March 4, 2007. Since our Dublin flight arrived in the morning, we had decided for an active first day. The car rental through Europcar (Ford Focus) was 115 euros with taxes and fees for five days, but after adding the CDW, theft waiver, and excess damage waiver, the total came to 411 euros - no complaints except for the insurance rates! The staff were helpful and straightforward and also provided an automatic at no additional cost.
With only 10 minutes between buying tickets and boarding the bus for the Newgrange tour (a March benefit) and with an amusing guide who added some of his own (perhaps doubtful) theories, the tour was certainly well worth the 14.50 euros for a family ticket. Being inside the tomb with about 25 others is not for claustrophobics.
Ross Castle (www.ross-castle.com ) on Lough Sheelin, near the County Meath/Cavan border, was wonderful. We had the two tower rooms for the night - each on its own floor up a winding staircase, and each furnished with antiques and with its own bath. Sam and Benita Walker are great hosts - and we enjoyed a delicious lamb dinner prepared by Benita (and an equally tasty breakfast), a turf fire in the dining room, and some very interesting conversation (they are also farmers). Since it was a Sunday evening, the Walker children even came over and entertained our son with wist and poker after dinner. We would definitely return - certainly the best evening of our trip and the most interesting place we stayed.