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Ireland trip report. Just got back!

Old May 4th, 2007, 02:50 PM
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Ireland trip report. Just got back!

Just returned from a wonderful 7 day vacation in Ireland armed with my Michelin Ireland map (a MUST) and a wealth of travel tips thanks to you all. This is my short trip report which I have added a few tips I didn't find here. Sorry about my poor spelling! No spell check on my wordpad and I had to do this in a hurry.

Day 1: Arrived in Dublin April 25th, picked up rental car, an automatic which my husband was very thankful we paid extra for because of all the turn arounds as I would spot something and he would constantly go back to it so I could get a closer look. Yes, he is a great guy and did a great job driving on the opposite side of the road. With each right hand turn he was always saying outloud "watch the cars coming from the right lane....turn into the left lane" so he would never forget. We opted to pass on Dublin this trip and drove south thru Enniskerry, headed for Glendalough where we had our first night booked at the Tudor Lodge. This was the only dissapointment the whole trip as the pictures in their websight are very misleading and it was overpriced at 90Euro. However Jane was very nice to us and full Irish breakfast was good. We headed to Powerscourt Gardens but it was very cold and windy and only the Azelias where in bloom so we just walked thru the neat gift shop and headed back to pretty Glendalough and explored the 110 foot tower and ruins in the area. Had dinner at Jake's Bar "an inviting local watering hole" just down the road and I had a very good steak sandwich and my husband had beef stew which although was good, our meal with beer was over $50! This is the last of the complaining I will do.

Day2: Headed to Kilkenny, walked around the impressive Kilkenney Castle and thru the wonderful Kilkenny Design Center across from it full of Ireland's craftsmen items for purchase. Off to Cashel to explore the Rock of Cashel, two acres of impressive castle ruins dating from the 12th century. What a sight to see towering over the town! Head down to one of our favorite seaside towns, Kinsale where we stayed at the beautiful Woodlands House B&B. Spotless and perfect, I can't recommend it enough. Walked to town and wanted to take the Ghost Walk tour but it was not operating yet so headed search for some Irish music and found it at An Seanachai, next door to the famous Muddy Maher's Pub. We heard the best Irish singer of our trip, a wonderful man with an amazing singing voice. I was SOOO tempted to request "Danny Boy" but resisted. The music in most all the pubs on our trip started at 9:30pm.

Day 3: Enjoyed an excellant breakfast the next morning. Headed back to town to check out some of the shops and drove thru scenic towns of Skibbereen, Ballydehob towards Mizen Head, a scenic drive with stops at Crookhaven. Enjoyed picking up interesting shells in the coves, seeing the cute fishing villages and headed north to Kenmare, "a postcard-perfect village" where we stayed at the Hawthorn House which is a wonderful B&B within a block walk to all the wonderful shops and pubs. This is where I discovered my favorite shop, Quills, which is full of anything you would want to bring home from Ireland....linens, pillows, glasswear, pottery, jewellery, knitwear....the "Very Best of Irish". I did most of my shopping there and found they had four other stores along our route which you will find a map on their web: www.quillsireland.com If you purchase over 30 Euros they deduct the tax there and give you the slip to give to customs at the airport...big time saver! We had dinner at a small fish and chips place (to go or eat there) close to the B&B end of the main street (didn't get the name). Watched as they dipped the fish and deepfried it....best I have had!

Day 4: Good breakfast...full Irish as usual (eggs, sausage, bacon, brown bread, white toast, cereals, juice, etc....) went back into town to pick up some more from Quills to take home and off we went toward the Ring of Kerry. What a wonderful, scenic road! Stopped at many fascinating ruins, brilliant views, little towns....found another Quills (hooray!) in Sneem. Toke our time and headed north to the wonderful town of Dingle where we had a reservation at Ashes Bed & Breakfast. LOVED DINGLE! We loved the cute narrow streets with colorful pubs and ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant which was good but pricey. Later we searched for more Irish music and found it at the Murphys Pub where a cute couple entertained us with music but no singing.

