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Live From Ireland: 17 Day Trip Report (Self Drive)

Live From Ireland: 17 Day Trip Report (Self Drive)

Jul 11th, 2012, 09:33 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Sounds great, Twiggers. Glad you are enjoying yourself.

Curious . . . I notice a lot of "I's" in the report. Is DH joining you for many of the outings or does he stay back? (Or is that just your writing style?)
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 10:01 AM
  #42  
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Tasta - We're only doing the one day in Dublin. I think maybe one more day would have been nice to explore a little more. We're staying at the airport on the last night. If we get done early enough then I might go into Dublin.

indy - Hubby is driving, but he doesn't go to the sites. He has diabetic neuropathy, so he can't walk for more than a few minutes at a time. Plus most of the sites aren't really his thing. So he drives and enjoys the scenery and the sheep
twiggers is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 10:01 AM
  #43  
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A bit of an early report today....but I'll have more later. Today is now day 6 and we are in Clifden. The plan for today was just to kick back and relax. Originally planned to see Kylemore, but we did that yesterday. So today we were planning on Sky Road, Clifden Castle, and doing the R341 loop.

We didn't set the alarm last night and woke up late at 8 AM. It was so nice to sleep in!! Showered and headed downstairs for breakfast. There was a couple from Germany that we chatted with for a second and another couple from the US. I ordered the full Irish and had brown bread (I asked for it toasted, but I don't think she understood), scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage (2 skinny links), and white pudding. The white pudding was OK....I think I like the taste better than black pudding.

Went into the lounge and chatted with a couple from California. They were heading up to N. Ireland, so they shared some insight on some of the places we will be visiting.

I guess we headed out around 10 AM. Plan was to do the Sky Road loop and stop at Clifden Castle. The B&B owner said there were two ways to get there: Walking down a road from the Sky Road or down a path from the boat club near the harbor. Well, we started down the Sky Road and I saw a sign that said private road, but nothing about a castle. So we kept on driving. The loop is about 10 miles, but took us about 45 minutes to an hour. We were just driving so slow, enjoying the scenery and stopping for the sheep in the road (and bleating at them). Stopped to enjoy the view a few times too, there is a nice pull out area up top.

I would highly recommend this drive for anyone in the area....it is quite beautiful.

We came back into town and headed for the harbor. I was determined to find this castle. Stopped in the boat club (it is at the end of the harbor road) and they pointed out the path. It was about a 10-15 minute walk...some steeper uphill parts, but nothing too bad. You walk along the water and there are some pretty views. Then you're right alongside a sheep farm. I tried to get them to talk, but they weren't having none of that. And then BOOM! There is the castle....sitting all by its lonesome. I've never been to an abandoned castle that isn't a tourist site. This was fun...I climbed down into the castle and tried to imagine what it would look like. The outside was VERY pretty! Chatted with another couple who I shared the trail with. I was at the castle for maybe 10 minutes and then headed back down the trail. All told, it was about 45 minutes and some good exercise. A really nice hike. I think taking the harbor path was best as the road going into the castle was very muddy! So keep that in mind if it has been raining.

We headed back through town...put some gas in the car (30 euro - needed just about 1/2 tank). Then followed the signs for R341. What a lovely drive around to Roundstone. It started raining though....but no matter....it was still very pretty. We stopped in Roundstone to stretch our feet....not much here though. Just a little fishing village. If we were hungry, then it might be a great place to grab a quick bite.

Headed on down the road. Initially I was thinking we would hit the N59 and stop at the Connemara Heritage Center. Saw a sign that said "Clifden" and hopped on it. Yea, this wasn't getting us to the N59! It was a super small road that wasn't even named on the Atlas. But super cool. Saw tons of sheep in the road and had fun bleating at them. It was a slow drive because the road was quite narrow. We're getting good at pulling over when we see a car ahead....you never know if the road will be wide enough later on, so might as well stop now! The scenery wasn't really great, just a bunch of rocky terrain...but the 12 Bens in the background were neat. Too bad it was so misty by this point.

