Just back - trip report

Sep 30th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Just back - trip report

Day 1 - Arrived Chicago at 3:30 to check in for 7:00 Aer Lingus flight, only to find that it's been delayed to 9:00. Counter agent gave me an $8.50 voucher for food, which doesn't go far at O'Hare, but still very nice. More delays after boarding, sitting on runway, and we finally lift off at 10:45 pm. Dine fashionably late at midnight.

Day 2 - Arrive Dublin, not scheduled to leave the plane, just continue to Shannon. After sitting on the plane for 1/2 hour, we are advised that we will get off the plane and go through Customs, back through security and onto another plane. More delays. Finally on our way to Shannon, arriving at almost 3:00 p.m. instead of our scheduled 10:30 a.m. No problems getting the car (Dan Dooley) and negotiating my first roundabout after a warning from the gentleman driving the shuttle that the most common damage is losing the left-side mirror from moving too far away from the center line.

Drove up to Galway (many more roundabouts!) and found my first B&B - the Connaught - in Salthill. Owners Tom and Collette Keaveny very welcoming and sympathetic to a weary traveler. Unpacked luggage and ate a ham sandwich from local deli, a hot shower, and into bed at 8:30 Galway time, exhausted. Welcome to Ireland.

Day 3 -- Up early and starved. Delicious Irish breakfast, including black and white pudding (definitely an acquired taste), rashers and sausage. Love that brown bread. Into the car to drive up to Connemara. Stopped in Moycullen at the Connemara Marble Visitors Centre and bought a few things. Weather turning windy and rainy. By the time I arrive Oughterard it's really nasty. Shopped a little and went into the Boat Inn for some lunch. Great vegetable soup and more brown bread. The drive through Connemara was beautiful despite the lousy weather. Photos don't do it justice when taken through the car windows. Came back through Cong to see the Quiet Man cottage - very cute, but weather so bad I just drove past it slowly. Stopped again in Moycullen to send an e-mail home and had dinner at the Forge Restaurant and pub. Great dinner, including a half-pint of Guinness. Back to the B&B and to bed early.

Day 4 - up and about early with another Irish breakfast (minus the puddings) and on the road to Killarney. Some showers off and on, but actually catch a glimpse of my first Irish rainbow. Stopped for a little stroll through Adare. Quite a cute little town. This is the day of the All-Ireland match, and once I hit County Kerry there are green and gold flags flying everywhere! Being from Green Bay Packer country I feel right at home. Walked through Killarney and did a little shopping, then headed to the Gap of Dunloe to find my B&B, the Purple Heather. Tim, the owner, showed me to my room -- definitely not what I'd expected. No carpeting nor rugs on the floors, walls scuffed and badly in need of paint, room damp and musty-smelling. Bathroom so small I felt like I was in an RV. Went over to Kate Kearney's Cottage for some dinner; it was packed with sports fans cheering on Kerry vs. Tyrone in the All-Ireland. Much green/gold and beer. Definitely felt right at home. Dinner was fish & chips, followed by Banoffi pie. HEAVEN!! Took some photos of the area, planning to hire a jaunting car in the morning.

Day 5 - Woke at 3:30 a.m., with wind howling, rain beating down, and no heat. Couldn't get the radiator to work, so grabbed an extra blanket from the closet and put socks on, back to bed. Couldn't get back to sleep, felt wind whipping through the window cracks. The best thing I can say about this B&B is that they stole their towels from some fine hotels. Finally up and packed early, breakfast at 8:30, on the road by 9. No jaunting cars today, so headed back up to Shannon. Rained all the way, but still a nice drive. Decided not to take the ferry across the Shannon so saw the same scenery as on the way down. Arrived Shannon too early to check into the B&B, so did some shopping at the Town Centre shopping area. Dunne's is wonderful! Lunch at Durty Nellly's -- some fragrant seafood chowder and brown bread. An old gentleman sitting at the bar, nursing a Guinness, singing along with the background music. Can't convince me he's not a "plant" for atmosphere. Checked into B&B, the Headley Court -- what a welcome change from the previous night! Can't recommend it highly enough. Kathleen Browne is very sweet, showed me to my room -- four-poster bed, shower big enough for three! She told me that the Shannon Library has internet access for free, and gave me directions, so headed back into town in the rain, checked in with family via e-mail, and when I came out the sun was shining! Dinner that evening at Kathleen's in the Bunratty Castle Hotel. As I drove up, the same gentleman was sitting outside the entrance, having a smoke. Now I'm convinced he's there for atmosphere! Great dinner, back to Durty Nelly's for a pint and some music. The best conversation is on the benches outside, with the smokers.

