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Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

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Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

Below is a very detailed Trip report of our stay in Ireland from July 19 – August 08. I will try to rate things on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high).

July 19 / 20 – Plane was 2 hours late in leaving for our connection in Philadelphia due to concentrated traffic in that location. Originally we had only a 2-hour layover, so we ran to the connection to find that it also was delayed by 2 hours for the same reason. When we got on the plane we were told there were technical problem, which accounted for an additional 3-hour delay. Finally we were ready to take off, but due to noise abatement rules, because it was after midnight, we had to have special clearance from city hall before taking off. Arrived in Ireland 4 ½ hours late, which compromised some of the things that we were planning on doing that day. We did get to TRIM CASTLE (rated – 7) and was able to get on a Guided tour. The guide was wonderful. Next made our way to HILL OF TARA (rated – 4, mostly because we did not have much understanding of where we were). Although we arrived before the last tours were supposed to leave, the Visitors Center was already locked up. We were told it closed at 4:45 instead of the appointed time of 5:15. No problems, we wandered up the hill by ourselves and did our own tour. The location is pretty impressive. Watch out for the sheep droppings everywhere.

Stayed in a B & B outside NAVAN town called DUNLAIR (rated - 5).

Ate at O’DWYERS Pub nearby (rated - 8).

July 21 – Drove to Newgrange arriving soon after it opened. Due to the early timeframe, we were able to get on the first Bus (9:30), and that bus was only about ¾ full. Guided tour takes you up and around the Passage Tomb and finally into the inner chamber. Do not go in if you are claustrophobic (rated 10, not to be missed). We were planning to go to Masterboice, but somehow passed it on the Motorway. Next, we crossed into Northern Ireland and stopped at Downpatrick. First went up the hill from the St. Patricks Center to see the Grave of St Patrick (rated - 6). Went into the Church also (rated – 4). Went back down to the St. Patrick Center. There you walk through a series of stations and learn all about St. Patrick’s life and times. To end the tour is a pretty good movie (Center rated – 7).

Ate across the main street from there at HOGANS Bar & Restaurant. The food was exceptional (rated – 8).

Checked in at our B & B in South Belfast not far from the Botanic Gardens. MARINE GUEST HOUSE, where we had a large room (rated - 8).

Still had some time and ROSE WEEK was on at Dixon Park not too far away. Spent a lot of time at the Rose gardens as they were in full bloom and the gardens are immense and very beautiful. Finished off the day when we found a ‘concert’ in the park consisting of a FLUTE band. They were exceptional (gardens and concert rated – 9).

July 22 - Walked over to the University Bus stop to get on the Hop on Hop off bus to take us to town (Castle Place), where we could purchase the tickets, which are valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase. Did a complete loop (over an hour) on this city tour bus. Saw and learned a lot about the history of the area (rated –8). Got off back in the city center to walk around and do some shopping. Got back on another Hop on Hop off bus and went around again where we got off at the BOTANIC GARDENS and went into the gardens. We were disappointed with these gardens (rated - 4). However, we did get to see a Lawn Bowling match which was rather interesting. Walked up to Lisburn road to try to find something to eat and finally settled on a restaurant called RYANS. Food was exceptional and with the special (2 for 20 pounds), not too expensive (rated – 9). We went back to the B&B to settle in for the night.

July 23 – Headed for Londonderry by way of the Coastal Road. Stopped at Carrickfergus Castle but because it was Sunday, it did not open until noon, so we had to skip it. Next stopped at the Giants Causeway, which was very interesting, and had beautiful views. You can park near the pub to avoid the parking line up and fees for the Causeway (rated – 5, mostly because of the weather). Due to the weather (Cloudy, Cold and it looked like it would rain), we walked up the hill to the overlook, and before we started further, we noticed the rain approaching from behind so we started back to the Visitors Center. Good thing, because as we were nearing the Center, it started to rain. Beware; the roads near this attraction are very thin and its a popular tourist spot to see. Stopped at BUSHMILLS Whiskey distillery for a tour. Shame it was a Sunday, as no one was working, but it was interesting nonetheless (rated – 5). At the end of the tour you can get a sample of one of their Whiskeys, or a soda if you are not so inclined. I tried the Black Bush. It was very good, and very smooth. Next, stopped at Dunluce Castle. As it was going to close in 15 minutes, we just walked over to the edge for a peek. It looks almost magical, and the view was as good as touring the castle I think, as it is set on a cliff beside the ocean (rated –7).