Pulled back into Clifden around 1:30ish and stopped at the Supervalu for some sandwich fixings. Back to the hotel at 2 PM. Hubby is catching a nap and I'll be heading into the town to wander into some shops in a bit.

Tonight's plan is to hit up a different pub and check out some music. Maybe Guy's Bar.

Budget wise: We're doing quite well. Since the car rental worked out with Easy Tour that easily saved me about $200-250. I budgeted $100/day for food and we're coming way under (although dinners are a little pricey - even pub grub). I'm also doing pretty good on souvenir/tourist site fees. I'm tracking my spending every day, so I'll try to post that toward the end. It's always my little challenge to come in under budget. Then I can just roll it over to the next vacation (which is Alaska in 2 weeks or maybe our Europe trip at Christmas).
twiggers is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 10:02 AM
  #44  
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Wandered through the town for about an hour doing a little economic stimulation. Didn't spend much, but my hubby likes to burn incense and I found peat/turf incense. He loves the smell of it burning, so it was perfect!

Just a financial check in after day 6 (well, not including tonight's dinner):

I calculated that my bank gave me a 1.26 exchange after their fees ($5.00 ATM fee + 1% forex fee) for euros and 1.60 for pounds. The credit card is a little better and I'm trying to maximize the use of that whenever I can.

Right now I am slightly under budget on lodging (by $6.00) just due to the exchange rate.

Here is my other spending thus far:

Food & drink (budget $1500) - 237.36

Souvenirs - 197.41 (I have almost bought for everyone now)

Gas (budget $550) - 99.35

Taxi - 117.04 (big expenses in Dublin)

Tours/entry fees - 94.54 (includes Heritage Card)

The other three categories have a combined budget of $850, so I need to slow down a bit LOL

We have 10 days left before we leave.
twiggers is offline  
Jul 12th, 2012, 12:36 PM
  #45  
 
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I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying your reports

I've got my Michelin 712 map all spread out, and since you've got the route/road numbers noted, it's fun to follow along as you go! I really appreciate that detail. Please keep that up!

It's great to see a real budget too.

BTW, we booked Tara Lodge in Belfast, so looking forward to that. Do you recommend the other accommodations so far?
sugarmaple is online now  
Jul 12th, 2012, 04:54 PM
  #46  
 
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Still following you 'round Ireland. I am laughing at bleating at sheep. Do you also moo at cows?

My nephews thought this was hilarious when I did it (mooed and baaed) in Scotland, but my niece was greatly embarassed when I did it in Ireland. She said I was the only grownup she knew who acted like a grade schooler. (She was 16 at the time and I had already spent more than twice that time teaching elementary school. Maybe that explains things as some of my friends tell me that I never progressed beyond 11 years old.)

(Sorry for the digression--just so glad to hear someone else gets a charge out of that sort of nonsense.)
irishface is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 07:20 AM
  #47  
 
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You mentioned the great savings with EasyTourIreland. For August my booking thru Easy Tour is almost $400 less! So for those of you planning a trip, definitely check it out.(Keeping in mind that only Easytour and the Dan Dooley site enable you to find out the total cost including Super CDW. On EasyT it is automatically included, on DD you have to check a box labeled "excess waiver" or something like that-towards the bottom.)With DD my C class car was going to cost around $1100 for 13 days, only $746 with EasyTour. August rates are significantly higher than any other month.

Thank you Twiggers for your most informative report! Including the actual expenditures is very helpful, please continue!

Can you tell us how warm you have to dress for the days you are out walking about? Always long pants? any days suitable for capris or dresses?

Its been in the 90's here, and all my other vacations have been tropical, so i am struggling with what to pack. Thanks!
maureenE is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 08:03 AM
  #48  
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Sugar - Awww, I am glad you are following along Tara Lodge was great! In Derry we booked the Rose Park B&B and LOVED it. Iona B&B in Sligo was a delight. In Clifden we had Dun Ri and it was OK...less personable as it was a large guesthouse. We just checked into Grey Gables and I am not too impressed yet.

