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Post Info TOPIC: Returning to North West Ireland


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Returning to North West Ireland


We are doing it once again, trip #7!  Pulled the trigger on a one month trip,  Sept 30-Oct 29th.  We plan to revisit the NW since in 2009 we missed several places we wanted to go because of DW accident/fall and resulted in a broken shoulder. Spent the better part of 3 days in Castlebar doing Dr appts.

        Our bank is in the process of being sold and was worried my credit card points might become invalid. Using the points directly for flights was NOT a good deal. We would have only gotten about 2/3 value for one ticket.  Cashed out the points for $1,300. That paid for most of the cost of 2 round trip tickets on the fairly new (since May) non-stop Sea-Dub.  Not arriving in the NW but plan to spend jet lag day going only as far as Athlone.  Want to see Clomnacois and the castle and a few other attractions in fly-over/drive-by country.  

        From there pretty undecided. Wanted a couple days/night in Galway which would be the next logical stop off, but may elect to do Galway on the back end of trip.  HAVE to get back to the Crane pub for trad music as well as see the Cathedral which we managed to miss twice.  Thinking self cater in Sligo area and we really liked Tubercarry, 2 nights of great trad music in 09.

        Could easily spend the whole month in Ireland but toying with the idea to do a one week hop to Germany and/or one week in Portugal. Would also like to get back to Prague (beer) and even Poland. Loved Krakow.  So will price some hopper flights soon. Have a one month car rental bid from Conn but  may have to pare that down one or 2 weeks.  All inclusive car rental seemed pricy compared to other trips for a smaller manual diesel car.  With enterprise taking over DDooley, wont bother to call them.  Any other suggestions?

     North Central RoI and inner counties of NI look interesting. 

      Sept seems like a long way off, but looks like in Oct, IRELANDs lodging already booking up pretty good esp. Galway!  So cant wait too long.  Thinking one week self catering, maybe 2 if we are there that long.  I was thinking airB&B for self cater but that industry is in trouble in some parts of Ireland esp bigger towns/cities.

      Excited to get back since we are 1 year late on our normal pattern of every other year!

Dan

 



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Dan,

Congrats on planning your 7th trip to Ireland! I remember when it was your first.

AirB&B is in flux in Ireland at the moment. There is talk of new regulations being put in place this summer so stay tuned. I have several nice self-catering places to recommend if you want.

The car rental scene is also changing. Here is a recent thread: https://ireland.activeboard.com/t65145050/has-enterprise-buried-dan-dooley/

Besides the Antrim coast I like Co. Fermanagh and Co. Down a lot. I know some excellent places to stay in those counties.

I recently stayed at the Sheraton Athlone and it was great. One of the quietest hotels I have ever stayed at...and there was a wedding going on there!

Now, on to the decisions.....



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I think there might be a Cork to Lisbon connection. Also check the Porto connections.

I'm heading to Portugal in April, excited. For you, it may be a nice week of weather after a few weeks in Ireland, and return to Pacific NW. Y

Also want to do Poland eventually. Trying to squeeze in trip 7 to Ireland for ourselves the last week of May (Memorial Day Holiday, still working and need to save leave :( . I want to take advantage of cheap/easy Norwegian flights out of Newburgh for as long as they exist.

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Thanks Michele for suggestions! We have done the Antrim Coast but will check our Fermanagh and Down County options
The Cork connection might be too far south for us this trip. Thinking more like Shannon or Knock. Will check all the options. Thanks!
I probably would be interested in the Norwegian options....can save some $s but no layover/non stop on Aer Lingus is very enticing since jet lag has become more and more pronounced as we get older!
I did book the 2 most important dates: arriving and departing. Got a 2 night stay booked at Prince Of Wales Hotel in Athlone for 53 Euros/night double on booking.com and is free cancellation untill 48 hrs before. Optional breakfast for 10 euros each. Also booked the last night at the Premier Dublin Airport for 48 Euros double, also free cancellation. We really like that hotel after staying there the final night on other trips. So handy to downtown bus stop if you do desire to get a last night-out-on-the town. Since our flight doesnt leave till 4:00 PM, we could opt to stay inland and drop the car at noon and get there in time for the 3-hour window to catch our flight.
More planning necessary! Still nearly 7.5 months out! But seems Ireland is busier these days in Oct. maybe not so much in the NW as that seems to be the undiscovered part of Ireland!
Dan



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Another vote for Fermanagh!  Enniskillen is a terrific base for a couple of days -- Devenish Island (With a 'climbable' Round Tower!), boat rides on Lough Erne, about half a dozen Scottish 'Plantation' Castles, the pre-Christian Janus and Lusty Man statues on Boa Island and a shopping visit to Beleek Pottery, come to mind.  Also nearby are Castle Coole, the Marble Arch Caves, Sheelin Lace museum and Shop and  Florence Court and Gardens.

