Ireland Trip Report - May 2004

May 30th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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Ireland Trip Report - May 2004

We just returned last week from Ireland. I made reservations for all of our accommodations before we left because I did not want to waste time looking for a place to stay while in Ireland. This worked well for us and since many of the roads and signs are not very good and trying to drive by and check out B&B's would have been time very consuming. We prefer larger B&B?s or guesthouses because they offer a little more privacy. I spent a lot of time on this forum (never submitted any questions of my own, just read questions/answers submitted by others) and other sites planning the trip & researching B&B's and I used Michele Erdvig's Best Little Guide to Ireland.

Day 1 - Arrived in Shannon and picked up our Thrifty rental car. When I booked they had the best price on a compact automatic. The car was pretty scratched and dented but then we were less worried about damaging it ourselves! They accepted the Master Card insurance coverage without question. Since we had not slept in over 24 hours we stayed at the Great Southern Hotel next to the airport. The place is a little run down but because of the location it was the best option for us.

Day 2 - Drove to Doolin with several stops in The Burren and on to the Cliffs of Moher. Stayed at Cullinan's B&B in Doolin and had a wonderful dinner in their restaurant. Very nice B&B, but a little too far on very narrow roads to walk to town at night.

Day 3 & 4 - Drove to Dingle through Killimer (took the ferry) and Connor Pass (spectacular views with a very narrow bumpy road!). Toured the Dingle peninsula, Blasket Center, Gallarus Oratory, beautiful coastline. Stayed at Heaton's B&B in Dingle. Excellent B&B with a very helpful host. Dinner at the Half Door restaurant and Murphy's Pub.

Day 5 & 6 - Drove to Killarney and walked about half way through the Gap of Dunloe, went to Muckross House, gardens & abbey and drove the Ring of Kerry. The ring was a little disappointing after seeing the Dingle peninsula. Stayed at Killarney Lodge a very nice B&B within walking distance to the town center. Dinner at Flesk Restaurant was good and reasonably priced.

Day 7 - Drove to Kinsale and stopped at the Cobh Heritage Center on the way and Charles Fort. Stayed at Kilcaw House. Nice B&B with very friendly host. The only negative was because of the wooden floors and thin walls it was a little noisy. Dinner at Hoby's restaurant was very good.

Day 8 - Drove to Tramore and stayed at Glenorney B&B (very nice) and had dinner at the Esquire restaurant.

Day 9 - Drove to Kilkenney and stopped at Kells (very neat) and took the tour of Kilkenney Castle. Stayed at Fanad House within walking distance to the castle and town. Dinner at the Rinuccini Italian restaurant (nice change from all the fish and steak we had been eating).

Day 10 - Drove to Cahir and on the way stopped at the Rock of Cashel and then the Cahir Castle (both very interesting). Stayed at Carrigeen Castle which is walking distance to town. Not 4 star but very clean and an inexpensive way to experience staying in a castle. Dinner at Galtee Inn.

Day 11 - Drove to Bunratty and went to Bunratty Folk Park and the Medieval Banquet. The park was very interesting and the banquet was fun. Stayed at the Great Southern Hotel by the airport again because we had an early morning flight. We returned the car in the evening and walked to the airport in the morning.

goldfield is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 02:12 PM
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Thanks for this! You saw a lot in your 11 days. What was your impression of the hospitality at Carrigeen?
MaryZ is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 03:41 PM
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The hospitality at Carrigeen was just fine. We had read the reviews on this forum and someone described it as 'she runs a tight ship' and I would agree. The place was absolutely spotlessly clean with very eclectic decor and the price was very reasonable. We knew what to expect and we enjoyed our stay.
goldfield is offline  
May 30th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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Enjoyed your report. Leaving tomorrow for Ireland. Any advise on driving? First time for me and I'd appreciate any tips, no matter how elementary.

Nlingenfel is offline  
May 31st, 2004, 09:24 AM
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Be sure to bring your patience and sense of humor. We lost ours several times during the trip! Most of the roads are very narrow with confusing signs or no signs at all. It really does take longer than you would think to drive from one location to another.
goldfield is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Goldfield, two more questions! Was the ferry very time consuming as opposed to driving to Dingle or was the vista worth it?
2. We are planning to stay overnight in Cashel, tour the rock in the morning then drive down to Cashel and tour the castle before driving back to Dublin. Is this doable in one day? Thanks!
tana is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 08:03 AM
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Tana - I was just in Ireland and made that drive. I think it's easily doable
buongiorno is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 10:14 AM
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Thanks for your report. It's helpful for our first trip to Ireland later this summer.

How long did your Doolin to Dingle trip take?

Tennischick is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 06:59 PM
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The ferry was very quick. We drove right on and it only took 15 - 20 minutes to cross. Since we didn't drive to Dublin I can't comment on if that is doable in one day.

My best recollection is Doolin to Dingle (through Connor Pass) took about 4 hours with several stops for pictures and of course getting lost at least once!

goldfield is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 10:57 AM
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Thank you GOldfield! Do you remember your route from Doolin to Killimer? I have the Michelin map and there looks to be a few ways to get there. Read another thread saying taking the ferry could add to my time (vs. driving to Dingle via Limerick) if it doesn't depart often. Is there a way to find out the times the ferry departs?
tana is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2004, 11:31 AM
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The website for the ferry is
mealdridge is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2004, 07:01 AM
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Thank you mealdridge! That web site is just what I needed!
tana is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2004, 04:19 PM
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I'm making my first trip to Ireland in September and have been wondering about buying Michele's book. Did you find it to be helpful for getting around and what to see?
pegoode is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 01:15 PM
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I found the best way around was
It will take you from start to finish with stops inbetween. Give miles between towns also. Be aware signs are hard to find if they are even there
nina06 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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nina, is American Airlines.

This is the site for mileage/directions in Ireland.
Budman is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 10:44 AM
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Michele Erdvig's book was probably most helpful for choosing accomodations and for restaurant recommendations. All the places we stayed that she recommended were excellent.
goldfield is offline  
Jun 6th, 2004, 12:30 PM
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pagoode, I just got my second edition of Michele's book, which we found quite helpful. On our last trip we stayed in two of her recommended B&Bs and were very happy with both. Foodwise, we saw many of the places she recommended but never seemed to be near them at mealtimes.
allisonm is offline  
Jun 11th, 2004, 08:50 PM
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goldfield, Did Carrigeen Castle have the "real" feel of a castle? I believe that it was really a jail that was built to look like a castle. What was your impression? I am interested in what your room was like and the bathroom?
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Irish Eyes:

I've stayed at Carrigeen and I thought it was nice. It's hard to say what a "real" castle feel would be. It's a neat old building that Peig Butler watches over carefully. The views from there are fairly nice but it's a somewhat lengthy walk into town. You may also find that it is more difficult to cross a street in Cahir than any other place you've visited.

There seem to be two ways to run a B&B. Many B&B owners accept guests almost as if they were family while others run in strictly as a business. Peig's version is definitely a business situation. I understand she is uncomfortable with young children running around the place.

I enjoyed staying there and I'm glad I did, though I probably wouldn't stay there again unless I was traveling with people who had never been before. It's nice for a one time visit.

wojazz3 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2004, 06:04 PM
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We're planning our trip May 2005. We will be pressed for time and will be unable to do both the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Dingle. For you folks that have been what do you recommend?
coty329 is offline  

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