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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 06:21 AM
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Ireland has no Culture?? No Art?? and of course unless you pay stupid prices in Kinsale the rest of us live on Tatties.. There speaks someone who believes St Rick of Steves and the like..

Ireland has a great history and culture from religion to sport (which is also a religion)and you will find no other nation as universally welcoming. Art or the Arts can be found everywhere on the Island if you get off a tour bus anywhere other than the tacky gift shops they run you round. Food.. fresh from the sea/field to the table, unfortunately some transatlantic visitors prefer the processed straight from the freezer big Mac cr** sorry we only do that for tourists.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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Amen and amen, Tony. Planning my 8th visit and have no desire to go anywhere else for my art, food and culture. Okay, with the maiden name of Jones I would like to visit Wales some day.

Aaaaannnndddd....you already speak the language!
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 09:08 AM
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We ate very well indeed in Ireland, and my husband, who's Italian (among the most culinarily critical nations in the world) would agree. We didn't go there for art museums; if someone went there expecting the Louvre, he didn't do his homework. However, there is wonderful music and the natural beauty of Ireland can't be beat. Until I fell in love with Italy, I considered Ireland and Spain to be the most beautiful countries in the world.
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Old Mar 9th, 2014, 09:23 AM
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I love Spain. I love Paris. I love Rome.

I'd go back to Ireland in a heartbeat. And so would my husband. And so would the two kids.

I'm not Irish, but I AM musical (what the heck, like you, jaja, I'm Welsh). I love the song of speech and the rhythm of life in Ireland. Every taxi driver has a sense of humor to die for. I hear singing voices night and day there that would win The Voice or American Idol--and it's just a part of life there.

The corner buskers are amazing. I hear fiddle players that would have won scholarships to Julliard.

The test of any location is one's enjoyment in bad weather. It's raining or snowing? Fine--more pub time.

Food? Well, if you choose to eat fast food, you will eat bad fast food. If you are smart, you'll choose what's fresh. Fabulous fresh seafood. I eat salmon (smoked and fresh) and mussels until I'm about to burst. Lovely butter. Great fresh eggs. Very highly UNDERESTIMATED cheeses. A wonderful brown bread.

My only complaint for years was the beer. Yes, I do not enjoy Guinness.

But Ireland has in recent years become the MASTER European producer of craft brews. It is the only place I've ever been where I can get so many superb IPAs that are not stratospheric in alcohol content, so one can have two or three without toppling over.

And that alcohol percentage is important. The Guinness ABV is actually about the equivalent of Miller Light. After all, when a good band is playing in the pub, you want to enjoy your brew, the company, and the band forever. You do not want to become an idiot.

Again, neither my husband and I are Irish, but we feel when we are in Ireland that we've tapped into part of being American. There's a "don't get beyond yourself" aspect that we totally enjoy. And unlike so many other countries, the Irish "get" us in the US. We are their peeps, and we are theirs.

Spanish reason to go to Ireland--if your husband came from Basque country, his DNA is actually shared with Cornwall, Wales, Brittany and Ireland.

AZ
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Southern Spain would get my vote. You can fly to Madrid spend a day or two there then hire a car and drive south to Córdoba and then on to Granada to see the Alhambra which is fantastic! If you were planning to go during the summer months I would say Ireland because the heat in the south of Spain can be overwhelming. Best of luck!
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 01:37 PM
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I give Ireland a big thumbs up for a future trip . France are and Ireland are my two favorite European destinations and they couldn't be more different. I am not of Irish heritage but there is something very special about Ireland. It is completely relaxing , beautiful , and the people are wonderful. No, you won't go to a museum every day or a Michelin starred restaurant but the history, the people, the music and the scenery are not to be missed. I have been about 9 times ( we used to get unbelievable deals on aer lingus!) and never tire of it. I will say for a first trip I might suggest going may-September because many of the smaller charming towns are very quiet in the off season. Enjoy Spain if that is your plan for this year but please do not cross Ireland off of your list !
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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I recently planned a 5 day trip to Dublin that unfortunately I had to cancel but I planned to go to one or more art museum or important historic site every single day. We considered planning a day trip out of Dublin, but then decided we really didn't have time for that if we wanted to see everything interesting in Dublin.

I am not sure how many Michelin-blessed restaurants there are in that area, but they are certainly there, along with some others that have yet to receive Michelin stars but are definitely gourmet restaurants. In addition there are Irish cheeses and seafoods, lamb and other local products that are culinary attractions.

We had made no plans to go listen to trad music, drink Guinness or visit its factory during our 4 days there. We considered going to the theatre but it was basically off-season.

