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Post Info TOPIC: March / April In Adare -- A Tale Of Joy And Woe!


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March / April In Adare -- A Tale Of Joy And Woe!

It's been a while since I've actually written a Trip Report, so I've been determine to 'Get 'er Done'  wink

Hope it's of SOME use ... confuse confuse


Last September, my wife's baby sister, 'A', called. " 'C' and I found a deal on a trip to Ireland and we were wondering if you would go with us and drive us around".
Now, we've traveled with A&C before -- Ireland, in April'99 and February '02, a weekend getaway to New Orleans and our semi-mythic, October 2001 "Six States In Five Nights Fall Foliage Tour".  It didn't take long to say, "Yes". biggrin

The 'Deal' was a Fly / Drive/ 6 Night SelfCater at Adare Manor Villas offered by Sceptre Tours --- "Beginning at $399 Per Person".   I had some reservations about 'Settling In' at Adare, but A&C were quite taken by the pix and info, but it was an easy excuse to 'Add' an extra trip AND they really ARE great travel companions, so ...

There are certain limitations to this type of package, though it MIGHT be possible to mitigate SOME by calling Sceptre directly and 'Negotiating' some of the variables. They DO charge $25 per person extra, though.

We COULD have flown from MCO, at a price of $871 each (Including Trip Cancellation Insurance and FULL car coverage), BUT -- in a CLASSIC case of, "You can't get THERE from HERE"  furious  (and factoring in Parking costs, etc.) we opted to engage the Tour in Newark, for $831 EACH and arrange separate transport To/From there.  For A&C, that added $250 EACH -- for us, it was $350 EACH, but we each flew via our respective Regional airports and that DOES mitigate SOME of the added expense.
We purchased the Trip Cancellation due to uncertainty about elderly parents, and opted for the FULL insurance, as the car hire CAME with CDW and was being paid by multiple parties -- thus, violating pretty much ALL of my MasterCard coverage rules ... Besides, Total cost was $207 for BOTH insurances -- Divided by four, that's less than $52 each.

If all that sounds somewhat like Rationalization ... Well, yeah, it IS -- a bit!  biggrin biggrin

In November, my wife's older sister decided that she and her husband (Here after referred to as S&S) decided that THEY would join us, as well.  Sceptre wouldn't allow them to 'Add On' -- to change the vehicle, etc., would require US to Cancel and Re-book -- but they advised her that the Adare Villa accommodation was paid for up to six.  She bought tickets on our flight to/ From Newark and rented their own car -- which she conceded that she would have needed to do ANYWAY, to satisfy her husband's travel wants.  She also paid $250 to A&C and $250 to my wife and I, to cover the value of the six nights at the Villa.  That reduced the cost of the original four, accordingly.

More to come ...




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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As Promised :

Cutting To The Chase:

29 March:  Sister In Law dropped us at GNV (a ten minute drive) about 7 AM and we departed on Delta about 8:15, arriving in ATL about 9:30.  A&C joined us there, about 9:45. About 2 PM, the four of us continued onward to Newark, via Delta, arriving there around 4:20 PM.  S&S met up with us around 5 (They drove there) and the six of us had a decent meal, before boarding our Continental 757.  We were actually booked onto United by Sceptre, but it was a Code Share, operated by Continental and S&S claimed to have gotten a GREAT deal on their tickets through Continental.  Flight departed EWR near on time, about 7:30 PM and we arrived SNN pretty close to the scheduled 7 AM.