Irish - LOL yes...we do moo too! The bleating is so much fun, how can anyone NOT do it?? But then again, we're big kids!

Maureen - It's my pleasure. Yes, Easy Tour saved us about 200 euro. I lived in Miami and now we're in Texas, so I can relate. I have been only wearing long pants, short sleeve shirts, and then a fleece jacket (also packed a windbreaker/rain jacket). It has been perfect. Even on the days it is a little warm, I just take off the jacket. There have been times that I wished I had a long sleeve shirt underneath. That wind can be biting. I would not do dresses...just too windy out at times and you're climbing over things. Capris might be OK, but I wouldn't bother with them taking up space. Go for long khakis, etc. Sneakers/sturdy walking shoes are a must....ones you don't mind mucking up.
twiggers is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 08:46 AM
  #49  
 
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We moo and bleat as well - and then we come across donkeys! I'm enjoying your trip, though it would be a little fast-paced for me. But that's probably because I take thousands of photos (literally - I took 7100 photos on my last 18 day trip to Ireland in May 2011!) So I stop lots, hang out in cemeteries everywhere, on cliff tops, and in churches like you. I love history as well!

Make sure your shoes are waterproof, or get used to wet feet, as well, Maureen!

Twiggers, I grew up in Miami - where did you live? I went to school at S. Miami Jr and Sr. high, and college at FIU...
GreenDragon is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 08:48 AM
  #50  
 
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How fortunate you are, Twiggers, to have a DH who is willing to make the trip with you, do most of the driving, and NOT feel pressured to see the sites and engage in all the walking, hiking, climbing, etc. He must be some kind of guy!!! That's great! Enjoying your Trip Report, by the way, very much.
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Jul 13th, 2012, 10:07 AM
  #51  
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Green - Oh wow! I'm averaging about 100-200 pics per day. Wowsa...7000!!! I lived in Miami for 2 years doing postdoctoral training at the U. We lived in the Gables for 1 year and then up in North Bay Village on the intracoastal for the second year. It was OK, but just not for us (we don't speak Spanish, so it was a bit tough).

Marilyn - Yes, we figured this out quickly after our first trip to Europe a few years back. I would push him to do the museums, he would get grumpy, I would get grumpy back....you get the picture. I used to feel like "OMG how could you NOT see this?" but have realized that he is content to see things from the car or via pictures. I don't pretend to understand....but it works for us now.
twiggers is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 10:08 AM
  #52  
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Day 7 - Clifden to Ennis

We started out quite slow this morning. I didn't set the alarm and we woke up at around 8 AM. Showered and headed down for breakfast. I elected to just have scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. It was quite good. We paid up (able to use a credit card) and headed out. We were on the road by 10 AM.

Things to do today:

Augnanure Castle

Connemara Marble visitor's centre (was going to do the Celtic Crystal for hubby, but he said he wasn't interested)

Galway - stroll around for a bit, maybe eat (if hungry)

Dunguaire Castle

Kinmacduagh round tower & church

We headed out on the N59 toward Galway. It was a nice scenic drive, but no sheep The N roads aren't great for seeing sheep, you really have to hit the R roads. Our first stop was about 45 minutes later. I knew that Augnanure was somewhere near the town, but "Laurie" couldn't find it. So we stopped at a gas station. Turns out you need to go through the town and right around the golf course you'll see it well sign marked. Followed that down the road for about 2 km. There is a good car park and it was pretty empty at this time of day (10:45 ish). Short stroll up the path and used my Heritage Card (now up to 13 euro used). Hubby came to this one and paid his 3 euro. This is a tower castle and it was pretty neat. Very well maintained and mostly original. We were able to climb up to the very top floor. Sadly, the inside isn't as interesting as the outside as they have whitewashed all the interior walls. But they did have the murder hole (always fun reading about that) and garderobe (hubby got a kick out of that). I think we spent about 20-30 minutes here.

