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Ireland May 2022, Third try is a lucky charm

Ireland May 2022, Third try is a lucky charm

Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 07:17 PM
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Ireland May 2022, Third try is a lucky charm

Hello Fodorites
Isn't it wonderful to be traveling again! Part of the fun is reading everyone's fabulously entertaining trip reports. I don't usually do reports, but since Ireland isn't as represented on this forum, I hope I have a few helpful suggestions. Alas, I don't have the photographic skills that so many do and on our trip we used miles heavily for accommodations, so I don't have too many hidden gems to recommend. But we do have some great experiences to share and advice on the car rental/driving dilemma, that many ask about.

Our children have done a great job of pushing us into signing up for a couple of credit cards. We have ended up with an incredible amount of miles and we were able to fly to Dublin in business class and home from Paris in coach. We only paid for 3 out of 13 of our hotels and our flight from Dublin to Paris. We know a lot of people who are resistant to this because of the high annual fees, but you get a $300 travel credit, a free global entry application, free checked luggage on domestic trips, a better boarding position, lounge access, and trip insurance.

In June of 2019, we planned our trip to Ireland. It would have been on our bucket list anyway, but since my Mother's parents immigrated from County Mayo when they were 18, it had a special meaning for us. My Grandfather got on the train in Westport and my Grandmother got on at the next stop, to go to Cobh. They didn't know each other and they don't even think they saw each other on the train, and got on different ships to New York. They didn't meet until later, when they settled in Chicago. Amazing! We are lucky that on this trip, we can meet the family members that still work the farms that they grew up on.
We were set for the end of May, 2020. I did my usual obsessive research from several travel blogs and forums, and had a binder full of great locations, experiences and restaurants. Flights check, hotels check, contact relatives check. And then the world shut down, we were very lucky to get all of our money refunded. Fast forward to May of 2021, we went through the motions, booked our flights but that was about it. We didn't really think we would be going and of course, we didn't. Let's try again, May, 2022, and we had our dream trip!

Through our United miles, we got business class tickets from Houston-Toronto-Dublin on Air Canada. We had a 5 hour layover in Toronto, and through our Chase Sapphire Priority Pass, we got a complimentary meal at a restaurant there and access to the lounge. Onboard to Dublin, we thoroughly enjoyed the attentive and entertaining flight attendants and the delicious food. We landed early in the morning, and indulged in an extremely wonderful experience, courtesy of miles, we checked into the Carlton airport hotel. We had a reservation for the previous night with a late checkout, so we got a couple hours of sleep and more importantly, a shower. I know, I know, ridiculous! But it used vey few miles and after our last trip to Europe where we stumbled around so miserably until the 3:00 check in, we were happy we did it. We are a retired couple and don't have the endurance we once did and it set us up well for the rest of our day.

We caught a taxi, in the pouring down rain, and had a such a charming, personable driver. We arrived at the Westin and luckily our room was ready! This hotel was lovely, in a great location but not in the middle of a lot of bars and restaurants, which was perfect for us. It has a business vibe to it, very professional and accommodating but certainly not a cozy and charming experience. It was one of our free hotels. We headed out to nearby Trinity College and was I glad I had waterproof hiking shoes! We didn't have tickets, but there was no line. The cashier printed out discount tickets and we kidded, " don't you want to see our IDs first?" He responded, "I just assumed you were a student, that is the same discount." The Book of Kells and its history is remarkable but we were wowed by the Long Room, it is gorgeous. It is a visit of about one hour. We wondered around St. Stephen's Green and Grafton Street. We wanted to have a nice dinner nearby and made reservations at Pichet. It is a contemporary French/Irish restaurant which is in the Michelin guide. It is a three course set menu with 4 choices in each category for 62 euros. Everything was delicious and so creative.It is very small so reservations are necessary. We headed out to Ha'penny Bridge and miraculously the sun broke through! It was an absolutely beautiful night and perfect for a walk along the river. A great first day, we are really here!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 07:26 PM
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 09:10 AM
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Hi Coral,

I look forward to reading more about your trip. We have a trip planned for Sept. 2023. It will be our first time to Europe and Ireland!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 09:26 AM
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I look forward to reading more as well. We have traveled to Europe many times but we have not been to Ireland yet. So looking forward to your report. Can you give us your brief itinerary, such as where you stayed overnight and how many nights?
Thanks!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 06:00 PM
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Hi, I wanna travel,
Congratulations on your first trip to Europe, what a great place to start!

