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Post Info TOPIC: May 2009 part 5 - Co. Meath and home (the end)


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May 2009 part 5 - Co. Meath and home (the end)


(I got so excited about FINALLY submitting a Trip Report, I almost forgot to post the final chapter...)

PART FIVE

MONDAY, 25 May 2009 - Kinsale to Trim, Co. Meath
After a wonderful breakfast, we said goodbye to Valerie & Brian and Kinsale. Another guest who was originally from Trim gave us some tips before leaving. We found our way up to and around Cork and got on the toll/expressway. Was a lot like expressways at home and we did not have any trouble getting to Trim in less than 4 hours. We took the N8/M8, stopping at the Castle Arms Hotel in Durrow for tea. We went on to pick up the N7/M7 and then exited at Naas, taking the road thru Kilc*ck and Summerhill. Thanks again to Michele's advice, I had made reservations at the Trim Hotel, right across from Trim Castle. The special rate was a VERY good deal, and our rooms had a great view of the castle. Since we had now been traveling for 2 weeks, it was nice to have plenty of space to spread out. The bar downstairs was relaxing, with seating next to large windows and a menu that was just right for us. My group was quite impressed that I had found us such a nice AND economical place. I shared the credit with Michele, of course!

We stopped into the tourist office, and then walked all through the town. The weather turned "soft" so we headed back to the hotel for a fortifying pint. As usual, that led to dinner, etc., etc.

TUESDAY, 26 May 2009 - County Meath
After a nice breakfast (included!), we headed off for a tour of Newgrange. I had been there twice, once with Karen, but the guys had not seen it and it is extraordinary. I don't think there is any practical way to go from Trim to Newgrange without going through Navan, but WOW - that was not fun... not on our way out and not on our way back. The signs are USELESS, or perhaps ABSENT. Does Navan have some kind of grudge against Trim? I have to wonder... (I was just looking at a google satellite map and I suppose it is having the rivers Boyne and Blackwater "T" in the center of town that makes things tough. I wish I'd looked at this BEFORE trying to navigate through there. Oh well.) We accidentally took the scenic route smile south of the River Boyne, arrived at Brun na Boinne Visitor Centre, and did not have to wait long for our tour. We went first to Knowth. It has progressed a lot since I was there last. Very good tour guide, as usual. We were able to see Slane Abbey in the distance from the top of one of the mounds. As we were heading back to catch the shuttle, I saw a man walking around that looked SO much like the actor James Cromwell - I wish I knew if it was him! Back at the transfer point, we caught our shuttle to Newgrange. Still amazing! It is hard to imagine the effort and planning and motivation that it took to create such a monument. The weather was changing back and forth from threatening to sunny, as usual. Mostly, it was nice. When it did rain, it only lasted minutes. We had tea in the visitor center and spent some time in the exhibits and the shop.

Then we headed off for Mellifont Abbey. The Visitor Centre there was not open and therefore could not enlighten us about the history, but we enjoyed walking around the site. Not much more than a "footprint" of the abbey remains, but there are some lovely arches and many interesting little details. There is also something large, enclosed in tarps, being worked on, but I have no idea what. Next stop, Hill of Slane. The sky was blue, the views were fantastic, the ruins were interesting - perfect! Spent quite a while up there before heading off in search of Donaghmore round tower. Tracked it down, and were pleased to find the gate still unlocked even though it was past the hours posted. Less than 5 minutes later, a storm made a very noisy entrance and chased us out. The wind was really howling through the pines. We were on our way and the storm passed, giving us a nice look at our first rainbow of the trip. (We must not have been looking in the right places up until then!) Even though we came in on the N51, getting through Navan was just as confusing as it had been in the morning, but we managed to do it and get back to Trim. Guinness, please!

WEDNESDAY, 27 May 2009
Another fortifying breakfast before going across the road to take the tour of Trim Castle. While we waited, we walked around the grounds taking photos. The guide was funny and the tour informative. A couple of women had a lot of questions about Mel Gibson and "Braveheart" being filmed there, and our guide managed to answer them and skewer him at the same time, which I enjoyed. biggrin We went out with the intention of exploring beyond the walls, but didn't get too far before the rain came. It seemed like it would last for a while, so we went home for tea. Later, we went out in search of the bookstore I had seen when we came back into town yesterday. Found it and a couple of other places to check out. After yesterday's car travel and hill climbing, not to mention the stairs in Trim Castle, the troops were tuckered out. We opted for a relaxing evening of reading, dinner in the hotel's Bailey Bar, and an early night. Not in the mood for another stew, I ordered a chicken curry dish and it was incredibly delicious. Nice surprise!