Day 5: Another good breakfast and headed off to the Dingle Peninsula which I enjoyed even more than the Ring of Kerry. We followed the main road and cut off towards Slea Head...rolling hills, sheeps, ruins, glorious views of the ocean, beehive huts, thatched roof and turned one corner to come to a halt as sheep were being hurded down the street. Waited while they passed on both sides of our car and continued on. Stopped at a little shop near where Far and Away with Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruse was filmed and met a "free spirited" man who runs a little gift shop and museum. He introduced us to Godzilla...his pet Iguana. Headed on around Dingle Bay and over to Killarney and down to Muckross House and enjoyed our tour of the house. Then we headed up to Tarbert to catch the ferry to Killimer. It saved us 85 miles of driving. Drove up to the Cliffs of Moher and walked to the overlook. Cloudy day, hazy day but still amazing. Ended the day at the wonderful Cullinan's Guesthouse in Doolin. Rave reviews here and we were not dissapointed! Dinner at O'Connor's Pub dating to the 1800s. Had beef, cabbage and vegetables and my husband had fish and chips. Both excellant. A group of six musicians played and sang the most wonderful Irish songs. One of the highlights of our trip!

Day 6: Went down to a wonderful breakfast of buttermilk pancakes with lemon and honey and my husband had the usual. Yumm!! Followed the coastal highway up and around to Ballyvaughn.....sooo beautiful! Thatched roofs, castle and tower ruins, beautiful views of the coast. Surprised I had not heard of this drive! Headed down thru Ennis and down to Bunratty. Rick Steves says not to bother with the "touristy" Bunratty Castle and Folk Park but I have to say we really enjoyed it! Ofcourse we didn't have the crowds this time of year but I was glad we didn't miss it. We enjoyed fried Panini Sandwiches (ham, cheese and tomatoes) at the P. Macnamara & Sons Bar there. From there we drove back to Cashel, the one night we did not have a reservation. We had hoped to stay at Joy's Rockside House near the castle ruins but they were not yet opened for the season. VERY nice people, they called another B&B and we stayed there. It was fine. We wanted to eat dinner at Ryans Daughter Restaurant but it was closed so ate a dissapointing dinner at the only place we could find open at 8:30pm. Not a big Pub town!

Day 7: Headed back towards Dublin for our last day on the Emerald Isle. Went thru Abbeyleix hoping to go into the Morrissey's Pub and Grocery Store but it was not open. Looked neat from the outside. Headed north of Dublin to Newgrange to view the spectacular tombs. Older than the pyramids of Egypt, it was fascinating. Went on to see Trim Castle...impressive....told part of Brave Heart was filmed there. Then headed to Shantalla Lodge for our last night, five miles from the airport. Very nice couple, wonderful house and wonderful Irish breakfast at 7:30AM for our early departure. Returned our car to Enterprise and they dropped us off at the airport. I had spent the evening before looking for someplace open to by my Butlers and lil O'Briens chocolates to take home to our kids. I did find some but I was amazed to see the next morning so many shops at the airport that had everything I wanted for about the same price I had seen all over Ireland. So my advise is wait until you get to the airport to buy your chocolates, cookies, glass, jewelry, wool items, even fresh brown bread, cheese and butter! But be sure you are there at least three hours prior to departure as the customs line is long.

So, seven glorius days in Ireland and would you believe it....no rain! Although I would have liked to see some rainbows and maybe a pot of gold and a leprechan or two, maybe next time?? [email protected]
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Old May 4th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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Thanks Wendie! I loved your trip report, although it left me a little breathless

I'm going to pull out my own Michelin Ireland map tonight and trace your route for ideas. I'll probably have lots of questions after that.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 09:28 PM
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wendie,
Wow, you did a lot of traveling and it sounds like you enjoyed Ireland. Thnaks for writing the report.
Joan
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Old May 5th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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Wendie, Enjoyed your post! Any surprises on the car rental? What company did you use?
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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Hi! We rented our car from Enterprise because my husband works for them. Saved us alot of money. Be sure to look over your car well when you get it and have them write down ANY damage you see. They checked ours all over when we returned it. Also, once in Germany we returned our rental car and they said the spare tire was missing. We forgot to check when we picked up the car and had to really fight with them (not Enterprise)to convince them it was never there.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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Hi wendie -

Just one question: you stayed one night in each area and covered quite a bit of territory. Did you feel this was too hectic a pace and would you have preferred to concentrate on a smaller area, spending a couple nights in two or three places? In other words, would you do the same thing again, or take it more slowly?

I ask because we will not have a lot of time in Ireland (5 days) and I am thinking of concentrating on the Dingle area (flying into Shannon) and then driving the southern route for a ferry to Wales.

Thanks!
Linda
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Old May 6th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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Hello! My husband and I both enjoy driving and exploring so we always travel at a fast pace which is not for everyone. I wish, however that we had more time so we could stay a couple of nights in one place and still see all that we saw. If we had just five days like you I would suggest you concentrate on the Western side and the Dingle area would be perfect. Between Kinsale and Doolin (and coastal drive north of Doolin) was my favorite part of the trip and if you fly into Shannon that would be perfect!
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