Karen, I will definitely sum up our itinerary, at the end, with advice on what we would change or add
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 09:57 PM
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We woke up to beautiful weather which we were blessed with the rest of the trip. It hovered near 60 degrees the entire time. We had 9:30 tickets to Kilmainham Gaol, so we caught a cab for $8. The tour was so informative and moving, I highly recommend it.The tickets are released 28 days out and they usually sell out, so plan accordingly. Between the tour and the museum, we were there for 90 minutes.

We walked to the Guinness Storehouse, I would have skipped it it but DH really wanted to go. We didn't want to do the tour because I don't drink beer and the tickets were pricey. We asked to go to the Gift Shop and they sent us up the back stairs. This is a 7 story fortress type property. From the Gift shop, you could access all the floors and see the workings through huge glass windows. There was a pictorial history and news clippings of the highlights, and a step by step of the brewing process. It was interesting and price was right! I am sure if you like beer, the tastings would be really fun, the lines for that were quite long. We grabbed a quick lunch there, soup and salad which was actually good.

Next, we walked to Dublin Castle. It was fine and worth the $6 ticket but if I had a busy schedule, I would skip it. It is a very elegant building, but focused on fairly recent political leaders and events.

Ok, let me explain our dinner choice. We are not big drinkers or late night people, so the bars there were not speaking to us.The mandatory incoming tourist quarantine had just ended in March. We had read how many places were slow to reopen. Many family pubs, restaurants and B&Bs that had been around for decades had closed permanently. We were hopeful to hear trad music later in our trip, but we didn't know what we would find.We don't usually enjoy corny, contrived tourist events but my Grandmother had always loved trying to teach us Irish dancing, so......we booked Celtic nights at the Arlington Hotel. It featured a 3 course dinner followed by an hour show. It included trad music, Irish dancing, broom dancing and fun interaction with the audience. It was $40 and the food was good and the show was charming. Of, course, it doesn't compete with a pub experience or fine dining, but we were glad we went.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 10:51 AM
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Today we are heading to Kilkenny. We had left the option open to do a few more things in Dublin this morning, if we wanted to, but we decided to move on.
There always seems to be a lot of discussion about whether Dublin is worth it or not. I enjoyed it but I think 2 nights there is plenty. So, we really only had a day and a half there. We could have used another half day, but we were satisfied with our experience. If you have a great airfare to Dublin, I could see ending up there for 2 nights before your flight out. But,we loved the west coast so much, I could recommend skipping it, especially if you have less than 9 days. I would really recommend flying into Shannon, but I know those flights are more limited and more expensive.

We got a taxi to the airport car rental location. We had a delightful driver, who commented before we got out," remember the speed limit here is only an aspiration." We laughed and requoted this to each other many times during our trip.

This insurance issue is often discussed, so here was our experience. DH is very organized and requested an email from Chase Sapphire about 2 months out, stating they covered car insurance in the Republic of Ireland. When we first landed, we went to the Europcar desk to make sure we were set and they stated, the email could only be dated 3 weeks out. Glad we checked! We requested another email and got it printed at the hotel, but it didn't specifically state that they covered the Republic of Ireland. We didn't have enough time to get a third email, but were hopeful the 2 would cover it. Nope, we spent about 45 minutes on the phone getting it resolved. The extra, mandatory insurance there is expensive and we were so happy ours was included. Especially, because we had moderate scratches on the passenger side, from all of the close encounters with shrubs that hugged the roads in so many places. We had $600 in damage that was entirely covered.

