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chip Jul 4th, 2003 09:53 AM

Ireland trip experiences
Top experiences from 18 day trip around Ireland (not necessarily in order)
-leaning over the edge of the Cliffs of Moher
-joining in on a session
-experiencing history of Kilmainham Gaol
-driving Slea Head Loop/Dingle
-Doolin and Dingle/music and craic
-beautiful Connemara
-quiet moment on Vinegar Hill
-most informative guide-Jerpoint Abbey
-colorful,cute roadside sheep
-huge fuschia bushes, foxgloves
-stay at Cregg Castle
-the smell of peat burning
-warm scones with cream and a pot of jam
-dinner/dessert at the Half Door in Dingle

I unfortunately suffer from great expectations, that said, biggest let downs/not what we expected:
-Lime tree resteraunt in Kenmare
-Kilkenny was not the quaint mideval walled city that we pictured
-Ring of Kerry(did love the park-between Kenmare and Killarney)
-Durty Nelly's

A good not expected was the weather-sunshine need for coats/long sleeved shirts. Could have had more room for shopping!

Would have liked to have more time to explore Boyne River Valley and the Connemara. Would like to have gone further north and stayed in Westport (heard many good reports about town, music, pubs). Next time!

Clifton Jul 4th, 2003 11:11 AM

Hi chip,

Been reading your trip report and enjoyed it. Glad you all had a good time!

Would agree with most of your best list and even a couple of the let downs but I think you're right - expectations do seem to play such a large role. I had built up expectations of Kilkenny and was just lukewarm on it once there. Looking back, I think I should have shaken off the pre-concieved notions and gave it more of a chance. My memories of it now were that it wasn't a half bad town, just not what I'd imagined. Cobh on the other hand we both really loved and I think it's because we didn't really expect anything specific of it. We ended spending a fair amount of time there, just wandering around, not "doing" anything that you'd typically plan in advance and it turned out to be a nice time.

isabel Jul 4th, 2003 08:46 PM

I'm sorry to hear both of you were let down by Kilkenny - it's one of the places I am most looking forward too (am going next month) so now I fear I may feel let down too. What was it that disappointed you? Can you elaborate more on why you felt that way?

rickmav Jul 4th, 2003 09:00 PM

Interesting way of presenting your thoughts - gets to the heart of things.

When you said 'leaning over the edge...' it brought our visit back and how my husband was terrified I was going to plunge over as I tried to get the perfect photo of the waves dashing against the Cliffs. We didn't enjoy Doolin, perhaps it was the wrong time of year, too many people (tourists) etc. Found Connemara haunting more than beautiful. Couldn't believe the fushcia and the crocosima (the orange flowers that look a bit like day lilies).

We were too preoccupied on the Ring of Kerry with staying alive, but did enjoy Cobh, my husband's grandfather left from there on one of the coffin ships. Was quite moving for us. Durty Nelly's, once we got to the second floor, was great. But perhaps we were ready to talk to other tourists.

We did enjoy Kinsale, Ilnacullin Garden at Glengarrif, Newport in Co. Mayo, Ardmore in Co. Waterford and Avoca south of Dublin.

Wish I were there right now.

PMB Jul 5th, 2003 07:42 AM

I too was looking forward to Kilkenny and planned a day there. My notes from that day say it all -- "a traffic nightmare. I do not know what everyone was raving about. There is nothing picturesque about it". The castle was interesting.

chip Jul 9th, 2003 04:17 PM

Isabel-like I said, expectations got the best of us. when we read about a walled mideval city we were thinking of something like our favorite walled mideval city in Germany, Rothenburg...nothing like it. The castle was nice(they do go a little overboard making people check bags/cameras/etc. before the tour), but it was hard to walk, drive, lost. Did not find music...didn't want to pay cover. Our "B&B"/hotel, Berkeley House, did not have friendly workers plus no hot water. Enjoyed an ice-cream cone with rasperry syrup and little chocolate waffer from ice-cream truck outside the castle grounds. Did enjoy drinks and friendly bartenders at the Hibernian Pub. Great sidetrip to Jerpoint Abbey. The most informative/interesting guide of the trip. Also, on the way there we saw a thatch roof being put on, neat. Nice dinner at Langton's, pretty dining area.
I'm sure you'll discover wonderful things when you will be in Ireland after all!

