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Trip Report Some Ireland enjoyment tips

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Just back from 3rd trip, this time w/ my 3 daughters (25, 23 16). Great time, the weather a bit dicey w/ some hail and rain, high winds... We all had layers to wear and made the best of it. The fog and clouds add drama to the pictures, one daughter noted. And still better than the 200+ inches of snow back home.

After all the Irish festivals we've gone to, I thought I owed it to my girls to show them the actual country. I had planned a 'greatest hits' tour for the girls, this was their first trip, and I wanted them to love the place. Also, with it being so early in season 25 Mar-7 Apr, I wanted to be close to places with touristy shops, pubs, etc in case the weather was bad. I booked B&B's so we could walk to the town center. That way I could relax while they went out and wandered.

We flew Newark-Shannon, and stayed 2 nights in Dingle, 3 nights in Killarney, 1 night in Cashel, 2 nights in Kilkenny, 1 night in Birr, 2 nights Galway, last night Bunratty. This being so early in the season some places were just opening up, everybody seemed to have time to talk...maybe not so much at the height of the season. That was nice.
My wife and her 2 friends are heading over tomm for 2 weeks, I think that'll be perfect timing for flowers and trees blooming; we were just a bit early except for daffodils.

Anyway, here are some ideas and tips that have made my visits easier. We've always rented cars, and have stayed in B&Bs and a rented cottage once.

Driving- tell your co-driver (not passenger, the front seat person should be engaged and paying attention) to warn you if you pull into the wrong lane w/ a nice shout, don't be bashfull.

At intersections, they look left and you look right. I don't need them checking my side, and I'll verify what they are looking at before proceeding. The traffic coming from the opposite direction throws you, and I appreciate the help.

Rear seat folks are a big help when backing up...when backing into traffic, or up against a stone wall, they are nimble and hopped out to look when I was in a blind spot. Small towns have diagonal parking, and with cars on both sides, you can't see.

When in doubt, fold your side view mirrors in, my rental had a button by the automatic window one, that folded in both mirrors. Loved it when heading down small lanes.

Roundabouts aka traffic circles work, just be patient.

Pull over if you get a line of cars behind you, don't try and keep up on the narrow roads, let people pass and you can relax a bit and check out the view. If you see an old castle or church off in the fields, it never hurts to go and have a look at it. Your on an island, how far can you get lost? ;)
Have a good map, Hopefully have someone who can read it. I am fortunate that I have two great navigators among the girls, the third, not so much.

Food: Farmers markets have great deals on fruit and veggies. Dolmades, the grape leaves w/ seasoned rice were delicious, 10 for 2.80E, and much fresher than what I get at my local Greek restaurant. The labels showing where the figs, olives, seafood are from is interesting; they are from all over, yet tasted fresh, and were reasonably priced.

Gyros (Doners), wraps, crepes, whatever is being sold from that grill looking thing under the canopy or from the truck, 90% of the time it is delicious.

Try the seafood chowder, usually very good.

Fresh made/cooked pizza from Dunnes for 5-10 E, depending on size, sometimes w/ included soda.

Delicious picnic, bought a rotissiere chicken from the butcher, rolls and mustard from the small grocery store, 10E total.

I was with my 3 college + age girls, and they carried salad fixings (2 small boxes of cherry tomatoes for 1E), cheese, small packs of lunch meat like pepperoni, and snack on that. It was cold before Easter and it kept fine on the windowsill. They always had a loaf of bread laying around.

Take your time, slow down and enjoy yourself. Stay 2 nights at stops, packing and unpacking, looking for the next stop...not as much fun. You don't have to see everything, if you like it so much you'll be back.

Enjoy listening to the accents, and don't try and talk over people.

When at a trad session and you want pictures or to film, that's great, but don't stumble over other people so you can get the perfect shot, or blind the musicians w/ a flash. If you enjoy it so much, kept time w/ your feet, or clap...just don't loudly tell everyone numerous times how great this is, it's so authentic...over and over. Soak it in and show appreciation w/ hearty applause.

Just my thoughts. Enjoy. It really is a nifty place.

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