We also highly recommend an automatic transmission. My husband is a good driver and has driven a manual on many trips, including winding roads, along cliffs or city congestion. It wasn't overwhelming, but is wasn't relaxing driving on the other side of the road. He thought a manual would have made it too much to constantly process. It is no exaggeration of how narrow some of these roads are and you are constantly confronting tour buses, tractors, sheep, road repairs, etc.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 05:56 PM
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Thanks for sharing coral22! I will be going back for my fourth trip to Ireland this May (along with my sister and cousin, for their first trip to the Emerald Isle). We are so excited! In the meantime, I am looking forward to reading more about your adventures.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 06:32 AM
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Thank you for the information about driving on the other side of the road! We are going to Scotland in June, and we have rented a car with an automatic transmission, which we never do because we know how to drive with a standard shift. But my husband and our friend who will share the driving are a bit nervous about driving on the left, so they requested an automatic transmission, even though it costs more. So I am happy to know you recommend doing that as well.

Just curious about Europcar requiring an email from your credit card company stating they cover CDW. We have rented cars in Europe many times, and the car rental company never requested proof that our credit card company covers CDW. Is this particular to Europcar or Ireland?
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 01:10 PM
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Karen, No this is required with all car rentals. It is just Ireland, specifically, The Republic of Ireland.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 03:59 PM
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We have our car and we are off! We had GPS problems on our last trip to France so we researched options. We bought a Hot Spot for $50 and a SIM card in Dublin for $20, and it worked great. We never got lost or had any confusion with the directions. Of course the Hot Spot is usable for future trips.

Ireland is a challenging place to plan, especially for us, because we intended to go as far south as Cork and had to end up in Westport to meet my relatives. We had 10 nights of hotels and used 2 in Dublin. We spread out the map and used out sticky arrows on every spot we were interested in, of course we had too many.

We ended up with:
1 night: Kilkenny: Mt. Juliette Estate
1 night Killarney: The Lake Hotel
2 nights Dingle: Pax Guest House
1 night Doolin: Ballinalacken Castle Hotel
1 night Galway: Jameson Court Apartments
2 nights Westport: Westport Plaza Hotel

I know this is the nightmare itinerary for many Fodorites, but this is where you need to know yourself and how you like to travel. We don't bring a lot of clothing or really even unpack that much. So packing up and checking out is not that much of a time commitment to us. In Ireland, you are in the car or visiting somewhere all through the day, so it really doesn't matter if your luggage is in your car or at the hotel.

If on your trip, you are staying somewhere, where you want to settle in and do things on site, for example, golf, massages, etc., these short stays would not work.But, I think people underestimate how much time you spend driving, when using one spot as a base. On the map, it looks like, this is an hour away, but it never is. It ends up being a 3 hour round trip and that doesn't include the time spent where you are heading. If you base in a spot for longer, and your plan includes covering a lot of distance, you are going to have some days that are just driving. We found that this plan worked great for us because we were always making progress. If you are not trying to cover a big area, it would great to spend more nights in one location. And especially if you have 12+ days.

We were delayed because of our insurance issues, but easily headed to Powerscourt Estate. It is a gorgeous property and garden. It is vast and breathtaking. I didn't realize you only had access to the ground floor, but we had lunch at the Terrace Cafe, which had the most wonderful view. Lunch was good, and reasonable. We spent about 90 minutes here. We took the route through the Wicklow Mountains heading to Glendalough. It was a beautiful route and we made many stops to enjoy the vistas. We intended to stop in Glendalough, the 6th century monastic site of St. Kevin, but realized we still had an almost 2 hour drive to Kilkenny. We wanted to make it to the castle before it closed. The entire Wicklow mountain area is beautiful, if you enjoy hiking, this would be worth the time.

