SW Ireland In Early April

Feb 6th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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SW Ireland In Early April

The Italian Chauffeur is requesting advice and input for his latest trip "HOME". Here is what I have so far:

Departing SRQ at 2:25 PM on 30 March 2006 (Thursday) on Continental via EWR to arrive SNN at 8:35 AM on 31 March (Friday). As it is only just my wife and I, this trip, (on the occassion of our 35th Anniversary) I have a manual transmission Ford Focus (or equivilent) reserved with Europcar, through Auto Europe (rate is 91.30 Euro, less deposit of Euro 25.51, leaving a balance due of Euro 65.79 -- plus the ubiquitous airport surcharge and first tank of fuel ...). Rental is from 9:00 AM Friday, 31 March, until 9:00 AM Sunday, 9 April. I am waiving CDW using my MBNA Platinum MasterCard, as I have done on my last seven trips, begining in 1999. We will drive directly to Watergrasshill, just NE of Cork City and will stay there until Saturday afternoon, at least.
We have booked a one week (Sat-Sat 1 April - 8 April) at a self-catering in Kilcrohane, on the Sheep's Head, from www.pinewoodcottage.com at a rate of Euro 220 (plus electricity at Euro 0.16c/unit). The unit is a newly refurbished, one bedroom, stone cottage (refered to as 'The Apartment'), located approximately 20 minutes south of Bantry. From there, we intend to daytrip to tour the Sheep and Mizen Head and possible return again to the Bearra, as well. We may possibly overnight one night in Killarney, if Ciaran Wynne is performing there and I MAY also spend one night in Clonakilty on Thursday, 6 April, in order to catch 2006 MeteorAward winner John Spillane in session at DeBarra's.
Our only other MUST DO is our regular pilgimage to the Coomleigh, and at least a daytrip to Millstreet. We will spend our last night (Saturday, 8 April) in either Ennis, Bunratty (actually, we usually stay in Portdrine) or Newmarket-on-Fergus, as the mood strikes us, or your recommendations sway us. We have a 9:00 AM departure from Shannon, so we won't want to make too much of a night of it.
So, that's the PLAN, anyways, 'though as I've said before, 'No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.' I'm sure we will be improvising at least part of the trip. I'm throwing this out now to see if I can solicit any not-to-be-missed jems or off-the-beaten-path sights.
Suggestions, anyone??

Bob
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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Bob

When your out on the Mizen if you need lunch or dinner try Herons Cove in Goleen, great food tucked away in a small village. If you get around Clonakilty and the WX. is ok try lunch in Glandore. You can sit outside overlooking a great harbour and the Drombeg Stone Circle is just around the corner. I will be back to both again this June. Have fun
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Feb 7th, 2006, 07:15 PM
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Bob, please forgive me for sort of highjacking your thread. I'm posting not to give you a suggestion but to ask a question. You mention that you always wave CDW using your MBNA Platinum Master Card. This may be a totally ignorant question as my understanding of all this rental car stuff is not good. But, when you do that, is there a deductable?
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 09:45 PM
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Bob -
I have no advice for you - you're one of our resident experts! But I do look forward to hearing about the Apt on Sheepshead. We loved Sheepshead and would be interested in parking ourselves there for a week.

Also - near Shannon - is our favorite country house, Carrygarry House in Newmarket-on-Fergus. I predictably think everyone should stay there before they fly out.
McShane is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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JOHNOD: Thanks for the 'heads up' on places to eat. My wife is an O'Driscoll (her Grandmother), as are our Irish 'cousins' that we visit with. Schedules have not been ammennable to making the Clan GTG, yet, but ...
McShane: I think I'll check out Carrygary, and see if we can work it into our mix.
CAPH52: Not to worry, jump in any time...
Rather then redo the whole thing here, though, check out this thread from last year. If you still have questions, ask away.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34564682

Bob
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Feb 8th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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Hey Bob, I have no gems to offer but wanted to say thanks for the many bits of information that I have benefited from over the past couple of years.

I was just thinking about Ciaran Wynne because we too will be in Ireland the first week of April, but in Dublin and areas north. Although I have never heard any of his music, we are great fans of Irish music in general and wanted to ask: are his CDs pretty readily available in Irish shops?

Another thought on B&Bs...Also in Newmarket-on-Fergus is Cahergal Farmhouse. I have had this site bookmarked for our next trip to the Shannon area.

