I just want to post a very short report of our 4 week trip in May. We flew from Toronto to Dublin with Westjet. We had about an hour stopover in Newfoundland to refuel and stretch our legs. I much prefer to fly into Shannon but unfortunately no Canadian carrier is offering flights to Shannon at present. Arriving at about 0730 our original plan had been to pick up the rental car and drive cross-country to the West but the timing seemed clumsy. We ended up making connections to Kerry Airport arriving early afternoon. The short flight was on a noisy prop plane but was very reasonable (subsidized) and is an option I would not hesitate to use again. Picked up our Opel Corsa from Avis at Kerry Airport and drove 5 minutes to Woodlands Guesthouse for some much needed rest. Woodlands is an attractive guesthouse in the countryside, the owners were welcoming and helpful; they were available but not intrusive. There are reasonable food options down the road in Farranfore. Breakfast in the morning was exceptional.
We took a very leisurely drive to Portmagee in the morning. Toured around Valentia Island, enjoyed taking a few photos at Geokaun Mountain and Cliffs - great views. We stayed at the Moorings Guesthouse in Portmagee, enjoyed dinner and a few pints at the friendly Fisherman's Bar. The Moorings was very busy, clean, and comfortable; breakfast was good. Had a slow and very scenic drive along the coast and through Ballinskelligs to Kenmare - a few stops along the way. It is certainly worthwhile to get off the N70 part of the ROK to enjoy the quieter roads of the Skellig Ring.
When we arrived early at the White Room to check in to our self-catering rental, the Shelbourne Townhouse, we were surprised to find that it (The White Room) had suffered a serious fire and was closed. After tracking down the staff we learned that all the rental records had been destroyed in the fire; they did have my name and rental dates but no further info. It was all a bit unsettling but we were pleased to get into the house and settle in. The Townhouse is in a perfect location in Kenmare which is my wife's favorite Irish town. It is a charming 200 year old Georgian house that is right in the center of town. There are 4 rooms on 4 floors - a big well-equipped kitchen in the basement with patio doors out to a quiet little back garden, a roomy living room on the main floor with front door onto Shelbourne Street, a bedroom and bathroom on the first (2nd in N. America) and on the top floor another bedroom. We were very comfortable there for our 2 week stay. There are a few points that should be mentioned. The literature said that wi-fi was provide at a not too reasonable cost; it is now free as it should be. There were some things that needed attention/improvement. Laundry facilities and bathroom plumbing could use an upgrade and the rather detailed 'book of rules' needs updating. While we were very comfortable I would not call the Townhouse luxurious. Lorraine (my wife) tells me the bedding, linens etc were of very good quality. We both found the decorating a bit fussy for our tastes - white paint everywhere but it seemed that some things under the paint needed a bit of attention. All that being said we would definitely stay there again.
Two weeks in Kenmare never seemed too long. Dining options are varied and good; We mostly ate in the many reasonable food pubs, Davitt's became a particular favorite. It was great to renew acquaintances at Crowley's Bar; we have very fond memories of Mrs Crowley who we were privileged to spend time with years ago. Her son Peter carries on the tradition of a very welcoming atmosphere with good conversation and regular music - traditional and otherwise. During our stay we spent a lot of time touring the area. The Beara Penisula remains a favorite. We took an adventurous 'short cut' past the top of Croom to Gougane Barra one day but had to return another day because of an ill-timed rain storm. Generally had very reasonable weather.
We drove from Kenmare to Listowel where we spent a week in the Red Door Apartment upstairs from John R's Bakery and Delicatessan. I have driven through Listowel in the past but this was our first stay. The apartment was great - very comfortable and exceptionally well-equipped. The owner, Pierce Walsh was in the bakery/deli/restaurant downstairs and was always extremely helpful. The apartment is newly renovated and much thought was given to everything. It is very roomy and open with big windows looking down on the busy market town. I must say I have a weakness for normal working towns a bit off the tourist trail and Listowel is now on my list of favorites. Lively pubs and a well-kept bustling nature made the town a pleasure to spend a week in. Plenty of good drives in the neighborhood to blue flag beaches.
From Kenmare we drove to Birr, Co Offaly where we spent a few nights at the Maltings Guesthouse. The guesthouse was very friendly and well-run. Well located right on the river and steps from the town center it is quiet, comfortable and a very good breakfast was provided. Birr was one of the first places we ever visited in Ireland and remains a favorite. Craughwell's Bar was a pleasure as always.
We spent the night before our flight home at the Premier Inn at Dublin Airport. They have a very success plan but I would find somewhere else for dinner.
We have visited Ireland a number of times and always receive great advice from your website. We have never been keen to try and do too much but this year we slowed the pace even more and it was great. Thank you again Michelle and everyone else for all your expert advice.
Thanks so much for the delightful trip report. I love Kenmare too and always enjoy spending as much time there as I can. There are a couple of self-catering places in Kenmare I can recommend. Doire Farm Cottages (a few miles from town toward Kilgarvan in the countryside) (Anne gives my readers a discount). Ger at O'Donnabhain's has several properties including this one in town, which I inspected: Carraig Beag Although I stayed at this one slightly out of town: Bun Cillatah .
How was the noise level at The Red Door in Listowel? Did it have a washer and dryer? It is a nice town, isn't it?
I recently stayed at The Old Boley outside Wexford town and it was wonderful. Never too early to start more planning!
"Ireland Expert" Michele ErdvigClick links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland ItineraryVisit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.
The Red Door does have a combined Washer/Dryer that was brand new and worked very well - not like some of the older units we have encountered in the past. No problem at all with noise in the apartment which is quite large - bedrooms are at the rear. Carraig Beag, with its great location was on our list of possibilities; I don't recall if it was available when we booked. We spent a few days at O'Donnabhain's in a previous trip and were very impressed with Ger - the hardest working man in Ireland! The owner of the Shelbourne Townhouse and the White Room is finishing a new building right on Henry Street that will house self-catering units.