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Going against the Grain: Too long of a trip

Going against the Grain: Too long of a trip

Sep 30th, 2019, 04:34 PM
  #1  
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Going against the Grain: Too long of a trip

I know I’m going to get a lot of blow back, but I wish we had made this a 10 day instead of 16 day road trip. This trip report in early September, landing and departing from Dublin Airport, includes the following: Enniskerry 1 nt; Kilkenny 2 nts; Kinsale, 2nts; Killarney 2nts; Dingle 1 nt; Lahinch 1 nt; Galway 1 nt; Connemara 2nts; Westport 2nts; and Dublin 2nts.

Sometimes, less is more. The trip became repetitive and dreary weather made the scenic areas less so.

After flying Aer Lingus direct from Chicago (not sure I’d recommend this airline…very cramped seating, although a newer plane, below average service and food), we easily rented a VW Passat from Hertz and experienced none of the horror stories I’d read about on TA. The trunk was large enough to hold our luggage, a comfortable ride, diesel efficiency and DH liked the stick shift to aid braking on curvy roads.

In less than an hour, we arrived at Powerscourt Resort in Enniskerry, which was a wonderful way to get over any jet lag. The grounds had a view of the Wicklow Mountains and a quick walk to the Powerscourt Gardens, which were beautiful and featured some huge trees with sprawling branches that looked like they could reach down and grab you. Also, a lovely Japanese garden, fountains and flower gardens overflowing with hydrangeas and roses. The Spa was lovely and a massage also helped relax stiff plane muscles. The room was large with a terrace and the bed & linens were heavenly with a large marble bathroom with soaking tub…must’ve been upgraded because I’d just booked a standard room. Just ate dinner in the pub as we weren’t sure how late we could stay up. The included breakfast was excellent with made to order eggs benedict and cappuccino.

Our first stop on the way to Kilkenny was visiting Glendalough, an ancient monastic site from the 6C. We bought our Heritage Cards here, which covered a lot of the areas we wanted to visit. You need to check it out to see if it’s cost effective for you. I’d intended to do some hiking here but the weather was drizzly so just wandered around a bit marveling at how those round stone towers and churches could be constructed back then. DH got his first taste of navigating those narrow, curvy roads with oncoming traffic…glad he was up to the challenge.

Because we’d been watching the old series Ballykissangel , we had to drive through Avoca where it was filmed and go inside Father Clifford’s church and see Fitzgerald’s Pub. That was fun.

Then, on to New Ross where I wanted to see the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of the ship that transported emigrants during the Famine years to the US or Canada. After a good lunch at the quirky Cracked Teapot cafe, the ship and the actors did make the deplorable conditions real. On to a look at Jerpoint Abbey and walked around the stone cloisters and church remains. Full disclosure..we don’t really get excited over ruins so probably didn’t enjoy them as much as others would. But, we had a full day of sightseeing for the first day.

Next: Kilkenny
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Sep 30th, 2019, 04:55 PM
  #2  
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I tried to post photos but they won't take.
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Sep 30th, 2019, 05:08 PM
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Sorry about your weather. We have stopped the one and two night stays. We go for four nights at least now and do some day trips. Less stress on the body and can get apartments and houses that way. We only fly Aer Lingus because it is non stop and gets us in and out at great times. They use to have seats with more room but not on our last two flights. It is cramped.
I love Avoca and am a huge Ballykissangel fan. We drank at Fitzgeralds and got a 99 ice cream at Kathleen's store. Pictures at the bridge. Glad you stopped.
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Sep 30th, 2019, 05:43 PM
  #4  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by barefootbeach View Post
I wish we had made this a 10 day instead of 16 day road trip. ...
Sometimes, less is more. The trip became repetitive and dreary weather made the scenic areas less so.
I appreciate your honesty! I wonder -- will you tell us how you planned your itinerary and plan for 16 days?
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Sep 30th, 2019, 05:47 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by barefootbeach View Post
I know I’m going to get a lot of blow back, but I wish we had made this a 10 day instead of 16 day road trip. This trip report in early September, landing and departing from Dublin Airport, includes the following: Enniskerry 1 nt; Kilkenny 2 nts; Kinsale, 2nts; Killarney 2nts; Dingle 1 nt; Lahinch 1 nt; Galway 1 nt; Connemara 2nts; Westport 2nts; and Dublin 2nts.

