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Post Info TOPIC: Jessica's trip report


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Jessica's trip report


I went to Ireland with my aunt.  We flew out on Delta on Sunday, June 17th for an overnight flight to Dublin airport from Atlanta. We were there two days before the tour starts.  We did the CIE Castle and Manors tour. I enjoyed the tour, just got tired of the HUGE dinners each night.  I also wished msot of the hotels had been closer to town.  My pictures are also ready.  They are on snapfish.com.  I have to send you an invite to see them.  So if you would like to see the picutes email me at jessica42980@hotmail.com and put Ireland in the topic and I can end you an email invote for the pictures.

 
Day 1 June 18th:
 

We arrived and went through customs very quickly.  I had booked a taxi to get us to Carton House through a local Maynooth cab company.  The cab driver was waiting for us and took us to the hotel.  In my research I had learned that it is best to book through a Maynooth company because of two reasons:  1.  They will know where the hotel is and 2.  It should be cheaper.  And come to learn that both of those items were correct.

 

After we checked in, we walked around the grounds of the hotel.  We then got a cab to take us to the town center of Maynooth.  We saw the ruins of Maynooth Castle.  It was open for us to see. We also went to St. Patricks College.  We had lunch at Twist- a college eatery.  We walked along the main street of the town.  We then went back to the hotel and unpacked.  Alter we walked around some more of the hotel grounds.  We walked on the golf course and up to Carton Tower.  Later we had dinner.

 
Day 2:
 

We had breakfast and rode the train into Dublin.  We got so lost in the city!  But it was easy asking for directions.  And people gave good directions.  We went to St. Michans first since I wanted to see the mummies since I saw it in an article.  No photos allowed inside the vault, but I got a postcard of the mummies.  In our wanderings we found St. Audens- it was a good church to see and had a guided tour which was interesting.  We also went to the Dublin Tourism Center.  Then we had lunch at a diner- Eddie Rockets.  We went to Christ Church Cathedral but it was actually closed due to filming of the HBO miniseries, The Tudors.  We walked up Grafton Street then decided to get on one of those hop on, hop off city tour buses.  Your ticket is good for 24 hours.  We got off at stops for St. Patricks Cathedral, the GPO (post office, my aunt wanted to see it to see the bullet holes there.  I saw one).  We also went to the Chimney- but sadly, it was closed.  After that we went back to the hotel via the train.

 
Day 3:
 

The tour starts in the evening with a welcome drink.  After breakfast we took the train into Dublin again.   We were coming back to Dublin to go to Kilmainham Gaol.  We walked up the quay by the river Liffey for while.  The gaol was worth it to come back to Dublin!  After the gaol we went back on the city tour bus for a little while and saw what we did not see yesterday.  We went back to the tourism center and wandered our way back to the train station.   

 

Later in the evening the tour group met and had the welcome drink.  Our guide is Alistair and driver is Gerry.  There are 26 people on the tour.  The bus was a 53-passenger bus.  We all had room on the bus.  But I saw many buses that were full.   We just got lucky on this tour sine this is getting close to tourist season.  All were Americans except for one woman who is actually from Ireland.  And I was not the youngest!  There is a couple on their honeymoon that are 30.  There were also a 22 year old and 17 year old brothers with their parents and two girls 12 and 13 with their parents. Probably the average age on this tour was 40s.  We all ended up being a good group.  After the welcome drink we all had dinner together. 

 
Day 4:  First day of the tour:
 

We all went into Dublin.  We saw the place where Pope John Paul spoke to a million people.  We also saw the President of Irelands home with the burning candle for the people who have left Ireland.  Also saw where the American ambassador lives for $1 a year for rent.  We went to Dublin Castle.  There was filming for The Tudors here.  Took pictures of the extras and had pictures taken with the extras.  Too bad we didnt see any stars!

 
The bus then drove through Dublin and dropped off a group at the Guinness Storehouse.  The rest of the group was dropped off at Nassau Street for free time for a couple of hours before the bus took us back to the hotel.  My aunt and myself had lunch on Grafton Street and walked down Nassau Street some.  We went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells. 
 

