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Incredible, Impeccable Ireland...first trip to the Emerald Isle

Incredible, Impeccable Ireland...first trip to the Emerald Isle

Old Sep 26th, 2021, 03:42 AM
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Incredible, Impeccable Ireland...first trip to the Emerald Isle

Prologue

Like so many of us, this trip was postponed and rescheduled and always hanging by a thread thanks to our nasty nemesis, COVID-19. This was my husband's choice for his fiftieth birthday. He loves any place where you need jacket and the temperatures are on the cool side. No one loves Fall and sweater weather more!

Watching the delta variant spread and holding our breath that we'd be able able to go, the trip finally came. Thank you Ireland for allowing fully vaccinated Americans entry into your beautiful country. We were disappointed that the direct flight from Atlanta to Dublin is not currently operating. We'd have to work a little harder to get there. Shortly before our departure, the EU recommended that member countries not allow even fully vaccinated Americans to enter without a quarantine period and we had to rebook our flights to avoid our original connection through Amsterdam. Our itinerary would force us to connect through Paris (ugh) on our flight over and through JFK on the way home. We fly Delta or a Delta partner everywhere since we are based in the Atlanta area. We are also very fortunate to rarely need connecting flights but we were happy to get seats on these flights so close to the trip.

Meanwhile, I've misplaced by stupid CDC vaccination card. I am sure I will find it in a few years as I think I put it some place where I couldn't lose it. (Anyone else recognize this dilemma? I forget more in a day now then I used to forget in a decade...can't wait to see how this is trending in a few more years). So, I had to get a new record from the state of Georgia and stressed over whether places in Ireland would accept the document I had --it was not very official looking. I do have a photo of the card and was able to upload it into CLEAR to get an electronic record of being vaccinated in their app. We decided to get a PCR test before we left, just in case. We completed our travel locator form required by Ireland for entry and also made arrangements for covid testing in Ireland to meet the testing requirements for re-entry into the US. If travel wasn't a little stressful pre-COVID, it certainly is now. Just a lot to stay on top of and with the variants causing spikes and leading to changes in travel requirements etc...it felt like a full time job to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

We checked the weather a lot and were trying to ensure we had clothes that would be warm enough, especially if it rained. We had plans to visit Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula and possibly Rock of Cashel, Connemara or Ring of Kerry. depending on weather etc...also I had book a tee time for golf for Chaz , so packing golf attire and shoes made packing light a challenge.

The plan---because we weren't taking a direct flight into Ireland, we decided to spend our first and last nights in Dublin to see a little bit of Dublin. We also thought we'd get to our hotel base in Adare so late the first day, that it would be a bit of a waste to check in just in time to take our jet lagged butts to bed.

Our base in Ireland was Adare Manor. I believe we got some recommendations from Fodorites regarding Adare Manor. We felt like it was well located and access to the village of Adare from the manor, was a great selling feature for us as we wanted to hang out in a local pub or two. We looked at a number of beautiful hotels in Ireland but Adare Manor won out. I used Amex points to get rooms at The Shelbourne in Dublin for our first and last nights in Dublin.

We chose not to try to drive in Ireland. We don't drive a stick shift, have never driven on the left and had heard about some of the very narrow roads and decided to relax and leave the driving to someone local. Good call. Carrig Coaches was recommended by Adare Manor and we were linked with a driver who would get us to and from Dublin and also take us on a few day trips. Our driver turned out to be a GEM and we're so glad we met him and we know we saw more because of him.

That's the background. We could have done this trip in a far less expensive way but this trip is milestone trip and we didn't skimp on my 50th birthday trip to the Amalfi Coast/Rome a few years ago. I'll tell you upfront, we had an amazing time in Ireland and will certainly return. More to come.

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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 03:48 AM
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I love your trip reports and Ireland so can't wait to read.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 05:06 AM
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IIRC, your Amalfi coast TR was fabulous. Looking forward to Ireland and am happy to read more about travel once more. 🎂 to your DH.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 06:42 AM
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Denise….how great to see you traveling again. We have connected through so many trip reports through the years.
Ireland is our favorite place (after Paris of course) and we plan to return soon. It just seems like so much
trouble to go through right now.
After 3 trips to Ireland I”ll say that we liked the west coast of Ireland the best. Our biggest surprise was the food. We expected the food to be mediocre and actually found it to be some of the best in all our travels.
Dinner at Mulcahys in Kenmare was outstanding.
Westport and Matt Malloy’s Pub was one of our favorites, along with The Dingle Peninsula.
MDH is a golfer so we visited some of the most famous courses but he only golfed at a smaller course in Kenmare (another favorite town.).

