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Post Info TOPIC: September 08 Week 3

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September 08 Week 3

The morning of our third week in Ireland, we woke to beautiful sunshine. We had a late leisurely breakfast, sat for a while talking to Mary, the friendly gregarious host of Marless House in Galway.
After we checked out, went to the ATM and bought some bananas, it was easy enough to get out of Galway city, onto the N67 heading south-west.
We took the road to the Burren Centre but must have become lost because we never found it. Found Corcomroe Abbey though, which was very interesting, ruins dating from about the 13th century. We always marvelled at finding these places "out of the blue",  so old and with such stories to tell.

When we got back on the main road we stopped at a place called the Burren Shop and Restaurant (or Cafe). Bought a couple of gifts, then sat out in the sunshine with a coffee and a hot chocolate, looking out over Galway Bay. Unlike the previous days with the mist and the rain, we could see the shoreline opposite.

We left the main road at Ballyvaghn and followed the coast road (R477) The Burren has rocky slopes rising out of lush green fields, beautiful scenery once again, but so different to that of the Connemara etc. Each area has its own special appeal.
We continued along the coast road, unfortunately missed Poulnabrone dolmen tomb and others inland because we turned off the N67 before then.

We reached Doolin by lunchtime, and had lunch  (toasted ham and cheese panini and salad) at McGann's Pub. Checked into O'Connor's Farmhouse, our B&B for the night.
We spent some time during the afternoon at the Cliffs of Moher, very impressive, but I think the cliffs at Dun Anghasa were much more imposing and atmospheric. Looked over the gift shop but the visitor's centre was very busy so we gave that a miss.
Back to Doolin, had a nice meal just up the road at Fitzpatrick's, then listened to some music. We went up to McDermott's where there was a crowd (always a good sign) listening to four very good musicians-drum, Irish pipes, banjo and mandolin. Very loud, but great music. Had a wonderful time. Got to bed about midnight, which was very late for us.

O'Connor's Farmhouse was a well-priced B&B, bare laminated floors didn't make it feel very cosy, the room was large, huge bathroom,  shower was okay. It felt a bit like a hostel but was clean and the breakfast was good.

Tuesday the weather was still good. We left Doolin and headed for Dingle via Liscannor, Lahinch, Milltown Malbay, Listowel and Tralee. Catching the Killimer/Tarbert ferry saved us a lot of time and miles going through Limerick, and it gave my husband a break from the driving. We didn't have to wait long and were first in line to get on the ferry, so were able to get out and stretch our legs.
The traffic in Tralee was awful, so we stopped just outside in Blennerville at a big windmill, and bought some rolls and a drink. We drove on to a beach a bit further out of town and ate our lunch there with only the seabirds for company.
From there we drove on towards Dingle Peninsula, just following the road signs, not realising we had actually gone through Connor Pass until we looked at a map later that evening. We were very lucky to have good weather, the road was narrow and quite scary in parts, didn't meet much traffic coming the other way thank goodness. The scenery was magnificant. We stopped for photo opportunities whenever we had the chance.
Dingle had been highly recommended by friends and we were really looking forward to staying there for 4 nights. It didn't disappoint. It's beautiful.
We found Heaton's B&B without any problems, after calling in at the tourist centre to find out where it was.
Heaton's is a wonderful place to stay. It's a comfortable, flat walk into town, alongside  Dingle Bay. Our room was upstairs at the front with lovely views overlooking the waters of the bay and the green hills beyond. Lovely cosy room, with beautiful furnishings, big comfortable bed, two armchairs and a coffee table. The bathroom was a good size with a great shower-yaay! Cameron was a very friendly and obliging host. Free access to the internet for guests was a welcome bonus. Rooms were serviced each day. Plenty of parking out the front for guests.

After settling in we walked into town to familiarize ourselves, bought a few things at the small supermarket there. We didn't feel like going out for tea, so had a cup of soup, a panini and some fruit in the room. My husband checked out the Dingle Pub - 3 1/2*
Early night.