We made it to the castle with less than an hour to spare. The grounds are gardens are lovely, the castle has been beautifully restored, but it was interesting that the furnishings were Victorian. We wandered around Kilkenny for a bit, it has a lovely spot on the river, but it didn't quite have the charm we were expecting. We headed for our hotel, the Mt. Juliette Estate, another bonus with our miles. It is actually about 12 miles away and is a resort. This is not normally what we would choose, but it was extremely nice. It was built to look like an old manor, the stonework was very pretty and the views were incredible. This is a great spot to stay for a couple of days, if you wanted a relaxing break, and it does have a nice location for visiting other spots. DH was pretty frazzled by his first day of driving, so a cocktail and dinner in their lovely dining room was just the ticket. Our dinner was wonderful, it was a very elegant and gracious service, I would highly recommend it, probably about $125 for both. This is in the middle of nowhere, so no wandering around in the evening, but that was fine on this first day. As we get older, the simplicity of eating onsite has more appeal, only an elevator ride to get home. Their complimentary full breakfast was served in the same room. This was just the type of place we needed.


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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 05:55 AM
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Sorry, I didn't finish my sentence about the hotspot. Of course, it is enabling you to use your own phone and the map system you are used to without roaming charges. So, don't pay for GPS with the car rental.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 08:57 PM
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We enjoyed our quiet room and wonderful breakfast.
We are now realizing that unless we want to spend our entire trip in the car, we are going to have to eliminate some stops.
We were going to go to the Rock of Cashel, Cork, and maybe Kenmare on our way to Killarney. That would have been a horrible day.
We checked the weather and a major storm was going to move through the center part of the country, passing right over many of these destinations. This made the decision very easy, we headed right for Killarney. Good idea!

Heading into Killarney, you can see why it would turn many off. On the way in, it is lined with McDonalds. Dominos Pizza, Golden Chopsticks etc. I can only imagine, in the peak season, the tour busses rolling in, the cars lined up and the pedestrian traffic. In May it was very lightly populated, and we only saw one bus there. I think when you go should be a big part of your decision on whether to stay there or not.

We were staying at the Lake Hotel, what a dreamy place! The views of the lake are spectacular, it is so restful. The view from the breakfast room is unbelievable! It is 3 miles south of the center and you feel like you are in a different world. We loved this location! You are in the middle of so many great activities. We got it with points but it would be about $200 a night including a full breakfast. I wish we stayed 2 nights.
We went to:
Muckross Abbey, the fascinating, extensive ruins of a 15th century monastery, and
Muckross House and gardens, which are really spectacular and had lunch in their garden cafe(good and reasonable)

Then, to Ross Castle which I highly recommend. This castle is small and beautifully maintained and has furniture that represents what would have been there. It is by tour guide only, and she was great, you really got a feel of what life was like. There was only one other couple on the tour, from the U.S. and the guide said, I wouldn't say this in a big group, but since you all are from the states, the Irish owe you a debt of gratitude for encouraging the idea of National Parks in Ireland. The McShain family, from Philadelphia, owned Killarney House, Ross Castle and 8,000 acres of land that they donated to Ireland with the condition that it be open to everyone. Killarney National Park was the first.

We headed into town and had no problem parking. Wandered down High Street, which was charming, and went to The Laurels Pub for dinner. It was very casual and fun and we thought a cheeseburger sounded great. it really was one of the better hamburgers we have ever had, must be that Irish cheese! 2 burgers and 2 drinks $50. We headed back to the property and took a walk along the lake, we have been so lucky with this weather!
Headed back to the bar for a nightcap, but mainly to enjoy the view.


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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 10:11 AM
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We enjoyed an extensive fantastic breakfast that was included in our rate. We took another walk along the lake and climbed up to the castle ruins on the property. We hopped in the car and parked in the small lot by Torc falls. We hiked up, parts are steep but manageable, we were glad we had our hiking shoes. We just went as far as the first viewing area, but you can do the loop all the way around. Very pretty, restful and green! About 1 hour.