I am looking forward to your “take” on Ireland. Your reports are always so detailed and full of fun.
Have a Guinness or two and we’ll be along for the ride!
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 06:49 AM
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I am so ready for a trip report to Ireland, and your TRs, Denise, are always so informative and entertaining.
I’m sure you will fall in love with all Ireland has to offer.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 07:02 AM
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BTW, St. Stephen’s Green (near your hotel in Dublin) is wonderful. Also walking distance is
Farrier & Draper bar and restaurant. Looks like your kind of place for a drink. We loved it.
Just sayin’
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 08:07 AM
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Hi everyone - TPAYT , TDudette and Macross - you all feel like old friends and it's great to be traveling again. It was worth it (even the covid hassles). We are home now. I can never write my trip reports on the road. I can say we loved Ireland and we had wonderful food, drinks, whisky and a few Guinness". I hope to get a day or two up later today as we watch the Ryder Cup today.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 09:47 AM
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Hey, Denise, The Ryder Cup is in our neck of the woods. Great weather fir it. MDH was a Marshall there the last time it was here. Those sand traps are brutal!
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 09:51 AM
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Off topic for sure, but also just watched Lewis Hamilton win his 100th Formula One race in Russia.
TR in Ireland, Ryder Cup, and Hamilton wining……a good day all around!
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 12:24 PM
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Day 1 -

Out of COVID Captivity! Beginner's Guinness

Dublin



I'll skip the flight info for now and just get to Ireland. We landed in Dublin, got our bags and cleared immigration easily. We had to provide a completed patient locator form and I don't remember if we have to show proof of vaccination but we probably did. This info is loaded for us in the CLEAR app. We had a terrific gentlemen that drove our taxi into Dublin, pointed out some highlights and showed us where the visitors entrance to Trinity College is. The weather was cloudy but not raining and not cold.



The Shelbourne is beautiful and we had a great room in the older part of the hotel. Most importantly, the room was ready when we got in. We had a little sitting room that was separate from the bedroom and the bedroom had a nice vanity for me and a small but well done walk in closet in the corner. The bathroom was beautiful marble with serious water pressure. Macarons were delivered a bit after we arrived and they were delicious. We cleaned up and Chaz made an espresso to help with the jet lag.



We began exploring the hotel and found the 1824 bar for residents only. It's kinda everything we love about a cocktail bar. The hotel also has a terrace that serves as a Champagne bar. The Horseshoe bar was not open, so that was a bit of a bummer, but the hotel did not seem to be at capacity. Not sure if they have been impacted with staffing issues like we've seen in the US.



The 1824 bar is cozy and lovely and I had a glass of Champs (shocking, I know) and Chaz got an old fashioned. Great start and we were so happy to have finally made it out of the US for the first time since April 2019.



The staff at the hotel made some pub recommendations and we headed down to Baggot street and Doheny and Nesbitt. We did have to show proof of vaccination upon entry. We loved this pub. Our server was great and the fish and chips were good. I had my first Guinness but just a half pint. Our goal was just to stay up to a reasonable time ...not a big night out in Dublin. Back to the Guinness. Chaz loves porters and stouts, so he was quite happy. I am not a beer drinker. If you've read my trip reports, you've probably figured that out. If you are in Dublin, you kinda have to have a Guinness don't you? It's OK for me....again not a beer drinker and for me it has a slightly bitter after taste but I'm sensitive to anything bitter and when I don't like a food, it usually has bitter profile.



We decided to have a nightcap back at the 1824 bar and we chatted with our bartender about Irish whisky and some whisky to try while in Ireland. I can't say enough about the staff at The Shelbourne. Everyone was excellent.



We went to bed and had plans to be picked up around 10am by Carrig Coaches for our transfer to Adare Manor.



Day 2 -

Animal Farm; I Dare you to do better than Adare; Rory's my Roomie



Dublin to Adare



We had a wonderful breakfast at The Shelbourne and I immediately loved the brown soda bread. The service was a little spotty but not terrible. The food was really good and we left the hotel happy with our stay.



Enter Mike Stritch from Carrig Coaches.



We'd made contact with Mike several weeks ahead of the trip. He was very good at learning about what we were interested in seeing while in Ireland. He'd clearly been paying attention to what I commented on on Facebook and the group Wild Atlantic Way. Mike was waiting for us at 10am (well earlier, which I loved).



We loaded up the Mercedes van and headed to Adare. Mike is very engaging with a wonderful sense of humor and a sincere desire to be sure we would have the best time in Ireland. We'd planned day trips with him, in addition to him getting us to and from Dublin.



He'd thought of a few things to show us on the way to Adare and we loved that although he could have just driven us straight to "the Manor" he wanted to be sure we saw a bit of the area and had a good time.



We stopped in a charming little town called O'briensbridge on the River Shannon and he showed us a lovely spot to get a coffee before taking a stroll long the river toward the bridge. The gentlemen that owned the shop was very friendly and we chatted with him as he watered the flower boxes out front. The sun was beginning to come out and it was a nice stop along the way.



