Trip Report: Jun17-30

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Jul 3rd, 2004, 04:31 PM
  #21
 
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That was a great report! I had a lot of good laughs while reading, especially remembering some b&bs we stayed in (in one place the toilet was literally in a closet, you had to drop your drawers in the room and back in!)

A note about the sinks in the room: I always found them convenient because I could do my hair and makeup while my husband had the shower/toilet to himself, sort of a time saver!

The mud/muck in Bantry: the tide was out! When we first arrived, the bay was pretty yucky and the boats were sitting in the mud. Later on, the water had risen, the boats were afloat, and the swans had arrived. Quite a change!

Glad you had such a successful trip! (I eat a lot of salmon in Ireland, it's usually wonderful!)

Allison
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Jul 6th, 2004, 08:03 AM
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Amy,

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Highly informative (and entertaining) trip report! Ah, yes, the memories are all coming back. I think my favorite line was "...if you can serve me fast enough, I can eat it."

To answer your question in hopes that others may not have to repeat your experience, the wait staff in Ireland DOES have to be flagged down in order to get your final bill. I think it's considered rude of them to bring you a bill in case you are not ready to leave as if they are saying "You're done, here's your bill, now get out". So, for those of you who are going, be prepared to ask for the bill at any/most restaurants you go to. (Note: this is not as common in Dublin when you go out to popular places because often times you have only a limited amount of time before you need to move on so the place can serve those folks waiting.)

Second, you do have to pay for each soda you order, in most cases. And often times, ice. I can not think of one instance in my several trips back that you had free refills - unless you are drinking tea. Coffee, too, is usually sold by the cup with no free refills. Just one of those little details you don't think to tell folks on their first trip!

If you get your photos posted on line somewhere be sure to post the link here. I think many of us are interested in seeing them - especially the one of the Cliffs.

Thanks again and take care,

Wendy
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Jul 6th, 2004, 08:21 AM
  #23
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Hay Wendy - Glad you enjoyed it... It was a rather amusing trip, let me tell you...
I figured the idea behind the restaurant bills was so that they aren't "pushing you out" as you said, which is understandable, but g's, getting their attention is a workout in itself! Unlike the States, they give you the bill when they bring the food!

Unfortunately I don't really have anywhere to post my pictures online, I'm not so priviledged. I finally got them all on cd, so I'll send you some. If anyone else is interested, let me know!

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Jul 6th, 2004, 08:24 AM
  #24
 
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Thanks for the great and detailed trip report. I'm printing this out and keeping it for when I plan my trip.
I couldn't stop laughing at the bit about Tommy, the guide who lost the Japanese tourists and the seldom fed and seldom sober story. You certainly met some characters.
Thanks.
Lisa
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Jul 6th, 2004, 11:57 AM
  #25
 
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I just realized that I wrote that you may have to PAY for ice when at restaurants. Obviously that is not correct. I meant that you may have to ASK for ice. Big difference! Doh!

Wendy
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Jul 9th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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Hi Amyprib:

Great report! I will bet they were road bowling in the little town of Caharagh. In the same area general we did see a small sign propped up on the road that said road bowling ahead, but never saw the road bowlers themselves. The grass is used as a marker.

Was "Tommy" in Kenmare a small old guy that lived in the US for quite a bit of his life, (and maybe worked for a utility company?) came back in the 70's and built his house from the plans he drew up in high school? I might have met him over by some rosebushes I was admiring, took 30 minutes to get away, LOL
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Jul 12th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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HappyCheeseHead - I wouldn't say Tommy was a "small" old guy. But he had whitish hair I think, I would guess around early to mid-50s, very very talkative and really friendly. I don't know about him living in the US, but he does come here quite often. He didn't mention anything about the build of his house, but he has a view of Kenmare Bay being up on a hill!
His last name started with N. Didn't want to post his whole name, just for privacy. He seems to be quite the drinker though (not a bad thing) but he seemed quite popular in the pubs.

Road bowling eh? Interesting. We were wondering what kind of ritual or sacrifice they were performing. It was kinda funny how they all stared at us when we drove through. Thanks for the explanation!
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Jul 12th, 2004, 10:37 AM
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Totally different guys then, mine was in his 80's at least, and quite the character. I heard his whole life story in those 30 minutes, but he was most charming.
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Jul 28th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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ttt, for any newbies who might need random tips and ideas.
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Feb 12th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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Hello Amy,
Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your trip report. Listening to all the funny things that happened to you, sounds like one of our trips. Anyway, it was very interesting, thanks for taking the time to tell us all about your trip. You said you were from Northern Indiana, we just moved from Auburn, IN. We are planning a trip the western Ireland in May, can't wait to see the cliffs of Moher.
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Feb 12th, 2005, 09:10 AM
  #31
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Marlie -
Thanks for the comments! I'm surprised to see this thread, it's been buried for quite a while!