Sometimes, less is more. The trip became repetitive and dreary weather made the scenic areas less so.

After flying Aer Lingus direct from Chicago (not sure I’d recommend this airline…very cramped seating, although a newer plane, below average service and food), we easily rented a VW Passat from Hertz and experienced none of the horror stories I’d read about on TA. The trunk was large enough to hold our luggage, a comfortable ride, diesel efficiency and DH liked the stick shift to aid braking on curvy roads.

In less than an hour, we arrived at Powerscourt Resort in Enniskerry, which was a wonderful way to get over any jet lag. The grounds had a view of the Wicklow Mountains and a quick walk to the Powerscourt Gardens, which were beautiful and featured some huge trees with sprawling branches that looked like they could reach down and grab you. Also, a lovely Japanese garden, fountains and flower gardens overflowing with hydrangeas and roses. The Spa was lovely and a massage also helped relax stiff plane muscles. The room was large with a terrace and the bed & linens were heavenly with a large marble bathroom with soaking tub…must’ve been upgraded because I’d just booked a standard room. Just ate dinner in the pub as we weren’t sure how late we could stay up. The included breakfast was excellent with made to order eggs benedict and cappuccino.

Our first stop on the way to Kilkenny was visiting Glendalough, an ancient monastic site from the 6C. We bought our Heritage Cards here, which covered a lot of the areas we wanted to visit. You need to check it out to see if it’s cost effective for you. I’d intended to do some hiking here but the weather was drizzly so just wandered around a bit marveling at how those round stone towers and churches could be constructed back then. DH got his first taste of navigating those narrow, curvy roads with oncoming traffic…glad he was up to the challenge.

Because we’d been watching the old series Ballykissangel , we had to drive through Avoca where it was filmed and go inside Father Clifford’s church and see Fitzgerald’s Pub. That was fun.

Then, on to New Ross where I wanted to see the Dunbrody Famine Ship, a replica of the ship that transported emigrants during the Famine years to the US or Canada. After a good lunch at the quirky Cracked Teapot cafe, the ship and the actors did make the deplorable conditions real. On to a look at Jerpoint Abbey and walked around the stone cloisters and church remains. Full disclosure..we don’t really get excited over ruins so probably didn’t enjoy them as much as others would. But, we had a full day of sightseeing for the first day.

