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First Solo Trip


Work has been going weird, and the weather's terrible for Spring, so yesterday I figured I'd try out Norwegian's service from Stewart airport in Newburgh NY.  It's a 4 hour drive for me, but worth it for $400 direct to Shannon, returning from Dublin.  It could have been less but I'm checking a bag, picking my own seat, etc.  They just started the SNN service and maybe 20/25 seats were taken.

I fly out next Wednesday for 10 nights.  Neither my wife or grown up daughters can make it.  This will be my 5th trip, Just explored the North last September.  

I was able to get a rental car from Fox through Priceline, 10 days, $186 for an automatic, including the drop-off fee for Dublin.  I got the tiniest car they had.  I drove a Fiat 500 in the Netherlands and it was great for tight spaces.  I'll use my credit card for Insurance coverage.

What I've pieced together is:

1 night Limerick, (4/26) close to airport, hit the castle and wander around.  Jet Lag and driving the first day haven't gotten any easier.

3 nights Killarney, actually booked a van tour of Ring of Kerry.  I've never done this pennisula, and am looking forward to being driven around.  I've driven Beara and Slea Head previously.  Weather is good I'll do Gap of Dunloe, either biking or walking.  

2 nights Clonakilty, Spent an afternoon and thought the place nice, so I'll check it out a bit more.

1 night Cork, Only got caught in traffic here a few trips back, first time stopping.  

2 nights in New Ross.  I had a note to visit Inistioge, and all the lodging is booked, so New Ross looked nice.

Last night in Dublin, near Phoenix Park.  There wasn't much available, and I've been wanting to go to Kilmainham Gaol, so I've booked a ticket for that.

I've gone and booked lodging, fingers crossed!  Can't be too fussy this late.

 If anyone knows of anything special going on the next 2 weeks in any of those spots, I'd appreciate the information.  Just hoping for good weather and bringing some good books for bad.  I've had good luck picking one or two things a day to try and do, and then see what happens. 

 

 



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Whilst in Clonakilty, be sure to check out De Barra's Folk Club:  http://debarra.ie/     



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Thanks, just what I was looking for.  Trad on Monday's @ 2130, lines up perfectly.

Keep 'em coming folks.

 

Desmond Hall in Newcastle West looks like a nice place to stop enroute from Limerick to Killarney.  Anyone have thoughts on this place?

 



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I just used Norwegian for direct flight from Providence RI to Belfast.
Round trip was $300!!

Flight was great and service was great. It was quite the bargain!

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Jeff- I agree, no issues w/ flight over. The Shannon service just started from Newburgh...I had an empty row to myself and actually got some sleep.

3 days of sunshine in a row! Rented an E-bike and went to top of Gap of Dunloe, swapped in a new battery in town, and then did the Muckross Castle loop. On a normal bike, I could have done the Muckross loop, that's it. For 35E, I thought a real bargain.

I had taken the boat/bike tour before, on younger knees, and didn't want to do that route again.

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Bob- Thanks for the DeBarra's mention, good music and got to meet Bo the dog, who was with one of the musicians.

Had seafood chowder at the Copper Pot, which is attached to the Clonakilty Hotel. Some of the best I've had, combined with a fish cake off the appetizer menu, it was a perfect meal. Just a few minute walk down from DeBarra's.



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Debarras has a long and storied history.  It had strong links to Noel Redding (and, therefor, Jimi Hendrix!) for many years and has hosted monthly concerts by multi-Meteor Award-winning, John Spillane (1/2 of the Gaelic Hit Factory and member of Nomos).

Over the years, I've met a few of Spillane's 'Opening Acts' -- Ciaran Wynne, Nial Connolly and Emer Dunne -- So, I can honestly say that De Barra's has made a significant impact on my life!

Glad to hear that you enjoyed it, too!



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Followed up with a trad session @ O'Donovan's Hotel, which is a few doors down from Debarras.
There were probably 12 musicians gathered, one being either the twin sister of the owner, or she's a co-owner herself. Regardless, it looked like half the crowd had know each other all their lives. Really enjoyable.

It was a bit warm to me where they were performing, so you could just slip into the hotel lobby, sink into the leather chairs, and flip through the paper and hear everything just fine. That truly felt like being at home. A great atmosphere.

Rainy day, perfect for the Michael Collins museum. Interesting and well done. Then took a drive to Baltimore and visited Dún na Séad Castle. The history of the local area was well laid out. Had no idea that over 100 townspeople were taken in a raid, to be sold as slaves in Algiers. The villagers were understandable spooked, and many move further inland and Skibereen was born.

The architecture of the restored castle is amazing. It was just 4 stone walls not long ago. A row of windows was installed that run the long sides of the building, with the huge oak beams carrying the entire load, so no post are required between the windows. Great light, you'd love to curl up with a book in either loft area, where couches have been placed for a quick rest. The owners live their and were super nice to talk to.

On to Cork, and what looks like more sun.

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In Baltimore, every June is the O'Driscoll Clan gathering (my wife's paternal grand-mother was an O'Driscoll who was born, 'just up the road', in Drimoleague!) and for that weekend, the Castle throws open it's doors and flies the O'Driscoll flag.  biggrin   biggrin

The view from the ramparts is incredible!   

John Spillane lives in Cork city (the wife of my father-in-law's Cousin was the musician's kindergarten teacher, in fact!) -- so you might see if he is performing about the vicinity.  confuse   confuse

There is an excellent pub -- the Oliver Plunkett fairly close to the English market that might be worth a visit:   http://www.theoliverplunkett.com/      



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Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!

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