THURSDAY, 28 May 2009
On another tip from Michele, we had reservations at the Premier Inn at Dublin Airport. We wanted to return the car so we wouldn't have to worry about it on Friday. Our flight was not an early one, but the less we had to worry about the better. We left Trim and managed to find our way to the hotel where we dropped off our luggage before taking the car back to the airport. The return went pretty well, although there was some question about the total charge. In the end, Brian decided to wait until he was back home before challenging it. It was not a big difference, but still...

The Hertz shuttle took us to the terminal where we caught a bus into Dublin. This was the warmest day of our vacation and Dublin was in a celebratory mood. Combination of summer weather and a bank holiday weekend coming up. It was our last chance to pick up gifts for the folks back home, so Karen and I got down to business, stopping first at the Trinity College shop and then the Kilkenny Shop and Blarney Woollen Mills on Nassau Street. Along the way we found books and CDs we had been looking for. Success! (I know we had the Duty Free shops ahead of us, but there were some very specific things we wanted. This was last-minute enough!) Karen was meeting Brian at Starbucks, but Roger and I were ready for a pint, so we arranged to meet them later at Cassidy's. After dinner there, we managed to find a bus back to the airport, and then caught the hotel shuttle.

After packing, we met in the hotel lounge for a last drink and toasted the end of a great trip.

FRIDAY, 29 May 2009 - Dublin-Chicago
Took the hotel shuttle to the airport and got checked in. Went through security without much trouble and headed down to our gate. Left Roger there while I found the desks to turn in my tax forms. It had been a while since I flew out of Dublin. A much more confusing place than Shannon! Filled out our forms and eventually moved through the next phase. It became obvious that our flight was going to be close to full. At boarding time, they made one announcement for those needing assistance, and then a second one for EVERYONE else. Pretty ridiculous. No lines, really, just a mass of people and two attendants checking boarding passes. But eventually we were seated, and off we went.

And now, here I am. Already thinking about next time aww
THE END.

Flight: Aer Lingus
Chicago-Dublin (arr. 07:15, 10 May 2009), Dublin-Chicago (dep. 14:20, 29 May 2009)

Where we stayed:
Dublin - George Frederick Handel Hotel www.handelshoteltemplebar.com
Laragh, Co. Wicklow - Heather House B&B (Wicklow Heather) http://www.thewicklowheather.com/html/accommodation.html
Kilkenny - Bregagh House B&B http://www.bregaghhouse.com/
Cashel, Co. Tipperary - Watties B&B www.wattiesbandb.ie
Kinsale, Co. Cork - Woodlands House http://www.woodlandskinsale.com/
Trim, Co. Meath - Trim Castle Hotel http://www.trimcastlehotel.com/index.htm
Swords, Co. Dublin - Premier Inn (Dublin Airport) http://www.premierinn.com/pti/dublin.do


-- Edited by shashie50 on Friday 17th of July 2009 01:36:27 AM

-- Edited by shashie50 on Friday 17th of July 2009 01:37:41 AM

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Marsha


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Loved the pix AND the details.  biggrin

Sounds like a GREAT trip.  What have you planned for NEXT?

Bob



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Bob

Help Us to Help You.  The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!



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Thanks, Bob!
I'm really enjoying your report, too. And feeling pretty lucky I didn't encounter the problems you ran into! no

I'd like to do self-catering next time.  That would also probably make it easier to talk Roger into another trip smile

I have not been to the Aran Islands and I'd also like to see more of Connemara... I've really only done that with a tour group.  After that, the list hops around - Donegal, Giant's Causeway (haven't done the North at all), southern coast...  Plenty of places I'd like to visit again, too, of course!!!  I keep reading these trip reports and making notes.

Actually, our next trip will probably be to Italy.  Always thought that would be the first place I'd visit in Europe -(Catholic upbringing AND interest in art & art history)- now I just want to make sure I get there while I can still carry my own bags biggrin

Marsha




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Marsha


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Marsha,

I am delighted you enjoyed Trim Castle Hotel. How was Premier Inn? I have had a couple of good stays there and it is easy to find and convenient to the airport.

Sounds like you are an Ireland addict now too. How nice that you are planning another trip already.

Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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The Premier Inn was comfortable and very convenient.  It was easy to find and their airport  shuttle worked well for us.  (There is also a city bus stop nearby.)  The price on the continental breakfast was not bad and included plenty of choices.  It was the only place we stayed that did not have FREE wi-fi, but at that point, it did not matter very much.  Staff was friendly and helpful.  Definitely another much-appreciated good tip from you!  Thanks again.

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Marsha


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Marsha,

I keep filling out forms and emailing Premier Inn telling them I want free Internet! So far they are not listening.

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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