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Post Info TOPIC: Luck O' The Irish........Our FIRST trip


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Luck O' The Irish........Our FIRST trip


Just returned yesterday from our first trip to Ireland, and we had the luck o' the Irish the entire stay!  Can you believe, we were there for 7 days in February, and it did not rain on us ONCE??
We found the people to be charming, and the country as beautiful as everyone says. 

I took almost 1000 pictures omfg.gif during our stay and we made the most of our time there, without trying to push ourselves too much.
My husband managed to catch on quickly to the driving, while I was blown away by the gorgeous, hedgerowed countryside.  (How can it be this green in February??)

We started out from Dublin Airport to the Lough Bishop House, a B&B in County Westmeath.   We stayed 2 nights on this working farm, and enjoyed visiting with Helen (a transplant from England), and her husband, Christopher.  The bed was very comfortable, the shower wonderful, and the breakfast very ample and tasty.  We found we had alot in common with our hosts, and I'm afraid we kept Helen up much too late on our last night there, because we were having such a great time telling stories.  ashamed.gif This was definitely the PERFECT way to be introduced to the country! 

While staying at the Lough Bishop house, the first afternoon we traveled to Fore village to see Fore Abbey, which Helen recommended, and was NOT on our "list of must-sees".  It was awe-inspiring to see these structures and ruins, much off the beaten path, but well-worth an afternoon's visit.  Just the thought of seeing with your own eyes something that is medieval makes one realize how very young our country really is!  I couldn't stop taking pictures.  (a bit obsessed by the history of my surroundings, I'd say) eyepopping.gif

On day two, we traveled a short distance to the town of Trim and walked the castle grounds there, while enjoying the fog off the river Boyne to make our experience that much more authentically Irish  biggrin.gif  We walked through a few of the small shops and met an elderly shopkeeper who volunteered us an overwhelming abundance of Irish history and pride.  He entertained us with his vision of Ireland, and made us feel very welcome in his little town. 

We went on through Tullamore (just a drive-through.......didn't see anything we needed to stop for), then stopped at Durrow because I saw an old church and cemetery I wanted to snap pictures of.  What a delight it was to find a gentleman there who was working on the geneology of the churchyard cemetery "inhabitants".  He talked to us at length about his work, and all the sights he had seen in the United States, while visiting there.  We had a good laugh because he has been in more of the states than we!  He directed us just up the road to the Durrow High Cross site.  It was closed for refurbishment, so we just glimpsed through the wrought iron gate there. 

On to Mullingar, just for a drive-around, then to a tiny village called Multyfarnham to enjoy a wonderful meal in a charming bar/restaurant called Weirs.  We were early, so got the table right in front of the fire.  Our meals were excellent and the prices were very reasonable.

On day three, we sadly told our hosts at Lough Bishop House goodbye, and headed down to Cork City.  We stopped at Birr to stroll around the castle grounds and enjoy their hospitality. 

After a leisurely drive down from Birr, we managed to find our B&B (Gabriel House) in Cork City easily, and found it was a 5 minute stroll from the city center, so went down to find a bite to eat.  We were a little travel-weary, and went back to our B&B to enjoy some much needed rest. 

From our Cork City "hub" we travelled the first day to the 3 K's, Kilarney, Kenmare, and Kinsale.  We found Kilarney to be a fun town to shop for souveniers, discovering all the side streets and vendors. We steered clear of the Muckross house and Ross castle, in order to take in a couple more towns.

In Kenmare we had a wonderful meal at
The Horseshoe Pub, after traveling the rocky, mountainous roads down from Kilarney......an absolutely beautiful trip! (of course, stopped in several spots to shoot pictures).  I found this to be a "Fairy Tale" village full of color and charm.

We got into Kinsale later that afternoon, and walked around, after stopping by some church ruins, and an old cemetery enroute.  Another beautiful drive through craggy country, dodging sheep a few times who had broken through their fences. sheepish.gif  (You don't see this in Illinois!)  We had a good meal at a pub called Muddy Maher's in Kinsale and just stayed for awhile to watch and listen to the locals.  A friendly place, with great food.   Then back to Cork to our B&B for a good night's sleep.