If you need any information regarding western Ireland, you can email me [email protected] and I can try answer any questions or provide you with information. I have tons of website links and other info that could hopefully help you out.
And - the Cliffs are spectacular, especially in the evening sunset on a nice night!
I actually live north of Indy now, but I drive past Auburn on my way to MI (i think!)...
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Feb 12th, 2005, 07:39 PM
  #32
 
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amy: excellent reporting. really enjoyed reading it tonight. i would just explain and add my bit to people reading it (i, living here in ireland):

checking the hire car: very, very important. i advise this on my website (www.welovedonegal.com). the danger is you will be charged for damaged caused by a previous owner if you do not point out damage and have them sign prior to taking the keys.

also, while the car hire people in this instance showed little interest in the letter of cover from the cc company for cdw, i would strongly advise that you most definately have this letter with you - you may run into someone who will insist on it. (it's a standard letter from you cc company anyway and no bother to get).

asking for the check: as someone else said on this thread, it is indeed to do with not insulting the customer. i would be most annoyed if a waiter handed me the check before i asked for it and i think this is the way across the country. just a different way of going i suppose. however, in relation to rudeness or apathy by the waiter or waitress, this is inexcusable in any country. simple soloution: DO NOT leave a tip. they may eventually learn.

early bird menu: this is indeed mostly served 6-7 but some places up to 7.30. it is a good way of eating a meal at a cheaper rate. (same food, just a way to get customers in the quieter period before the rush times (8.30pm is the most popular booking time in ireland).

weather: it is so true that the weather can be dreadful in one place and beautiful in another place very nearby. where i live is just a mile from our town centre. it can be pouring rain in the town centre and the sun splitting the trees at my house. another irish quirk i suspect

in relation to maps, i would strongly suggest that a better thing to do is to log on to an excellent site: www.aaroadwatch.ie/routes/ the site gives you the distances from one point to another, the road numbers, towns you will pass through and time taken. print these pages off and refer to them rather than a map.

powerscourt waterfall: you can come to donegal and see the highest waterfall in europe totally free of any charge
(and the highest sea cliffs in europe, and the deepest sea estuary in europe, etc. etc. etc.).

regarding the bush protest you came across. i was horrified to see that someone had a poster saying that about 9/11. for all you americans reading this, please believe me, the day that happened is embedded in our minds totally. i saw it on the afternoon news here just as it happened there that morning and i and everyone i know cried at the horror of it. i have NEVER come across anyone anywhere here who would even think such a terrible thing as that person had on his sign. and if i and anyone i know, had seen such a thing we would have felt as reviled as you, and indeed do.

finally, re: the japanese tourists, a funny little story, and maybe it is where his tourist were. myself, husband and one of our sons had taken a detour because of roadworks on our way back to donegal some time ago. we decided to stop off in this little village to have a bite to eat. it was a basic cafe sort of place but on the wall was a board with clocks showing the time in new york, hong kong, etc. we found this highly amusing (being a bit childish!). we were laughing saying they must be expecting a bus load of japanese tourists and lo and behold out of the blue, a whole line of japanese tourists trooped passed the window. i kid you not. we laughed so much about the improbability of it for a long time after.

once again, thanks for your excellent insight for me to see from your eyes and to others wishing to travel to ireland.


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Feb 12th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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welovedonegal, The waterfall at Powerscourt has always billed itself as the highest in Ireland or the British Isles. Can you tell me which one in Donegal is higher? What is the height? There is also a dispute between Slieve League and Croghaun Mountain on Achill Island as to which has higher sea cliffs.
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Feb 12th, 2005, 10:26 PM
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irisheyes: the waterfall is scardan falls

the only dispute about the highest seaciliffs is between donegal and mayo and the genral consensus is that slieve leage is accessible.
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Feb 12th, 2005, 10:27 PM
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sorry, forgot to add: scardand is over 1800 feet high
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Feb 12th, 2005, 10:29 PM
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but whatever the outcome ...

donegal is soooo beautiful

and you are all so welcome to visit
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Feb 25th, 2005, 10:00 AM
  #37
 
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This our trip in June 2004

Bear in mind that we use public transportation exclusively so there may be a slight hike to places but not really more than fifteen minutes from a bus stop or train station.