30 March:  We breezed through Immegration and I left our group to deal with collecting the checked luggage and headed for the exit, as I had pre-arranged with my wife.  Our 'Cover Story' was my desperate need for an after-flight cigarrette -- and, yes, she DID loudly embellish her disapproval (QUITE believable, as she IS genuinely annoyed by my continued addiction!)And, while I really DID manage to avail myself of a few, quick puffs, knowing that I would have the time (A&C DO pack heavily!!!  ), my REAL purpose was to stage a Suprise Greeting.  As my stalward group exited Customs and entered the Arrivals Hall, I was standing there, waiting -- Holding up a 'Doody Family Heritage Tour'placard -- and wearing a black Chauffeur Cap that I smuggled along, in my carry on bag.
It was good for a few laughs.  Processed the car paper work at the Dan Dooley desk without incident.  I'm not sure who S&S rented from, but their car was in a space acroos the street -- a CUTE, PINK, 4 door Suzuki Automatic. The four of us took the shuttle to the lot, and S&S followed us there.  We were given the LAST Ford Mondeo on the lot -- a one year old silver four door manual that absolutely REEKED of stale tobacco smoke.  The lot guy had looped one of those 'Pine Tree'air fresheners over the shifter, but it didn't really help.  I briefly considered down-sizing, but the luggage (two 30" Rolling duffles and one 28" up-right -- and Four carry-ons (TOLD you that A&C don't pack light!) BARELY fit in the Mondeo. We decided that if the smell proved TOO difficult to tolerate, we would try to exchange the vehicle later and/or at another location.
We headed out toward Adare, taking the Tunnel Bypass and were AT the Manor about 9.  I had requested an Early Check In (which they offered to Guarrantee (BUT not any early than 10 AM, in ANY case)-- IF I was willing to pay a 60 Euro fee -- but I had opted, instead, to trust to 'Dumb Luck'.  Reception suggested that we retire to the Clubhouse for Breakfast and that they would collect us, there, once our Villa was ready.  Breakfast was a welcome diversion and true to their word, about 10:30, someone came and led us to Villa # 24.  The Villas are Purpose-Built, Codo/Townhouse style units.  Ours was a 3 bedroom (plus Study, with a fold out Love Seat/ Bed), 4 full Bathrooms (one, downstairs -- the other three, upstairs - ensuite to the three bedrooms) and include a sun room, living/dining greatroom and a small, but full, kitchen with US sized appliances.  There is at least one US wired electrical recepticle in EACH and every room, in addition to the normal assortment of Irish ones.  There is also a laundry room    with seperate, Full Sized washer and dryer -- though they are STILL Irish / UK type, in terms of their 'unique' operating peculiarities ...

After sorting out the 'who sleeps where' issues, we all took showers and grabbed our traditional 2-2.5 hour, 'Disco Naps' (As A likes to call them) and then did a semi-thorough, 'Settling In'.  About 2:30 or 3 PM, we headed into town and parked in the massive car park behind the Heritage Center.  We dropped inside and performed some 'Obligation Shopping' -- grabbing up those items that we had each promised the folks back home that we would bring them back.  Once THAT was out of the way and the packages safely stowed, we set out on a walking tour of the village.  About 4:30 or so, we settled into Pat Collin's Bar for an early dinner. 
Finishing up, it was decided that 'hanging in' for the music scheduled for '9 or so'  was NOT a viable option.  Instead, we meandered down to the Centra, did some essential grocery shopping and returned to the Villa for an earliy-ish night.

31 March:  We were all pretty much up and about early, but it was a lazy, easy-going start, none the less.  I took advantage of the blue sky and breezey sunshine to open up all the windows in the Mondeo and spray down the fabric with a healthy dose of Fabreeze -- It DID seem to help.  About 9:30 we headed out, for Dingle, taking the N21 down to Castleisland.  Stopped first, though, a the Tesco just East of Rathkeale, where I bought a new Sim (Actually -- FREE, with purchase of 10 Euro of Call Credit -- which gets DOUBLED, automatically) for our 'Spare' phone.  Programed the new number into my 'Regular' phone and then handed it off to S&S, since they were traveling in their own vehicle.  It would prove to be to be QUITE handy over the course of the trip -- particularly to 'reconnect' after becoming seperated.  I would also use that phone to call home to the US, 2 or 3 tmes -- and STILL ended up leaving Ireland with about 8 Euro worth of Call Credit remaining!
In any event, after the Tesco stop, we continued onward without stopping again -- through Abbeyfeale and Castleisland, where we took the N23 to Farranfore -- the West, on the R561, through Castlemaine, and on, to Inch.  About an hour later, we continued on into Dingle (with only a FEW 'Photo Op' stops along the way) and parked at the Marina.  A fine Pub Grub lunch was had at Murphy's and then we meandered the hilly streets, taking in the sites.  While the other five availed of the tour of the Harry Cross Stained Glass Windows, I made a bee-line for the nearest bookstore -- AND a brief stop into the Annascaul Pottery shop.  Finally, even though the day had been growing progressively greyer and colder, we made an obligatory stop (and purchases) at Murphy's Ice Cream, before setting out to explore Slea Head.