We spent the next morning in Cork City, amazed at all the shoppers, and totally enchanted by the English Market there.  We had a wonderful lunch at the Farmgate Cafe', overlooking the market, and found it a spectacular place to watch the people there.  After picking up a boxed cake in the market at Heavenly Cakes, we went back to our room to devour it.  (Indeed it WAS Heavenly!)
 
We then drove down to Cobh, and I'd have to say this was my favorite little town (if you forced me to choose).  The history, the color, the beautiful coastline, and the cathedral on the hill were all I needed to make me say, "I don't want to go home!"  We spent the afternoon here, and my husband had to drag me back to the car so we could take in the sights of Youghal before we left the area the next day.  Another lovely coastal town.  After a couple of hours, we grabbed a bite to eat at The Quay's Bar.  The
meal was wonderful, and surroundings warm and inviting.

Out from Cork the next day...............to be continued. 


-- Edited by USA_Michele at 17:03, 2008-02-22

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Phew!! Still getting over my jet lag, but I think I can finish this report today. 

As we left Cork on Sunday, February 17th, we headed up to our first stop, Kilkenny.  We stopped off at Kilcash, just to take a couple of quick picks of the castle ruins there, but we wanted to be able to spend most of the day in Kilkenny, so didn't dawdle.

After parking in the handy downtown lot, we walked less than a block to the castle and enjoyed a sunny, warm February day.  It was still morning, so not many people milling about yet.  Got lots of pictures, then headed to the town center and were enthralled by the midieval sites.  A kindly gentleman saw me looking over my walking map, and offered his expertise on the Black Abbey, making us welcome to his town. 

We wandered into Kytler's Inn about noon for a good meal by the fire, and then walked the narrow lanes and now pedestrian-crowded streets, until we decided we'd better get moving on to our B&B in Lusk.  The antiquity of this town was the very thing I'd come to Ireland to experience, so I'm glad we stopped by for a look. 

The Hillview House B&B was located just outside of Skerries, so we dropped into that little village for a bite to eat Sunday night.  We found the Ardgillan Castle first, and enjoyed watching dozens of children playing on the grounds surrounding the castle, and families walking back up the hill from their picnics.  The castle was closed for the day, but I took pictures and then headed to a quaint little pizza parlor in town.  Had a good meal, and then we crashed in our bed back at Lusk

Katie, the proprietor of the Hillview House gave us direction the next morning for catching the train from Skerries into Dublin.  We parked in town amongst the other commuters, and hopped on the train for a 30-40 minute ride to Dublin

Again, more sun......we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to make our last in Ireland.  We thought about taking the city tour, but then decided to just "hoof" it through the city.  We were so glad we did.  With city map in hand, we found all the highlights on our own and thoroughly enjoyed our day there.  Trinity College was beautiful, and we spent quite a bit of time at the gift shop there.  Quite a line to tour and see the Book of Kells, so we went on to explore on our own.  Found the Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, and St. Patrick's Cathedral, before heading to Gogarty's Pub for a wonderful lunch and some live music. 

More shopping, pictures, and then the train ride back to Lusk, for the sad task of packing up to go home the next day.

Until Next time...........................................

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Loved your report. You saw a lot in the short time you were there. How awesome that the weather cooperated with sunshine every day. I took over 500 pictures on our trip last September, but you went way beyond that. Have fun sorting them and reliving memories.

Merle

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Merlene M Black


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Thanks Merle,

Yes, the picture-sorting is a daunting task, but so much fun to re-live the memories. 
What a wonderful time!  ~ Michele

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I too loved your report, I like the details. In my trips to Ireland i've always gotten a little mist at least. Seven whole days without rain of any kind, WOW! I hope you plan to share some of your photo's.

Kind Regards, Joan

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joan chatham


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Thanks for sharing!
I am getting ready for our first trip and you just made me even more excited...if that's possible!! :+)

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Joan,
Thanks! I will get the photos online soon. 
Where do most people on here post theirs?
~ Michele

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Jill and John,

We think the country is absolutely ENCHANTING! If you enjoy it HALF as much as we did, they'll have to drag you to your plane when you leave biggrin

Enjoy!!

~ Michele

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Michele,

Thanks for posting under the Trip Report section of the forum. It makes it much easier for people to find and enjoy. What a wonderful trip you had. I hope you will plan another trip to Ireland in the future. It is a lovely country.

If you do an Internet search for "online photo storage" you will come up with places to put your photos. Many here like Flickr. If you do get your photos online we would love to see them.