Arrived Shannon airport on Sunday and caught bus to Limerick. A friend we met at the bus shed told us where to get off and instructed the driver to make sure he stopped there. He did and we walked up the short cul-de-sac to Glen Eagles (not that Glen Eagles, but very nice.) <[email protected]> About 30 Euros pps ensuite. Helen and Patrick Daly

In Dingle on Monday we stayed at Dingle Heights. <www.dingleheights.com, or [email protected]> Ask for a front room overlooking the harbor. Bridie Fitzgerald was our hostess. Very nice view and about 30 Euros pps ensuite. We had our first, of many, bowl, of Irish stew at O'Grady's across from the tourist board along the waterfront. We lucked out and were able to attend a folk concert of harp, guitars, penny whistle at St. James Church. But we heard lots of music around town as we went back to our bnb after the concert. One place is a hardware store by day and a pub by night! We got cheated out of our tour to Slea Head by the well know local tour operator who renigged on our email reservation. So we will have to go back! And use someone else.

Stayed in Killarney at Cloghroe <[email protected]> about 30 Euros pps ensuite, on Tuesday and did the Gap of Dunloe (three lakes by boat and through the Gap by jaunting car (otherwise a 7 mile walk) on Wednesday. Glad we didn't do the Ring of Kerry. Our hostess Margaret arranged the tour for us. Ate at Murphy's, known for it's pub grub.

Had to spend Wednesday night in Tralee since it is a long haul by bus from Killarney to Doolin. Stayed at The Willows, about five minutes from the bus station. <wwwthewillowsbnb.com or [email protected]> About 30 Euros pps ensuite. On Mary's recommendation we went to the Grand Hotel and ate in the pub section. Excellent food. Next day we walked out (rode the bus back) to the Blennerville Windmill before having to catch our bus to Doolin.

On Thursday night in Doolin we stayed at Nellie Dees. <www.nellie-dees.com or [email protected]> The bus driver will drop you at the door if you ask and it is across the road from one of the hostels. Only about five years old, all wood floors, very nice. Jimmy and Loraine Spencer. About 30 Euros pps ensuite. It was a bit of a hike to downtown Doolin but there were two pubs (out of 3) very nearby where we spent the evening eating delicious Irish stew and listening to trad music at McDermott's.

The next morning we hiked into town ("just a wee walk and a right at the bridge"). We passed several bnbs on the way that looked nice. We caught the ferry to Inishoor. Had to ride a carrick out to the ferry because the tide was out. That was a neat experience, although my wife was not really keen on it but nobody fell overboard.

Arrived on Inishoor (Inishere) on Friday and headed to our bnb, Tigh Searraigh. About 25 Euros pps ensuite. <[email protected]> Basic but clean and warm. Went for a tour around the island. It is only 2 km 2km so we knew we couldn't get too lost but the stone fences did start looking just like the last one. My wife got her Aran sweater made (supposedly) on the island. We went to pub (Fitzgerald's I think. There are only about 3 places to eat on the island) for supper and music. A bit of wait for the music but the food was great and the strawberry rhubarb pie was so good we ordered a second round. Bailey’s ice cream on it was heavenly. I have never tasted such a delicious ice cream! Called it a night about 10 PM and was up the next day to catch the 9 AM ferry back to Doolin and 12 noon bus to Ennis for our last night before catching our flight out of Shannon.

Saturday night we stayed at Stonehaven in Ennis <www.stonehaven-clare.com or [email protected]> about 15 minute walk from bus station but Marie would have collected us if we had called. Very nice family, especially Joseph the 7 year old. About 30 Euros pps ensuite. Ennis is a market town and we were there Saturday, market day. Neat!

Back to the train/bus station for our bus to Shannon airport and on to Scotland..

You can certainly see more if you rent a car but we didn't want the stress. Also, we noticed that more pubs are catching on to the attraction of pub grub by tourists and are starting to provide table service instead of us ordering at the bar. The price sometimes increases accordingly.

This may be more than you really wanted to know but we had a blast and are talking about doing the same tour again. We did Dublin in 2003 and I probably would not do Dublin again but there is something about the Southwest of Ireland that is magical. I will send you some Irish links if you will send me your email address. We are in Virginia Beach, VA [email protected]
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May 5th, 2005, 03:13 PM
  #38
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evanjva1 - if you haven't already, you might consider posting your own thread for your trip report.

For anyone else, even though it's been almost a year, I have a serious collection of photos I finally am able to share...
I hope this link works.. Currently this is only 200/600 that I took! But most of them I consider the best of the bunch. Click on Ireland '04 album. Hope you enjoy!

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/amyprib/my_photos
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May 5th, 2005, 07:18 PM
  #39
 
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Thanks for the link to the photos. We are returning night of 3 June / morning of the 4th, for 11 days! Was nice to be reminded of why we go so much.

Bob
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