Wherever you end up staying, I am sure many here will be interested in your stories when you return!

allisonm is offline  
Feb 8th, 2006, 07:58 PM
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allisonm: You might be hard pressed to find either of Ciaran Wynne's CDs in Dublin, but you might ask at one of the smaller music shops. The same would be true for music by ALANNA. Both are based in Killarney (although Ciaran is currently working in Montreal). Their music is self-produced and promoted so distribution tends to be spotty. I will, however, heartilly recommend JOHN SPILLANE, a Cork based, multi-METEOR Award winning singer/songwriter (and 1/2 of the Gaillic Hit Pactory). His CDs SHOULD be readily available in Dublin. Look for "WELLS OF THE WORLD", in particular. I haven't heard his newest yet, but it is doubtless quite good. None of these artists are "TRAD", per se, they are more Contemporary Irish (I hesitate to use the word "POP", due to its derogatory implications). Everyone in Ireland also loves Brian Kennedy (a Belfast native). He performed backup vocals for Van Morrison for several years, but has a number of solo releases as well. And of course, there is always 'grumpy old baggy pants' Himself -- Van the Man. I'm not as big a fan of U2 as my wife is, but Bono's duet with Andrea Coorson "WHEN THE SKY GOES BLUE" DOES give me chills.
Let us know about YOUR trip. I keep promising myself that I'll make it to Ulster "Next Trip", but ...
Bob
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Feb 8th, 2006, 09:27 PM
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Bob, thanks for the link to the car insurance thread. I've read through it, or at least most of it. And, I'm sorry to say, I'm still somewhat confused.

My brother says that, when he was in Ireland 3 years ago, he purchased insurance that covered all damage to the car, no deductable. He says he damaged the sideview mirror and didn't have to pay for it.

But if I'm understanding the info in that thread, there is no insurance you can purchase that doesn't have a deductable. SDW reduces the deductable but doesn't eliminate it, right?

Every fall we rent a van to take our daughter back to college. We purchase insurance which covers any and all damage, including scratches, etc. with no deductable. There is no insurance equivalent to that available when you rent in Ireland? I know that, due to the left hand thing and the narrow roads, scratches and damage to mirrors and hubcaps are common. And there's no insurance that covers that sort of damage without a deductable?

We have a Capital One Platinum MC. I've already called the MC 800 number and will call Capital One directly. But I'm not sure that either of my brothers (who will be traveling with us in a separate car) have a Gold or Platinum MC. So I'd really like to fully understand the options.

There's also the fact that, because of the currency conversion fee, we were planning to use our Capital One for other expenses. If waiving the CDW causes them to put a large hold on our account, that won't be an option.

Does your MBNA charge a currency conversion rate?

Thanks again, Bob.
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 01:15 PM
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Most of my favorite spots, but three suggestions- Baltimore(10minute drive down from Skibbereen and Eyeries(on north side of Bears) for sunsets and charming atmosphere. Third spot, Killaloe(east of Ennis) and it's sister town Ballina for the last night. Have a great trip and the rates sound very good.
Keenan is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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I used my Capital One Platinum MC to rent a car in Ireland last May through Auto Europe (car provided by Budget). To decline CDW (which I did), I was asked to have written verification that my MC provided coverage in Ireland so I got that from Capital One. So far as I know, no hold was put on my account. However, your plan to call Capital One and get the current "scoop" is wise.
TimS is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Have you ever been to Gougane Barra? It was a suggestion from the Sullivans at the Seashore Guest Farmhouse in Kenmare. We thought it was beautiful and definitely worth our detour on our way to Kinsale.

There is an old church there on a small lake with stations of the cross, the "tidiest toilet" (award winning and thatched!) and an incredible old lodgepole pine forest. All the trees are covered in moss with lots of running streams. I am addicted to the beaches in Ireland but really enjoyed this location. Next time, we will take a picnic and spend more time exploring.
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Feb 9th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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MBNA DOES charge the 'Foreign Transaction Service Charge'-- note, that IT DOES NOT MATTER if you are charged in $US OR Euro -- if you charge outside the US, the fee is applied REGARDLESS!!
Good idea to call Capital One, but bear in mind that MasterRental is a MasterCard service, NOT Capital One. I've had people from MBNA insist that my card DOESN'T cover Irish car rentals AND NEVER HAS, yet the 1800MCASIST people say YES, MasterRental covers me...
It's enough to give a fella a mighty headache!
If you purchase CDW, you will still have a largish deductible -- 500-1500 Euro, depending on the rental company, the type of car, etc. You can reduce that deductible to about 100 Euro or so by buying the EXTRA, EXTRA 'Super CDW' in addition to the standard CDW.

Whether or not there is a 'HOLD' put on your card (and the AMOUNT) is strictly dependant upon the rules and whims of the Rental company. In fact, the reason why the MC literature says that MasterRental "MAY" be available in Ireland, is that apparently, it is up to the Rental company to ACCEPT the coverage (Most do, but SOME don't!).
No one has EVER asked me for a coverage letter from MC and I have never brought one. Dunno why that is.

