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Post Info TOPIC: Mr & Mrs Toad's Wild Ride Around Ireland


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Mr & Mrs Toad's Wild Ride Around Ireland


Day One:

We left Indy and changed planes in Atlanta on our way to Dublin Ireland. We arrived in Dublin Wednesday morning early. After a quick trip through

Irish Customs we found our selves on the Hertz bus to pick up our car. We went through the terminal so fast we never had time to exchange any

currency and this would cause issues later. At Hertz we found we had been booked for a Smart car, not so smart in my book. So 280 (E) poorer we had a

Ford Focus automatic.

We headed out on the M1 and soon found ourselves lost. After heading the wrong way on the M50 I luckily got turned around before the toll booth. We

finally got headed in the right direction but were faced with the tunnel and prospects of a toll and no Euros to pay it with. I turned off in north

Dublin and found my self in the back roads that seemed to have about every car in Dulin on them. I then zoomed the GPS out and could see a road I

knew we needed to be on so I zig zagged on the local roads until we got there. This took us to the toll bridge where they let me pay with my credit

card and also provided directions to Stillorgan where our hotel was. A half hour later we were there. It was noon and they let us check in early.

I knew better than to attempt to drive into Dublin so we walked out and took the city bus into City Center. There we found a bank to exchange dollars

for Euros. I know banks in Ireland are being robbed a lot and found out they, the banks, rob the tourist too. The exchange rate was high. From the

bank we found our way to the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus stop where we could buy tickets and so took a tour of Dublin until we got to the Guinness Storehouse.

We got off the bus and did the tour.

The Guinness Storehouse is an interesting exhibit as long as you like hiking stairs. There was a lot of interesting info given and the small samples

of stout were good. From there we headed down and then up the elevator to the top. Boy was it crowded. I got our two pints of Guinness and then we

hunted for someplace to sit which was harder than climbing the stairs. We were already dead tired as we hadn't slept much on the plane so we only

took a half dozen sips of the beer and left.

On the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus again we continued our tour of Dublin out by the Presidents House and back in. Around the Half Penny Bridge we got off and

walked over the bridge into Temple Bar. That time of the day there wasn't too much doing and we found the cost of the meals to be way too expensive.

With that we kept walking trying to find a bus to take us back out to Stillorgan. The Irish are friendly and helpful people and with a few questions

we had the right bus back to our hotel.

One thing we lacked was a cell phone that would work in Ireland so I wanted to find a Tesco store to buy one. Again we had to get on the bus and ride

further out of town where we found a small shopping mall and a Tesco store. Understand, shopping malls in Ireland are not what they are in the US.

There where three Tesco stores in this particular mall. One sold basics, another alcohol and a third produce. The basics store had the cell phones

and I got one for $17 Euros but it didn't come with any minutes on it. Trouble was the printer at that particular store wasn't printing clearly so I

had to go to the liquor store to buy the minutes. There I was told there was no SIM card in the phone so back to the first store where I was told,

and shown, that there was a SIM card in the phone... problem solved.

Next we were a bit hungry so we wanted something to eat... Oh, a Mc Donalds, Ok, might as well, big mistake. As I said earlier, the meals in Ireland

are expensive and Mc Donalds is no exception. A Big Mac cost almost $8.50 (US) by the time you figured the exchange and all. This was probably our

single biggest complaint on the whole trip, the cost of meals. It was echoed by most all other tourist we met and most Irish too.

Anyway, after walking around for a half hour we finally found the correct place to wait for the bus back to our hotel. By that time we were totally

wacked and ready to sleep and thus ends day one! One thing I will report is "Take FACECLOTHS" as they don't provide them most places in Ireland. Fact

is we had only two locations that had facecloths. We ended up buying some at a Tesco.

Not too exciting but then again we are a couple of older, retired folk and have now been up for almost two straight days and walked about 20 miles

between all the walking at the airports and in Dublin. I guarrantee you it gets much more exciting on day two.

Walt



-- Edited by Rusty Stumps on Thursday 16th of September 2010 06:37:10 PM

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Rusty Stumps


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I forgot one important happening while we were in Dublin. While at the Guinness Storehouse, we, like all the other tourists purchased many Guinness items. These plus a 500ml can of Guinnes for a friend back home where put in a Guinness shopping bag...big mistake. Walking around Dublin later the bottom fell out of the bag and that can got dented. As this was for a friends collection of beer cans I felt I needed to find a good one which I did later in the trip just before leaving. I'll tell you what happened to both cans in my last post about the trip.biggrin

Walt

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Rusty Stumps


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Walt,

Great start to your report! I am looking forward to more. If you read my Packing page before departure you would have known to take washcloths to Ireland (in my book too). Some places have them, others don't. Mostly don't.

Michele

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Day Two

We left the Radisson Blu St. Helen ( I think it was originally an old folks home) and headed south towards Glendalough. At least now I wasn't bouncing off so many curbs and curb projections at round abouts. I think Ireland has more round abouts per capita than any other nations but I could be wrong.

Glendalough was interesting but a bit disapointing in comparison to the pictures in some of the tour books that showed it complete as if restored. Far from it but still well worth the visit. I did eat some wild black berrys there and they were good.

From Glendalough we headed west over the Wicklow Mountains. The mountains were fantastic and covered with heather. Saw quite a bit of strip logging though. We went to Hollywood (Ireland) and turned south to Carlow and finally Kilkenny. I was to meet up with a friend from an internet connection on a model rail roading forum.