emjoy Jul 10th, 2003 09:32 AM

I'm taking my first trip to Ireland in September and I'm planning on the following itinerary:
Drive Dublin to Kilkenny (1 night)
drive to Cobh, Kinsale (2 nights)
drive to Dingle (2 nights)
drive back towards Dublin-not sure where to stay yet
Dublin 2 nights

I love reading all the trip reports on the site, although I've decided to do away with my tendency to obsessively plan everything and have only planned where we'll be sleeping, the rest will up to the mood of the day.
So I hope to have pleasant surprises every day...

shashie Jul 12th, 2003 03:14 PM

Chip -- enjoyed your list. Mine also includes the Kilmainham Gaol and Jerpoint Abbey tours -- great guides at both.
In May we visited Kilkenny, Cashel, Dublin, Galway, and Ennis -- no car; travel by bus and train. Here are a few things from my "best" list:
- Guide: TIE: Jerpoint Abbey, Kilmainham Gaol
- Museum - National Museum, Dublin (also: Book of Kells at Trinity College)
- Photos - the Rock of Cashel / Hore Abbey, and Connemara
- Irish Stew - The Old Stand, Dublin
- Dark Chocolate Bar - Kylemore Abbey
- Fish - McDonagh's, Galway
- Pub Crawl - Literary, Dublin
- Best (only?) Weather Report - "Rain clearing to showers"
- Print Ad - "Take Home a Hot Irishman" (Irish Coffee)
- Special Memories: Visiting St. Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny, while a group of girls rehearsed for an evening concert. Taking a Set Dance lesson in Ennis
- "A Spoonful of Irish" sugar packet quotation: He would put legs under a chicken.  (talkative)

Mistake? Not getting the Heritage Card at the first site we visited. Even if it didn't save money (it would have, for us) it would have been so much more convenient!

From previous trips, not to be missed: Glendalough, Newgrange, Cliffs of Moher.
Next trip: the Dingle Peninsula is at the top of my list -- I'll rent a car so I can see more out-of-the-way places, but I still won't relocate every night. Not my style!

jor Jul 12th, 2003 05:33 PM

I love a trip experience listed in a bulleted brief form which you have done.
I enjoyed it.

itsmlf Jul 16th, 2003 07:59 AM

We absolutely love Doolin and keep going back time and time again, but then I am a trad music fan. Also love Ennis and the Kilmoon House B&B and Clara House in Rathmines in fact I love it all...cant wait to "go home" again

Mischka Jul 16th, 2003 09:38 AM

I took the public bus from Dublin to Kilkenny (alone) and really enjoyed it. When I got there I had no idea where to go or what to do, so I went to the tourist office and joined a walking tour of the town. It was led by a lovely man who went into great detail explaining the history of the town and various sites. Next I rushed over to the castle for the tour, then went shopping at the arts center across from the castle. Next I retraced our walk through the city and did some shopping in town, then went to Kytelers Inn. This 14th century pub is the oldest in Kilkenny. It is named after Alice Kyteler who, in 1324, was accused of being a witch after the death of her fourth husband. I ended my wonderful day in Kilkenny by having a bite to eat at a cafe ner the bus station. The only negitive bit of my days outing was when I arrived for my bus back to Dublin and found that the direct bus was not running and I had to find my way back via..... I don't even remember where..... it took ages and I had to ask lots of advice from the locals, but it was still a great day out. Sorry this was soooo long-winded, what I'm trying to say is, don't miss Kilkenny :-)

dln Jul 16th, 2003 10:28 AM

The Cliffs of Moher! My parents took us there when I was young and I brought home some crumbled up pieces of the cliff. It was there that we met an old man who, upon learning we were American, asked us if we might have heard of his brother who emigrated to Brooklyn. Not such a farfetched question, really, as Brooklyn and Queens were where my parents grew up, my mother of parents who came from Ireland in the '20s!

JackOneill Jul 16th, 2003 10:35 AM

Great, easy-to-read report. And great follow-up posts.

My wife and I are thinking about a trip to Ireland in the next year or two. So, I keep posts like this as a way to start the planning process.

This is exactly why Fodors is a great travel website!

Mischka Jul 16th, 2003 11:39 AM

While you're in Dublin don't forget to have coffee at Bewleys on Grafton street, and buy some Barm Brack (to take away), spread thickly with pure Irish butter and eat often... YUM!

ladyjane44 Nov 8th, 2003 02:23 PM

Kilkenny is on my travel itinerary also...hope I won't be disappointed. Just wondering where is Kilmainham Gaol?

MaryZ Nov 8th, 2003 02:31 PM

Kilmainham Jail is in Dublin.

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