Myself and my friend, June decided to go to Lisdoonvarna for the last weekend of the season as we had heard it was great craic. We arrived at the hotel on Friday at 8.30pm and we were starved only to find out that food had stopped serving at 8.15, we couldn't believe it, not a sandwich or even a pack of crisps could be found as even the Spar convenience store closes early (not very convenient).
Initially the staff were not very welcoming at all but they did loosen up the following day and once they had seen you more than once then they were just great. When we were checking in, my friend asked for a Seaview as she was sure that the website had said that but the Clerk/Manager just looked at her as if she was as thick as two short planks. This Hotel is out of Town, not too far though and has fields surrounding it - No Seaview.
So we got ready and went into Lisdoonvarna by 9pm to get grub only to find the same thing everywhere we went, they were finished serving but we did manage to ask some staff which pub was good to go to.
A disco was metioned for Saturday night and being 37 yrs old and from Dublin we are always concerned about us being almost too old for some of the joints in Dublin so there was the question to ask. Were we a bit old? Well the girl started laughing and said "More like to young you mean", Oh and that the previous weekend was a great weekend to have been down there, anyway we went on our way still in search of grub. The only place that was left was a Chinese on the cross-roads of the village, good food, large portions.
Next stop was a pub, We walked into the bar part of a pub which only seemed to contain the Older Locals and all male. Everyone stopped and just looked at us so we left as hastily as we could so We then walked up and down the street looking for a place that seemed to have good craic in it. Some of the pubs were closed and then we came accross the Gardai Station where the Garda was standing outside talking to some locals. We got into a chat (Such a great bloke) and found out where he had been stationed before in Limerick and in Dublin only to find out that it was in an old "Southside" haunt of ours, Dún Laoghaire. Anyway, after chatting for about half an hour and being told AGAIN that last weekend was a great weekend and we should've been there for it.
We made our way to the Matchmaker a couple of doors up to find that it must have been an OAP's night. We decided that we were wrecked anyway and look we'll head back to the hotel whilst on the way down to the Car we were accosted by these Holy Joe's with placards that said "Save yourself" Where this woman asked us "Where are you going to spend eternity?". All I could muster was a very rude "Where ever you won't be".
Our next stop was the Hotel Bar. Hahaha, I couldn't believe it, it was completely empty and the lights were off so we went in search of a pool table. Nope, no such thing at all. So guess where we ended up?... In our room watching telly and then we decided as it taken hours and hours to get there as we had badly gotton lost on the way down and we were wrecked anyway so we went to sleep, all by midnight.
Next morning broke and we decided it would be a great day. We went down to breakfast. Not the worst b'fast I've had but not great either. I also looked around our Hotel and really it was pretty grim.
The so called 80 tastefuly decorated ensuite bedrooms were not tastefully decorated at all but more like what you would expect to see in your grannys house before it was brought into the 20th centuary, even though it is an old castle it's not what I would expect. Half the wall paper in our room had clearly been replaced with the same type of wallpaper and I think they were waiting for the new half to go an aged and 1.2 million cigarettes smoked brown like the other half of the room. The Nightly entertainment with the famous Ceili dancing was no where to be found, maybe the Childrens playground was there but I couldn't see it, the Tennis court was a wreck as was the surrounding wire fencing and as for the Mini Golf Course which I think was a pitch and put was in total bits, I am also presuming as I did not ask, if this pich and put is what they were refering to on their website? The Main corridors had this nasty Cerise Yellow paint separated with a dado rail and then this snotty green colour at the bottom but in it's defense it was wonderfully warm as were the bathrooms and the beds were pretty comfy.
So we got some leaflets and decided what to do with our day. We went to a couple of shops and then headed for doolin. We were going to go to the Aran Islands. The smaller one, inis Oirr had shipwrecks and stuff like that - I couldn't wait.
We arrived at Doolin after getting lost AGAIN, I had managed to drive all round Australasia and had never managed to get lost and here we are in our own country, lost multiple times, signage just isn't our thing at all.
As Doolin comes into view, WOW. The prettiest little village (1 pub & 5 Shops) but it was nestled in a tiny valley by the harbour. As you drove down towards it, it was really like a flower opening up, just gorgeous. So I bought a lovely wooly hat as I figured once we got out to sea it would be windy and the boat was going to go along the base of the Cliffs of Moher. So off down to the Harbour we went.
The Boat was cancelled for the entire week - Gale force 10 was forecast, hahahaha, could you believe it? I was devastated. Even though the sea was choppy and had a big swell near the Harbour between 2 small land masses, It was fine further out and there wasn't a puff of wind and the sun was out in full force.
So, we went to Gus O'Connor's Pub for lunch. It's famous you know, for what, I'm not entirely sure as it's the only pub for Miles. It was such a nice lunch and we contemplated what had gone wrong with our weekend. I had left my husband Kevin, at home looking after our 13month old son Oisín, who I hadn't been away from longer than our working day and whilst I wasn't pineing for him I was beginning to think I could be at home playing Peek a Boo with him or pretending that I was going to catch him and I would have to give him a head start at letting him get away.
