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Post Info TOPIC: Our love for Ireland


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Our love for Ireland


 

I wish I can write this report in Croatian and you could all understand me - I have so many words in Croatian in which I could describe this wonderful country - I am a bit afraid my English skills will not be sufficient...

We spent 10 wonderful days driving around W/SW Ireland.

We landed in Shannon on early morning (flying from Ljubljana, Slovenia via London Gatwick), we had booked car with Hertz and amazing discount! but when we got there they asked us for credit card and since I had some problems with my cc (no obvious reason, still wondering what happened that morning?) Hertz politely instructed us that maybe Budget can help us.

Rent a car costs - total with fuel, full insurance, cdw, theft protection and all taxes = 740 euro

I believe it could be better, it could be worse as well - we ended up upgraded to brand new Passat 1.6d and did not spend more than that tank of fuel for those 10 days. It was so funny when my Zoki was trying to put the key in and start this ultramodern electronic car, especially with the fact that he was a bit nervous driving on the wrong side of the street for the first time in his life.


Roads are not so small. Not so narrow, not so weird. We have the same ones here in Eastern Europe biggrin We were more shocked how good maintained they are, how well sign posted and OMG how many roundabouts there were!!! In one moment I even thought that GPS babe was lost where to turn on which roundabout!

 

DAY 1 - We managed to come to Clifden, found Sky Road and wonderful Ruth in Hillside Lodge - great host, immaculate house, and great design. Zoki loved the fact that we are in the house full of memorabilia of his favorite bend U2 - Ruths husband was on tour with them at the time we stayed there... She has wonderful daughter Molly, dog Ella and makes wonderful breakfasts. Molly even joined us for breakfast together with her 20 or so pet cat toys J  First night we slept like babies and enjoyed whole nice music concert from iPod dock station that was set in our room. I almost forgot but this is thing not to be missed - Guys Bar - Guinness Beef Stew - yummy! (interior, stew)

 

DAY 2 - We walked to Clifden Castle - only 5 min walk from B&B, Zoki has little disability so this was our first Olympics walk in Ireland and we survived - actually we survived downhill until we came to big muddy hole that was like 15 meters to the Castle itself so we managed to take few photos and head slowly uphill enjoying views of the bay.

Later on we drove to Kylemore Abbey  - wonderful, wonderful day full of nice feelings - we are both still under the magic of romantic story of Mitchell and his Margaret - we spent whole day wondering around, exploring house, enjoying gardens and took our time to stop everywhere, to see every part of the grounds and still we think that surely one day we must go back! Kylemore Abbey was my favorite day in Ireland!

We finished our evening at Mitchells Restaurant - fancy treat with their dinner menu - 25 euro very affordable.

 

Will stop here just to say that we were most shocked about prices of food and drinks - in our country you can eat for 2 days for the price of 2 course meal for 2 in Ireland - but food was great and we were not sorry a bit at none one of the places we visited!!!


DAY 3 - We left Sky Road and headed to magical Coral strand (it reminded us on Thailand beaches but water there is a bit more warm), we drove to Ballyconelly, stopped to feed local donkey some carrots that I bought on first day in Clifden, checked Connemara ponies - Centre that organizes trekking down the Manin Bay beach - very private and interesting ride. Whole place was surrounded with trailers - then we realized that Irish are using these trailers as their weekend houses - very practical - I wonder how they look inside.

We drove to Connemara Smokehouse - was Sunday and was not open. No tasting of salmon, unfortunately.

We found ourselves in Roundstone - ended up relaxing in Kings Bar - old style bar with a lady that was shocked when Zoki ordered coffee - no one ordered coffee for 3 months! - called her daughter in law to bring her some coffee from upstairs and made him washed socks coffee - I was laughing loud with my Gin tonic over his sad face. We had great lunch at O Dowds Bar, seafood chowder, pasta with salmon, red wine, Irish whiskey - what else to wish for...

On the way to Clifden we passed through Oughterard - tiny village - actually we passed small park with a small stream, it stayed in our mind so we drove on this afternoon there for a small picnic (cakes and water, great photos, few fish in the stream).

We headed towards Doolin before dark - Gus O Connors was waiting for us! We passed Kinvara - so wanted to stop, next day missed it as well - have to go back!!! On a sunny day!

