurant who were staying at the B&B and exchanged ideas. In fact, one couple was on our same flight on the way back to Boston, so we mingled at the airport.

Headed back to our room -- great bed, power shower, clean and comfortable. Great evening view from the room.

More on Dingle and the Great Blasket Islands later.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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Glad to see we did not have to wait for the weekend for your trip report. Waiting to read the rest. I cannot wait for August to experience some of what you describe.Do you think kids would enjoy the suspension bridge or too scary? Off the topic though , if you have info to share about Vegas why dont you head on down to the Vegas forum and give us some help there. We are going for a weekend(anniversary trip) mid July and I need some info. Faye.
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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We are heading out the end of this month for our first trip and are very excited. We have booked a b&b in Kilkee and wondered whether this was a good choice or not. Sounds like its beautiful, would like to hear a little more about it if you feel up to it. We are also staying in Kenmare, Aurthurstown, Dublin and Dromoland Castle. Will accept any advice or suggestions for good pubs, eateries or activities!
Thanks, JM
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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Dock:

The kids will probably love the suspension bridge. It doesn't sway back and forth at all and I was there in gale force winds! I didn't find it to really be scary. Here is what the bridge looks like if you are on it.

http://www.geocities.com/obeirne_ire...dge_BF_web.jpg

Pardon the unbelievably goofy picture of me.

Bill
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 03:09 PM
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Budman: Looking forward to your Blaskets trip. I've never made it out there. I was always stuck with bad weather when I had time. Maybe next time ....

Bill
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 04:26 PM
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Dock, I think your kids will really like the bridge. Personally, I am bad with heights and had a death grip on the railing, but I seem to have been able to relax enough at some point to take pictures. If you look at Bill's photo link above, the part of the bridge they are actually facing is far more substantial.

Bill, I am anxiously waiting for your report! The English countryside is on my list (hubby did not like London, but I think I can get him to go back to see the rest of the country!)

Budman, I am waiting to hear about Kinsale! I am amazed you were able to pack so much into your first day. (But we are not ones to waste a day with long naps, either. When we are in Ireland, our time is too precious to spend sleeping!)
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 04:39 PM
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Oops, I looked at Bill's photo again. Maybe that is the big part of the bridge right behind Bill and Felicity? Anyway, it is a great bridge with seals below. I took lots of photos of waves crashing on the rocks near the lighthouse. Someday I will figure out how to post them somewhere...
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Old Jun 4th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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DOCK,

The kids would love the adventure of the suspension bridge. It is actually very sturdy and safe, and if you look at Bill's picture of him and his wife, he is just about at the end of the bridge. Got some great pictures of the seals, and if you look at Bill's picture, to the left is a gap in the cliffs and a view of some lakes. Wonderful!!

jbmonts, You will love Kilkee and the surrounding area. There is a picnic area up to the right on your walk around the cliffs. Great views.

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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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On Monday, day 3, we awoke for a 9am breakfast. I ordered the smoked salmon & scrambled eggs. It was by far the best breakfast I've had the entire trip. Mrs. Budman, Maureen, had the waffle with fresh cut fruit, which was equally delightful.

We headed back to Dingle to boat out to the Blasket Island from Dunquin Pier. This was like doing the Slea Head drive a second time. Don't attempt this trip if you're not somewhat in shape. It was a long, steep walk down the cliff to catch the boat, and as we headed down, I dreaded the walk back up.

The boat only held 12 passengers. Because of the low tide, when we got to the Island, the boat tied up to a buoy, and we had to take a Zodiac boat, 6 at a time, to the concrete landing. From there, it was all uphill, literally.

The boat Captain said he would be back at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 for the return trip. We walked around, there was a wonderful beach, and we got some great pictures. The island only contained a hostel, a lady weaver and her shop, and a small coffee shop.

After an hour, we really had enough of up & down climbing and headed down to the landing to catch the 1:30 boat (which never came). There were a few boat operators/companies, and we had to go back on the boat that brought us. After waiting an additional hour, at 2:30 the boat finally showed up, but there were more than 12 people to go back at this time. What a "goat pull." We had waited an hour, and I was bound and determined to get in that dingy and catch this boat. There were a lot of ticked off (to put it mildly) people who didn't get on the boat.

It was about a 20-30 minute boat ride, and when we maneuvered ourselves back up the steep cliff and got to our car, I noticed my left rear tire was about half full of air. We limped back to Dingle, I filled up the tire, and I headed for the nearest pub, did some shopping, and then back across the Conor Pass for Dinner which was at 8pm.