On entering  County Kilkenny we started to notice black and gold checkered flags. The closer when got to Kilkenny the more we saw of them until entering the town we shocked to see it totally decorated in black and gold banners. Asking a local "what's up?" We found that Kilkenny was in the National Hurling Finals against Tipperary and would play them on Sunday. Seems Kilkenny had won the last four years and if they won this time they would set a national mark as no one has ever one five years in a row before.

We wandered the streets in Kilkenny and headed up to the castle and the Parade. There are daily vendor booths there and Neil and his Girlfriend Naomi were running a candy booth for a friend. We met up with them, talked and made plans to meet later that evening. So off to tour Kilkenny Castle. While there we bought Heritage Cards which proved to be a good buy during our 15 days in Ireland. At the castle we climbed and walked what seemed like miles but found it all real interesting. Unfortunately there are parts of the castle you can't get into for one reason or another.

That evening we met up with Neil and Naomi and settled at one bar for drinks. From there we headed out for supper and closed that place. We stilled wanted to visit but found all the bars were closing so that was the night for us. Only bars open were full of Kilkenny Hurling fans and we didn't think we could survive the screaming going on!

We stayed the night at the Mena House which was a rather old B&B with a shower in our room that a Hobbit would have found rather cramped. In the morning we head for Cashel.

Walt

-- Edited by Rusty Stumps on Friday 24th of September 2010 05:32:19 PM

-- Edited by Rusty Stumps on Friday 24th of September 2010 05:33:03 PM

-- Edited by Rusty Stumps on Saturday 25th of September 2010 09:25:42 AM

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Walt,

I call those little showers "coffin showers" because they are about the same size as a coffin and have as much wiggle room. If you drop the soap you have to open the door to have enough room to bend down and pick it up. I once refused a room because of a coffin shower and was shown to a much bigger one.

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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Day Three

One thing about Ireland you'll discover is that nearly every 10th place has a ruin of some kind on it's land be it a castle or monistetic site. Most you can't get to but a few are close to the road so you can stop and take pictures which is what we did.

 What we found on the way to Cashel was Clomantagh Castle which was on private property so we had no way to see it. But there was a church ruin near the road with a cemetery so I took some pictures of that.

It was sunny with no rain making for a nice day of travel.

Cashel is in Tipperary County so the flag colors changed to blue and gold. Like most all Irish towns Cashel is a medival town with narrow streets. Most streets in the town centers are barely two cars wide and that includes the curb or "on sidewalk" parking.

We parked at the base of The Rock of Cashel and made the climb. By now our legs were starting to stiffen up from all the climbing and walking we had been doing, but, it would get worse! St. Patricks Cathedral on the Rock is under renovation so there is a lot of scaffolding in the Nave portion and you can't enter there. The rest of the ruin is real interesting though an well worth the treck up the hill. The view from on high is also grand and you can see the ruin of a nunnery or friary off to one side in the valley. It was lightly raining that day and with a bit of a wind so it was real cool on the top.

We stayed the night at the Palm Grove House which was out a bit from town. I passed by it and needed to turn around. I made the mistake of backing into a drive opening which was protected by a stone wall. I was clear of the high, 10', wall but not the low 2' portion which caught my rear bumper and dented it and broke the tail light. Yep, now I had an issue to deal with with Hertz on retuning the car.

There wasn't much else to see in Cashel so we went to the B&B and took a nap before trying to find a place to eat. By this time all the hiking and climbing were getting to our old bones.smile Tomorrow it's off to Kinsale.

Walt


-- Edited by Rusty Stumps on Saturday 25th of September 2010 10:31:25 AM

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Day Four

Day started out in rain as we left Cashel heading south on the M8.  We stopped in Caher to tour the Castle, lots of stairs and much climbing. Legs aren't going to make it much more. At least the highway is a four lane divided and not the 1-1/2 lane we have been driving.

Next stop was the Swiss Cottage and well worth the visit. Also we were treated to a antique car tour in the parking lot. There were close to 40 antique cars pulling in as we were. They lined them up in the parking lot so I got lots of good pictures. Not much in pictures at the Swiss Cottage though as a OPW Heritage site you are not allowed to take pictures inside. This happened at a number of venues.

The cottage is really interesting and shows how the gentry played at being pesants for a day. Gosh, they should lower themselves like that!disbelief They never spent a night in these cottages, which were almost as big as a small house, but they dressed as pesants and had the servants hide after delivering their food.

This proved to be a busy day. After arriving in Kinsale we took a tour around town and found the Kinsale Crystal shop which was our main reason for visiting Kinsale. We didn't want to do the typical tour of Waterford and were glad we hadn't.

Next it was out to Charles Fort which is the largest fort built in Ireland. It was in great shape up until the Irish Civil War. When one faction was marching on those holding the fort they filled all the buildings with hay and pariffin and lit it on fire. It burned for three days it's said. Still a lot to see and fantastic scenery from the top of the walls.

We stayed at the Valley-View B&B which was pleasant enough except the hostess. Tomorrow it's off to Kilarney.

Walt

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Walt,

Yes those stairs will definitley give you a workout in Ireland. Lots of walking through gardens and other places too. It is good to be fit for all the activity.

The scafolding on the Rock of Cashel (covering Cormac's Chapel) is an eyesore but it needed to be done before it crumbled into antiquity and disappeared. I heard an estimate of 4 years for the restoration. Not as photogenic as usual but you can always buy a postcard.

I enjoyed the Swiss Cottage too. Not bad being a peasant there! I took photos through the windows of the interior. It is a unique stop.

Sorry to hear your hostess in Kinsale was not the best.

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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