The bus then took everyone back to the hotel.  Alter the bus went back to Dublin to take us all to the Jameson Distillery for a tour and taste of Jameson and then dinner and shindig.  The tour and dinner was good.  The show was also good.  I had a Jameson with cranberry juice.  It was good.  The two girls got to dance with the Irish dancers.  We all got back to the hotel late though- 11pm.  That was late considering the day!

 
Day 5:
 

We were leaving Dublin.  I was happy to leave the Dublin area and see something new.  We did not get our wakeup call!  The computers were down and the probably had something to do with it.  Luckily I woke up 15 minutes after the wakeup call was supposed to come- so we did good on time.  I had packed my suitcase the previous day. 

 

We had a brief stop at Abbey Leiks hotel.  We stopped for photos at the Rock of Cashel.  Our main stop for the day was Blarney Castle.  We were also given time for lunch.  My aunt and myself went to the castle first to kiss the Blarney Stone.  My aunt was not going ot kiss it but decided to after all. After we did that we went around the Rock Close and saw the different stops with that.  Then we had lunch and had some time for shopping at the Blarney Woolen Mills.

 

After Blarney Castle, the bus took us to Killarney to our new hotel:  Killarney Park Hotel.  We had some free time before dinner and the hotel is in the middle of town, which was nice.  After dinner some of us went to see Riverdance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was wonderful!  I had never seen it.  Around 15 people from the tour group went.  It was not part of the tour, but Alistair arranged it for us! 

 
Day 6:
 

After breakfast our tour group had a horse jaunting ride from the hotel to Muckross House.  We went through Killarney Park.  On the ground a party was being set up for Billy Vincent.  He was born in 1919.  No pictures allowed inside the house.  After Muckross House, we went to Kenmare and had lunch in a pub.  It was yummy.  Then we went to Ladies View,  part of  Molls Gap.  Gorgeous views.  The photos dont do the place justice!

 

The bus took us back to the hotel.  I think most people on the tour had the same idea- walk around town!  I ran into so many people in the tour.  I went around shops and found a shopping center.  I walked to a church across from the shopping center for a few pictures.  Then I went back to the hotel to take a shower and freshen up for dinner at the Killeen House, which was yummy!  Afterwards, most people on the tour had the same idea again- go to the pubs!!!  I went with a few ladies.  We actually ran into my aunt and the people she went with.  Got a photo of her with her Guinness.  That pub was too full, so the people I was with left.  We found another pub and got great seats!

 

At the pub they were showing some boxing match that must have been a big deal.  We figured this out when all the people in the pub stood up to sing Irelands national anthem.  They may have been drunk, but they were patriotic drunks!  We enjoyed watching all the people on the pub while we each had out Guinness.  At one point I was going in the restroom and a girl came out and said, Just checking. When I went in the restroom I saw what she meant.  There was a guy in the womens restroom peeing and talking on his cell phone!  For a while we thought there may have been some hanky panky going on in the mens restroom b/c women were going in there as well.  But we figured out that the mens room was also the back exit to go smoke.  Smoking is not allowed in pubs.  Finally after the boxing match was over we got to hear some music.  We got back to the hotel at 1 am.  As we were walking back to the hotel there was a guy peeing on the side of the road and didnt even stop as 3 women walked by him.

 
Day 7:
 

We left the hotel to go to our new hotel in Galway.  The bus took a car ferry across the River Shannon. We went to the Cliffs of Moher.  It was a gorgeous day to go to the cliffs!  Loved it!  Wonderful views.  We had great weather too.   Afterwards, we had a photo op of The Burren.    The Burren is barren land caused by people trying to get the limestone.  We arrived to out new hotel:  Glenlo Abbey.  Galway is still under water restrictions.  No drinking the water and no brushing teeth with the tap water.   I walked around the hotel some and later we all had dinner. 