We didn't think through our itinerary that well or we could have consolidated everything we saw on both days into 1 walking trip. We could have easily spent another day here and a third if we did the Ring of Kerry. My husband was not excited about trying that drive, parts of it are harrowing and the driver does not get to relax and enjoy the scenery. If we had more time, I could see hiring a driver, especially if you were with another couple to share the cost.There is so much you can do here, Kayaking, extensive hiking, combination Gap of Dunloe/boat excursions. And we didn't hit some of the other attractions, like Killarney House. I cannot rave about this area this hotel enough.

Please watch the opening video!
https://www.lakehotelkillarney.ie

We headed up to Kate Kearney's cottage to get the jaunting car ride through the Gap of Dunloe. I had mixed feelings about this, I always feel so sorry for the horse. But the options are that, hiking there and back, about 3 hours, and it sounded like cars were not allowed, so that is what we did. This was the first place that the parking lot was overflowing. We did have to wait on people leaving, maybe 10 minutes. This is a pub/restaurant so we got a bowl of soup then headed over to the staging area. I believe the hour ride was $60. The driver was a delightful fellow whose family had been doing this for decades and gave us a history of the area. You are definitely bouncing the whole way through but the scenery is so breathtaking, and the time commitment was right for us. We did see quite a few hikers and an occasional car, but there were only about 3 of the carts on the path. Someone said if you want to go in your car, after the jaunting car rides are done for the day, it is pretty easy, but I felt like the cars were a rude intrusion into the peaceful environment. I could recommend the walk, because you don't have to to the whole thing, about 2/3 of the way through, there is a spot where you can see the rest, I think you could do that in less than 2 hours. I know there is an excursion you can do that combines the jaunting car and a lake trip and that takes 5 hours.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 07:05 AM
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Correction:
After I posted, I looked over my notes about walking the Gap of Dunloe and that estimate of a 3 hour walking trip, didn't seem right. I think 5 hours was what I had originally seen, and that is why we didn't do it. Also, bicycling would be wonderful.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 12:32 PM
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Now we are heading to Dingle. Our luggage is in the car so we can just take off. This an easy drive, about an hour. Part of this drive is on the coast, beautiful vistas and the gorgeous water. Along the way is Inch Beach, what a lovely spot! With the mountains in the background, this long stretch of beautiful beach and impressive waves, is worth a stop.

We arrive at Pax Guest House and our greeted by the proprietor, John, for a tour.
First, we are taken to the huge common room, which has glass on two entire walls with water views, we are literally speechless. He allows that to sink in and takes us to our room, one of the smaller water views. It is still a very generously sized room, with seating facing the water. The linens are luxurious, the colors light and restful, and so quiet. We head back to the lounge, where there are about, six different groups scattered about, in the well thought out seating areas. Everyone is enjoying a small charcuterie board and a beverage. Yes, please! This is an additional cost, but so reasonable, what a fantastic idea! His wine list is impressive and the room has a fun buzz with people sharing plans and experiences. I would say there are about 10 rooms there, a really wonderful size. Over the course of our stay, we would see many just sitting and savoring, what a magical place!

We drive into town. The only downside to this place, for some might be that is it is walkable to town, but I would not recommend walking back in the dark later at night. Parking is easy in the huge Dingle lot. We are so thrilled to be here. This is what we envisioned as the quintessential charming Irish town. The location on the harbor, the colorful buildings, the cute winding roads, perfect! I am not a big shopper on vacations, not luxury high end or souvenirs, but I do enjoy looking at art, ceramics, local crafts, unique clothing and unique jewelry. This shops are lovely and worthwhile, we really enjoyed browsing them. And we picked up a few treasures. There are pubs galore here, I know it has a great reputation for trad music. We really want to experience trad music, but at most spots it doesn't even start until 9:30 which could be challenging for us. I did find a spot, Dingle Music shop, which offers daytime sessions but unfortunately, they suspended those. We did noticed some shop, pubs and restaurants were closed.