Day 6 - Up early for great breakfast and on the road to Cliffs of Moher. Sun shining, but as I get closer to the coast it becomes very windy. Almost impossible to climb the hill to the Cliffs, and one little old lady had to be caught from falling backward from the wind. On the road again to Doolin -- cute little town! Wish it were later in the day so there might be some music at Gus O'Connors! Stopped in Lisdoonvarna at the Burren Smokehouse, and they do sell some salmon at the Shannon airport, so that settles that. Also no matchmaking going on today! Returned to Bunratty, spent some time at the Folk Park (definitely worth the stop) and enjoyed the Traditional Irish night. Dinner and entertainment top-notch!

Day 7 - Early breakfast, packed and turned in the car. Same old gentleman checked me in, surprised not a dent or scratch. Couldn't help being a little proud of my driving skills, especially on some of the R roads!! Flight scheduled for 1:00 p.m, delayed till almost 2. On the way to Dublin, saw the most beautiful rainbow out the window! Definitely a perfect way to end my first visit -- definitely not last -- to Ireland!!!

Vouchers worked just fine for B&B's ... I think next time I'll do it on my own for a larger selection ... but for a novice it took the worry out of payment. ATM's readily available, and no problem drawing out money. Can't wait to go back!!!
RosieCaat is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 06:02 AM
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Enjoyed your trip report! We just got back on the 24th from Ireland and I'm in the process of doing my trip report too. Enjoyed many of the same things you did. We're also from "Packer Country" and enjoyed the County Kerry sports enthusiasm. We loved the Bunratty Folk Park too even though I'd read not very good reviews about it. Same with Durty Nelly's - best fish & chips on our whole trip! We stayed at the Bunratty Castle Hotel and ate at Kathleens - didn't care for the Hotel but the restaurant was very good. We encountered the windy weather at the Cliffs as well (and some rain) but beautiful just the same. We loved Doolin, stayed at the Seaview B & B and Dara steered us to McDermott's pub for music. FANTASTIC! Anyway, glad you enjoyed your trip as much as we enjoyed ours. Look for my report as well - I'm slow in writing it.
Pam
PamT is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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ttt
pjsparlor is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for the report. You just couldn't get a break with flights, could you? Well, you certainly bounced back and had a great trip.

Today must be Wisconsin's day on the board...I'm from Milwaukee!
yesiree100 is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 04:46 PM
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RosieCaat.... Nice report.

I'm topping it for others who may want to beware the Purple Heather B&B! AND I'm not that fond of black pudding my own self. Although we had a fine fried bread at the Meadows B&B in Cushendall NI.
Danna is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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Dear RosieCaat,
Emailing you to let you know of my experience staying at the "Purple Heather". It was one of the most enjoyable experience that I had on my vacation to Ireland. My accommodation was superb, infact outstanding. The hospatility that I recieved from Tim and Nora was outstanding.They helped arrange my days activities from places to go and things to do, to educating me on the local folklore of the local area!! I couldn't recommend this place high enough. In fact my friend emailed from Ireland to say that they won some prestigous award for the best B&B. One issus confuses me is that did you make your complaints heard to Tim and Nora? I ask this as they were so obliging to me and my family that I am sure if you had a complaint they would have done their utmost to help you.
kangel is offline  
Feb 10th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Hmmm, when I click on kangel's name this is the only post that comes up.
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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Dear CAPH52
just letting you know of the wonderful experience of staying in the purple heather b&b. It was superb!!!!!!!!
kangel is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:23 AM
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hmmmmmmm indeed
wojazz3 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Yep, the only post that kangel has posted. Isn't that strange, LOL. Nice try though. Guess some people don't know how easy it is to check on how many post they have posted.

Thanks for the interesting trip report Rosie, and congratulations on not banging up the rental car, good for you!!
LoveItaly is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 04:01 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Due to job and family restraints I do not have time to post many replies but do from time to time enjoy reading peoples trip reports (travelling being my favourite passtime!!!!!!)I only decided to give my opinion of my experience due to the nature of the topic Rosiecaat approached. I do think that my opinion is just that, my opinion!!!!! likewise your opinion is just that YOURS!
kangel is offline  

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