Headed back to the N59 and next stop was Moycullen. The Connemara Marble visitor's centre is right on the main road and well sign posted. A quick stop in...grabbed a few small souvenirs (14 euro). The clerk was VERY friendly...we complained at the speed limits a bit (they are too high on the bad roads and too low on the good parts of the road). You can apparently get tours and such, but I didn't feel like spending the time. I'm not that interested in marble.

Next stop was Galway. We began to hit traffic pretty much from Moycullen all the way in. It was stop and go the entire time. We crawled into Galway and found some street parking (2 euro per hour) near Eyre Square. Walked down into the Latin Quarter a bit and found a jewelry store. Hubby wanted to buy a Claddagh ring for his granddaughter and I wanted one as well. We just bought sterling silver...my blood isn't rich enough for the gold rings. I believe we paid 25 euro for the child ring and 35 euro for the women's ring. Used my tax free card for a little savings (need to remember to redeem all that at the airport).

I ended up wandering through the Latin Quarter. I enjoyed the medieval streets and the buskers, but it was all really just shop after shop. Quite honestly, I could find that anyway....and many of the shops are ones I have seen already in my travels. There were a lot of restaurants, but I was full from breakfast. I ended up walking over to the Claddagh area and then along the river. There was a nice river walk and some gentleman fishing.

I was trying to find the Spanish Arch and got turned around the wrong way, but eventually found it. Also went into St. Nicholas church. Again, more interesting on the outside than the inside (a lot of churches are like that!). Strolled back up the Latin Quarter and back to Eyre Square.

That was about it.....I don't know. Everyone seems to hype up Galway. Maybe because it's on all the big tours? Easy to get to? I don't know what all the fuss was about. Yes, it was a nice medieval area....but I've seen better in other cities. Maybe we needed to spend the night, I don't know. After being in the countryside and in all the small towns I was just eager to escape a bigger, busier city. I'm just glad that I decided to stay outside of Galway, closer to the Cliffs and the Burren.

I think I was in Galway for about an hour walking around, so we headed out around 2 PMish. The plan now was to head for Kinvarra and the Dunguaire Castle. We used Laurie to get us out of Galway on the N67. It wasn't too far of a drive but we were stuck behind a big coach bus. Hubby says he was fine with that....the big bus could push everyone over for us! Dunguaire Castle is right on the main N road, you can't miss it. No car park though, so we pulled off the side of the road. Unfortunately, this was really just a tower house and not really worth the 6 euros for entry. It was still pretty neat looking on the outside though....and no whitewashed walls inside, so that was a plus. I think I spent maybe 10-15 minutes inside. If I did it again, I would skip going inside.

Next stop was Tony's suggestion of Kilmacduagh. We used "Laurie" to get us there. She did pretty good, but when we would start she wouldn't know which way we were facing and tell us to u-turn, we would, and she would tell us to u-turn again. This happened twice today and hubby was more than frustrated.

From Kinvarra it was only about a 20 minute drive and it was worth it. It was a really pretty site....unfortunately, you can't actually walk inside the buildings. The cemetery in front of the cathedral appears to be still accepting customers as there were many modern tombstones/high crosses alongside the older ones. The round tower was pretty cool. It was my first one of the trip and it was leaning a bit We had the place to ourselves, which was really nice!

Used Laurie to get over to Ennis from here. With hubby being a little grumpy I decided we should pack it in....plus it was after 3 PM already. Laurie routed us over to the M18. DH was really happy to be able to drive at a faster speed on a nice highway.

We dropped into Ennis just after 4. A bit of traffic through the main streets and then we quickly found our B&B: Grey Gables. This was recommended on here, but the reviews seem to be hit or miss. Mary was pleasant enough answering the door, but showed us to a room with only a double bed and up on the second floor. I had reserved a double + single, so she moved us downstairs. She seemed a little put out by it though. The bathroom had an unpleasant smell, but the air freshener seems to be helping.

Sadly, today we really didn't see any sheep I think it's because we spent most of our time on the N and M and not enough R roads. Maybe tomorrow

Not sure what the plan is tonight....maybe just a stroll over to Brogan's.

