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Our First Trip to Ireland Trip Report - Part II - July 10 to July 15, 2005

Our First Trip to Ireland Trip Report - Part II - July 10 to July 15, 2005

Old Aug 14th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Our First Trip to Ireland Trip Report - Part II - July 10 to July 15, 2005

Sunday, July 10, 2005 – What’s with all the traffic? It’s Sunday!

Driving from: Clifden, Co. Galway
Via: Inagh Valley Drive
Final Destination: Galway City, Co. Galway

Activities today: Driving from Clifden towards Kylemore (Inagh Valley Drive) was beautiful. The Twelve Pin Mts make a wonderful backdrop to the valley and the lake. Cong was a very quaint town. We arrived in Galway before noon but we got caught in a huge traffic jam that was going nowhere. I felt like we were back home in Detroit during rush hour. There was some sort of Sporting event starting at 2:00pm in Galway. We spotted some people taking a short cut so we followed them and made it into Galway a lot quicker. We found our B&B with little trouble and after checking in decided to walk into the main shopping area of Galway. (OOHHHH my aching feet). Galway is a nice town. We did some more shopping and sightseeing.

Lodging: Knockrea Guesthouse, Galway City. Nice room, large bath, right off a main street. Since it was so warm out, we left the windows open all night and there was a lot of noise from the street and the pubs nearby. We rate it 3 stars.

Weather today: Some lingering fog in some areas but sunny and a bit humid with a high of 77. Shorts all around.

Meals today: Great Irish breakfast at The Quay House.
Drinks at Buster Browns to rest.
Dinner: Maxwell McNamara’s in Galway City. Pepperoni Sausage & Garlic Sauce over Tailgate Pasta, Spicy Chicken w/chips and Nuggets and Chips were our delicious dinner this night.

Purchases made today:

Red Bull, snacks and water E8.90
Film E13.80
T-Shirt for Sammi E21.95
Drinks at Buster Brown E13.00
Dinner at Maxwell McNamara’s E55.15
3 sets of earrings, 1 necklace E46.00
1 Night Lodging at Knockrea House E105.00
Total E158.80

The Bad: We were unable to see Ashford Castle because it is closed to non -staying quests. Bummer. I guess we’ll just have to stay there next time.

The Good: Inagh Valley was very beautiful. Worth the drive.

Monday, July 11, 2005 – We’re getting hotter.

Driving from: Galway City, Co. Galway
Via: Gort
Poulnarbrone Dolman
Black Head
Cliffs of Moher
Corkscrew Hill
Final Destination: Ballyvaghan, Co. Clare

Activities today: Drove from Galway to Corrofin to have a look at the Burren. Spectacular landscape. We found the Poulnarbrone Dolman (not very many people looking at it) and had fun walking on all the limestones. From here we went to Dunguaire Castle then checked into our B&B in Ballyvaghan. We drove out to Black Head and then on to Doolin. We checked into the Cliffs of Moher cruise but the next sailing wasn’t until 4pm so we decided to view the Cliffs from above first. Then new visitor center at the Cliffs is going to be amazing. After viewing the cliffs we drove back to the pier to catch the cruise. It was all right. We drove back to Ballyvaghan via Corkscrew Hill (amazing views) and had dinner before retiring for the night.

Lodging: Rusheen Lodge, Ballyvaghan, Co. Clare. Rm 224. Excellent place to stay. We had a huge ground floor family room with two double beds and a nice sized bath w/plenty of towels. Plus it was a great location.
We rate it 4 ½ stars.

Weather today: Sunny, humid and a high of 82. Shorts all around.

Meals today: Good Irish Breakfast at Knockrea House.
Dinner at Monks in Ballyvaghan. Salad for me, yum, Cheese Broccoli Pasta Bake for Bri and Pizza and Salad for Sammi. Very good food with friendly but slow service.

Purchases made today:

Red Bull, snacks, water and gum E9.65
Water in Doolin E1.00
Cliffs of Moher Cruise E50.00
Dunguaire Castle E12.50
Parking at Cliffs of Moher E4.00
Dinner at Monks in Ballyvaghan E53.30
1 Night Lodging at Rusheen Lodge E120.00
Total E250.45

The Bad: We drove from Galway to Gort looking for Kilmacduagh but never found it.

The Good: The Burren is spectacular. We had fun walking on all the flat limestones near the Poulnarbrone Dolman and Black Head.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 – Dang, It’s hot! Is this Ireland or Florida?

Driving from: Ballyvaghan, Co. Clare
Via: Ennis
Final Destination: Bunratty, Co. Clare

Activities today: Drove from Ballyvaghan back towards the Dolman. We made a stop in Ennis to see the Friary there. Also did a wee bit of shopping. Very cute town. From here we went to Quin Friary and Knappogue Castle. We were the only ones at the Castle. Very spooky. Stopped at the Bunratty Winery so Bri could buy some Mead for his Brother and went on to Bunratty where we toured the Castle and the Folk Park. It was so hot and humid that I did not enjoy the folk park plus the smell of the burning peak inside all the different homes was making me sick. After the park we took a drive to cool down to Adare. We took a stroll down the main street, stopped in a few shops and took a break in the park across from the tourist center before returning to Bunratty for dinner.