 



-- Edited by Flying Girl on Monday 18th of July 2011 04:21:49 PM

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Somewhere after Lisdoonvarna our GPS babe played with us for the first time, my concentration was not full on and she said right he turned right and drove us on the coastal road for a good half hour until I realized that we are driving north and should be driving south... we turned round and soon found Doolin and Twin Peaks, owner Sinead O Connor with her husband Pascal (tnx for those breakfasts!) - great combination - we got room with bathtub - I prepared small spa experience for my love after such long day and after 2 hours resting we were ready for some night fun!

 

This pub is legend and I am so glad this was our only night out (most days we were dead from all the walking and fresh air), I felt true Irish spirit here and I am glad it stayed with me. We left around midnight - people were becoming more and more red in their faces and we had all day of walking in front of us so it was time for bed.

 

DAY 4 - Whole morning on Cliffs - not too overwhelmed - too touristic for me, we managed to see birds nesting and walk around.

 

On the way to Burren we decide to follow red signs PONY FARM - we came to a house and a guy in front of the house. He greeted us; I noticed he is a sort of a person with whom you can easily spend whole afternoon chatting. He has a farm with one can never count his wives and horses. Willie Daly is his name. Willie is a one kind of a man - again same as legendary bar in Doolin I am so glad that I had opportunity to meet this wonderful soul. We stayed with him for few hours, chatting about his life, matchmaking and horses. He calls his horses by names. Names of famous actors.  Officially I think our relationship has been blessed (after squeezing my belly fat he announced dear man you have found yourself a very fine woman!) by a very experienced gentlemen. At the moment I am reading his book, signed and bought from author himself! Very interesting reading material. I am a bit sorry that we did not ride his ponies; due to disability that my better half has we are off the bikes and horses. That is life, but one can take all it can and enjoy it to the max!

 

A word, or two more about Willie here

We slowly headed towards Kilfenora, checked Burren centre, old Cathedral and drove around Burren until we got lost - was nice to be lost finally - on the way we spotted lots of burial stones, and Poulnabrone Dolmen - I have actually never saw a photo with a person and dolmen on it so was shocked how small it really is - somehow on photos it looked bigger. We found our way back to Ballyvaghan for dinner at Logues Lodge.

 

I have only positive things to say how nice maintained Irish touristic places are. Travelling all over the world I have seen so many tourist attraction, I have visited over 30 countries and Ireland is TOP, NUMBER 1 of not being touristic!!! That is the best attribute that a country can have and still live from tourism!

Both of us really enjoyed empty beaches, animals on the fields, narrow roads with almost no cars, we liked all deserted castles, small ducks on the lakes and flowers that no one will pick...

 

 

DAY 5 - Shannon Ferry - we crossed river Shannon and entered whole new world - south Ireland. We drove straight to Killarney city - we wanted to have lunch (again great one and cheap as well! Cronins Restaurant), easy afternoon and relax a bit.

And if you want to relax Friars Glen is just the place!!! Hilton style rooms, Marriot style breakfasts and true Irish hospitability - all in the middle of Killarney National park! We parked in front of the house just as the boy was cutting the grass, our favorite smell but when we entered the house there was amazing turf food fire waiting for us in the living room... experience for senses and we have been in the house not more than 5 mins. Bridget welcomed us and told us to relax first.

Story goes like this - Mary is wonderful, elegant and manager of the whole house. Mary takes care about the kitchen part of the breakfast as well. Bridget together with one Polish and one Bangladeshi lady takes care about everything together. John is somewhere around all the time, but invisible. He is the one that charged our GPS and unlocked the door late night when we came from our late dinner.

Thing that I liked the most and that Friars Glen has to value is a actually a person - BRIDGET - warm, wonderful lady, live touristic guide, full of handy info, great tips and always smiling!!! And she knows her food places - as u will notice she got our trust.</spa



-- Edited by Flying Girl on Monday 18th of July 2011 04:26:05 PM



-- Edited by Flying Girl on Monday 18th of July 2011 04:26:50 PM

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That day we spent relaxing in their backyard, having our afternoon juice and cakes on the sunny meadow behind the main house listening to the sounds of Killarney Red Deer in action - yep, real love action - it was horrific, I was thinking all the time they will come running out of the woods towards us!

B&B experience - all of them were in range of 60-80euros per night, all of them were great, clean, tasty bfasts, immaculate cleanliness - nothing to complain about.

Friars Glen - best sleep B&B on our trip and best breakfast B&B on our trip!

Hillside Lodge - best design, interior and family experience B&B on our trip!

Twin Peaks - funky owners and great lounge B&B on our trip!  

Harbour Crest - overall cozy B&B on our trip!

Bunratty Lodge - B&B that we wish we stayed more than 10 hours!!!