Wednesday we woke to another beautiful day. The view out our window was picture postcard perfect-sunshine, blue skies, blue water, green hills.
We had the first of our wonderful breakfasts at Heaton's down in the dining room in the conservatory. There was an extensive buffet and also a variety of cooked dishes. The porridge with berries was divine, and Steve enjoyed his full Irish breakfast.
We decided to take the Slea Head drive-every turn and corner gave us another photo opportunity and  to breathe in the clean sea air. We took heaps of photos of the magnificent scenery. It was a real stop/start trip.
We  explored historical sights such as Dunbeg Fort, and the famine cottage and beehive hut nearby up the hill, Gallarus Oratory (a fascinating boat shaped structure) and the monastic site at Kilmekedar Church (12th century) with its ogham stone, alphabet stone, cross and ancient sundial.
Because we had made a fairly early start, we were back in Dingle by mid afternoon, bought a late lunch at the Supavalu and ate it in our room. We walked around the shops of Dingle and bought a few things. Steve went for a pint at the Bar na Sraida (2*) while I relaxed in the sunshine with a cup of tea and read.
That night we went to the Dingle Pub for tea, we both had shepherd's pie. The music was provided by a young man with a guitar, he was quite good, but didn't sing trad, more like the Australian bush ballads as we know them here which do have their origins in Ireland. He was asking for requests, and Steve asked him if he knew any Eric Bogle (an Australian folk singer) not really expecting him to, but he did! Asked what song, Steve requested "Fields of France" ( a beautiful ballad about the WW1 battles in France) and away he sang. As I said, not trad music, but the audience was captivated by this song, and we were extremely impressed that he knew it. It made our night!

Thursday was cloudy, but no rain. We didn't wake up until 8-30 and down to breakfast an hour later. That's my kind of start to a day! Steve is normally one for getting up and raring to get underway, but even he was slowing down and relaxing-Ireland was working its magic.  We had a yummy breakfast of pancakes and berries. It was well after ten by the time we finished, and took a leisurely stroll around the shops. One of the staff at Heaton's had directed us to John Weldon's jewellery shop-bought a beautiful silver bracelet in a Celtic design. We had lunch in town, only something small to keep us going as breakfast had been filling!
From the guesthouse we could see a tower up on a hill on the other side of the water, so we went for a drive to see if we could find it. Turned out to be Eske Tower, had to pay and climb a big hill to see it, couldn't be bothered, so headed back into town. Checked on our emails at an internet cafe (internet out of action at Heaton's) then back to our room to relax. It had started to rain intermittently.
That night had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Novencento (think that's spelt right) Steve had a pizza and I had pork in mushroom sauce. Didn't feel like staying out late to catch some music, so headed back to our room.

Friday was another cloudy day, but not cold. We set off on the Slea Head drive again to catch up on anything we had missed previously. According to our map we had only done two thirds of it, turning off too early to return to Dingle. so this time we kept going towards Mt Brandon and more great scenery. Continued back through Dingle and headed out the other side towards Killarney. Drove as far as Inch Beach-beautiful, long, wide, sweeping bay. Had a hot drink in the cafe there.
On the way back to Dingle we discovered Minard Castle, overlooking a lovely little cove, accessed by a narrow winding road. Not very big or imposing compared to others, and on private land.
Back to Dingle, parked the car and wandered around, looking for somewhere to have a late lunch. Ended up at the little cafe at the back of the Dingle Crystal Shop. Expensive-two meat and salad sandwiches, cold drink and pot of tea for 18 euro.
That night we had tea at John Benny Moriarty's,(1 1/2*)  but the music didn't start until nearly 10. Weren't particularly fussed with it there- we felt a decided lack of hospitality. Drove back to Heaton's for a spell then walked back into town. Ended back at the Dingle Pub (3 1/2*) listening to two musicians singing Irish songs as well as others until about 11pm.  Other pubs: Sheedy's (3 1/2*) and Paddy Bawn Bosnan (3*)

Saturday we were moving on from Dingle. Had the pancakes and berries again for breakfast. We were packed and checked out, on the road by 10-30. Headed in the direction of Kenmare via Killarney, past beautiful Inch Beach again. Hazy sky that morning. We stopped at Milltown and bought crusty bread at a little organic produce market.
In Killarny we found Ross Castle, had a look around but decided not to tour it that day. Took lots of photos.
Further on we found Muckross House and gardens, parked and walked in. Beautiful grounds, wonderful to just amble around in. We hired a jaunting cart pulled by Sally the pony (Steve called her Mustang Sally after the song) and operated by Christina. It cost about 30 euro for about 40-50 minutes altogether- alongside the lake and up to Torc Waterfall. We walked up and took photos. A kind gentleman took a photo of the two of us, the first one all holiday.
Down the hill again and into the cart, and Sally took us back to where we started.
We joined a tour of Muckross House whcih took about 50 minutes, looked over the gardens and bought a sandwich and a drink at the cafe there. Had our lunch overlooking the lush green lawns and colourful garden beds.