Stayed at the LABURNAM LODGE. It is near the Foyle bridge, but on a small side road and hard to find as the B & B sign is grown over (rated – 9, one of our favorite B&B’s).

Ate at THE MAGNET pub. It was quite noisy and hard to get a table or service (rated – 3), although when we told the B & B, they said it was usually quite quiet there. Might just have been a bad day.

July 24 – First thing we walked along the river Foyle that is a very pretty walk, from a market where we were told we could park. Walked down to town and then up on the town walls. Walked completely around town on the ancient walls, which is quite a trek. Very nice rated (– 7). After that we needed another ½ hour to walk back to our car. While the walk was quite nice, it took too much of our day to do the complete loop. Outside of Letterkenny, stopped at NEWMILLS Corn and Flax Mills and took a tour of the facility. Quite interesting, (rated – 6). Next drove to Glenveigh House. Toured the Visitor Center where they checked us in. We then took the Shuttle bus to the House itself. It was only there that we found out that the tours (which are the only way you could see the house), were booked 1½ hours plus in advance. I do not know why they do not tell you that at the visitor center. We had free Heritage Card passes, but I would not have liked to have paid and then not been able to see the house. They really need to coordinate ticket sales and tours, because apparently the bus tours take precedence, and it is not possible to wait 1 ½ hours to even begin your tour, and be surprised by that information only after you get to the house by bus. If we had known, we would not have wasted our time on the bus trip both ways. We were able to walk to the gardens, but it was raining and due to severe mosquito attacks, had to leave quite quickly. We were scratching a lot for the next few days because of this. By now and due to time constraints, we went back to Letterkenny and down to the Donegal area.

Stayed at “THE ARCHES” B & B on Lough Eske (rated –10), our favorite and highly recommended). The only problem was that it sat a couple of miles back on some tiny and twisty road, but that was compensated for by the views of the Lough from our window. All rooms seem to be on the second floor and all face the Lough (lake) and are beautifully appointed.

Ate at a restaurant in Donegal called DOM’S. There was a pretty view of the bay from the second floor windows (Rated - 7).

Went back to our room and just sat by the window staring at the beautiful view.

July 25 – First stop today “DONEGAL CASTLE” early and took the first tour (pretty good, but not fabulous (rated – 5). Next stop drove to the famous BELLEEK Pottery Factory and took the tour. We saw every step of the making of their fine pottery. The tour was exceptional (rated – 8). They also have a fine gift shop. Next stop SLIGO ABBEY, right in the middle of Sligo, yet still hard to find because there are no signs. The tour was very nice and we learned a lot about the Abbey and the surrounding cemetery Grounds (rated – 7). Final stop was CARROWMORE, a megalithic cemetery. Signed up for a tour that was leaving that minute and we were glad we did. A real Archaeologist, Indiana Jones himself, I swear, ran the tour, complete with the hat. He was the best tour guide of our trip and for that (rated – 10). There is so much to see and do there. There are beautiful views as well. One problem, I do not know how Neolithic man could ever find this place. I had a car, a map, and asked directions from Sligo twice and still could hardly find it. Again if you are into ancient history, do not miss this tour. It was outstanding and there were no crowds.

Stayed outside Westport, which is a pretty town, at “ROSMO HOUSE” (rated – 5). Average B&B and a great breakfast, but the Internet pictures make it look like it has a view of the Ocean, which it does not.

Ate at a nearby pub called “SHEEBEEN”. Again average food (rated – 4).