 

DAY 6 - Great Irish breakfast, search for my rain jacket in Killarney outlet centre - weather is a bit rainy today, till now we had 6 days of sun. Parked in front of the Killarney Cathedral, walked 2,5 km through the Park to Ross Castle (spotted some deer, did not think that we have to walk back to the car) - had amazing tour of Ross castle, Zoki survived that tiny staircase with his 195cm. Walked back the river path with a bit of misty rain drops, was romantic... Later on we drove to Muckross House and Gardens, managed to do the tour of the house and see bit of gardens because it was raining. Bridget recommended dining at Molly DArcys - she did not even know that with that suggestion she got all our trust for next 3 night and days! Slept like babies.

DAY 7 - We planned to visit Traditional Muckross farms on previous day but they closed earlier so this morning we headed early there - grand experience, people working on the farms were like live actors, great setting and interiors full of home made products, fresh baked bread, lots of original furniture.

We learned about turf, homemade butter, old religious beliefs, live in the past in general.

Later on we walked, yes trial number 2 again, to old boathouse but boat never came to take us to Dinnis cottage - it is already on our list for next trip. And Torc waterfall as well. We walked around Gardens again and enjoye rain so fine that one cannot even notice it

Some parts of the trip I was thinking we missed something - then when we came home later in the evening I was so filled with images and senses, feeling overwhelmed. When I gathered all 1200 photos and slowly went through all of them I felt we missed NOTHING!

Still I know there is so much things in that magical country, and still we have time. Sure we will come again.

DAY 8 - Ring of Kerry Day - Our first stop was in the city of Killarney to take smtn for our picnic, I had a plan for a picnic close to one of the ancient forts in Cahersiveen and close by was Ballycarberry Castle as well as option number 2. The first one that we stopped close by was Leacanabuaile Fort, not a living soul close by so it was perfect place to have small picnic and a photo session.  Views were amazing.


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Rest of the afternoon we spent on Valentia Island, drove on a tiny, tiny road to the Lighthouse and drove back cause it was very windy to stay there more than 5 mins! Valentia Island has these big black rocks that with the tides and sea strength got so flat, they look like from another world.

Our GPS drove us to Waterwille, we saw Charlie Chaplin and were sad that we will miss good laughs in August at the Charlie Comedy Festival - it is on wish/to do list as well! Charlie was nice and accepted to take photo with us!

We ended night having delicious (best scampi ever!) at Robertinos in Killarney. Authentic Italian always works just fine. With a French waiter.

 

DAY 9 - In the morning we said bye to our Bridget and Mary and headed towards Cork - the moment we entered city I can freely say both of did not like it at all, it was raining, it was crowded, streets killed even our GPS babe - we wanted to go out ASAP. We stopped at Info centre and guy there killed our will to the end - it was pouring rain, I had to use toilet badly and kind info guy send us to use public toilet, small elevator like box that was 20c for 15mins use - I travel every day, everywhere but have not seen something like this ever. Both of us squeezed in it for the price on one LOL

We quickly had Turkish kebab, searched for net café, found Nan and her Harbour Crest far away from this mess, and finally felt relief. We are going out of the city - the only thing we did before is that we visited Cork City Gaol - good setting but overpriced for 8 euro and 15 years old walkman with headsets not working.

 

Between Kinsale and Clonakilty there is barely anything - that is the beauty of it. Nan is there. With her car and dog. With her teenager neighbour that helps her with breakfast. With her smile. Small, tiny woman but so huge welcome. She made us tea, coffee and brought biscuits. Room was well decorated. Comfy bed, fine bed linen.

She suggested Pink Elephant. She called us to go out with her to a pub in a village nearby - we were to tired. I had feeling we missed great fun. But like so many things - to do in the future list! 

Ok, lets talk food now - best Restaurant experience on our trip! The Pink Elephant is experience - would dare to say new Irish gastronomy with touch of standard Irish charm. And half kilo of unbelievable things inside the package. I had fish, Zoki had lamb. Food is excellent. But it is not about the food.

It is about the carpet in the bar, all the small details over the fire...it is about 2 waiters, about pink piano, about elephants. It is about the school board menu, about pink napkins. About the views that were great even on rainy day. At the end it is different and that won.

We ended up with Guinness and Murphy, and Chocó fudge at home. Nan was dancing somewhere in bar probably.

 

DAY 10 - Our trip was laptop free - now we had a problem, our memory card was full, we badly needed net cafe in Kinsale to transfer photos - not one was open that Saturday - Irish do not deal with tourists - it is Saturday - it is closed - nobody will die. So we switched to smaller format, explored harbour, a bit of city, sent our postcards and headed towards Charles fort. That was our bad weather day. It rained a bit; more of a that boring frog pee than rain.