I certainly wouldn't do that again or recommend it. If you decide to go, I would opt for the boat out of Dingle Marina. It seemed to be more organized although the boat ride was a bit longer.

Dinner at the Shores was fantastic. 25 Euro for a 3 courses, presented in a gourmet fashion. Maureen had prawns in a garlic sauce, rack of lamb, and I can't remember what for dessert. I had the baked brie w/grapes wrapped in a pastry, the filet with mushroom sauce, and the name of the dessert had the name "Bailey's" in it. I don't know what it was, but if you decide to go there, GET IT. It was outstanding.

For 50 Euro, this was the best dinner we had on the trip, and I enjoyed it with my own bottle of 2002 Syrah Reserve. I shared it with Annette's husband. As we finished with coffee, Annette was on her way out the side door of the kitchen for her 5-mile run. What an incredible person.

We were leaving the following morning, and I wished we had stayed an extra day. I would recommend putting this place on the top of anyone's list. The drive back & forth over the Conor Pass was about 20-25 minutes, and coming back from Dingle there was little to no traffic.

Day 4 Killarney.

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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Hi Budman,
here are the ultimate shoes for you, shaped like a bottle of beer:

http://www.hamburgtrading.de

Click on "Funtongs"...
 
Old Jun 5th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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In the morning after another wonderful breakfast, we headed to Killarney, and to do the Ring of Kerry, clockwise. Note, the buses go counter clockwise, so if you are not adventurous, don't try this.

The highlight of this trip was the road from Killarney to Kenmare. The drive around the Ring of Kerry was one humongous disappointment. After a 4-5 hour drive over a hundred or so miles, I consider it a big wasted of time considering what else we could have done. I would have rather spent the extra day on the Beara Peninsula.

Most of the drive of Kerry was inland, and the couple of scenic stops certainly didn't outweigh the time and gas spent taking this trip.

We did stop by Portmagee for lunch. I wanted to take the boat out to the Skelligs, but Maureen was not up to it -- next time. The couple we met on our departure from Shannon had gone and said it was well worth the trip, although it was all up hill and some parts a little dangerous if you were not careful. This will definitely be on my list for next time.

We headed to Killarney, checked in to the B&B -- We stayed at the Applecroft. It was nice, but we were spoiled by the Shores.

We walked around, brousing, shopping, and pubbing. Had dinner at Murphy's with music starting at 9:30. It was fun. We liked Killarney. Sure there are a lot of tourists, but there are far more locals.

Day 5, we did the Gap of Dunloe. A bus picked us up at the B&B, dropped us off at Kate's Cottage. The cost was 25 Euro each which included transportation to the Cottage, 3-lake boat trip, and transportation back to the B&B.

When we got to the beginning of the Gap of Dunloe, there were numerous jaunting horses/carts willing to transport you thru the Gap. There's only one catch -- it cost 80 Euro per horse/cart. We teamed up with another couple we met at the B&B so it only cost us 40 Euro per couple. The downside was when you reached one of the many hills, the poor horse couldn't haul 4 people plus the driver up the hills, so we had to get out and walk. To me, that defeated the need to even rent the darn thing.

For two people and 80 Euro, you could ride the entire route. It is about a 7 mile walk, and if you are in any shape at all, it is a nice walk, especially if you have great weather like we did.

At the end of the Gap trip, there was a refreshment stand. To my disappointment, no beer or Guinness. I could have sure used one. Only sandwiches, coffee and soft drinks -- they did have Irish Coffee.

We got into the boats for the river cruise which was delightful - only 10-12 people to a boat. Great scenery. The boat dropped us off at Ross Castle which you could tour and then catch the bus back to the B&B.

If you just wanted to drive thru the Gap, you could. We saw a lot of people who did. The road was narrow, but passable. But, you couldn't take the boat trip if you did. The boat trip was well worth it.

Got back to the B&B, freshened up, and head out to town for shopping and wondering around. I went to an internet cafe to copy one of my 128 cards on to a CD -- cost me 10 Euro.

We had several recommendations for dinner, but the restaurant we wanted to go to couldn't fit us in because we didn't have a reservations. Would have had to wait 45 minutes. We wondered some of the back streets and came across an Italian restaurant called L'Artesta. It was a bring your own wine and beer. An inexpensive change of pace. We shared a pizza and some mussels.


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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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viennese

That's a funny site. You don't think I would fit into the "sexy man" shoes.

I do love those ironing board covers.
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Old Jun 5th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Hi Budman,

knew you would like that stuff ;-)

BTW, the German text says that the towel / the bikini on the iron board cover disappears when ironing...
 

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