July 26 – Stopped first at Murrisk and saw the “POTATO FAMINE MEMORIAL” monument. Walk over to it to get a close up view. This does not take a lot of time to walk up to see and walk around, but its intensity is impressive (rated – 9). Back across the street is the car park for Croagh Patrick. This is a huge triangular shaped Mountain that anyone can climb if they have a mind to do so and have 4 or 5 hours to kill. Next stop “KYLEMORE ABBEY”. The best part of the Abbey is its location (rated – 9), which is magnificent. Many beautiful pictures can by taken from the car park itself. The Abbey though, only has 4 rooms open to view, and they are below average for sightseeing (rated – 3). A bus will take you to the Walled Gardens. These were quite impressive and we had quite a long walk around them (rated – 6). Shopped at the Craft store. Next we drove through “CONNEMARRA NATIONAL PARK” (rated – 8). Had to stop many times to take some beautiful pictures of the surroundings. OPW Heritage Card Pass got us into the park visitor Center and thus to some interesting walks through the park which were nice, but I expected more (rated – 5). Last stop GALWAY.

Stayed at the “ARDMHUIRE” B & B in the Salthill section of town. I don’t know if it is because it was for sale, or why we were assigned this very, very, tiny double room on the second floor, where you had to go outside just to change your mind. The house was very pretty in the common rooms, but our room was dreadful.. The shower door opened only half way, which required a real squeeze to get in and out (rated – 2). Note that all of our B & B’s were reserved at least 2 months in advance prior to our arrival.

Proprietor told us we would get a good meal at the GALWAY GOLF CLUB down the street, and she was right on. Nice view of the Golf Course and good food (rated – 7).

July 27 – Bus 37 leaves from right outside of the house to Eire Square, Galway Town Center. We were there for the end of the Festival, but visitor information said that almost everything was finished and to top it off, they had no booklets on what was going on as they were sold out, so we spent a lot of the day shopping, mostly on the Pedestrian Mall just off the square and down to the river. Beautifully painted and decorated storefronts. We were told that there was a Kangaroo parade that was going to leave the square that afternoon, so we trudged all the way back to the square and waited and waited… Finally we gave up and walked back to where we had spent the day shopping and there they were (2 actors dressed as Kangaroos and on stilts with springs to give them the bounce), coming toward us. All in all they were not too bad. Back on the bus to the Salthill promenade and walked back to the Galway Golf Club again for dinner and then back to our B & B.

July 28 – Stopped at “DUNGLAIR CASTLE” for a tour. You can climb all the way to the top and walk on the walls around the Keep although it is a tight squeeze (rated – 4). Nice for a short trip. Next drove through “THE BURREN” which is a very pretty drive through rock-strewn hills and valleys (rated –7). Stopped at “CAHERCONNEL STONE FORT”. After a short A/V presentation, took a walk to, around and into the ancient fort. We were pleased with it, but thought it would be larger than it was (rank – 5). Stopped at the ‘BURREN CENTER’ who had an Audio Visual show and a museum, but at the price they charged, we thought it was way overpriced for what you got (rated – 1). Next stop the “CLIFFS OF MOHER”. They are building a new Visitor Center, because the old one cannot handle all of the traffic they receive there. The views from the top of the Cliffs are breathtaking (rated – 9). There are street performers that you do not see anywhere such as people playing the Celtic Harp, etc. Interesting.

Stayed at BUNRATTY LODGE, which is behind the castle a mile or two (rated – 10).

Ate at the CREAMERY Pub, across the street from the Castle. Very busy, although food was real good and the atmosphere was real nice (rated – 8).

July 29 – First stop “BUNRATTY CASTLE AND FOLK PARK”. Although it was cloudy and off and on rain, the tour of the Castle and /Folk Park turned out to be quite nice. An umbrella was all that you needed. A lot of people were being pushed through, but except for a couple of rooms in the Castle, we did not feel crowded (rated – 8). We did not go to the banquet there, so I have no tips on that. Drove to “LISTOWELL CASTLE”, where because it was Saturday, there was a 2 man Juggling, Magic act in front. They were quite funny. Watched this even though the winds were at gale force. After the show, we were taken next door into the Castle for the tour (Castle rated – 4, show rated – 6).

