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Post Info TOPIC: Ireland (Sept 2008)
dc


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Ireland (Sept 2008)


Hi all,

Just wanted to put up a summary of what I was able to do when I went to Ireland this fall (Sept 2008).  I really appreciated everyone's advice and assistance for our journey.

My friend and I left Toronto, Ontario on Sept 5, 2008 (unsure of what lay ahead) and took our first international flight.  We landed in Dublin on Sept 6, 2008 (mid-day) a little dazed from the time change and being in a new location.  We picked up our rental car from the airport and a GPS (one thing I'd recommend to anybody who, like me, doesn't always have a good sense of direction).  Thankfully the gentleman at the rental car company programmed our first location in.  It took a few minutes of driving on the right side of the road for me to realize I needed to be on the left. Oops ;)

Sept 6 (Saturday)
- Drove down to Powerscourt (wonderful spot) and toured the gardens for several hours... absolutely incredible.  I had no idea there were palm trees in Ireland.  Everyone in Canada was looking at my pictures in disbelief when I got back... they were also astounded by how green Ireland was. :)
- we drove to Laragh for the night and stayed at.... Bracken B&B... nice spot
- went to Glendalough that evening

Sept 7 (Sunday)
- Sunny Day :)
- went to Glendalough early (after a lovely Irish breakfast)
- hiked up a hill in behind the round tower/church and got some amazing views from upper lake
- drove up the Wicklow Gap
- went to Trim Castle
- Stopped at the Hill of Tara and the Hill of Slane
- Drove to just near Dundalk to check into B&B --> lovely host... gave us recommendations of where to eat and things to see that evening.
- we got to see Carlingford - a pleasant unplanned surprise... saw King John's Castle, ate at a cafe and walked along the harbour... afterwards saw the Proleek Dolomen (in behind a golf course on the way back to Dundalk)

Sept 8 (Monday)
- woke up to another wonderful Irish breakfast (I love bacon like that, it's too bad there isn't bacon like that here)
- drove from Dundalk through Newry and into the Mourne Mountains (beautiful... I would spend more time in the Silent Valley Resevoir... some of my best pictures)
- drove onto Downpatrick - stopped at Inch Abbey (lovely spot, tucked a little off the road, but well worth it) --> GPS had a hard time finding the St. Patrick Centre (or perhaps we didn't program it right)... missed the museum, but kept driving
- drove through Belfast on the motorway (wished we had stopped to see it)
- Carrickfergus castle was incredible (spent a few hours here- met some fellow Canadians from Quebec)
-Drove from Carrickfergus up through the Causeway Coastal Route (met somebody from Northern Ireland before I left Canada who recommended a few things I hadn't planned on) --> we stopped to see Ballygally castle, and stopped just about every 10 minutes to get pictures of the scenic drive -- one recommendation I would have to visitors going to Northern Ireland (take more time to see it... the coastal drive could have been much more leisurely in two days and you'd be able to drive it end to end).
- Glenarrif Forest Park (we breezed through in an hour, take more time than that... it's truly worth the views and the trails to see the waterfall park before dusk... so many waterfalls and there is a tea house at the bottom of the route (also didn't get to stop there, but would have also been neat to see).
- we were in a bit of a hurry to get to our B&B... we told the GPS to use the shortest route and drove on a road called "Skerry Road"... and it literally means what it says... it was scary. ;)
- stayed in a b&b south of Bushmills --> Carnglass B&B

Sept 9 (Tues)
- neat breakfast, slightly different from all the other breakfasts we had.  Our host was really nice and talked to us about sights to see and places she would recommend.
- got up to Giant's Causeway --> WOW... lifetime goal checked off of mine.  Absolutely beautiful, unusual rocks, but beautiful.
- we had to cancel the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge due to high wind and rain
- we drove west to Dunluce Castle --> spent some time here, got a few pictures of the Portrush Whiterocks... very neat (nice little cafe at the parking lot that had currencies from around the world above the till... wishing I had brought some Canadian currency with me at that moment).
- drove further west to the Downhill Estate... I suppose when you see pictures on the internet and aren't overly familiar with the location, that you can often be pleasantly surprised... this turned out to be a large estate with several buildings, a house and of course the Mussenden Temple (really nice, right on the cliffs)... we spent hours here.  I couldn't believe how big it was! (and I think it was only 4 pounds per person too)
- we drove to Derry from there --> a little scary to drive in our first big city, but we managed to get to the tourist information office.
- skipped the Grianan of Aileach (sadly) and the Newmills Corn and Flax mills
- checked in to our B&B in Donegal (Heeney's Lodge -- amazing room!)
- had dinner where our B&B host recommended --> sadly I didn't write down many of these locations -- excellent seafood.