Add in  a tour of Enniskillen Castle -- and a trip to White Island, from the Castle Archdale marina -- which I would think would be a 'Must See' for the pilot in you:  https://discovernorthernireland.com/Castle-Archdale-Countryside-Centre-War-Museum-Irvinestown-Enniskillen-P2905/

A young American GI radio operator named Callahan based nearby during WWII made some fascinating discoveries concerning Irish Round Towers based on visits to Devenish.  Later, as a Professor and USDA scientist, he posited some remarkable observations:  http://www.whale.to/b/callahan.html

We enjoyed two stays in Enniskillen -- both at places recommended by Michele.  Both were delightful, but we have a soft spot in our hearts for the slightly more rural:  http://www.abocurragh.com/

Michele's other pick in the area  http://dromardhouse.com/  was certainly NO slouch, either.



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Bob,
Thanks for weighing in. Looks like a couple of nights in Enniskillen might be in order! Maybe on the way back to Dub at the end. Will definitely check out the war museum.
Contemplating a week self-cater in/near Sligo, a week in/near Donegal Town and one in/near Westport sounds enticing. Still thinking about Germany and/or Portugal for a side trip. That would require a much more abbreviated stay at the 3 IRELAND locations. Hope that a week would not be too much time to spend at those three locations, but that would make it a real laid back trip. Decisions to make.
I did book 2 nights in Galway City after Athlone at a self catering apartment north of the Spanish Arch area fairly close to the Cathedral but more important close to the Crane Pub! They are still getting awesome reviews for Trad Music sessions.
Dan



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Here's a possible route for you if based in Sligo:  https://goo.gl/maps/8ZX1UEMSPz42

It covers a lot, so may not allow enough time in one day to visit White Island and Devenish (with boat ride on the Lough), but it does bring you by many of the key sites.

Boat tours or Lower Lough Erne and Devenish Island:  http://ernetours.com/   The tour takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes -- all in.

White Island trips take about 1 hour (including 30 minutes ON the island):  http://www.fermanaghlakelands.com/White-Island-Ferry-Service-Irvinestown-Enniskillen-P64129

Info on the Island:  http://www.megalithicireland.com/White%20Island%20Figures.htm

You would probably want another hour for a wander about Castle Archdale.  The marina is in the Parking Lot.

Monea Castle:  http://www.britainirelandcastles.com/Northern-Ireland/County-Fermanagh/Monea-Castle.html

Portora and Tully castles are also nearby.

Enniskillen general info -- THREE pages worth!: http://www.fermanaghlakelands.com/Attractions-A218?PageNo=1     



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Bob

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We spent 4 nights in Westport some years ago, at:  http://www.theharbourmill.com/   We had a two bedroom apartment that we enjoyed.  Bit of a hike into town center (and Matt Malloy's, though!).

It was an easy day trip to Achill Island and very handy to Croagh Patrick.  We even managed a day trip to Belmullet.



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Bob

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There is plenty to do in Sligo for a week. Parke's Castle, Gleniff Horseshoe Drive, Strandhill, Rosses Point, Drumcliff, Creevykeel, Carrowmore, Knocknaree.

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Agree with Michele about Sligo. An off-the-radar area that doesnt get the hype of the Southwest region. And the surrounding villages of Tobercurry and Gurteen are charming. In fact I reached out to Jacci at Churchview B&B about the Trad music scene these days in Gurteen. She responded back promptly to let me know there are 2 pubs that still offer back-to-back Trad music on Mon/Tues. So....Im afraid a 2 night stay there will be mandatory to fit into the 3-stop self cater schedule. Which one do I rob a couple of nights from? Probably between Westport/Sligo since they are nearby. Jacci still gets great reviews on her purpose built B&B and the pub across the street gets great reviews for food. And then there is the Michael Coleman Heritage Music Center nearby where you can spend numerous hours. I like it when a plan starts to come together!
Dan



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I forgot Glencar Waterfall. If you haven't done the horseshoe drive, I highly recommend it. Going north from Sligo on the main road it is signposted in two places. I prefer the aspects of entering at the second sign. The views just seemed better to me when going that direction.

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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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