Was supposed to stay at a B&B called BRIANVILLE in Tralee, but the reservation conflicted with their parents staying with them, so we were put up in their sons’ brand new house right next door. The house was not totally finished yet (no driveway, or lawn, etc.). While it was noisy and not yet prepared for customers, I must admit that the house was new, the room was large and the bed was comfortable. Breakfast was made by their eldest daughter the next morning and was the best we had on our trip (B&B rated – 6, Breakfast rated – 10). Once they are up to speed, I am sure their ratings will go up.

Ate at a pub they recommended called O’Donnells. This was a large, new style pub, the food better than average (rated – 6). We enjoyed the open atmosphere.

We then took a ride over to FENNIT, which is back on the coast. It was a little cool, so we watched the Ocean from the comfort of our car froma wonderful scenic spot right at the ocean.

July 30 – Headed for “DINGLE PENINSULA” by way of Conner Pass. Drove up through the clouds and into a steady misty rain that limited what we could see or take pictures of. What we could see looked pretty. Must be awesome on a sunny day (rated – 8, due to weather). Drive not recommended for the faint of heart because the upper stretches of the pass are steep and only 1 lane is available for 2 lanes of traffic. Drove through Dingle town to “SLEA HEAD DRIVE”, which hugs the coastline on the far west of the peninsula. By now the rain had stopped, although the gale force winds did not. We stopped at many overlooks with each view more beautiful that the previous (rated – 10). Do not miss SLEA HEAD drive. The views are breathtaking! Watch for places to pull over to park and enjoy. Small windy road. Next stop, the “BLASKET CENTER” where you get a history of the Blasket Islands and their precious Celtic writers. Toured the Visitors Center, and Museum and saw the Audio Visual film about the inhabitants of the Islands. Returned to Slea Head Drive and stopped at the “GALLOROUS ORATORY”. Saw the Audio Visual presentation and then saw the Oratory. It was very impressive (rated – 7). Worked way back to Dingle and than back to Beaufort, a small village we decided to book into instead of staying in Killarney.

Stayed at the HOLLYBOUGH HOUSE, which is between the villages of nowhere and imreallylost. If you are driving along in that area and you see this house, you know you are LOST. Saying that, we really liked this place, BECAUSE it was in the middle of nowhere and our room was in the back of the house and they had Cattle grazing in their backyard as well as a great view of Magillicuddy Reeks, the highest mountain range(?) in Ireland (rated – 8).

Ate in Killorglin as it was easier to get to than Killarney. The BUNKERS restaurant is right in the center of town. The food was good and reasonable (rated – 7).

July 31 – Ring of Kerry tour today. Decided to go with the bus flow (counter clockwise). We really did not see too many busses until we hit Killarney at the end of the drive. Stopped at the SKELLIG EXPERIENCE on Valencia Island (reached by bridge from ROK). Due to the gale force winds, the cruise to the Islands was cancelled which was fine with us. We saw the museum & Audio Visual presentation (rated – 4). Drove through the town to an overlook way above the town where you could get pictures of the valley down one side and Pictures of the Skellig Islands down the other side, but with the wind and cold temperatures, if you stayed outside of the car too long you could get a serious case of face freeze. Next we stopped at ‘DERRYNANE’, the home of the liberator of Ireland Daniel O’Connell. The house, tour and film were very enjoyable. After that we walked out to the nearby beach, because they were causing such a ruckus pruning trees in the famous garden (rated – 8). Headed back to Killarney by way of a pretty village Sneem and Ladies View overlook that we enjoyed, mostly from the car. NOTE that the road between Molls Gap and Killarney is dreadful with so many twists and turns, a lot of bus traffic and potholes that make the Burma Trail look like a superhighway. Last stop “ROSS CASTLE”. We enjoyed the guides’ stories and the original furniture inside the castle. Ate at a little crowded restaurant on High street called ‘CURRAGH’. The food was good, and better yet, inexpensive (rated – 8). There are a lot of restaurants in Killarney, but most seemed pricier.