Next: Kilkenny

Powerscourt Resort

Jerpoint Abbey


Powerscourt Gardens

Powerscourt Gardens

Glendalough

Dunbrody Famine Ship

Glendalough

Jerpoint Abbey
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Sep 30th, 2019, 05:52 PM
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I read my post and it sounded like we only go for four nights. I meant we stop for four nights at least in each stop and do several cities. We usually go for two weeks, 14 nights on the ground. I run out of money after that. We did four nights in Galway, five in Ballycotton and five in Dublin last trip. Nice mixture.
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Sep 30th, 2019, 06:27 PM
  #7  
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Macross, four nights sounds like a good plan. Being the first trip to Ireland, i wanted to see a lot of areas. We love Ballykissangel too...but just finished the end of the third season and are heartbroken about what happened so may not watch the last three seasons! You'll know what I mean.
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Sep 30th, 2019, 06:33 PM
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kja, since we really don't like driving, I wanted to keep a days drive to just a couple of hours so we didn't go that far when moving. My preference is for scenic small towns rather than cities...and I'd heard from several friends that they didn't really like Dublin. However as I'll get to, I felt the Burren area and Connemara were pretty similar...and you could say the ROK and Dingle were too. My initial plan was two nights per area but I couldn't get a second night in Dingle...and I should have dropped Westport...at the last moment, after a solid day of rain, I did try to change a night in Westport to Dublin, but I couldn't get a third night at my hotel in Dublin and didn't want the hassle of changing hotels. I also cancelled my second night in Lahinch after disliking our tiny, expensive room at Moy House. I'll get into the details soon.
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Sep 30th, 2019, 06:59 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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Thanks for those preliminary insights into your planning! I'm sure it must have been very frustrating to find that your itinerary didn't work out as planned -- travel time can be extremely precious, IME.
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Sep 30th, 2019, 07:07 PM
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We checked into the Butler House that’s part of the Kilkenny Castle complex, so the location is the best part. You could walk out the back door and walk through the Design Center Complex to the Castle. The hotel wasn’t as elegant as I expected but we had a large room with three beds, city view, and the carpet looked a bit worn and dirty. The bathroom wasn’t large with a combination tub/shower., but we slept well here. It’s very convenient to some excellent restaurants. The first night we ate at Zuni’s across the street, very trendy, modern Irish and excellent food. For an Early Bird dinner, we started with an unusual beet cheesecake with granola crumbles, Seabass with a salmon risotto and an amazing Lemon Merengue Alaska; DH had sirloin with parmesan chips, kale and bacon and a chocolate hazelnut torte…all were excellent! However, it was painfully loud….there was a group of 35 men part of a local golf event that took over the restaurant. DH really liked the Sullivan’s red ale.

A beautiful sunny day in the mid-60’s started with breakfast at the Butler House in a charming room overlooking their gardens and was very good. We walked the path to the castle when it opened at 9:30…the Kilkenny Castle was very interesting with many restored rooms with Victorian decor. The Design Center, which used to be the stables, now houses a high quality Irish made gift shop and cafe.

Then, we walked up the Medieval Mile to the Rothe House, another fascinating medieval mansion from the 1600’s with a long, private walled garden out to the city walls out back. From there, we continued our walk up to St. Candace’s cathedral, a huge Anglican cathedral from the 1200’s. Again, we were amazed at the construction techniques from that period.

A pub lunch beckoned and we chose Kytelers Inn for a savory beef & Guiness casserole with potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and I had a great salad and vegetable tart. Here, we first tasted our favorite beer of the trip…Smithwick’s red ale…no to Kilkenny Draught.

For a good souvenir, we found hurling shirts at Evers, which featured the renowned Kilkenny hurling league.

Dinner was at Ristorante Rinnuccini, another close walk in a charming lower level room that featured great Italian food.

Last edited by barefootbeach; Sep 30th, 2019 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Oct 1st, 2019, 03:38 AM
  #11  
 
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Great pictures.
Do watch The remaining seasons. Colin Farell in one of his first roles is in an upcoming season. The first season of Goodnight Sweetheart has the actress that played Assumpta.
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Oct 1st, 2019, 04:43 AM
  #12  
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[QUOTE=barefootbeach;16994255]
Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

St. Canice Cathedral

Kytelers Inn

Kilkenny Castle

Butler House

Rothe medieval mansion

Last edited by barefootbeach; Oct 1st, 2019 at 04:45 AM.
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Oct 1st, 2019, 05:36 AM
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I wish we had made this a 10 day instead of 16 day road trip
Interesting... My longest trip was ten months, but I was only in my fifties then. Even my not-so-successful "test" trip to the UK last year was six weeks, and the problem was my knees, not the trip. I don't drive, which may or may not make a difference, and I do spend longer in one place these days. Still, I hate flying enough I want to get a good length of time on the ground.