Tomorrow the plan is Cliffs of Moher first thing and then maybe the R478/476 into the Burren area. I would like to hit up some megalithic tombs, but not sure which ones. Clearly I did not research this area enough because all I have written down is "Tour the Burren." Any suggestions?

Keep in mind that we're saving Bunratty for our drive down to Dingle on Sunday.
twiggers is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 11:33 AM
  #53  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Interesting advice about the waterproof shoes or boots.

A friend goes to Ireland quite regularly, and she thought it was unnecessary and slightly ridiculous for me to bring them. I, however, thought it was more than ridiculous NOT to bring them!

Maybe if we were Dublin the whole time, or didn't plan on getting out of the car to walk through a muddy field to see something wonderful....I just had to shake my head
sugarmaple is online now  
Jul 13th, 2012, 01:13 PM
  #54  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Hi Twiggers,

I believe there are a couple of sites down the R480 from Ballyvaughan (or up from Ennis).

We saw Catherconnel and the Poulnabrone Dolmen. There may have been another than we didn't fit in -- can't remember.

http://www.burrenforts.ie/brochure.pdf

Photos about 3/4 down the blog:

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/ireland.html

http://www.burrenforts.ie/main/burren/dolmen/
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 02:00 PM
  #55  
 
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twiggers wrote: "We stopped in Roundstone to stretch our feet....not much here though. Just a little fishing village. If we were hungry, then it might be a great place to grab a quick bite."

I'm in shock.
Padraig is offline  
Jul 14th, 2012, 11:19 AM
  #56  
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Sugar - They would definitely be helpful...I've had wet feet a few times now.

Padraig - In shock about what? Care to elaborate? Just my opinion. I'm not in Ireland to shop or fish.

Indy - Thanks!! We ended up catching both of those today....more details in the next post.
twiggers is offline  
Jul 14th, 2012, 11:21 AM
  #57  
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Day 8 - Exploring the Burren + Cliffs of Moher

The first thing that I do upon waking up is to peek out the window....will it be a sunny day or a rainy day? I am quickly learning that it doesn't matter. All of our days have started out grey and dreary and have ended up sunny. Today was fabulous! Started grey and dreary but the sun soon came out. We had one little rain shower for about 10 minutes and that was it. Must be the luck of the Irish LOL

Woke up late....forgot to set the alarm. It was about 7:30 by the time we crawled out of bed. Showered and to the breakfast room. Mary was in a much better mood today. We sat down at the table and Mary introduced us to our table mates. This was what we had been looking for! We had a great chat with a couple from Sweden, a Canadian woman, and a man from NYC. Swapped stories and provided suggestions. It seems that most people go clockwise and we're doing the opposite...so we're getting some great suggestions for Dingle. I didn't feel like the full Irish, so I just had scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon. It was pretty good.

Back to the room to gather up the laundry and write down Sarnia's Burren drive. I think we left just before 10 AM and dropped laundry off down the street. They close at 6 PM, so we were kind of watching the clock all day. But the laundry desperately needed to be done. We had only packed 8 days worth of clothes, so we planned on having one laundry day. For those who are curious (as I was) we did the drop off service and had a huge bag of laundry (2 people x 8 days - 1 women size M and one man size 4X) and it was only 18 euros! I thought this was a steal since we paid 16 euros in Rome for about 5 days of clothes.

OK, off we went. Our plan was to follow Sarnia's Burren suggestion. It worked perfectly and I have to say...this was one of my favorite days. It seems that every day keeps topping the day before!

From Ennis we went up the R476 to Killinaboy and stopped at the church. Good parking right along the street. Spent maybe 10 minutes up there. I'm still not sure what a shellagh-na-gig is (need to Google it later), but I snapped pics of some carving above the entrance The graveyard had some nice high crosses.

We followed Sarnia's instructions to turn right at the small lane....ahhhhh, these are slowly becoming our favorite roads. So long as no one is coming toward us! We just crept along and thankfully say the sign for Parknibbinia. It was quite a high sign and you can't miss it. There is a spot in the fence that you can climb over and get up close and personal. I thought this was really interesting....and slightly different from the Carrowmore tombs.