August 01 – Left B&B early (of course, not missing breakfast though) because of the long day we had ahead of us. First stop Killarney National Park and ‘MUCKROSS HOUSE’. Took a tour and the lady guide was one of the best we had on our trip, exceptional and well rehearsed. House and furnishings were beautiful (rated – 9). Walked through ‘MUCKROSS TRADITIONAL FARMS’, which was similar to Bunratty Folk Park, but in my opinion were not as good. (rated – 4). Next stopped at ‘TORC WATERFALL’. The walk and the waterfall was very enjoyable (rated – 6). Make sure you stop at the Waterfall itself (Parking lot on LEFT side of the road leaving town) and not at ‘Torc Observation point’ (Parking lot on RIGHT side of road leaving Killarney). If you stop at the wrong point, your 2-minute walk to the falls will become a 40 minute hike to the falls. Stopped again at “LADIES VIEW” overlook and the view was breathtaking this time (rated – 7). Stopped at Molls Gap where the view was pretty, but there is a lot of roadwork going on there (rated – 4). We planned on seeing Bantry House and the Cornish Gardens, but we spent so long at Muckross that we did not have enough time to enjoy these. Pressed on to Clonakilty.

Stayed at the Macliam House B & B which was nice with a plentiful breakfast, but 80 Euros was too much (rated – 4).

Ate in Clonakilty at the SEA PALACE Chinese Restaurant. There was some kind of a Prom in town. All of the kids were dressed up in Tuxedos and elegant gowns, which made finding a restaurant harder. Food was good but again, too expensive for what we received (rated – 5). Their eat-in menu was double the price of their take-out menu for the same food.

August 02 – Left for Timoleague and the pretty Abbey. Next passed through Cork to the FOTA HOUSE & GARDENS. The house tour is self-guided and rather lackluster (rated – 3). They are restoring the upper floors, but they could have done more with the ground floor where there was a TV in the rooms to tell you about the room. The Arboretum /Gardens were on the other hand, exceptional. The trees, shrubbery and flowers were great as was the walk (rated – 7). The next stop was right down the street at Cobh and we saw “THE QUEENSTOWN STORY”. This museum is a recreation of various times in the city history as a major port (early emigration, the Titanic, which left here on its voyage and the Luisitania, which was torpedoed and sunk just down the coast from here). This exhibit was done extremely well and was even situated in the Dock area. In fact there was a cruise ship in port the day we were there (rated – 9).

Stayed in Youghal on the beach at a B & B called “BAYVIEW” located directly on the ocean (rated – 8). We had an ocean view from our room window, so we spent a lot of time just looking out our window, or walking on the promenade in front of our B & B.

Ate at a restaurant called “THE TIDES” within walking distance. Very limited menu, but O.K. I guess (rated – 4).

August 03 – Left and stopped at ‘WATERFORD CRYSTAL FACTORY’ Signed up for a tour starting only ½ hour later, even though it seemed crowded. Unfortunately due to a 2 week summer holiday, there was only a skeleton crew working, but that was enough for a glimpse of what it would be like. The tour took an hour and was very informative and well worth it. At the end, you are dropped off at the obligatory gift shop, only this 3 level shop was exceptional (rated – 10). You could do all of your shopping just here, but bring a lot of money. If you spend over 200 Euros, you get free tax and free shipping home. Next stop JERPOINT ABBEY for the tour. This guide was very interesting. We both really liked this place and the tour (rated – 9). Final stop was Kilkenny Castle. The tour is worth taking even though by now we were getting a little castled out. Do not bring any cameras, or they will send you to the camera dungeon where you will have to leave it until the tour is completed. During the tour, you get to see many rooms with fantastic furnishings.

Ate at ‘THE TAVERN’ in a pedestrian walkway near High Street, down the steps to a castle dungeon atmosphere. The food was pretty good (rated – 6)

Stayed at a B&B called “RODINI’S”. Room was clean, but the room was very small and even the doors opened backwards. The windows would not lock, so at 70 Euros, was a little overpriced (rated – 5).