Now, I've visited Dingle at least half a dozen times, with and without overnighting, but I have ALWAYS driven Slea Head West, then North and then SouthEast -- THIS trip was an exception.  S&S wanted to visit the farmstead that his grandmother grew up in, so we followed him.  There was a Garda parked, partially blocking the exit to the car park and S spoke to him, apparently, because we were flagged on, into what felt like a High-Spped pursuit, that took us out of to Milltown and then North (the route we usually Return on).  After a few twists and turns, the Garda slowed down, gestured off to his left and then drove off, hurriedly.  Never saw him again, but ... we were THERE ...
We spent several minutes, snapping photos and grilling S about his family history in the area.  Turns out, his grandmother's name was Sayers --- but he seemed unaware of the significance of THAT name --- HINT:

 After our stop, S&S insisted that I lead and I quickly discovered that driving a familiar route BACKWARDS made relying on memory a difficult task!  None the less, I finally managed to locate and visit Gallerus and Kilmakedar.  I brought them to the Free entrance at Gallerus and as we were heading back to the car, the ladies decided to visit the 'Facilities' next to the Gift Shop.  BAD idea -- someone from the shop came out to chase them away, noting that the Visitor Center was closed and that they needed to 'Go out the way Ye came in' ...  We continued on the backward route (with a FEW incidental stops, until we reached Louis Mulcahey's -- which was closing for the day.  By now, the dreariness was SO pervasive that we mutually decided that Connor Pass was no longer a viable option, so we continued on, through Dingle, and took the road via Camp, into Tralee.  We parked in the Siamsa Tire car park and after a bit of wandering about town, checking out menus, settled on having dinner at a small Italian place -- almost directly OPPOSITE of the car park.  Can't think of the name, now, but the food and service were excellent. Would certainly eat there again.
It was well and truly dark (and raining rather heavily) by the time we finished up dinner.  I had had the foresight to bring along an umbrella (which provide SOME respite), so I raced to the car park and brought the car around.  After a couple of false starts, we found our way back to the N21 and drove back through Castleisland, Abbeyfeale and Rathkeale, to the Villa.  It was a LONG, but enjoyable day.

1 April:  We were to head to Cork today, for an overnight, but we had a scheduled meeting in Millstreet, at 11.  A&C and my wife and I departed the Villa about 8, in order to first re-visit the Church in Rathmore, where the G-Granparents were married, back in 1865.  S&S decided to 'Sleep In' and then go directly to Millstreet.  We arrived in Rathmore about 9  spent 40 minutes or so, chatting with a parishoner that pointed out a delightfully informative book that was available for a 5 Euro donation that was published to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Church, in 2010.  Afterwards, we headed into Millstreet, stopping in at Turbrid Well and parked in the car park of the Town Hall.  From there, we wandered down toward our designated meeting site at Nibble's -- a bakery and sandwich shop -- and made some purchases from the little gift shop next door.  The proprietress there delights in telling her customers that her 'Baby Brother' is a Retired Priest -- which should indicate HER apparent age ...

As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of Millstreet -- exrolling the area's virtues as a terrific place to visit (and STAY!).  I stay abreast of local news, there, by "Friending' their facebook page and perusing their excellent web-site.  So, when the website showed that there was a doll available on EBAY that was manufactured IN Millstreet, I made a concerted effort to be the successful Top Bidder.  Having WON the doll, I then offered to donate her to the Millstreet Museum. 

Today's meeting was ostensibly arranged for just that purpose, but it also permitted me the opportunity to introduce my wife's two sisters to the incomparable, Sean Radley -- Museum Curator, archivist, Event Chronicler --- ETCETERA< etcetera ... (Sean wears SO many hats, I'm sure that I left off at LEAST a dozen more title -- Official and otherwise!!!!

S&S almost missed it, though, as they didn't arrive until after 12:00.  I tried to phone them a few times, but they didn't have the phone on ...They DID eventually meet up, though.  After lunch, we wandered up to the Millstreet Church, said our Goodbyes and headed out, via the R582 to Macroom and onward, via  the N22 and the South Ring Road, through the Jack Lynch Tunnel, to our hotel, the SAS Radisson Blu, at Dichley House, in Little Island. 

Once checked in, we drove off to the Cousins' for a Grand Get-together and sumptuous evening meal.  There were in excess of 25 relatives present.  About 9 PM, we drove over the windy mountain road, into the village of Lisgould.  There, we turned North, onto the R626 and drove to a small, country pub in the village of Ballincurrig.  There, even MORE relatives and even a few friends of relatives, all came together.  There, once a month, about ten traditional musicians gather to perform together.  All together, there were perhaps 70 people crammed into that little pub -- and I knew about 50 of them!!!  It was a loud, raucous, MAGICAL night.