We ended up at Murphy's Pub, I had chicken stir fry(!) and DH had a stuffed pork chop, both very good. A beer, glass of wine and dinner, $50. We weren't going to make it until 9:30 tonight! We headed back to our little slice of heaven.

Please take a peak. Scroll through with the arrows. It is even more spectacular in person. We got the Comfy Sea View. $200 a night
https://www.pax-house.com
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 09:46 AM
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Sorry this has been so choppy, I keep trying to do a longer submission and when I try to preview, it states I have to redo something which I don't have the savvy to do, so I have to start over!#!

Unfortunately, we both wake up with a head cold, fortunately, this would be the place to take it easy! We enjoy our wonderful view, you don't see any other buildings at all, and we are watching a single small boat head from the harbor to the ocean.

We are moving slowly, but had to breakfast area, which again is in that amazing room. John, the proprietor, is also the breakfast chef. I can't praise his skills enough. He brings out a tiered tray of an assortment of mini sweets, he prepares a specialty savory item every day, you can custom order any egg preparation you would like, choice of breads, fruits, yogurts, etc. The room and the experience are so special, there is almost an awed silence among the other guests surrounding us. This is a very peaceful place.

On to Slea Head drive. There is one route that extends further, but we choose the basic loop, about 2 1/2 hours with stops.
This is a beautiful drive with beaches, sheer drop-offs, meadows, primitive churches, beehive huts, delightful! We wanted to stop at Dunquin pier, you pull over and hike down, it is a drastic spot. Nearby there is the Spanish Armada Memorial(!) It is amazing how we thought we knew the history and we don't. In 1588, the Spanish set off with 84 ships, to invade England, but were wildly off course and a third of them landed or crashed into Ireland, including one here. It isn't much of a memorial, but still a big surprise to us. Stopped at Blasket Center, a couple to pottery shops, Riasc Monastic Settlement. We did notice quite a few places closed in Ballyferriter. We highly recommend this drive. We head into Dingle, easy parking again, and putter some more and grab a quick bowl of soup. As much as we love Pax House, breakfast is the only meal served there. We are fading and DH always loves a nap, so back to our gorgeous room and view.

We head out for dinner to Chart House, what a wonderful ambiance. We had a chicken entree and beef filet, sound boring? Here is the description of the filet, served on a caramelized parsnip puree, truffle cabernet reduction, topped with umami butter! We had 2 glasses of wine, split a fantastic dessert, $125. A late night isn't in our future, we head home to try to recover from our cold.
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Old Feb 1st, 2023, 05:13 PM
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Sorry, Dunquin Pier is a dramatic, not a drastic spot.

We have another scrumptious breakfast. It is also so fun that his dishes, egg holders, etc. are so quirky and fun. John is very well travelled and has art and ceramics from all over the world. You are constantly enriched as you move this through this beautiful property. It is hard to leave.

We have at least a 3 hour drive to Doolin without any stops. This stretch of driving is where we earned our merit badge. We encountered every type of road and challenge. When I say we, I mean we. We had read that the most common car damage was a blowout of the left front tire because of drivers being unfamiliar with the feel of where the curbs are. So with his permission, I would call out "curb" a fair amount of the trip. So you are not saying, wow look at that, but are a little on edge with all you have to watch for. Once, we had a huge truck heading right for us and DH instinctively pulled right to avoid him, luckily we were all going slow and stopped in plenty of time. But we did stop along the way a lot. There are so many places, small roads with arching trees, blooming flowers, water views, cute tiny towns, pull outs with incredible vantage points. That is another part about planning your travel time, it is just not that all the times are at least 25% higher with all of your encounters, but that the beauty of where you are deserves a stop.

As we headed up to Doolin, we were thinking everything is going great and we were really happy with our choices. That's right, not only did we think it, we proudly said it out loud. You know the travels gods will have none of that.