So we decided that The cliffs of Moher and the cave was next on our list but that we would go to Lahinch first as that was the only place that had a cashpoint. So off to Lahinch we went and we ended up spending all our money in the Celtic T-shirt Store and the book shop. We eventually left Lahinch to go back to Cliffs of Moher and it was so jammed with people we ended up giving it a miss. Big mistake. I had wanted to always see this fantastic place but as my life is just soo hectic and I always seem too tired these days, I wasn't really pushed at the time. I regret this.
Back in the Hotel, we decided we'de have dinner there and then head into the Village, hopeing beyond hope that it would be a good night. So down to dinner we went at 7.45 and we were the only ones there. Shortly after we were relieved to see another young couple come into the Dinning Room so we struck up a conversation, Pamela from West meath but living in Cavan with her Beau Peter from Tyrone.
The starters we chose were the Tomato soup. I love my Tomato soup but this stuff was straight out of a Tin, you know the type that would maybe be use in a Lasagne. Just the worst and 3 out of the 4 of us couldn't eat it. The 4th person and someone who wanted extra for her starter, who shall remain nameless (Pam) had a salad with croutons in it and it resembled the Pyramid's of Egypt.
The Main's were a good deal better with steak on the menu but all you had to know was how to fry it properly, unlike the Tomato soup, it didn't really require any culinary skills.
Despite the start of the meal we all had a great time with each other so we all thought we'de hang out with each other for the rest of the evevning and thank god we did. We set off into the Village and started off in Lynchs. It was a good start with almost every second tune being Modern or 80's and then alternating to country songs/ballads. Sure what could you really expect, we were in Co.Clare and one of the furthest points in Ireland. At one point when we were out having a smoke we were stopped by a lady asking us if it was any good in the pub as she was told that "Last weekend was better and she should've been there for it".
Eventually, we headed up the Main street to the Matchmaker encountering the Cool Garda again, and I noticed that unlike the last night he must have decided to bring the Paddy Wagon with him but I also noticed just how badly he parked it. So usual rude me had to comment on it and of course I got the correct response "He had heard there were some very dodgy Southsiders in town this weekend". Of course my response could only be that "Based on last nights entertainment, if tonight was no better, I'd be needing the Paddy Wagon to relieve the stress and dissappointment and sure how could I possibly go home without any stories to tell and being booked would be befitting a weekend away?"
So two doorways onwards we were in the Matchmaker and it was I am glad to say, it was jumping. I am also so glad to report that there were quite a few young people there but the only people who wanted to speak to you were the older folk that wanted to "pull and be married by the morning at the latest". One fella that kept trying to attach himself to my New friend Pamela kept rubing himself up and down her and at the same time telling her he had no money and would she buy him a drink? Ewwww, as if.
We were really beginning to have a good night so we moved onto the Hydro Hotel to the "Disco". We had heard that the "King" was being crowned tonight and Sunday it was going to be the...Yes you guessed it, the crowning of the "Queen". Ah no big deal says I...
So We were queing up and saw this ultra skinny Woman in her late 60's going in with bright Silver spandex trousers that looked like they were painted on and from a video from the 70's disco era. Now, we were really worried that the 4 of us practically jumped on the bouncer asking him what type of Disco was it really. His reply was "ah it'll be grand in the back" to which Peter said "NO, SERIOUSLY, WERE NOT GOING IN UNTIL WE KNOW". The bouncer relented and said that it was waltzing in one and a standard Disco in the other section and thankfully it was but poor aul peter was our protector and body guard for all the leeches that came flyng at us over the course of the night. I
told him to tell them all that we were his Harem and leave it alone. We had a great night and it was all over by 2.30am. We went back to the Hotel and put our heads down until breakfast and Checkout.
It was the day that the Burren Castle and much of the Village pretty much closed down until next spring.In the morning it was breakfast as usual which we shared with Pam and Peter and afterwards, we said our goodbyes, swapped phone numbers and promises to keep in touch, texts or facebook, whichever would come first. I think Pam's a facebook nut but we wished them a safe journey on their next stage of their holiday which was to Galway and checked out of the Hotel, homeward bound.
In summary, I couldn't really wait to get out of Lisdoonvarna and neither could June, Peter or pam as there was just this air of desperation about it and the same desperate people seem to go back year after year trying to get a Husband.
Really my advice is to join a decent club that doesn't have drink involved and stop panicing. Maybe it's easy for me to say that because I had one waiting for me to return after my trip to share my life and my Son with. Life and Opportunities where someone can meet a prospective partner is actually much more difficult in the very rural areas, it's hard in Dublin as it is.
Perhaps we were just unlucky with some things on this trip which can always happen. In so far as the hammering I gave the Hotel, well you know once It's safe, you have a nice comfy bed and a warm bathroom, it's all ok. Would I go back to Lisdoonvarna, not a chance but I do actually have great memories of the weekend and good focal points when chatting about it. Maybe that's all you need and the rest is irrelevant.
Next stop for myself and June... We think Connemara in Spring.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Burren Castle Hotel Lisdoonvarna is an 81 bedroom hotel nestled in the rolling Burren landscape of West Clare. All our rooms are en-suite with a view of the countryside, along with tea and coffee making facilities, direct dial phone, toiletries and multi-channel television. Wifi is available free of charge in the Lobby. Pets are allowed on request and must be pre-arranged. Ther is a charge per night and terms and conditions apply. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Whites Burren Castle Lisdoonvarna
- Burren Castle Hotel
- The Burren Castle Hotel Lisdoonvarna, Ireland