Lodging: Park House, Bunratty, Co. Clare, small bathroom, very nice room. Just down the street from Bunratty Village. Sammi loved the eight small dogs. Marie was a excellent host. We rate it 4 stars.

Weather today: Sunny, humid and hot with a high of 86. Shorts all around.

Meals today: Good Irish breakfast at Rusheen Lodge.
Dinner at The Creamery in Bunratty. We ate from the bar menu and both of us had Chicken Gougans and chips. I think that this was our least favorite meal of the trip.
After dinner drinks in Durty Nelly’s Pub

Purchases made today:

Gas E40.00
Red Bull and water E5.80
Film E26.00
Knappogue Castle E13.50
Admission to Ennis Friary E4.25
Admission to Bunratty E26.25
Mead at Bunratty Winery E31.80
Jersey and Hurling stick and ball E61.00
Lunch at Bunratty Village Mills E18.40
Souvenirs at Blarney Woolen Mills E25.93
Dinner at The Creamery E54.40
Drinks at Durty Nelly’s Pub E8.00
1 Night Lodging at Rusheen Lodge E120.00
Total E435.33

Tip of the day: You could miss the Folk Park if you’re stressed for time.

The Bad: It was so hot in our room that night that we barely got any sleep. Ugh! I guess I’m spoiled by my air conditioning.

Adare was pretty town but a bit disappointing. I guess I expected more than just three thatched cottages.

The Good: Ennis was so cute that I wished we could have spent more time there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 – The Beach

Driving from: Bunratty, Co. Clare
Via: Ballybunnion
Ratto Round Tower
Final Destination: West Barrow, Co. Kerry

Activities today: We left Bunratty and stopped at the beach at Ballybunnion, visited the Ratto Round Tower and spent a few hours at the beach (where I dozed off) near Tralee Golf Club. Later we went into Tralee and shopped and had a early relaxing dinner.

Lodging: Barrow Country House, West Barrow, Co. Kerry. Built in 1640. 10 minute drive to Tralee. Very quiet place, very large room w/large windows to let the cool air in. Large bath with a real power shower. We rate it 4 ½ stars. My favorite place.

Weather today: Partly to mostly cloudy, high of 77.

Meals today: Irish Breakfast at Park House, very good.
Dinner at Old Market Place Pub and Bistro, Inside Abbey Gate Hotel in Tralee. I had 6 oz sirloin, yum, Bri had burritos, chili and tacos and Sammi had chicken and bacon salad. Ice cream and choc fudge cake for dessert. All very good.

Purchases made today:

Red Bull and water E5.20
Snacks for the beach E6.20
Sand toys for the beach E7.99
Souvenirs E2.99
Beer and ice @ Burrow House E4.50
Dinner at Old Market Place Bistro E78.15
1 Night Lodging at Barrow House E125.00
Total E230.03

Tip of the day: The Burrow House is fabulous. It’s a little out of the way but it was perfect for us since it was just down the lane from Tralee Golf Club where Bri was playing golf the next day.

The Bad: Wish we could have spent more time at the beach.

The Good: We went to a small beach near Tralee Golf Club. Sammi had a good time playing in the sand and in the water which was very cold.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 – Ireland saved the best scenery for last!

Driving from: West Barrow, Co. Kerry
Via: Tralee
Slea Head Drive
Connor Pass
Final Destination: West Barrow, Co. Kerry

Activities today: Sammi and I dropped Bri off at Tralee Golf Club for his 7:30am tee time and returned to Barrow House for breakfast before setting off for Tralee to buy sweets and biscuits to take home to our nieces and nephew and the kids in the neighborhood. I think we bought about 100 pieces. We also hit a few shops before returning to the golf club to pick up Bri. We then drove to Dingle where we finally finished all our shopping and grabbed some lunch before heading off for the Slea Head Drive and Connor Pass. We returned to Tralee for dinner.

Lodging: Barrow Country House, West Barrow, Co. Kerry

Weather today: Mostly Cloudy, that horrible fog again and a high of 64.

Meals today: A Very good Irish Breakfast at Barrow House.
Dinner at Toscana Ristorante Italiano beside the Abbey Gate Hotel in Tralee. Bri had Turkey Breast, I had Fillet Pizzaiola and Sammi had spaghetti. For desert we had the choc fudge cake again. Yummmmmm

Purchases made today:

Water, snacks and beer E5.58
Golf at Tralee G.C. E160.00
Candy and Cookies E59.04
Gas E25.02
Beer and ice @ Burrow House E4.50
Lunch at Murphy’s Bar in Dingle E37.70
Admission to Beehive huts E5.00
Claddagh ring and earrings E28.00
Wool shawl and 2 Ryder Cup hats E92.20
Tralee G.C. shirt, ball markers and teddy bear E146.00
Drawing Tablet and Magazine for Sammi E1.63
Dinner at Toscana E74.20
1 Night Lodging at Barrow House E125.00
Total E230.03

The Bad: We have to leave tomorrow.