Doolin is an adorable almost drive through town. As we started going through we noticed, almost everything was closed. We had 4 pubs on our list, Gus O'Connor's, McDermott's, McGann's and Fitzpatrick's and all were closed except Gus O'Connors. That could work!! As we researched our accommodations, it seemed like most places were in town and very basic. Back in the day, we loved to be in the middle of things and enjoy a late evening out. Now that we are old and cranky(haha), we turn in earlier and don't want to hear others revelling in the street at night. So I found a place that was just a little off the main drag (so I thought). We kept driving and driving, then we had a steep ride up a hill, with heavy bushes and trees on either side with a couple sharp switchbacks. No,No,No, this is not going to work for walking back home or driving home late after a few drinks.

It is Hotel Castle Ballinalaken. There is actually the ruins of Castle Ballinalaken right beside it. As we are coming up the hill, it looks like the Castle is the hotel. There just happens to be some dark, forboding clouds hanging over it. Oh, my gosh, are we staying with Adam's Family? As we get closer, we notice that there are 2 heavy duty motorcycles with equally heavy duty cyclists hovering nearby. Great, is it also hosting a motorcycle convention? They just happened to be viewing the Castle and moved on. We headed in and nobody was there. Don't get me wrong, this place is immaculate, but it has very dark wood and heavy fabrics, a hugely different look from where we just left. We had to ring the desk bell, and waited awhile for someone to come out. Finally, a poor woman came out, who I am imagining was just filling in for the night, but she was fairly confused and quiet. This is adding to the concern. We checked into our room which continues the overall look. The views are beautiful and it is very peaceful, but it is ironic that this is the night we would have enjoyed being in the middle of things.

I would recommend staying in Doolin because you can be right there in the middle of the pubs and you are so close to the Cliffs of Moher. We did want to see them, but many have said if you have foggy or rainy weather it is a worthless excursion. If you stay right there, you have the option of a late afternoon visit or early morning visit, which doubles your chances of a good day, and you are also avoiding the bus tours. We headed over and the parking lot was almost empty. There is no admission charge but the parking fee is $10 per adult, not car. We did see a larger group let out almost everyone about a block away to avoid that charge. But, I think that is a fair price to pay to maintain such a beautiful place. Also, we noticed golf carts transporting senior citizens, if you have mobility issues, that might be worth investigating.

It is breathtaking! Again, a magical moment of the spectacularI views, wild ocean and forever blue sea and skies.I think it is worth it, but if you have to go WAY out of the way to visit it for just an hour, I would say no. We headed to Lahinch Beach, so beautiful! It is an incredibly long stretch of sand and waves. It would be a nice break in the "warmer" weather. We noticed a huge restaurant, Vaughans, it looked like the perfect place to relax an enjoy a beverage. We circled around and around again, surely there is a door in. Someone from across the way, from another business, came over, waving their arms and saying they could only be open on the weekend. She was our tour guide through reality. The Ireland tourist industry relies heavily on foreign seasonal workers, the majority from Eastern Europe. After 2 years of being totally shut out, they sought employment elsewhere. It breaks my heart that after being totally shut down, these businesses don't have the ability to finally open up because of a lack of employees. I don't think this situation is still as bad, but check your destinations before you go. This would affect our trip moving forward.

We head back to the hotel to freshen up. a lot of people are in the restaurant, which has great reviews. It is definitely not a pub crowd, I am imagining an early morning, Cliffs of Moher crowd. We head into Gus O'Connors at 6:30, it is standing room only. We asked how long the wait would be for a table and they said they didn't know. It was the only game in town. We are passed our dinnertime, so we headed to the only place open in town, Ivy Cottage, it was also packed but we didn't have too long of a wait, and had a delicious fish and chips and chicken burger. We headed back to Gus's and the crowd was even more packed in. We wouldn't make it until 9:30. We headed back to our hotel and actually enjoyed their quirky, almost secret passage bar. We were the only ones there and the bartender was enchanting.
coral22 is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2023, 05:00 AM
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Just catching up on your report! Love your description of your day in Doolin and seeing the Cliffs of Moher!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2023, 11:43 AM
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Love the details of the trip. It sounds great....minus the head cold!
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