If you WAIVE the CDW (and/or the 'Super' CDW, you have to initial that you are accepting responsibility for damage. In truth, you ARE. In the event of an accident, the rental company will bill your MC for the full estimated loss and you will have to file a claim with MasterRental, for reimbursment. I've been told that they DON'T reimburse you for the VAT (tax). Again. I dunno why that is either.
It sounds like a LOT of potential headaches, I know, just to save a lousey $100 or so that the company wants for CDW, but the truth is that it's actually a LOT more money than that ...Because of the size of the deductible and/or the cost of the 'Super' CDW and then, you will STILL have a EURO 100 deductible. If you buy ANY of the Company's insurance, you VOID the MasterRental coverage. Again, WHY???? Seems like MasterRental would appreciate the reduced liability, but, NOOO!!!
Glass, tires, sidemirrors and undercarraige damage are EXCLUDED by MasterRental, standard CDW and MOST of the 'Super'CDW offerings, so THAT part's a crap-shoot, either way.
Wish the Irish Tourist Board / Government would STANDARDIZE this into a simple, unambiguous policy,but until they do, carrental will remain the biggest PAIn in visiting Ireland.
Bob
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Feb 9th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Italian_Chauffer's reference to MasterRental and MCASIST reminds me that my written statement about insurance coverage came from them, not Capital One. (Fuzzy memory on my part.)
TimS is offline  
Feb 9th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Keenan: We've been to Baltimore a few times and Eryies once. Have to agree they are worth another look. I am embarrassed to admit thqt I've NEVER been to Ballina/Killaloe. Like Ulster, it's another one of those, "Next Trip" places ...
edhodge: We stopped at Gougane Bearra once before, driving from Glenngarriff. Got lost and ended up on a mountain "logging' trail that EVENTUALLY led us back to the vicinity of the lake. Have to agree that it's one of those, often overlooked, gems that deserves more attention than it gets, but I dunno if I'll have time to drop by this trip...
I would be SURPRISED if an O'Sullivan DIDN'T recommend it!
alisonm: Hope I didn't sound too much like a music critic, but I thought I would let you know what kind of music it is that I was recommending. Of course, one of the great things about small Irish music shops is their willingness to let you hear before you buy.

Bob
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Feb 10th, 2006, 02:18 AM
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With a 9:00 AM departure from Shannon you should be there for check-in about 7:30 AM, 7:00 AM if you plan to breakfast in the Cafeteria on Shannon's upper level. There's a bar in the departure lounge that will serve you some pastries & coffee but you can get a full Irish breakfast in the Cafeteria (Opens at 7:00 AM).

Many B&B's & almost no hotels start serving breakfast until around 8:00 AM. Some hotels may give you a credit against the room rate if you tell them you'll be departing 'super early' and pay your bill the night before. The Queens Hotel in Ennis gave me a 5-Euro credit (traveling / staying 'solo') when I did that.

Happy Anniversary and Slainte!
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Feb 10th, 2006, 04:03 AM
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Hi Bob,
No, you didn't sound like too much of a music critic! We listen to loads of Irish music, alot of it what some might call "new age-ish". When we were in Roundstone once, we went into Malachy's bodhran shop and just bought a couple of CDs on his top 10 recommended list. That's the trip where we listened to Folan & Davey over and over and over. So I will be on the lookout for John Spillane this trip and will let you know how we like him.

We are renting for 9 days from Hertz-O'Scannlain this time, Corolla sized car, manual - $140 prepaid total. Looks like you did a little better. We also use our MC and do not get the additional insurance. So far we have had great luck, never more than the standard hedge scratches. -knock wood-
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Feb 10th, 2006, 05:01 AM
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Thanks, Bob. Happy Anniversary!

And thanks to you, Tim!
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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Want to thank everyone for the anniversary wishes. Our ACTUAL anniversary is the 23rd, but our travel dates were as close as we could manage. Besides, after 35 years, what's a week, or two???

Also, FYI, we just received an email from Ciaran Wynne, advising us that he, too, plans to be back in Ireland around the 1st of April. Work on his NEW CD is progressing very well, and he has promised us a 'sneak-preview'!
Bob
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Feb 21st, 2006, 12:18 PM
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I'm excited to hear your report especially of staying on the sheeps head. You gave us alot of advise back in 2004 when we were planning our 2 weeks honeymmon trip for the end of may early June. I hope you will agree that Sheeps and Mizen Head are the most beautiful Pens. in Ireland. We were very lucky and had beautiful clear days for our hikes out. It was truley raw beauty! We loved Balitmore for a stop for lunch while we were there a small sailboat race was happening. As we are sailors ourselves we really enjoyed it. Also on our way out to the Mizen Head we took a very short dteour to Crookhaven and had some soup and Guinness in a bar(can't think of it off the top of my head but I think there we only two in the very small town)) ate outside on the tables overlooking the beautiful water and scenery. Enjoy your anniversary!
joolleeb is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Might that bar be O'Sullivan's -- right next door to the Crookhaven Inn? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

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