August 04 – Left Killkenny and drove through Carlow settling at ALTAMONT GARDENS, which is now free. The main path takes you down and around a lily covered lake, and back. The walk was very nice with beautiful flowers (rated – 7), but it is a little hard to find being back off a couple of back roads. Drove next up to WICKLOW GAP and took a short walk to the valley overlook. This was also very pretty even though it was quite windy and very cold up there (rated –5, but would have been much higher if the weather was warm). Drove down the hill to GLENDALOUGH and walked to the Visitor Center. Saw a movie and then had a tour of the monastery trail past all of the sights. This was a wonderful tour with a very knowledgeable guide (rated – 9). Was going to walk out to the upper lake, but was warned by people coming back that the mossies (mosquitoes) were out in full force.

Ate in Laragh at a restaurant / pub right in the center of town. The name escapes me, but the sea bass dinner was very good (rated – 7).

Stayed at GLEDNALE B & B about ½ mile out of town. The B & B was very nice, but is down a steep gravel driveway (rated – 7).

August 05 – Final day on the road, we left over the backcountry roads for Ashford and the MOUNT USHER GARDENS (RATED – 2). The gardens were disappointing based on the amount asked. We expected much more. It turned out to be woodland walks, as the azaleas were done blooming. This is not a type of garden to see flowers, only woodlands. We were going to stop at POWERSCOURT GARDENS, but after Mount Usher debacle, decided to skip it. This was very good for me, because we did then go to the K-CLUB golf course, which is where the RYDER CUP will be played in September. It is a little out in the country by Dublin, in a village called Straffan. The roads around it are tiny, so I pity the Crowds then. Walked around the first Tee and 10th Tee to get a feel of the excitement that will be there in a month. Also went down to the ‘Pro Shop’ and dropped a few Euros on a Hat, Bag Tag, and other necessities when you are at a place like this.

Drove straight to our B & B, which was located directly between the Airport and Dublin City Center on the Main Street. The ABC GUEST HOUSE is located on Upper Drumcondra Road. They have a very small car park behind the guesthouse, which is found by driving on this tiny walkway (I mean alley) and pulling through their gray gate. We were very surprised and impressed by the B & B. They has great breakfasts and the room was quite comfortable and not facing the heavy street traffic (rated – 8). Left soon after to drive to Blanchardstown Shopping Mall. This is just north of the M50 on the N3, I think. Ate at a Carvery in the Mall called KATE’S. The food was surprisingly good (rated – 5). Then went back to B & B to park the car until we need it to get out of town in a few days.

August 06 – Took one of the many busses to town that stop across the street to City Center (O’Connell Street). The bus to town costs about 1.35 Euros. Caught the Hop-on, Hop-off bus near where we got off. Tickets worked like the Belfast Bus (good for a 24 hour period), so you could actually ride on two different days. First took the red tour and the Driver/Guide was interesting, funny and very colorful. Next took the Yellow tour with a separate Driver and Guide. Both tours for the same company take in come of the main sights, but there are some differences. And they are both available under the same ticket. The second tour we thought was better. After yet another loop, we got off at the NATIONAL MUSEUM (rated – 8), where we spent the next couple of hours. Their exhibits are carefully done and we were lucky to be able to get on one of their tours. Ate at an Irish restaurant in the Temple Bar, where we both got seafood Boxtys (potato pancake stuffed with Salmon and Cod, and covered with gravy. It was very good (rated – 6). Walked back to O’Connell Street and took the bus back. The bus stop (Skylon Hotel) is directly in front of our Guesthouse.

August 07 – Bank Holiday, so we once again took the bus from our B & B to town. Got back on the yellow Hop-on, Hop-off bus to stop 15 - KILMAINHAM GAOL (jail) where we took another guided and learned about the gaol history and the 1916 rebellion (rated – 8). Back on the Hop on Hop off bus to stop 5 - THE NATIONAL GALLERY. Very impressive if you are into that sort of thing, but for us (rated – 4). Walked over to GRAFTON STREET. After getting our picture taken with MOLLY MALONE. We were not impressed with the shopping on this street, but the street entertainment was phenomenal. Every thing from Street comics to a Child band. Walked down to ST PATRICKS CATHEDRAL, but did not go in because at 5 Euros, was too expensive, and if we were going to pay that much, Christchurch was where we wanted to spend it (outside only rated – 5). Went over to CHRISTCHURCH CATHEDERAL for a walk around because there were evening service was going on (outside only rated – 8). Took bus back to B & B and walked down the hill to a famous pub called FAGANS. The huge Steak dinner was possibly the best meal that I had in Ireland. The atmosphere was also wonderful (rated – 10).