Sept 10, 2008 (Wed)
- I suppose in advance of my trip, I should have planned for the weather a bit more.  But despite changing plans, this ended up being a day of many adventures.
- drove west from Donegal to Malin Beg --> got my best sheep pictures here.  It was a bit windy and rainy (but it didn't matter, we were in Ireland!)- touched the Atlantic Ocean from the other side for the first time!
- cancelled Slieve League due to the weather
- drove south to Creevykeel (megalithic tomb)
- drove west to Mullaghmore Head --> WOW! Another surprise I wasn't expecting.  Got to see Dolphins (in the northern-west of Ireland) - amazing
- drove south to see Rosses point and to check into the B&B in Sligo (Teach Eamainn)
- Sligo was a bit big for my friend and I, a bit difficult to navigate
- Dinner was also a recommendation from the B&B host... WOW! I think it was called the Silver Apple - we had Seabass (something I'd never had before)... the dinner was enormous! We were quite hungry that evening, but were pleasantly filled by the end of dinner.  Would recommend this restaurant to anyone.

Sept 11 (very interesting day) - Thursday
- left Sligo early and drove south to see the Strade Friary --> we had a pleasant visit in the museum with a lengthly discussion with the people working there.  Quite a while later, we were able to see Michael Davitt's grave.  The folks in the museum were very nice to give us a driving route that would take us places we might also not have seen.
- Drove south to Westport and pressed on to Croagh Patrick - took a short stroll up part of the mountain (met some really neat people too).  The Summit was encased in fog and likely would not have allowed for much of a view, but we have such nice pictures from our short stroll partway up.
- stopped at Aasleagh falls (nice spot)
- Kylemore Abbey was beautiful (took a picture from the bridge)
- Went to the Connemara National Park visitor centre and took the Bog walk... beautiful, really neat.
- drove to Clifden (ran into some fellow visitors that had stayed at our previous B&B from Denmark... was quite interesting). :)
- ate dinner at a cafe
- drove out the Sky Road (absolutely stunning)
- with some instruction from our B&B host... we walked down to a castle ruin which was quite interesting (stayed at Heather Lodge)

Sept 12 Friday
- Drove east to Cong (saw the Abbey and the Quiet Man Cottage --> couldn't find the castle... another GPS miss)
- Drove to Galway and walked on the Seascape (quite a busy city, didn't stay very long)
- Drove to the Burren
- Drove to the Cliffs of Moher (another highlight for me on this trip) --> took a 2 hour walk over the wall to the end of the cliffs to Hag's Head... excellent walk (gets close to the edge mind you, so it's best if possible to stay behind the wall).
- we ate dinner at O'Connor's Pub (Doolin) --> one of my favourite meals... got to try swordfish and had cod... amazing! Really really tasty.... becoming a huge fan of fresh fish.
- drove from there to Killimer to our B&B Cois na Sionna

Sept 13 Saturday
- caught the ferry at Killimer quite early
- stopped at the Windmill in Blennerville (nice spot)
- drove to Brandon Point (very pretty)
- drove to Dingle and went shopping (there was quite the fog on Conors Pass and cancelled out hike up Brandon Mountain)
- decided to go shopping in Killarney --> really good prices for souveniers in the outlet mall
- went to the outlet mall and walked down the street to the Aran Sweater Market (bought a nice sweater as a souvenier)
- got to walk on Inch Beach... Wow! Nice spot.
- stayed at Hand's Dunroman B&B (such a lovely spot, wonderful host!)
- went out for dinner at John Benny Morriarty's --> my parents recommended this spot after they went in May--> great fish!
- didn't end up getting to the concert at the church, they were completely sold out --> but came highly recommended.

Sept 14 Sunday
- drove to do the Ring of Kerry
- went to Muckross House
- Ross Castle (nice spot, very nice tour)
- saw Ladies View
- Staigue Fort
- stopped at Portmagee to find out where we needed to go the next day
- drove back to Killarney
- then went to "Out of the Blue" a nice restaurant in Dingle... great fish!
- walked on Ventry Beach

Sept 15 Monday
- sadly our last touring day
- we went out to Skellig Island on the boat tour
- interesting experience
- nice area, good views... probably good to go on a non-windy day... getting onto and off of the boat is tricky (the Rick Steve's book is right on about that).
- amazing Bee Hive Huts and quite well-preserved.
- there was a gentleman there who lives on the island during the tourist season to fill people in on the history of the island and how it came to be....very thorough, answers lots of questions.
- made it to Doolin for our final night (Doonagore Farmhouse) --> 5 min from Cliffs of Moher

Sept 16 Tuesday
- went to the Cliffs of Moher one more time.
- drove to the airport
- returned to Canada

Overall, for my first international vacation, I would have to say Ireland was absolutely incredible.  I'm now beginning to understand all the wonderful things everyone was saying about it.  The people are friendly and just truly nice.  I would love to go back sometime in the future and try and see the Southeast or do a north to south (tip to tip) kind of trip.  It was a busy pace, but to see what my friend and I saw, we needed to fit as much in as we could.