Mike also had noticed that I am a little obsessed with donkeys and so was planning to take us by a farm near his home to where there are always donkeys. The countryside was beautiful but no donkeys. Mike knows everyone in the area and quickly put plan B into motion because he wanted me to meet some local donkeys. But first, he ran into a local gent who takes care of a church there and agreed to open it up for us. It was a pretty little church and I am sure it's a lot to take care of. It was so nice of him to open it up and show us around. We said our goodbyes and then headed over to a family members house where we met a Labrador, a pig and a French bulldog...and another Lab and her litter of tiny pups whose eyes had not even opened yet! It's been ages since I'd held a puppy that little and mommy was so good and patient. The owner of the home was a young guy named Mick and I think Mike was a cousin. He was great fun and I'm sure he thinks I'm a nut to be on the hunt for donkeys and animals in Ireland.



Back on the road and back to plan B...donkeys! They came right over to greet us and get some attention. The big one definitely liked to shove the smaller one out of the way to get all the attention. He also liked to put his nose through the gate and nibble my shirt. As luck would have it, Mike's wife drove by as we were hanging out with our new donkey friends and she is so friendly and kind (and now another member of the family also likely thinksI'm a nut).



From there, we headed to Adare Manor.



Everyone out front greeted us. On the drive from the gate to the hotel, you see castle ruins and there is an Abbey just across the street. We were met outside by a gentleman who took us straight to our room. As we were walking in, he mentioned that it is Rory McIlroy's favorite at the Manor. I thought Chaz was gonna pass out and I thought I might squeal when we walked in. When I booked the hotel, I had hoped we'd get this room. It's incredible and I was so excited for Chaz to get such a great room with a fabulous view for his milestone birthday trip. It didn't hurt that there was a bottle of Taittinger Champagne on the dining table with glasses ready. The hotel also had made a lovely birthday cake/confection that was in also on the table with a beautiful arrangement of roses and orchids.



The sun was really starting to shine as we settled into the the Earl of Dunraven stateroom. It is massive with a table for 4 that overlooks the classic garden and the golf course. There's a gorgeous fireplace, a nice sofa and chairs and a desk. The windows are leaded glass and they are massive, as is the entire living area. The bathroom is also massive with a gorgeous soaking tub that overlooks that view and the same massive leaded glass windows--they are almost floor to ceiling windows.



Champagne and cake while we unpacked and were pinching ourselves over the gorgeous room and our good luck. The sun was out and the grounds just pull you outside, so we went exploring.



This place is postcard perfect. There is a walled garden near The Carriage House which near the practice green. There are flowers everywhere and also a little wooded fairy garden that is charming. I couldn't stop taking pictures as we explored.



We had early dinner reservations at The Carriage House, so we headed back after an hour or two of exploring the magnificent grounds. We didn't quite have time for a drink at The Tack Room, so decided we'd come back for a nightcap after dinner. The Carriage House is a gorgeous space, as well outside the main hotel. They have a large bar that also serves a casual menu and the main restaurant has a steakhouse feel. So, we split a T bone for two that was terrific. I had a wonderful fig and blue cheese salad to start and we had a Sancerre Rose (we don't see a Rose Sancerre often). We had a great dinner and split an apple streudel for dessert.



The Tack Room has a speakeasy vibe and they have wonderful cocktails! I had a vodka drink with apple flavors which was perfect and had a Fall feel. Chaz had a whisky drink with black walnut bitters and mushroom - very different but he loved it.



We had a spectacular day and the trip was off to a wonderful start. We would meet Mike early the next day to travel to the Cliffs of Moher and more.



Up next - Irish Hurricane; Ghost Riders in the Sky; Are You "Sh!tt-ing" Me?
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 01:25 PM
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Googled that suite and it is awesome! 🍾
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 02:49 PM
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Denise,

So great to “see” you! I was just thinking about you the other day….

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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 04:06 PM
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I also Googled that suite. AMAZING! You are really living large. Good for you. I admire your choices.
We drove through there and wondered what it would be like to stay there. Now we know.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 04:13 PM
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I'm enjoying being along for the ride! So glad you got to meet your donkeys!
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 01:35 AM
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The suite really was a treat…we don’t usually live that large and now our bedroom and bathroom is a bit of a let down!

Weekender I think your recommendation on Adare Manor helped tip the scales in favor of the manor!! Great to hear from you!

i will get some photos posted today I hope.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 04:06 AM
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Shelbourne - sitting room

Shelbourne

Shelbourne - macarons

1824 bar - Shelbourne

Shelbourne - seating

Drinks at 1824 bar

Guinness at Doheny-Nesbitt

Dublin - fish & chips Doheny-Nesbitt

1824
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 04:08 AM
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Adare Manor - sitting area

Adare Manor - gallery

Adare Manor - reception area

Earl of Dunraven stateroom

Adare Manor exterior
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 04:12 AM
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the walled garden at Adare Manor

Soaking tub - Earl of Dunraven stateroom
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 06:20 AM
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Great to see your excellent pictures and report. I always love your reports - looking forward to more. Nope - can't do better than Adare. It looks incredible!
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 07:01 AM
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My morning coffee just got better with your gorgeous photos.
MDH says, “Tell me when you get to the golf! part”. 😆
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