August 08 – The B & B let us eat earlier than they normally serve, as we had to get to the Airport early. Much appreciated. Got our car out of their park and drove to the airport, only about 10 minutes away. Dropped the car off and we started our trek home with wonderful photos of Ireland and precious memories of the people we came in contact with.

Miscellaneous Notes –

If you can, take a guided tour anywhere. All of our guides were exceptional and it brings history to life and you are not just looking at a wall.

If you are going to visit something ‘in town’, leave enough time to find and pay for the parking. It can be difficult.

Driving ‘in town’ can be quite congested, so leave enough time to get through.

Many of the western Ireland roads are very rough, thin and thus slow, especially around the Kerry area.

I would recommend the ‘Glimpse of Ireland’ coupon booklet. We used a lot of the coupons for ½ off entrances to attractions, and when you are done, you can leave the remaining coupons at your last B & B for others to enjoy. This must be purchased over the Internet as part of your trip planning and is mailed to you, so leave plenty of time for you to get it before you leave from home.

I would also recommend the OPW Heritage Cards, which you can get at the first OPW place you hit and it would be good at any OPW attraction. Everything is free if you use these.

B & B’s do not provide Washcloths, so bring your own from home if you want to use one.

Irish food has improved immensely recently, but it can be rather expensive to eat out. A restaurant will set you back at least 20 euros a person for a basic meal without ordering any beverage. A Pub which serves food will set you back 15 euros a person, and we found that the atmosphere in the Pubs was wonderful. The home cooked food is delicious.

Answer to the question of which drive is more beautiful, Ring of Kerry or Dingle. Without a doubt both of our votes goes to Dingle, both the Conner Pass drive and Slea Head drive are beyond words to describe.


The only thing we missed that we really, really, really wanted to see was the ROCK of CASHEL. That was too bad.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our trip, our evaluations and general observations of this beautiful country.

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1. Re: Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

Wow - that was one of the longest postings I've seen on TA. Thank you so much for going into such detail. I'm sure this will help future visitors. You must have put some milage on the rental car!

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2. Re: Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

2,794 kilometers in all

Co. Kildare
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3. Re: Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

Thanks for that, JIMDSB! Very helpful to other visitors, indeed.

Nice to read that you got to Lough Eske, that is such a pretty part of Donegal. And I am delighted that you loved Dingle so much.

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Lough Eske
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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
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4. Re: Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

Wow is right. Thanks JIMDSB. That pub in Laragh is Lynhams. I'm glad the Merrigans in Glendale are well. I stayed at their self catering a couple of years ago. We're not used to the rain approaching, but I've often seen that in ireland. If you're at a place with a panoramic view you can see it in patches. It was also good to hear that the tour buses on RoK weren't too bad, as is the case most of the time. Cheers.

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5. Re: Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

Hi there! I have enjoyed your post immensely! My husband and I are going to Ireland for the first time in Nov. 06. We have used your review for enhancing our notes. We will be spending 28 dates there and will spend 2 - 7day self catering accomodations. One in Cork City and one outside Belfast. That way we unpack for 7 days and do day trips and save a few bucks by eating in the odd night when we are too tired to drag ourselves out! A bottle of wine and a light home cooked meal in from of the T.V. will be welcoming. We'll still have 14 days to do the BB and pub grub thing. We are hoping to spend one night in a Castle - not yet selected. Have to work on that one. Anyhow, loved your review and now you can watch for mine in early Dec. Signed, Highlandsally and Raggy Tartan!

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County Cork, Ireland
Northern Ireland, UK
6. Re: Detailed Trip Report driving July 20 - August 08

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