Back in the car and drove to Kenmare via the Macgillicuddy Reeks, awesome scenery. Stopped a few times for photos. When we arrived in Kenmare we found a supermarket and bought some groceries, then made our way to where we were staying.
We had chosen self catering accommodation at the Kenmare Resort, just out of town. Not walking distance, but very quiet, even though it was situated on the main road. Brand new, just opened in May. Still some work being done on them, and we were the only occupants which felt a bit weird. With the downturn in the economy it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't able to ever get off the ground and going viably. They were lovely townhouses-spacious with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs, and a beautifully furnished lounge, kitchen, dining area and a laundry, well equipped with everything one could wish for.
We had no sooner unpacked the car and Steve was in the kitchen whipping up a pasta sauce, happy as a pig in mud at being able to cook again. He's the chef in our family and I'm quite happy to hand the task over to him. I unpacked and got things sorted, did a load of washing in the laundry.....clean clothes!
Had the sauce and pasta with salad for dinner along with the crusty bread we'd bought in Milltown, then relaxed on the comfy couch and watched a movie on TV. Although we had enjoyed staying at the B&Bs along the way, it was so good to have a place to ourselves where we could spread out and just do our own thing. It was nice not having to go out and find somehwere to have a meal as we'd done so for nearly 4 weeks.

Sunday we were out and about by 8-30. Fantastic shower, great hairdryer-bonus points! Left to see the Ring of Kerry. The weather was fine, but rather cloudy and hazy, so the views weren't as good as they could have been.
Unintentionally, we ended up only doing a Half Ring of Kerry, no idea how we did that. We often dispensed with the maps (unless we were lost) and just "followed our noses." We explored Staigue Fort and Lother Fort, the second one we could see from way up on the hill and Steve found the narrow road that wended its way down to it. Apparently it was more of a homestead than a fort, it was in good condition, with the remains of two hut walls inside.

We left the main road and took the Skellig Ring Road to Valentia Island over the bridge at Portmagee. We took the ferry at the other end to Cahersiveen. All along the way we were stopping to take photos fo the beautiful scenery.
At Cahersiveen we could see a castle in the distance and made our way to it, it was Ballycarberry Castle and it was awesome. It was probably one of the highlights as far as ruins went, and it wasn't even on my to-do list. A lot of it was covered in ivy, and vegetation was growing  on the upper levels, but you could still see the original shape of it.
Instead of continuing on to Glenbeigh, somehow we headed back to Kenmare anticlockwise. Had lunch at a little cafe in Castlecove or Waterville. Hadn't met up with too many tourists or buses which was good.
At Derrynane we found an ogham stone by accident when Steve turned off towards the beach. Those stones are fascinating.

When we got back to Kenmare, we had a walk around and bought a few things at the supermarket. We had a nice, relaxing evening, just pottering, reading and watching television after dinner.

End of week 3, only 1 more week left in Ireland. Sorry about this being so long!



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Really enjoying your report -- such wonderful detail.  For the areas that I have traveled to, it was almost like going back there.  Thanks for that.

You mentioned some pub and music opportunities in Dingle.  Didn't see you note The Small Bridge or Murphy's, places in my opinion that are two of the best pubs in the country to hear music.  If you didn't see them this time around, put that in your things to do list the next trip.

Thanks again.  Sounds like you are having a tremendous experience.


-- Edited by Sidz on Wednesday 15th of April 2009 08:46:18 AM


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Thankyou, I'm glad you are enjoying the trip report. I vaguely remember Murphy's, but not The Small Bridge. We always had a walk around town after our dinner to check out what was happening but somehow missed those two. There was so much to see and do and absorb. Unfortunately we found that in most places we visited the music didn't start until late and we were too tired. We don't have the stamina we used to!
As for returning to Ireland, I would love to, especially Dingle, but if we were to spend the money and nearly 24 hours in a plane again it would probably be to visit somewhere new. We will always have beautiful memories of our Ireland holiday, and this forum helps to keep it alive for me!

Regards, Meredith



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What a great report. I feel like I am along for the ride. Thank you and looking forwrd to the rest.



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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Certainly can share your thoughts on when the traditional music starts in most pubs.  We find it challenging as well to "start" an evening at 9 p.m.  We had a good time last year in Doolin, however, when on a banker's holiday weekend, Gus O'Connor's Pub had two sessions instead of one, with the first one going from 5 p.m.-8 p.m., and the second from 9-midnight.

We opted for the early one and enjoyed it a great deal!

Maybe in my youth the 9 p.m. start would have been my pick, but not now...biggrin

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