Hope this helps those of you who are planning a future trip to Ireland. If I could do it again, I would definitely take more than 10 days (it's just the icing on the cake, there's so much more to see and do).

All the best.
dc
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dc, thank you for stirring up memories! What a wonderful trip, and excellent report!

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Slán go fóill, Judy


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dc,

Welcome back from your trip. Thanks for stopping by to let us know about it. We were happy to have helped a little before you left. I would love to hear a bit more about your B&Bs if you have the time.

You certainly packed a lot into your days and I sense that you had great fun doing it. Hope you get to return again.

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.

dc


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Dude, thanks :)

Michele,

Bracken B&B was just outside a town called Laragh. It was on the R755. Jim and Judy Doyle were our hosts. Our room was small, bathroom was across the hall. They had a sitting room, with a nice warm fireplace as well. Breakfast was full Irish Breakfast. Very nice people.

Lynolan House (Evelyn Carolan) just off of the M1 just before Dundalk --> beautiful house. Evelyn was very helpful with places to go and things to see. The directions she had to her place were very easy to follow. Room was enormous! Very nice. A little bit warm at night for my friend, but had an ensuite bathroom (with shower). Wonderful view of the meadows across the road. Breakfast was unique here (we had sauteed mushrooms with our breakfast, my friend's favourite breakfast). Would highly recommend this location to anyone accessing Dundalk or any city/town further north.

Carnglass Farmhouse (run by Ann Carson) is a real farmhouse on B62. We notified them we would be late arriving that day (arrived just before 9 pm). Large room again, excellent view. Ensuite bathroom again. Breakfast was a menu choice... my friend and I went for the fruit/cereal/yogurt option for a change. Ann talked with us for about an hour the next morning about different places she would recommend seeing. It was truly neat, she showed us pictures of the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge when she was a child and how much it has changed with tourism. I think they were amazed at how far we travelled... they would consider a dirve to Belfast a full day--> weekend's worth of driving. One of my favourite B&Bs

Heeney's Lodge (run by Breda Cannon) was another beautiful house in the town of Donegal. They had themed rooms (we had the Blue room) --> very nicely decorated. The room was spacious with an ensuite bathroom. Breakfast was good. B&B host had recommended a restaurant in town that they would go out to eat at... very good food (sadly, I don't recall the name of it).

Teach Eamainn (run by Evelyn McPartland) was a nice house as well, older house. This place didn't seem quite as warm as the other locations, however it was the only city we stayed in (Sligo). Breakfast was very good. And they did recommend the Silver Apple (the feast of a meal).

Heather Lodge (Michael and Jane Delapp) --> near Clifden. NIce views onto a small lake across the road. They were quite nice... large room again, ensuite bathroom. Breakfast was wonderful. Jane told us how to get down to the castle ruin (seen from the Sky Road)... amazing advice. Also told us which places were good to go in town and which had good music as well.

Cois na Sionna -- Imy Kerrigan (Killimer). Nice place... didn't stay very long here and arrived quite late in the evening (had called ahead to let her know). large room, ensuite bathroom... right across from the ferry. Good for the shortcut around Limerick. Also, still didn't seem as warm as the other locations (however we really didn't spend very much time here and we had an early morning this morning to catch the earliest ferry).

Hand's Dunroman B&B (Dingle) - Noeline Hand. Wow. Top notch B&B for me. Noeline was very warm and welcoming. She offered several options for dinner, offered to reserve us a table if we needed to (for Out of the Blue), which we took her up on her offer on the Sunday night. Told us a multitude of options for sightseeing and places to visit (most of which were on the Dingle Penninsula itself). Quite a nice lady and family. She called ahead to notify Out of the Blue we were going to be a bit later than expected when we stopped in on our way into town (after Ring of Kerry). Breakfast was great! Just outside of the town of Dingle and yet close enough to be able to pop in for the evening.

Our last night was at Doonagore Farmhouse (Doolin). (Mary and Patrick Sweeney). Sadly we didn't get to spend much time here either. Beautiful spot, just north of the cliffs of Moher. You have views of the ocean during the daytime. Large room again, excellent breakfast and nice host.

Overall great experience.  No trouble with any B&Bs... we did have them pre-booked (which made for a bit more of a rushed day, but when possible we could always call ahead to the B&B and notify them if we were running behind or not).

The Dublin and Shannon Airports vary greatly.  Shannon was easy to navigate.  In Dublin, we just followed the crowd.  A bit of a wait for luggage in Dublin, but we were on the road within about 90 minutes from landing.  Maybe a quieter time of year.  Great first international experience.

-- Edited by dc at 19:27, 2008-10-21

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dc,

Wonderful! I can't thank you enough for letting everyone know a bit about the B&Bs you stayed at. Valuable info for all here. Your comments are very much appreciated.

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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