Close to midnight, in a pouring rain, I led us back down the R626 -- through Lisgould, and beyond it, to Midelton, where we hopped onto the N24 to return to the Hotel.  The road follows a small, meandering river nearly the entire way -- periodically 'cossing over' ABRUPTLY (in near, 90 degree turns) -- over narrow, old stone bridges.  NOT a drive for the faint of heart -- PARTICULARLY at night,  and in the rain.

There are precious FEW street lights in Ireland ... and the Government has wasted NO tax dollars by placing ANY along the R626!

More to Come ...




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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As Promised (SEE!   biggrin    ) :

An ACTUAL, WHOLE Report!!!! biggrin  biggrin biggrin  biggrin

2 April:  I woke relatively early and set off on a brief drive / walkabout of the shops surrounding the Radisson -- Replenishing my Euros and buying my morning Diet Coke and a local paper. By the time I returned, A&C had risen,snuck downstairs and paid for not ontly THEIR room, but also, for Patricia's and mine.  I had to wait two more days before I was able to 'Get Even', but I long ago discovered that 'Old Age and Treachery Will Always Beat Youth and Enthusiasm'! 

After checking out, we returned to the Cousins, where we spent a few more hours of Quality time, before heading off, about 2:00, for Adare. 

We drove into Fermoy, then detoured onto the R512, taking in the coutryside, through Kildorrey and into Kilmallock.  After a brief stop there for 99's, we drove on, and parked by the old City Gate.  The Museum was closed, late on a Saturday afternoon, as it was, but I peeked in as we passed, enroute to the REALLY impressive Abbey ruins.  We could have spent a couple of hours there, but the afternoon showers drove us back to the cars. 

The rain was pretty much over, though, about the time we passed through Bruree, so rather than hopping onto the N20, we stayed on the R518 into Ballingarry and then took the R519 back to Adare. 

Dinner was at the Arches, which Patricia and I recommended based upon an excellent lunch, in 2005 -- particularly their Award-Winning Brown Bread.  We wer NOT disappointed with either the meals OR the Service.  After our meal, the owner brought us each an un-ordered Bailey's.  S joked that someone must have told that today was her birthday. 

A few minutes later, the owner came back -- with SIX pieces of chocolate cake -- AND the ENTIRE wait staff and led them in a sincere rendition of, "Happy Birthday"!
By the time we waddled from the table, music was 'on', next door at Auntie Lena's but we were in no shape or inclination to really enjoy it, so we called it a night and headed back to the Villa.

3 April:  Pretty much, every single day, so far, had started off with BLUE skies and sunshine that invariably gave way to dark clouds and intermittant showers -- some of which had been rather ROBUST.  Today, though, was the exception.  We pretty much had magnificent weather ALL day. 

Everyone except C and I (the resident non-Catholics) attended Mass and then returned to the Villa, for lunch, before splitting up to persue different interests.  S&S headed off for Bunratty and Limerick, while we planned to drop A&C off at the Pitch and Put for a couple of hours and then do a little local exploring.  When A&C heard that I planned to drive to a nearby Forrest Park, they decided to forego the golf to come along. 

We spent about 2 hours walking the trails and exploring the exterior of the closed-up Manor House at Curragh-Chase Forest Park.  Exiting about 4 PM, we dropped into a busy pub near the Park Entrance, deciding to grab a lite snack to carry us over until lunch. After ordering drinks and two sandwiches to split between us, Patricia started feeling queazy.   doh  bleh  doh

At first, we thought it was due to being famished from all the walking, but after a few bites of food, it actually seemed worse.  I left money with A&C and took Patricia out to the car.  About five minutes later, as A&C were coming out, Patricia rushed to the fence and gripping it tightly for support and vomited energetically -- twice.  After that, she felt better (but NOT well), so we headed directly back to the Villa, so that she could lie down.  S&S arrived, shortly after us, then headed off to dinner in the village.

WARNING: THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE SQUEAMISH MIGHT BE ADVISED TO SKIP THIS SECTION!!!  Back in June of'05, we visited an elderly cousin in Bantry Hospital.  Prior to leaving, many of our group opted to utilize the 'Facilities' and were taken by a LARGE poster displayed inside that warned about the necessary precautions to be taken, in order to avoid 'The Dreaded Winter Vomiting'.  We had a pretty good laugh about it -- THEN.  But, while I have NO documented Medical Proof, I am CERTAIN that was what struck.  It goes like this:  Initially, there is some stomach cramps, eventually accompanied by nausea.  There may be some slight diarrhea initially, but the 'Trigger Moment' is a bout of high enertia vomiting.  After about an hour, the Second Wave hits -- Simultaneous projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea!  This goes on, almost like clock-work, for 6-8 hours. 