 
Day 8: 
 

I read in the paper this morning that someone fell off the Cliffs of Moher trying to get better photos.  He was Hungarian.  The article did not say his age.  This happened on Saturday, the day before we went to the cliffs.  Our first stop was at Connemara Marble.  It is not part of the tour, but someone wanted to buy some and I think most people on the tour were glad she wanted some marble.We got a small description of hoe they handle the marble. 

 
Backon the road we passed by the bridge from the opening scene of The Quiet Man.  We also drove through the 12 pins of Connemara.  We then went to Kylemore Abbey and gardens.  After that we went on a catamaran cruise.    After that we went back to the hotel and then dinner was at the Pullman Resturant.
 
 
Day 9:
 

Leaving Galway for Northern Ireland.

 

Our first stop was at Ballintubber Abbey.  Pierce Brosnan was married here.  Later we stopped in Sligo for lunch.  Ate in a pub.  We briefly viewed WB Yeats grave.  We went to Donegal Castle and had time to shop as well.  We arrived at our new hotel-  The Radisson.  Had dinner there.  At this point everyone on the tour is tired of the big dinners:  Dinner is around 7 each night and BIG meals:  Appetizer, main course, dessert, coffee or tea.  And the main course is usually chicken, beef or salmon.  And I thought the proportions in the USA are big- they are HUGE in Ireland!  I dont eat that late so dinner was really late each night!

 
Day 10:
 

Giants Causeway and Derry!  I have been looking forwards to this day for the whole trip!  Weather was great at the Giants Causeway.  At Derry we had a walking guide.  Part of the walking guide was on the bus.  It was good and informative.  I wish we had more time in Derry though.  We saw the Bloody Sunday memorial and the murals that had been painted.  The one with the girl was sad to hear about.  Especially when the guide told us that her dad was at the mural everyday until he passed away a couple of years ago.  Back to the hotel for free time before dinner. 

 

Day 11:  last full day in Ireland L 

 
We went to the Ulster American Folk Park.  It was interesting.  It is outside and you start out in Ireland and end up in America.  Once I got to the American side, it started POURING so I hurried through the American side.  We had  three hours there including time for lunch.  The  bus took us back to Dublin to the last hotel for our last night in Ireland: Clontarf Castle Hotel.  We all had our final dinner together where everyone said their goodbyes.  Most of us were actually leaving to the airport at 8 am for the flight home.
 

Well that was my trip to Ireland!  I enjoyed it a lot and would like to go back.  I would like to go to Belfast.



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Great report! Sounds like a really fun trip. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Slán go fóill, Judy


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Jessica,

Welcome back and thanks for taking the time to let us know how your trip went. It sounds like you had an excellent time. Did you gain weight with all those big meals? wink You could have skipped some of the courses.

What was your favorite and least favorite thing? Which accommodation did you like the best and the least? Would you return to Ireland again? If so, would you do it on your own or take another tour?

Just curious!

Michele

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



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Jessica,

Thanks for your well written trip report. I found it so interesting because I've never been on a guided tour. Yours sounded very nice with 2 night stops along the way.

Thanks again, Joan

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joan chatham


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Michele-

Yes, it was a wonderful time!!!  I think I did gain some weight- but I have not gotten on the scale yet!!!  I did not eat even half the food they gave us!!  It was so much food.

May favorite was between the Cliffs of Moher and Giant's Causeway.  I also really enjoyed Kilmainham Gaol. I don't think I had a least favorite site we saw.  I would have liked to have seen more of Derry though.

My favorite accomodation was Killarney Park Hotel.  It was wonderful and in the middle of town.  Least favorite was Radisson.  But they were all nice though.

I would like to go back to Ireland one day, but my whole family is the type that we like tours.  Dont have to worry about driving and other things!  Next, it looks like my aunt and myself may go to Scotland. I dont think my mom wants to go there either.

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Jessica,

Thanks for the additional details. I always hate getting on the scale after a trip too. There are plenty of different tours out there. You could easily take another one in Ireland that goes to different places. Or even do it yourself using public transportation. Scotland is beautiful too. Many parts of it will remind you of Ireland especially the Highlands. Ireland and Scotland are so close that they have many connections, especially in the past if you look into history.

Michele

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.

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