On down the road we saw the sign for Cahercommaun. There is a little area to park cars and there is also a small lane. Don't go down the small lane! It probably leads to someone's house....we went down it a bit and then back out, and we saw another car do the same thing. Anyway, I walked down/up to the fort. It was 1 km and took me about 15 minutes. It's a bit slow going on some of the rocks and there is a good uphill climb toward the end. There is a boardwalk area around the ring fort....there isn't a ton left of the fort to see, but the views were great. Ran into a couple from Kent and we chatted on the way back down. They were spending 2 weeks just in Clare and thought I was crazy to tour so much of the country in 2.5 weeks. To each their own I suppose.

I originally wasn't going to visit the Perfumery, but I remembered that I actually need a new bottle so we popped in. It was very well sign marked and just a few km off the main road. I do recommend it....I ended up with a bottle of Summer Harvest and a few soaps for gifts.

Then we headed our to Corcomroe Abbey. Once you get on the road to Bellharbour it was actually well sign posted and just a km off the main road. This was a beautiful abbey! The graveyard was haunting and the detail inside the abbey was great. Some wonderful carvings and I just loved all the gothic arches. Spent maybe 10 minutes here.

We then headed through Ballyvaughan and popped onto the R480. Our first stop was Poulnabrone. Very well sign posted and a big car/coach park. It is a quick 3-5 minute walk with some interesting history of the site. So fun that you can walk up really close and had fun walking over the rocks! Look down though....some of those crevices are very deep between the rocks! Anyhow, I know Poulnabrone is super touristy but I really liked it and highly recommend it! Fortunately we pulled in and there were no tour buses, but 2 pulled in as we were leaving. It was along this road that we started running into the tour buses

Just a few hundred metres down the road was Caherconnell ring fort. Good car park and well sign posted. 7 euro entry fee. I don't know....originally I was a little ticked at the high fee, but they do provide you with a nice booklet detailing the excavation and providing some good history about ring forts. These were all things I didn't know....so I enjoyed it. Plus this is one you can walk right into. A little overpriced, but oh well.

It was now pushing on 3:30, so we headed over to the Cliffs. I missed a turn off somewhere for the R478 off of the R476, but it all worked out OK. We actually ended up going through Lahinch on the way up to the Cliffs. You can't miss these LOL It was VERY busy at around 4:10 when we pulled in. Hubby wasn't going to the cliffs, so we were only charged one fee of 6 euro. From the car park it seemed like a really long walk, but it wasn't bad. What we were seeing was all the "unofficial" paths. So I walked up and decided to head to the main viewing area, right in the middle. Snapped some pics and headed to the left.

Let me just stop and say....WOW. I was sort of expecting to be disappointed after all of the hype surrounding these cliffs, but nope. They exceeded my expectations. I know...they're super touristy, but there is a reason for that. They are beautiful! I ended up walking over the "Do not enter" wall (like everyone else) and walking along the cliffs. I got as close as about a foot from the edge....not like some idiots who were sitting right on the edge. Haven't people heard of erosion? The edges of cliffs fall into the sea all the time! I walked until the path really started narrowing and making me nervous and then turned around.

Then I started heading toward O'Brien's Tower. Paid the 2 euro to walk to the top. The weather was crystal clear and I could see the Twelve Bens/Pins and the Aran Islands in the distance. It was great! It was very windy on this side of the cliffs though. I ended up walking up to the "do not enter" area and stopping. I wasn't really interesting in walking further out, plus I was also cognizant of the time. The laundry closes at 6 PM and is not open tomorrow! I think I was at the Cliffs for about an hour. That was sufficient for me. Bought a postcard for Dad and mailed it right there (post box is right on the side of the main road and you can buy stamps in the main shop - .82 to mail international postcards).