Trust me when I say that it's pretty BAD!  About an hour after we returned to the Villa, A threw up, too .... doh  bleh  doh

4 April:  The WORST was over for A&P by morning time, but as can be well imagined, neither of them felt very 'Chipper'!  In fact, nausea usually persists for about 48 hours MORE.  C and I spent the day caring for our partners and during a lengthy sleep break, dropped into the village for some last-minute shopping.  S&S took the opportunity to head off exploring, out Tipperary way.  I also 'Topped Up' the diesel in the Mondeo (It took about 70 Euro) We stayed in, again,that evening, getting packed up for our early departure the next day.

5 April:  Our United/Continental flight was scheduled to depart at 9.  We checked out a little after 6 and then drove straight to the airport.  A was feeling marginally human by this point, but Patricia was still EXTREMELY unsettled -- we actually debated changing our tickets and 'Holing Up' at the airport hotel, but she decided to brave it after all.   ashamed doh ashamed

Dropped them at Arrivals and then returned the car without incident, though I DID grumble about the car's odor.  Back at the airport, we headed upstairs, passed through Irish Security, US Security, Customs and Immigration and were at the gate about 20 minutes before boarding commenced. 

Due to strong head winds, we were a little late arriving at EWR, so A&C had to RUN to make their connection.  Patricia and I had more time, though, as our flight wasn't scheduled to depart for about 3 hours.  It was raining pretty hard in Newark, so S&S headed off to collect their car for their 3 + hour drive home.  The remainder of our travel went well enough and Patricia's brother collected us at GNV about 9 PM

Conclusions:  Unexpected illness aside -- Dunno if I would ever do a similar trip.  The package and the companionship was decent enough, and Adare Manor Villas ARE gorgeous, but six different people, two cars for only six nights was WAY too short and WAY too hectic!   disbelief

Time constraints ALWAYS weigh heavily, but this time it SEEMED TO HANG OVER OUR HEADS LIKE the Sword of Damocles!  I think PART of that was the disparate group, but the Location played a BIG factor as well. 

Given our County Cork links and interests, I think that I could have put together a better trip had we NOT been 'Anchored' in Adare -- even though there are PLENTY of interesting options in the vicinity.  While booking the package WAS a bargain, on a Per-Person basis, I think that I could have created a BETTER trip for very little more.  Our planned two week June trip will probably not cost us much more than double what we paid for this one week in April.




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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Enjoyed your trip report!

Although DW and I have enjoyed our trips...just the 2 of us (despite the broken shoulder) we have found that it is also fun to travel with another couple...but  you need to know ahead of time that you can all get becomes a long trip! We found, that by sharing a rental car and self catering accom. we saved several hundred dollars on our 1st and 3rd trip to Ireland.  We have never used a pkg deal as such.  Of course it comes with some trade-offs. Not everybody is going to want to see the same attractions, or all eat at the same restaurant/pub. But it can be worked out.

As far as doing a 1 week trip, I have been trying to "rationalize" that one too, but DW is not convinced...thinks if you are going to invest that much in need to spend a minimum of 2 weeks! And yes, 2 weeks goes by extremely fast, and one week? I don't know if I would regret it, or not after it's over.

I keep thinking about next fall...Thanksgiving week.... it is a short week at school.... but with Sat/Sun on each side...that is 9 days....I will have 3 personal days in the bank again....confuse  Would 9 days seem to be enough including 1 travel day on each side?  just a thought....(for now!)

It appears that neither  illness nor injury are a very fun ways to spend a vacation in Ireland. 

With our County Cork connections, I doubt we would opt for Adare, although I would like to stop there someday to look around.





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I have travelled in a group of 6, to Scotland, and never will again, unless they are all people I've travelled with before - together! :) Bravo to you to try it... enjoyed your report immensely! :)


May the light be your guide and the darkness be your comfort!


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For some reason I missed this. I know...I was in Ireland!

I can certainly sympathize with your wife getting sick. My husband and I once had horrendous food poisining many decades ago in Ireland. Even though it was gross and very debilitating, my husband managed to make it into a comedy of errors. But I would have hated to be the maid cleaning the room the next day!



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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