 

"You know it's summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer."
- Hal Roach

 



-- Edited by Flying Girl on Monday 18th of July 2011 04:35:05 PM



-- Edited by Flying Girl on Monday 18th of July 2011 04:35:56 PM

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We ate at famous Fishy Fishy - Kinsale oysters were delicious starter, I had crab legs in Thai sauce, Zoki tried steak - Fishy Fishy is a very good meaty, that was a positive surprise.

 

DAY 11 - Slowly we are finishing our trip - I already miss Ireland. Today we visited The Donkey Sanctuary, great place for families, couples, anyone who likes animals. Owner Paddy was around; it is always nice to see people who do good things. They have some kind of good vibration around them. Anyone can feel it.

Adare is on our way to Bunratty but it looks so nice that if we stop we will miss Bunratty castle. We decided to stop anyway, have ice cream from Adare dairy farms stand, stroll through the main street, sit a bit in the Town Park; we bought some cheese and locally made jams in the market.  

 

Village of Adare is the most beautiful small village that we visited on our trip!

 

We drove to Adare Manor Hotel nearby - there is a gated entrance, but you can enter to see grounds. Grand Hotel, stunning grounds, home of oldest Irish cedar tree, river, golf course, many things that we did not manage to explore - if we ever win lottery we will have a week of rest there.

We ended our trip in Bunratty - castle was closed, we came to Bunratty Lodge, met wonderful host Mary and happily listened to her suggestion of dinner choice - visit all 3 of the restaurants around castle.

Dinner at The Creamery Bar and drink with a live music at Durty Nellys was just right for us - we did not manage to see 3rd bar!

 

Mary at Bunratty Lodge - best host of a B&B on our trip! What a wonderful lady! I managed to try her scones and bread with homemade jam - it was only 5am - but I really could not resist!

 

Story finished - looking forward to new Irish experiences, loving all memories, and keeping the treasure in my heart but sharing the best with my friends!

 

 

 



-- Edited by Flying Girl on Monday 18th of July 2011 04:38:46 PM

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Ana,

Welcome back from your trip to Ireland. It sounds like you really enjoyed yourself. Being so close maybe you will get to return again soon.

What a wonderful trip report. I wish I could write as well in a second language! I think you communicated to us very well and your love or Ireland shined through.

Sorry to hear about the glitch with the car. Not a good way to start but you seem to have gotten it sorted out quickly.

Yes, food in Ireland is expensive. It can be a bit of a shock at first. But I see you worked around it with some picnics. Pub grub is another way to cut costs. But there are some restaurants that you must eat at and I see you enjoyed one of my favorites Mitchell's in Clifden.

Seems like you enjoyed more off-the-beaten-path type places rather than "touristy" ones. If you get back to Co. Clare again try their other cliffs at Loop Head. Now that is a place for a picnic.

I'm glad you got to stay at Friar's Glen and Bunratty Lodge. I always enjoy staying at them. I agree that Mary Browne is an excellent host. Maybe next time you can stay and taste her breakfast. It is really good.

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. All the details and links were a delight. I hope you get to return to Ireland again. And when you do we hope you come back here and let us help you with your next trip.

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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Michele thanks first of all on Your great help!!! I mentioned You to many people on the road, and they have great respect for You! It is very nice to see how Your soul stays everywhere You visit!

Thanks to all the other "guys and girls" that were giving suggestions for our little trip - once a week I stop by here and read new reports, and forum questions, it became like "weekly magazine" to me...

Love You all and this trip would not be so mazaing without Your help!

Sure we will be back to Ireland! We fell in love...

Ana

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Ana, I enjoyed your trip report. Your English is very good; you certainly expressed yourself well. It is great that you had some 'off the beaten track' experiences, these are what we always remember best.

Stewart



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Ana,

It was my pleasure helping with your trip. I'm glad you enjoy your weekly Ireland magazine here. It is nice that you like checking in to see what everyone is up to.

Here is a photo I took last time I was at Kylemore Abbey.

Michele

http://www.zazzle.com/kylemore_abbey_connemara_print-228766667263058535

 



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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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Flying Girl: I have been enjoying your very interesting trip report! Thank you for sharing all the colorful and unique details of your trip to Ireland. I like how you organized the trip report as it was easy to follow. I"m looking forward to our second trip to Ireland in September!

 



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