Michele

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Thanks, Michele,

I have an account with Flickr, so will probably put some on there.  I'll let you all know when I get that accomplished. 

~Michele

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Michele,

We would enjoy seeing them when you find the time. I know the problem is always choosing the best ones.

Michele

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Thanks Michele!

I am most CERTAINLY going to purchase your latest book before the NEXT trip to Ireland........your tips (and those of others) were so helpful for our first one!

Amazingly enough my husband managed to manuever the narrow roads, while I navigated reading.gif the GREAT map Avis car rental gave us with our car.  We found out the maps we had from the book store weren't nearly as detailed.  

We purchased the extra insurance for our car through the company you recommended and thought (YIKES!!) we might have to use it at one split second while ENTERING the airport on the day we were to fly home!!  Fortunately, we eeked through unscathed. Phew!

Everyone seemed so patient with what I'm sure they recognize to be "virgin drivers" in Ireland, unlike the road rage you see here in the states.  It was very refreshing.   Our wonderful hostess, Helen, at the Lough Bishop House told us it's quite common for drivers to pull over to the hard shoulder (when there is one) to let the more experienced drivers go by, so that was a very helpful hint when we just wanted to take in the scenery, or get our bearings.

We laughed back at home later about the round-abouts, and how they were great for first-time drivers, as you could just go round and round, until you figured out exactly WHERE you needed to get off biggrin  A great system, really!

Another thing I noticed in the big cities AND small villages, is the Irish are POLITE people.  Any time someone stepped in front of me or bumped me, (and more often than not, it was my fault)  I would hear "Oh, sorry!"  I MISS that here in the states, especially in the bigger cities. 

We laughed also about the size of soft drinks in some of the establishments we ate in.  Neither of us are drinkers beer.gif (can you BELIEVE we even THOUGHT of going to Ireland!) so we learned quickly to drink tea, because sodas were somewhat hard to come by.  The first pub we went to for a bite, I ordered a soda and was looked at in total amazement.......when the waitress brought out my drink it was about "2 fingers" in a shot glass.  FUNNNNNNY!!!  I was almost AFRAID of what was in it, but it turned out to be just a very tiny serving of ginge ale. 

Thanks again, Michele........your site was priceless to us.  I'm so glad hubby found it before we left (albiet a bit late!)

~ (the other) Michele


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The best places to buy "sodas" are garages; they all have a large fridge full of bottles. Water, coke, lucozade, etc etc etc.

Bliss in summer...

Had you asked for lemonade etc...
 
Glad you found Fore;that was a favourite place when we lived nearer. It is so well kept... my interest as an erstwhile hermit is the anchorite cell on the hillside opposite.

I used to be there every few weeks.

It all stays special because few find it. The whole valley is kind of cut off, with a very strong community spirit thus. The coffee shop has all kinds of literature on it and she does good coffee and home baking.

Maybe I will never see it again in the flesh, but the memories are strong always.

Blessings

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Yes, Anchoress........we noticed when we stopped for gasoline, there was an abundance of soft drinks there. 

We both enjoyed our time in Ireland so much, something as trivial as liquid refreshment would NOT deter us from another trip.  disbelief.gif

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Ah, I know, but all the same it is good to have these things....

I meant to ask, but see from the beautiful photos that you missed the Franciscan Friary at Multyfarnham?

The Church there has parts dating back 700 years. Truly beautiful and used still by the tiny community there and by people from miles around.

The grounds too are sheerly beautiful; there is an outdoor Stations of the Cross.

All open to the public. 
Blessings 

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Anchoress,

We did stop at the Franciscan Friary, but it was dark and my pictures were very grainy. I would have stopped there first, but didn't know about it's existence until our meal at Weir's.  The waitress told us NOT to miss it before we left. 

NEXT time!!

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Great Trip report! It was lucky to get such good weather for your trip. You must have had a wonderful time. How did you find driving times? And if I could ask, what was the extra insurance that you got for your car? We are planning our trip for this summer and reading about your wonderful time makes me so excited!!!

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Hello Chochokie,

We really had a wonderful experience in Ireland, and hope you do the same this summer.  Glad you enjoyed my report.
Several things in the Irish B&B's were different from back home, and we adjusted accordingly.  The hosts in each were fabulous, and very helpful with our questions regarding the surrounding areas and how to get places.  The sweet girl at our last B&B even drew us a picture to make sure we got it right biggrin when we wanted to catch a train into Dublin from Skerries. 