Do you think the problem was with the destination or the weather? How long have your trips been in the past?
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Oct 1st, 2019, 05:37 AM
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Oops...more spelling errors. St. Canice cathedral and Elverys for sporting goods.
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Oct 1st, 2019, 05:42 AM
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thursday's, we usually travel for 3 weeks to a month...and I also suffered on this trip from a knee injury so I wasn't able to do the hiking, biking...even walking...that I would usually do, so I'm sure that affected my outlook. I also hate to think that I've become jaded, but compared to other countries we've visited (95) I thought that Ireland just didn't have the variety of scenery of others.
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Oct 1st, 2019, 05:46 AM
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Very interesting report. Thanks for posting and looking forward to more.
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Oct 1st, 2019, 06:07 AM
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I thought that Ireland just didn't have the variety of scenery of others.
Thanks, good to know. I'm up around 80 countries, but Ireland has not been one of them, although I spent some work time in Northern Ireland back before the Troubles. A friend just got back, and enjoyed it very much, so it is useful to get another view. Sorry about the knees!
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Oct 1st, 2019, 06:24 AM
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thanks john183!
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Oct 1st, 2019, 06:25 AM
  #19  
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thursdaysd, I did enjoy learning about all the history of Ireland and I think a shorter and sweeter trip would be fine.
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Oct 1st, 2019, 06:36 AM
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KINSALE
Stopped en route to tour the Rock of Cashel, an impressive complex of medieval religious structures from the 1100’s sited on top of a rocky ridge. Cormac’s Chapel was lovely with some old frescoes and Romanesque architecture that could only be visited with a tour. The views down to the plains of Tipperary were bucolic. Nearby, you could get a good lunch at Hans Cafe, fish cake and chestnut/mushroom soup.

Long Quay House, our B&B, is situated on the waterfront. I mentioned earlier that my knee had been a problem but our room on the third floor (referred to as 2nd floor in Ireland), no lift, really made it worse. The friendly proprietors willingly carried up our luggage. I dislike rooms on the top floors as the ceilings and windows are usually smaller than the second as they typically were former servants quarters. So, while our room had a view of the harbor, it was bare bones basic and the bathroom was small, and this was one of the more expensive places we stayed. We asked if we we could get one on a lower floor but they were all booked up. The inn had two parking spots out front that we were always able to get and there is a public parking lot beyond that for others.

I had booked Kinsale five months earlier and wasn’t able to get my first two choices, so be aware that this is a very popular place and book way in advance.

I had been looking forward to visiting this town but my throbbing knee put me in a foul mood so the shops did not beckon. We went to dinner earlier than reserved at the Black Pig Wine Bar, which was a fun, casual place with small plates and great food and wine. Their crab ravioli and a charcuterie platter were delicious. Two glasses of wine helped dull the knee for the climb back up to our room.

Breakfast was served in a cute room but the made to order items weren’t great. Best were the scones and home made jam.

We started with Don & Barry’s Historic Stroll, highly recommended by Rick Steves, but we had a substitute guy who was pretty good but I wondered how he compared to the originals. Then, jumped in the car for the “spectacular” drive out to Old Head but were underwhelmed. The Lusitania memorial was very moving though with their list of the names of all crew and passengers marked with whether they lived or died…less than half survived.

I had originally planned to take the Scilly Walk out to Charles Fort before the knee issue. That would’ve been a lovely walk. Instead, we drove there stopping first for lunch at the colorful and hopping Bulman’s Bar. A large bowl of mussels in a a fennel cream sauce and seafood chowder were sublime. Murphy’s Red Ale was another good beer.

St. Charles Fort was boring…note to self, remember you don’t like Forts! Went back to town and tried the shops again but disappointed in them, actually in the whole town, as well. Finn’s Table was a lovely restaurant for our last meal here…the filet with mushroom puree, crispy onions & potatoes excellent…John Dory good but not noteworthy.

Next: KILLARNEY

Tipperary plains

Round tower at Rock of Cashel

Cormac's Chapel

Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel

Last edited by barefootbeach; Oct 1st, 2019 at 07:29 AM. Reason: add photos
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