long SW trip report Jun 27- July 3

Old Jul 5th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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long SW trip report Jun 27- July 3

We are just back and while the weather tried to challenge us, our trip, as expected was spectacular. First, some thanks. I planned and booked our entire trip on the net, with sources of info from books by Rick Steves and Pat Preston, and by studying this, and Pat Prestons web site for two months. Thanks to all, especially Budman and Wojazz.

Our wives wanted to see London first, so we went there for three days. This was a blessing as we shed our jet-lag from LA, and freed our itinerary to fly into Shannon from London in the morning, and back to London from the Cork airport, allowing us not to travel in a circle.

Day 1 Shannon- Thrifty rent-a-car (reliable, perhaps less expensive, although not sure after the add-ons) Mastercard CDW accepted without hesitation. Picked up rent-a phone. Sites on day one- Quin Abbey, Knappouge castle, Burren, Dolman, lunch in Ballyvaughn at Whitehorn- great view, average food. Unfortunately, did not have time for monk's pub or Ailwee caves. Then drive to Doolin, 90 minutes of SUNSHINE at the Cliffs- I can only compare this to seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Did not venture to the ledge, but thought about it. Then drive to Kilrush for first night (hillcrestview B&B- lovely hostess, clean great omelettes) Town I would have liked to see more of- Lahinch.

Day 2 Golf at Ballybunion- at 11:30, after passage on ferry. Back nine is a killer. Made a few pars, lost a few balls. Then drive over the Connor Pass to Dingle. Lodging at Greenmount- Room was HUGE- Breakfast was Stupendous- homemade bread pudding, pancakes, omelettes- As good as andy Four Seasons.

Day 3 Dingle- Slea Head loop drive, following the tour of Rick Steves- Found simple Famine house quite striking, enjoyed the Blasket Center- gorgeous drive, but sun did not appear the entire day- Enjoyed the centuries old cemetaries

Dinners in Dingle- Charthouse (well known, excellent; and Out of the Blue (not well known, fish only, also excellent) Music in Dingle- O'Flaherty's- Best "spontaneous" truly traditional sessions-went both nights- also Small Bridge and Dingle Pub had more ballads. Wives did a lot of shopping, I did a lot of carrying.

Day 4- drove to Killarney Natl Park- While I agree with R Steve that the town of Killarney should be skipped, the National Park is a treasure- Saw Ross Castle- didnt feel the tour was worth our time. One hour in Muckross House- Wives liked it. Then the rest of the afternoon on hikes- First to Torc Waterfall, then a spectacular walk called "the meeting of the waters" About a two mile loop to the junction of upper and lower lakes. Incredibly beautiful- To top it off, the drive into Kenmare is also spectacular.

Night 4 in Kenmare- Dinner at Lime Tree- FABULOUS, music at the Wander Inn (you wander in and stumble out!) Would have definetly enjoyed one or more extra days in Kenmare, a real gem. Stayed at the Lodge- Very nice.

Day 5- Drove out to Mizen Head a la Budman. Rained the entire drive, then sunshine on our arrival. The sites from the suspension bridge up the gorge is spectacular. Then we drove via N71 and smaller roads to Kinsale.Would have liked more time to see the smaller towns along the way like Baltimore and Clonikilty- Perhaps the extra 3 hours to drive to and from mizen head and visit lighthouse could have been spent here. Visited Drombeg stone circle and Michael Collins birthplace (ala McCarth's Pub)

Day 6 Guys golfed at Old Head. If you are a golfer, and want to be thrilled by a course once in your life, this is it. You descend to the 12th tee and your jaw drops. You must hit up to a blind fairway while viewing spectacular cliffs with waves crashing upon them. Unbelievable. Prior to golf, visited Charles Fort. Wives went on the walking tour which they really enjoyed. Dinners- Bulman (upstairs) and Crackpots- Both very good. Music at Bulman and An Shanachie and Monks pub. Stayed at Gallery B&B- first place we were a little disappointed in. Hosts are Very nice, but the rooms and bathrooms are extremely small- almost intolerable, if we had spent any time in room. Would try another place.

Day 7 drive to cork to fly to London.

All told- extremely pleased with everything- As we were told, food is better than expected and actually quite reasonable dinners about 50 euro/couple- wine prices less than in US restaurants. Driving and directions- no major problems. I had our B&B hosts make dinner resvervations (by email) when I knew what we wanted to do (charthouse, lime tree. Crowds were much less than advertised. Place to spend an extra day- Kenmare and Killarney Natl Park- (couldnt fit in Gap of Dunloe)
Would be happy to answer any questions-
thanks to all who helped us plan.

khepps is offline  
Old Jul 5th, 2004, 04:31 PM
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Glad you had a great trip. Thanks for your nice comments. The drive out to Mizen Head and the Sheeps Head Peninsulas were the highlights of our trip.

Ballybunion -- I just got to look at it. What a great course. I'm going to have to play it on my next trip.

Old Head -- only got to view it from the lighthouse, not play it. I'm sure it was awesome. May the memories always be with you.

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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 06:07 PM
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Your report should be required reading for all first timers. Glad you had such a great trip. When do you plan to go back?
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 09:41 PM
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I'd like to say ASAP- Planning for the second trip would be so much easier. I want to play golf at Lahinch, tralee, kilarney, Mt Juliet and the N Ireland courses. Wife wants to see Italy, Paris, Israel, and I want to see New Zealand. So who knows?
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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 12:06 PM
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Sounds like a blast! One day maybe I'll play Old Head.

Mizen is still one of my favorite places and yes, you could spend all sorts of time along that southern coast.

I too have stayed at the Gallery and like you, enjoyed the hosts but the rooms were very small and the noise on the street the night we were there was substantial. I stayed there because one of the owners is a jazz musician and I wanted to talk to him about the jazz scene there. I've stayed elsewhere since.

We are headed back next May it looks like.

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Old Jul 10th, 2004, 04:01 AM
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Thank you for this report, I hung on every word. johnb
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