The Good: Dingle town is fabulous. Slea Head Dive and Connor Pass are a must. Though it was a tad bit foggy it was still the best scenery in Ireland. I love all the patchwork green spread all over the peninsula. Sammi loved the beehive huts. I think the Dingle Penn is my favorite.

Friday, July 15, 2005 – Goodbye, but we’ll be back.

Driving from: West Barrow, Co. Kerry

Final Destination: Shannon Airport

Activities today: Just packed up and drove to the airport. Flight out of Shannon was delayed due to…gulp…. technical problems with the plane in Dublin. Our flight back to Detroit from Boston was also delayed by 45 minutes due to too much air traffic.

Weather today: Mostly Cloudy and a high of 66.

Meals today: Skipped breakfast hoping to grab a meal at the airport. Not so lucky. The only thing they had post security was a crappy pre-made, pre-packaged sandwich line. Yuk.

Purchases made today:

Lunch at Shannon Airport E22.00
2 beers on board E12.00
2 Aer Lingus pens on board E9.00
Dinner at Boston Airport $38.00
Total E/$81.00


I bought a pair of Sterling Silver Claddagh earrings from Blarney Woolen Mill in Dublin for E23.95 and they’ve already tarnished. I bought a pair of Sterling Silver Claddagh earrings from a shop in Dingle for E10.00 and they’re still bright and shinny. What’s up with that? I would have thought that the more expensive pair would hold up better.

Our best and worst of Ireland

Best hotel: Bri: Trinity Lodge
Me: Barrow House
Sammi: Quay Hose

Best Meals: Dinner at the Cellar in Rathmullen House
Dinner at Old Market Place in Tralee
Dinner at Monks in Ballyvaghan

Best Pub: Pub in Alcock and Brown Hotel

Best Breakfast: Quay House

Best Scenic View Point: Connor Pass, Dingle Penn

Best Shopping: Grafton and Nassau St., Dublin. Dingle was good also.

Best sweet: Milky Way

Best Beer: Guinness

Best Tour: Trim Castle
Hop on Hop Off City Tours Bus in Dublin

Best Towns: Dublin

Worst: Sligo

Best shopping find: The football/hurling and soccer jerseys we bought for two of our nephew’s birthdays. We bought the Carling green strip and the Limerick jersey. They absolutely loved them.

Things we didn’t understand

The 8’ high hedgerows along all the roads. What’s up with that? Our main view of Ireland was of the road head of us. Is that why so many people take the bus tours? I hope the view from the bus is above the hedgerow.
Two faucets in every bathroom? You only get hot water or cold water, no warm water.
There are only 4 radio stations on in the car and all the DJ’s do is talk, hardly any music.
What’s with all the chips? Every meal came with chips. Why not a choice of baked potato, rice, mashed potato, sweet potato?


Food and drink: E1,256.27
Souvenirs: E467.48
Gifts: E393.33
Lodging: E1,910.00
Personal items: E219.96
Admissions: E238.50
Golf: E225.00
Parking: E71.00
Gas: E185.52
Rental Car: $1,174.04 (USD)
Airfare: $2,641.89 (USD)

All said I believe we spent about $9,820.00 USD


In all we put on 2,980 Kilometers on our rental car.

When we arrived in Dublin the exchange rate was 1.19 and when we left it was 1.21. Not bad!

I shot 27 rolls of film. Mostly 24 exposures but had about 7 rolls of 36 exposures.

We all had a wonderful time for our first time in Ireland. Sammi, who wasn’t looking forward to going had a good time also. She was also surprisingly well behaved throughout the trip. We are planning on returning in Sept 2006 (for the Ryder Cup) and finishing our tour of Ireland. Next up is the south and east side of Ireland ending in Dublin to visit with the relatives again. We’re trying to get some of Brian’s siblings to join us in Dublin so that they to can meet their Aunt and Uncle.

Up until then I’ll be reading all your questions, answers and ideas to add to my itinerary for 2006. Thanks for reading my trip report, I hope you find it useful.
Hennypenny is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2005, 06:40 PM
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Now I have them both saved. Thanks again.
chatham is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2005, 12:20 AM
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I enjoyed your report very much. You gave detailed information in an easy to follow form.

Thank you.

ggnga is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2005, 05:32 AM
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In time, the 2 parts will become separated, and may be difficult for your readers to find. For future reports, it would be better to post all parts as responses to the first.
Jed is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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Thank you for two things:
1. for listing prices !!! Great way to give others idea of costs, I truly wish more people would do this.

2. for breaking your report into paragraphs. I always skip the reports that run on for miles as one l o n g paragraph.
Lori is offline  
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