Then we did the express ride back to Ennis. It was pretty slow going...lots of tour buses and just slow drivers. We made it back to town by 5:20 PM and picked up laundry. Hubby decided we should just grab a pizza for dinner. Bleh, it wasn't very good. Pepperoni here tastes VERY different from pepperoni back home. But even the crust wasn't very tasty. OH well. Now we're just vegging out. It was a long day.

Some thoughts:

1. I wish we had an extra day in this region. I would have liked to spend more time in the Burren (a full day as opposed to just 4-5 hours). I would have liked to have done the Cliffs cruises out of Doolin. Seeing it from that perspective would have been nicer I think.

2. I really liked the Burren. I wasn't expecting to, but it was pretty cool...so craggly and rocky...but also so many monuments.

3. The Cliffs are worth it.

4. Not enough sheep over here....lots of cows though.

----
So what's up next? Tomorrow we head to Dingle for 2 nights. The plan was to stop at Bunratty, Knappogue (sp?) and Adare. But I really don't even know what route we are taking into Dingle. We're staying at the Pax House and he recommended Connor Pass if the weather is good.

Is Connor Pass the R560?

The plan for the next day is the Dingle Peninsula drive....so the goal for tomorrow is just to get into Dingle.

Any suggestions? The reason for Adare is thatched cottages....hopefully it's worth a stop.
twiggers is offline  
Jul 14th, 2012, 12:43 PM
  #58  
 
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twiggers, I think you must have blinked when you were in Rounstone, and not seen what is there. From a piece I wrote here some time ago: "Westward, following the coast, stopping here and there at places we liked, until we got to Roundstone. The sun obliged by arriving at the same time we did. It is difficult to explain why we like Roundstone as much as we do: a picturesque harbour used by inshore fishing boats and a small number of pleasure craft, a prospect of islands and mountains; a village backed into rocky hills; a variety of buildings in divers colours, nothing discordant. But it is more than the sum of the parts: Roundstone grabs the eye and the imagination. We inspected the boats in the small harbour, had seafood chowder in Eldon's Hotel (happily re-opened after a closure last year), rambled about a bit, and just revelled in being in one of our favourite places."

Did you not look at the sea, and the rocks? And take in the view of Inishnee out in front of you? And did you not venture down to the water's edge, and take the walk along the claddagh around to the old maonastery? And did you not find the second harbour or the boats' graveyard? And how about observing the Galway hooker in the main harbour, and the other traditional boats?

I'd be happy to be in Roundstone right now, and almost certainly will get there before what we optimistically label as summer is over.

Sheela-na-gigs are rude: http://amayodruid.blogspot.ie/2010/1...-lena-gig.html

Adare is picturesque, but is not authentic in that it is a designed village, and the thatched cottages are more in the style of the Cotswolds than Irish vernacular architecture. It's proto-Disney.
Padraig is offline  
Jul 15th, 2012, 01:41 PM
  #59  
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 521
Ah Padraig....there lies the differences in travelers. Boats don't really interest me and the whole harbour scene just isn't my thing. I mean, they are pretty and all...but it is ruined castles, abbeys, and tombs that interest me.

Thank goodness we are not all the same when traveling!
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Jul 15th, 2012, 01:42 PM
  #60  
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Day 9 (I think) Ennis to Dingle

Ahhhh, where do I start! It was a day of ups and downs....hits and misses.

Let me first start off by thoroughly reviewing our Ennis B&B. We stayed at Grey Gables. It seemed to be hit or miss on Tripadvisor. And our experience was just that. When we arrived Mary seemed very busy. She showed us a room we didn't book (a double - we had booked a double + single) and when I said that this room wouldn't do she seemed really put out and then showed us to another room. This room (room 4) stunk like sewage and so we asked for air freshener, which she provided. We told her breakfast between 8:30-9 AM and she assigned us 8:30 AM.

The room itself was great...it was SO big and the shower was enormous (great for hubby). However, the stench of sewage kept coming and going the entire time we were there. In fact, the whole front of the house had this smell. It got so bad in the lounge that I had to leave. Internet was also poor. We couldn't get internet on our ipads in the room...just in the lounge, and even then it cut in and out.