We purchased, through www.insurance4carhire.com , the extra insurance for our Avis rental car.......worth the peace of mind when you start reading about people paying for tires, windshields, etc.  Michele, our wonderful host has mentioned this site in several posts, and we were glad to happen upon it.  We were fortunate NOT to need it, but I think it was money well spent, considering things can be a bit confusing when you're not used to driving on the left.

We found the traffic in February to be very managable, however the secondary roads could be treacherous if one had a tendency to a lead foot.....when everyone on this forum tells you to take your time, it's very good advice to follow, as secondary roads are very curvy (severe bends ahead! eyepopping.gif) and much of the time there is no shoulder for error.........lots of hedgerows and stone walls make for even more reason to take it slooooooooow.......but my, oh my, what a beautiful drive.

The motorways were much more like our interstates, but we didn't take them unless we had to, just because the scenery was much more enjoyable on the secondary roads.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!  Can't wait to read YOUR report smile

~ Michele



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Michelle,

Multyfarnum is such a cute little village. So glad you made it to Fore. Did you know about the 7 Wonders of Fore?
1. The wood that won't burn
2. The water that runs uphill
3. The monastery built on a bog
4. The water that won't boil
5. The anchorite in a stone
6. The lintel that was raised by prayer
7. The mill without a race
Did you see the tree with all the cloth tied to it? If you tie a bit of cloth on it...it is supposed to cure ailments of the throat. And did you get a chance to go in the little pub in the village? I had a nice visit with the owner one year, I believe her name is Peg....she came in from the fields to pull us a pint and give us a history of her pub and tell us the names of all her cows. A real delight! As you can tell, I love Fore. My cousin lives near there so I wander over there quite often. And the Franciscan Abbey....there is a holy water font in the church from the 1600's!! They added on to the chapel and it was built just as in the old days. People from the area volunteered to help build it. My cousin did quite a bit of work on it.

Your pictures are great!

Maureen

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Maureen,

Thanks for all the info on Fore.  Next time we get back there (and there WILL be a next time) we'll definitely have to take it all in!!  Fore was our first stop, and I'm afraid we were still a little jet-lagged, and didn't really delve into all the secrets and such.  I probably took 100 pictures in that little village alone, though, so I can go back and enjoy that way until we land there again. biggrin

~ Michele



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Thanks for your kind words, glad you had an enjoyable meal and that you got to the Friary, maybe we will see you next time you are in Ireland.............. - check out our web site www.weirsmultyfarnham.ie

Una & Pat Weir,
Weirs Pub
Multyfarnham


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Michele, I think this was one of the best reviews I have read. Very easy, not too lengthly & loved all the new ideas of places you stayed, ate, and saw. I know you had a wonderful trip and have already begun to make plans for the next one! Thanks for sharing, Youngka

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Fore is a hidden treasure that few find.

The anchorite cell alone is a unique story.

And opposite that cell, the ruins of the oldest Benedictine Abbey in Ireland.

with a beautiful ancient dovecot; used for messages and food.
 
A hidden valley of great spiritual depth.

Blessings this day
off a while now, but can be contacted on anchoresscj ay yahoo dot com

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So nice to hear from you, Una!  We did, indeed, have a splendid meal at your pub and hopefully will be able to return soon.  We would have liked to see the Friary in the daylight hours, but were enjoying ourselves by your fireside for too long.  What a cozy atmosphere!

~ USA Michele


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Youngka,

You are too kind!  I'm glad you enjoyed my review.  Perhaps next time I can ramble on and on because we will stay longer biggrin

It's amazing how a country so small can have so much to offer and see.  Hope your next trip is amazing!! Do you have pictures on any website to view? 

~USA Michele


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Hello!  I don't know how to put pictures on the Internet  cry   .......can you tell me or someone else who may be reading this tonight??   We have been to Ireland 3 times and last trip was for a month, our friends don't understand why we keep returning -- I just tell them they have to go once and they will know.  I don't think we will ever see all we want to see.  If prices are good next May, we plan on going again for a month and want to travel from Shannon to Shannon around the entire coast......I am sure I will be making reservations and taking advantage of some of the things you described in your notes.  THANKS!  Youngka

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