So people who think Ireland doesn't have a capital city with art, culture and history as compelling as you might find in other European capitals are underinformed.
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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oops--hit the send key before I meant to.

I wanted to say that people who say they like art and culture but couldn't find the art, culture, historic architecture and the fresh food in Ireland either didn't look at a guidebook before going or I tend to doubt they like culture, art and food as much as they claim. Or understand what it is.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2014, 06:13 PM
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I can't understand why I am so drawn to Ireland, but I may be able to change our travel time to May/ June of this year.

Alessandrazoe- Thanks for the ringing endorsement of Ireland. I can't imagine that it wouldn't be interesting and capture all of our imaginations.

Those who love Ireland seem to really love it. If I can move things around maybe.......
I'll start a new post with the many questions I have once we have a definite decision.

Is it too late to find nice lodgings only two months out in Ireland's hot spots?
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Old Mar 24th, 2014, 01:08 AM
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Depends what you call "Hot Spots" ??

Cliffs of Moher from anywhere but Ennis during the Fledh Nua late May, although you can still find good accommodation in town or just on the edge. Ring of Kerry fine but Killarney might be busy 1st June being bank holiday over here.. Dingle will be packed that weekend but I wouldn't stay in that particular town anyway..
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Old Mar 25th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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Cjar--You are more than welcome. My next advice is to attach yourself to Tony2phones. He is THE MAN when it comes to Ireland.
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Old Mar 25th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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Tony2 phones- I would so much appreciate any insight you might be able to provide. I think we've landed on exploring Ireland, but I fear we have left it too late for this year. We would arrive May 29 or 30 and depart June 11or 12. I am concerned accommodations will be difficult to come by at this point. I will strata new thread ,but wonder if you can share your thoughts based on who we are as a family.

It will be four of us, my husband, myself, our 14 year old son who loves history especially when given the old fashioned way, told as a story , my 12 year old daughter who has a seriously romantic nature and loves the idea that magic still exists in some places in the world.

We might enjoy horseback riding, gentle hikes through lush scenery, castles, Celtic and Viking history, fairy tales told by someone who is invested, starkly beautiful landscapes, traditional music and some good meals.

Having said that we were considering - Galway, Killarney national park, Cliffs of Moher, Rock of Cashel, Wicklow, and the Burren. How tough will it be to find lodgings for four at this late date? We don't mind b&bs , castles or manors or hotels. All would need to be well tended, comfortable, clean and not completely out of the way. Any thoughts? Should this be put on hold for next year?
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Old Mar 25th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Not the Oracle some think I am honestly, but thanks,, Just please no more naming Raccoons after me..

It's not too late, its never too late. Fourteen days is the time to do a roadtrip around 70% of the coast so a bit of the west and east no problem.

Most hotels and many B&B's have family rooms if you don't mind sharing.

Assuming arrival and departure being Dublin consider heading for Kilkenny for 2 nights, The Newpark Hotel has family rooms and is not too long a walk into the centre http://www.kilkennytourism.ie/ there is a Comedy festival that weekend.

1st & 2nd June Head for Cobh (Cork) Commodore Hotel. calling at Cashel and Cahir on the way down with Blarney Castle and Fota wildlife saved for the next day.

3rd & 4th June Kenmare, Kenmare bay resort Ring of Kerry, or Beara (would be my choice) Muckross house and farm, Killarney national park.

5th & 6th June Ennis, West Country Hotel for the Cliffs and Burren maybe a combi cruise to Inis Oirr and the cliffs from Doolin, Ailwee caves/birds of prey http://goo.gl/maps/xMOHV maybe venture here into east Clare for Lough Derg

7th, 8th & 9th June, Connemara, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Riverside suite for one of the nights. the other 2 maybe in town at the Alcock & Browne. Fare few options in the area http://goo.gl/maps/L5ihu including beach rides from Cleggan.

10th and 11th June, Dublin having maybe called into a spot or two along the way http://goo.gl/maps/FDZCV not much help on Dublin accommodation although we use The Maldron Smithfield they have junior suites for families.

Just options, as I said hardly the Oricle
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Old Mar 25th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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Cork seems to have a number of excellent restaurants.
We loved Isaacs, attractive, great food, excellent service.
We really enjoyed the Gresham Metropole Hotel, right down town, easy walking. Old class hotel with big rooms.
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Old Mar 25th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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Thank you for the wonderful suggestions. I will definitely check them all out. I especially appreciate the help with lodging suggestions and restaurants. My husband will be so happy since he is the foodie of the family. : )
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Old Mar 26th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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In Cleggan, on two separate bike trips, we ate at Oliver's for our lunch. The clam chowder was to die for. The staff humor equaled the chowder.
AZ
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