Mary was also hit or miss. She seemed very curt and put out at times, but then when we left for the day she provided a lot of helpful information. At breakfast this morning we were running a little late. She said several times "I have you for 8:30" and eventually she kicked us out of the dining room (we were just finished eating and having a conversation with table mates). Hubby was really put out by that.

I would NOT recommend this B&B based on our experience. I will be reviewing it accordingly on Tripadvisor later tonight/tomorrow. I think she has the Rick Steves recommendation and doesn't really care.

---

OK, on to the fun stuff now....our day. The plan was:

Knappogue Castle

Bunratty (although I had pretty much decided to cut this)

Adare (wander through town, maybe do the castle)

Arrive in Dingle

We were out of the B&B by 10 AM and on the road. First stop was supposed to be the castle, but we saw the Abbey and pulled in. Quin Abbey was actually quite nice. It ranked right up there with Sligo Abbey for me. It was very complete and extensive....and zero tourists! Spent about 15-20 minutes here and then moved on down the road to Knappogue.

And here are some low points now. Knappogue was a complete waste of 6 euros. My problem is that I like ruins/original castles/towers. This was a restoration, complete with the cheesy medieval banquet. I was horribly disappointed, especially at the cost of entry. I spent about 20 minutes climbing around and left.

Down the road is the Crannogowen historical park. Ugh, an even worse waste of money. This was 9 euro and was horrible. It was recommended by Mary *sigh* I had already seen everything in this park....and it was all recreations. The castle tower was also a restoration and had some cheesy decorations. The only upside was running into a family from the US and walking and chatting with them the whole way (they were probably sick of me!). Unfortunately, once you get in here you are kind of committed because it goes in a big circle. It took me about 45 minutes. Ugh.

So I figured it out...anything that has a medieval banquet attached or says "historical" in it...I just need to drive right on by. So Bunratty was definitely out. Can I have my 15 euro back please?

Anyhow...I had Laurie direct us to Adare. Another disappointment. Both the abbey and the friary are currently operating churches....so no ruins to see and the churches weren't anything special. Adare itself....meh, why do all the buses stop? I thought there were going to be some quaint little thatched cottages...meh, just some tourist shops with thatched roofs. No big deal. I didn't feel like sticking around for the castle tour, so we hightailed it out of there.

AND......hubby ran into a curb and totally trashed one of the hub cabs. So he was in quite a foul mood because he's thinking this is going to cost hundreds of dollars. Any suggestions? We're driving a Suzuki...so we were going to stop by a dealership in Killarney and see if we can replace the hub cab (we won't put it back on until we return to Dublin). Figure it'll be cheaper than what Hertz will charge us. Any idea what a hub cab would cost? It can't be too expensive....can it?

I was sort of ready to just cross this day off....and then it happened....we hit the Dingle Peninsula. This was it...the green Ireland of the postcards. We found it....don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the Burren and Connemara, but those areas were a little more rugged. This lush greenery is a little slice of heaven. We didn't do Connor Pass because there were really low clouds and very black. Hubby didn't feel comfortable, so we just stuck to the N86.

Wow....great drive with beautiful views. We pulled over once for pictures and then slowly drove in. There is a bit of construction that slows things down. John from Pax House provided us with great directions and we found everything very easily.

Hubby was still a bit grouchy from the hub cab incident, but quickly warmed up once we relaxed in the room and he realized the internet worked in the room. The views...oh my...the views. So amazing. The host, John, is just delightful and we had some tea and biscuits in the lounge...with the best views I have seen in Ireland. Just amazing. Can I say it again? Amazing. This is worth the extra dollars/euros.

We sat in the lounge for a few hours chatting with a bunch of people. This is exactly what we expected from a B&B. We then drove into town and had dinner at An Canteen, which was delicious and reasonably priced for Dingle.

Back to the room and just relaxing. Tomorrow we plan on driving the Dingle Peninsula loop and then relaxing. DH said he is a little tired and wants less driving tomorrow.

I'm excited to continue to explore the south!
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