Ireland 2011 Trip Report

Old Feb 13th, 2013, 09:35 AM
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nspotz, I'm enjoying your trip report as well. It was a shame you had such rotten weather the cliffs. They are truly spectacular. Perhaps next trip you will have better luck! I agree with you on Galway. We had planned on spending most of a morning there on our last trip, but once I got in, I just wanted to get out again. I'm much more of a fan of the smaller villages!
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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Juniper, there are so many 'hidden spots' in Ireland for you to discover, that I would highly recommend renting a car. I have brought a GPS on my last couple of trips, just so I could deliberately get lost, knowing it could find my way back to the B&B. It is fun following the elusive brown signs for an historical spot, fairy hill, or hidden waterfall!
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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Clifden, Connemara & The Aran Islands
Day 10: We decided to stroll around Galway once more before heading to our B&B in Clifden. I am so glad we did because we ended up stumbling upon the farmers market (held every Saturday I believe.) We love stuff like this so we had a blast. We got crepes and falafels for lunch and then picked up some wool socks and a few beautiful leather handbags for relatively cheap. It was so neat to see the local farmers selling eggs and produce. This was the highlight of our stay in Galway! Definitely worth checking out if you happen to be in the city on a Saturday!
Our drive to Clifden was a few hours but felt fairly long. It was pretty foggy and we had to stop and wait for some sheep to cross the road a few times! We also stopped in Roundstone on the way to take some pictures and stretch our legs. One of the reasons we chose Clifden as our base was to stay at the Dolphin Beach House. It was the most expensive B&B we stayed in but totally worth it. The house is beautiful-very tastefully decorated with lots of cozy little nooks where you can curl up and read a book. The breakfast room has the most amazing view. The house has a huge backyard and is situated right on the water. We spent many mornings and evenings walking down to the water and exploring the yard behind the house… It truly feels as though you are the only people in the world. My only disappointment with this B&B was the breakfasts. They were good, but I had such high expectations given the price we were paying and they weren’t nearly as good as Pax guesthouse and Virginia’s guesthouse. Otherwise, I highly recommend Dolphin Beach House. One word of caution-Sky road, which is the road you take from Clifden to get to many of the B&Bs in the area, is very narrow and right on the edge of a cliff. If there is an on-coming car you have to back into someone’s driveway to let them pass. Just be careful!
Clifden is a really small town but we enjoyed it. There weren’t a lot of tourists there and it seemed like a very authentic town, if you know what I mean. Connemara is beautiful and unique from the other areas of the country we visited. It definitely has a wild and mysterious quality to it.
Day 11: We took our time getting ready in the morning and spent the day exploring the area. We drove to one of the national parks (the name escapes me) with the intention of doing some light hiking but it was raining pretty heavily so we only took a short walk. We also visited the grounds of Kylemore Abby. That evening we grabbed some wine and pizza and brought it back to our B&B and ate outside on the patio. The sunset was stunning-it was bright pink and purple! I’ve never seen a sunset like that before, not even in the Caribbean!
Day 12: Our last sightseeing day of the trip. The forecast said sunny and not a drop of rain in sight. Finally! This was the only day of the entire trip that we had great weather. We were so glad we saved our trip to the Aran Island of Insihmore for today! We got a little lost driving to the ferry and made it onto the boat just minutes before it sailed off. We had decided to rent bikes and ride around the island stopping at Dun Aengus along the way for lunch. We stopped at a grocery store to pick up sandwiches for our picnic and off we went. The Aran Islands are beautiful, and despite the large number of daytrippers that come here everyday, it felt very peaceful…. Renting bikes, if you are physically able, is the way to go. It is not a difficult ride and it’s very exhilarating to feel the breeze and breathe in the fresh air. I can’t explain it. Just go. We came across a few older men who were walking with some cows and the cows started running beside our bikes! Dun Aengus is amazing as well-It seems as though you can see all of Inishmore from the top. This was one of our favorite days. I highly recommend fitting this into your itinerary if you can!
Day 13: On our last day we drove back to Dublin and stayed in the Fitzwilliam Townhouse again before our flight in the morning. The drive is easy-it is all highway from Galway to Dublin. I think we went back to Porterhouse for some fish and chips for our last Irish meal.
We really enjoyed our trip! Ireland is one of the most scenic countries I have ever visited. Everywhere we went we were in awe of the scenery-even while driving on the highway! Although there were a few long driving days, we were really glad that we were able to see everything that we did. Each one of our destinations was different than the last-the scenery changes so much from region to region, so it was definitely worth moving around every few days, at least for us.
I hope you enjoyed this report and I would be happy to answer any questions!
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Old Feb 13th, 2013, 07:12 PM
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Nspotz, we really enjoyed your T/R! So happy that you experienced good weather for your trip to the Aran Island. . .
especially it being your last day. Thanks again for sharing your trip to beautiful Ireland!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2013, 05:34 AM
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Wow Nspotz, thank you for writing about your fabulous trip! There's so much information and great ideas for others planning their trips. Sorry about the weather! We might not have such rugged and green countryside without it though. Some people like to say that sunshine in Ireland is found in the hearts and hospitality of the people - but I wouldn't like to comment!
In sunnier weather, hiking, walking and cycling are lovely ways to explore the many National Parks, yet it seemed you still had some nice experiences including sunsets and cycling among the cows!
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