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Post Info TOPIC: April trip, airport, car, day 1


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April trip, airport, car, day 1


A little late, since we've been back for a month, but better late than never!!

Just as a precursor, we are two mid 40's and this is a first trip to Ireland or anywhere in Europe, Mexico had been the only foreign destination prior. The trip was the last week of April.

Into Shannon airport early and off to Don Dooley for car pick up, no problems as it is a small airport and very easy to navigate.  First contact with Irish people was at customs, night and day compared to the US, they were friendly and seemed to enjoy doing there jobs unlike most in the states!!  This would be a theme, Irish people seemd very happy on average. Cash machines also easily assessable at the airport so that was taken care of painfree.

First test was getting the car and driving!!  Got a Nissan Micra, a tiny car that would only fit one fullsize suitcase in the trunk, which was a concern until I got on the roads and drove.  For me, small was GOOD and definitely the way to go! Narrow roads throughout the South and Southwest so I was VERY happy and would not have wanted a larger car, driving past trucks and buses on narrow roads, crossing Conner Pass, just general driving, small was the ONLY way to go. Also, had a GPS and while it wasn't used the first day, it was a godsend the rest of the trip. 

Left the airport heading towards the Cliffs of Moher and then the Burren, had maps ready, knew what we needed to do so off we went.... had never used a GPS and didn't take time to figure it out but then who needs it anyway!!  We made it through Ennis and on our way to the Cliffs of Moher but this was where I learned about signage in Ireland!!  It may be easy for some but for me, it was like I was in a foreign country!! I could read them, I sometimes saw them but it was just different! Not hard if you know what you're doing, or maybe if you're a little more attentive and not so awestruck by the completely new surroundings, which I was, so needless to say, this is where we got lost our first time..... I won't try and explain roads but we ended up North of the Cliffs, driving the coast, wondering where we were and eventually we stumbled on Black Head Bay (??) and realized this was a part of the Burren. We'd wondered what all those rocks were, not really but it wasn't what we expected.  Once we parked and walked out to the water we realized we were the only people there and it was truly breath taking.  After exploring a little, taking some pictures, realizing the land we could see waaaay over there was Galway County we were off again, still not sure where we were but knowing it was early and the island isn't "that" big!!  We ended up in Ballyvaughan and finally knew where we were and what we needed to do to get back on track and to the cliffs.  For those of you familiar with this area it sounds like I was WAY off track, ok maybe I was, but in my defense, I'd planned for this route after the cliffs and then return to Ennis through the Burren so we missed more of the Burren while I back tracked but we did see quite a bit of County Clare......  For those unfamiliar, look at a map and laugh at my navigational skills!!  We then made it to the Cliffs and they were beautiful but it is a tourist destination and after the driving tour we had just taken it was harder to appreciate because of the more commercial feel and maybe the gale force winds played a part!?!?  Weather was reasonable most of the day, a couple of quick showers, 45/50 degrees F but windy while up on the cliffs. 

After this we decided to try and find our Inn, clean up, maybe rest a bit and then hit Bunratty for the early banquet. We knew it was too late to tour the park so it was only a dinner trip. Made it to Bunratty castle and tried to have a pint at the pub on the grounds, forget the name now, but could never find the way in that was supposed to be accessable from the outside so we ended up at Dirty Nellies. if you're going to be tourists, be tourists!!  It was OK, I don't understand the complaints about it but maybe it was the lack of crowds that made it OK for us??  Pint and a picture and off to Bunratty castle for the banquet.  We did the early show, food was OK, entertainment was good, camraderie at the community tables was fun. My only complaint was the pacing of the show, it was off to me, I thought it needed to be a little more lively as it progressed but was more ballad oriented towards the end. After the mead to start with and LOTS of food I needed a little more energy as the show moved forward. Overall it was very good and we were both glad we went but wouldn't do it again.  Then we were off and back to the Inn, stopped at the hotel pub for the last pint of the evening to see what it was like and this turned out to be much more fun than expected, it was a hotel bar/pub that had live music and a very lively older crowd that danced and had fun with every song played, a very nice end to a very full day. 

Day is now done though, we've been up for about 36 hours, flown billions of miles, driven about 200 Km and it is time to crash, 8:AM will come very early!!

I will end here and continue in another thread as this has turned much longer than expected.  I will say the first day went about as planned, we did virtually everything we wanted and being tired wasn't a factor nor was driving. Driving was different but I was so paranoid of the changes that they were non-factors, parking lots probably gave me the most trouble!!

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Getting lost is half the fun in that area of Ireland -- not to worry about taking the long way to your first stop.  Have fun and let the byways, instead of the highways, rule the day.

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Mark, 

Thanks for stopping by to add your trip report. You were really fairy-led on your first day in the country!   I remember my very first time in the Burren. It was pouring rain and I had not done my research or homework. I thought I was on the moon. It was not my idea of emerald hills. Now I am informed and know it is a very unique eco-system in Ireland. 

You can just continue posting on the same topic if you like. Do you mind if I move this to the "Trip Report" section of the forum? That is where everyone will be looking for it. 

Looking forward to more. smile

Michele

-- Edited by Michele Erdvig at 00:46, 2008-06-05

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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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Michele,

Please do (move this)! I was unsure but thought I remebered a similar thread running here so it was my mistake. With that said.........

The Burren eco-system was something else!! The plants growing out of bare rock, the bare, bleak look until you delve deeper, it was quite unique for us! I reached down to pick up a shell and low and behold it was a live snail!! That made quite a good picture to preserve the memory!

Mark

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Mark,

I moved your topic to "Trip Reports". We would enjoy hearing more when you have the time to add more. I have to get busy on my own trip report!

Michele

__________________

"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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