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12 days in Ireland


Well we have been back now for almost two weeks but it's been so crazy getting back to reality that I have barely had time to download my pictures!  I just wanted to post a brief trip report for anyone else who might be traveling to Ireland soon and looking for tips, as I know this forum and trip reports helped me a ton while planning!

 

Day 1:  Kilkenny - We landed in Dublin at about 8:30, got through customs, rented our car, and were on our way out of the airport by 10am.  Since we had good weather and were feeling ok despite the 4 hours sleep, we decided to stop in Glendalaough on our way to Kilkenny.  If we could do it all over again we probably wouldn't have made the stop.  Most people suggested not stopping, but we didn't listen!  We both really wanted to see it and are glad we did, even if it was just to know what we would have missed!  Everything I read talked about how magical the place was, and it may have been the crowds or the lack of sleep, but I just didn't find the stop worth the detour.  I don't want to make it sound like we disliked it at all - it was an experience driving through the Wicklow Gap, spotting our first sheep, and taking our first photos of the monastic city and walking to the lake and waterfall.  I just would have probably drove straight to Kilkenny the first day and left to get to Kenmare sooner.  We still made it to Kilkenny by dinner time and decided to push through and go have a drink at Tynans where we had our first (my last ) Guiness and then on to Kyleters for one more drink and off to bed for a much needed night sleep.

Day 2: Kilkenny - It was a sunny and beautiful day - perfect for walking, so we did a walking tour of the city and even caught a local hurling match which was interesting to watch.  Apparently we had just missed the "championship" games the previous weekend where Kilkenny won as they apparently usually do.  Both days we stayed at the Butler House which was great - breakfast was served upstairs from the art galleries across the gardens, and I had my first full irish breakfast.  I would definitely recommend staying at the Butler House.  Even though one night was noisy, it was the weekend and apparently a wedding party was staying there as well....Richard was a great host and the girls at reception let me use their computer to check emails as the wireless was not cooperating. 

***Visited Rock of Cashel and Cahir on our way to Kenmare, and we hadn't done a lot of reading up on Cahir before we left but were ery impressed with the castle and the feel of the place- it was such a cute town, so we stayed and walked a bit and grabbed lunch.  It was so foggy that ROC was difficult to view, but it was still a very cool sight to see.

Day 3,4, & 5 - Kenmare - stayed at Virginia's Guesthouse, which was our favorite B&B experience by far!  Neil and Noreen were amazing and so friendly and hospitable.  Breakfast was delicious, and our last morning we had an early checkout so they left food out for us since we would be missing breakfast.  We would 100% stay there again if ever back in Kenmare, which we hope we will be!  We absolutely adored Kenmare in general and would love to go back and spend more time there.  The town was quaint and not touristy at all compared to Killarney.  We went to lunch in Killarney one day and their drink special was an Alabama Slammer - WHAT?!  Anyway....

Highlights of Kenmare -

         - Hiking the Garnish Loop trail near the cable cars to Dursey Island.  We didn't make it to Dursey, but I loved Garnish loop hike - you climb over a mountain (hiking with the sheep) and go up one side and down the other, all while taking in beautiful cliff views of Dursey Island.  You then find yourself walking in farmland, you happen upon a small beach, and then take the road back to your car.  It's about a 2 hour hike, challenging enough to get us to break a sweat.  It did rain on us a bit but we were prepared with our rain coats and hoods...

         -  Gleninchaquin - another beautiful hike on a farm of locals who seem to have partnered with the County to open it up to toursits.  We hiked behind the waterfall,  a semi-challenging 1 hour hike that has you walking up one side of a mountain and down another, this time giving you beautiful views of the green pastures below spotted with the sheep.  Their land is absolutely gorgeous, and worth ever penny of the 5 Euro charge to get in....

         -  It probably goes without saying that the Ring of Beara and Healy pass were just astounding.  I would probably suggest that anyone who really wants to explore do half in one day and half the next, and spend a night somewhere along the way.  There is so much to see and so many walks/hikes we would have loved to do...

 

OK - back with more later.  I was going to try to keep it short and sweet but that is virtually impossible!

 

 

 

      

        

 

 

 

 



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Wendy:

Glad you had a good trip.  You also have done a service to other travellers by noting that trying to do too much that first day is indeed a real difficult thing to pull off.  Most of the time that I have been to Ireland I have landed, driven to Kilkenny, walked the town, had a nice meal and a drink, and then that night gone to bed.  It has been a great plan for us, and certainly as much I want to attempt after an all night flight.

The location of Butler House is incredible, isn't it.  A great location in a awesome town.

Geno



-- Edited by Geno on Monday 22nd of October 2012 09:04:09 AM

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Wendy,

Welcome back. Thanks for stopping by to add your tips for other travelers. Seems you were in Glendalough on a weekend. That is not the best time to see it. Being over crowded with tourists spoils the serene spot. It is best seen on a weekday either early morning or late afternoon/evening. That is when the locals enjoy their walks through it. Being trampled by other tourists definitely impacts your experience.

Glad you loved Kenmare. My favorite small town in Ireland.

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, I fully concur with your report on Kenmare. In April and May of this year my wife and I spent 35 days in the Kenmare area. In fact, I surprised my wife by arranging the renewal of our marriage vows after 40 years in St. Killian's Church in Lauragh. This was not far from Kenmare. We loved staying in a delightful cottage on " the Beara", and made many trips to Kenmare. We ate at virtually all of the restaurants in the city. Honestly, our most enjoyable dining experiences were at JAM, a small but oh so wonderful cafeteria-style establishment. We came to know the staff and enjoyed every visit. Three really big cheers for Kenmare, our home away from home. Next year, God willing and the creek don't rise, we will return for another month ( and more JAM ).

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John,

What a delightful post. Thirty-five days near Kenmare must have been lovely. My max there at any one time has been a week. Like you I've eaten everywhere there. My husband loves the banoffee at Jam. Seems it is getting harder to find. Guess I'll have to make him some myself. Hope you get back to Kenmare soon.

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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