Sunday, June 16, 2013

Our Favorites and Suggetions

Favorite Place to Stay: (J and T) Old Presbytery in Kinsale
Favorite Town: (J and T) Kinsale
Favorite Meal: (J) Scallops and Lobster at Finn's in Kinsale (T) Meal at Finn's
Favorite View: (J) From the Cliffs of Moher (T) From the Castle Ruins at Ballinskelligs
Favorite Musicians: (J) The musicians at The Blue Haven in Kinsale and The Brazen Head in Dublin (T) Michael O'Brien in Kenmare and the musicians in Doolin
Favorite Breakfast: (J) French Toast at Ashfield B&B in Kenmare (T) They were all good- at the B&Bs
Favorite Activity: (J) The Night of Story Telling at The Brazen Head in Dublin (T) Cliffs of Moher
Favorite Castle/Ruins: (J) The ones on the side on the road (T) Ruins at Ballinskelligs

Don't miss out on: The boat trip across Muckross Lake, the signs that lead you down little side roads, The  Burren, the beaches

Next time we would skip: (J) The Dermot Ryan tour in Kinsale and go with the other guys, (J) the Green tour bus in Dublin and go with the Red one, (J) Grafton street- just like any shopping district, (T) Kilkenny Castle

Helpful hints: Ask locals what to do, where to eat and what routes to take. Trip Advisor has great tips on places to stay and what to do.

Our Last Day in Ireland

From Doolin we drove along the coast of Galway Bay. It was BEAUTIFUL! I bet this is what the Ring of Kerry would have looked like if it wasn't so foggy. I probably should have taken some pictures, but I didn't, so just imagine blue skies, blue/green water on one side and Irish landscape on the other.

In Galway we planned on taking the 11:00 train to Dublin. It was getting very close to 11:00 when we entered the city. I was getting a bit nervous to say the least. We found the Budget rent-a-car place and then were told we had to drop it off down the street at a parking garage place and then walk back to the office. After that we then had to walk to the train station.

 Toby was sure we would make it, and I should have believed him, because we made it with time to spare and got a great seat with a table that we shared with this little old man and his half broken glasses. He was cute ;)

The trainride was a good way to end our trip. It was relaxing and gave Toby a break from driving. We arrived in Dublin in the early afternoon so we had some time to walk around the city.

We were staying at the Trinity Capital Hotel, like we did at the beginning of our trip, so we just walked the short distance to Trinity College and took a tour of the campus.

A sculpture nicknamed the Death Star.

After the tour and a bite to eat, we walked along Grafton Street, O'Connell Street, and saw the famous Post Office (the site of the 1916 Easter Rising- mentioned in Downton Abbey-just FYI) and another sculpture. I can't remember the real name of the sculpture, but it's nicknamed "The Stiffy by the Liffy."

Our last dinner (and pint) was at Quay's Pub in Temple Bar. We had standard pub food accompanied by a Guinness.

The next morning we boarded a plane back to the States saying goodbye to Ireland. It was an awesome trip.

Kenmare to Doolin (part 2)

After we left the Cliffs of Moore we headed for Doolin. Once checked into our hotel, Tir gan Ean House, we headed out along corkscrew road to The Burren.

The Burren is the opposite of the rest of Ireland. Where most of Ireland has lush green landscape, The Burren is a land of limestone. It was really interesting to see the transition and then walk among the limestone.

On the map we saw a a few places to visit in The Burren National Park. One of them was a tomb called Poulnabrone Dolmen

Throughout Ireland many farmers used stone to create fences. In the Burren these fences were everywhere. Although the limestone is abundant here, it seems like it would take a lot of work to create these fences:

From the tomb we headed back toward Doolin and to it's port. We hung out on the roocks and watched the water crash on the shore. We even got to see a dolphin.

(It was COLD!!- but sunny :) )

Before dinner we got to see this beautiful rainbow. It was a great reminder of how God keeps his promises. He truly blessed us on this trip.

Since Doolin was known for its music, we wanted to hear live music, so we asked our receptionist where the music would be played that night. Unfortunately she was not in tune with what was happening and we didn't have any music at dinner, but we went to another pub down the road and got a front row seat to a three man band. I was really tired, so after a pint, we made our way back to the hotel and went to bed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Kenmare to Doolin (part 1)

One piece of advice I would give to anyone traveling is talk to the locals. They give such good information about the area and have recommendations of all kinds. For instance, we took the ferry across the River Shannon instead of driving around through Limericks because our guide on Muckross Lake suggested it. The travel time was probably the same (because of wait time), but it was so much more enjoyable.

The River Shannon

On the other side of the river we took a coastal route and stopped at Spanish Point.
This guy has job security- he is cleaning up all the kelp along the beach ;)
Look at the blue sky!!

All the black you see on these rocks are tiny little mussels

Back in the car, with our tummies rumbling, we saw a sign pointing up a little road to Barrtra Seafood Restaurant and decided to follow it. When we entered the restaurant, it seemed empty, so we called out and a man dressed like a chef came and showed us to our seat. We were the only ones in the place and got an awesome seat.  The man turned out to the chef and the waiter and busboy for the day. He said his mom usually helped out front, but she wasn't working that day.

We ordered our food and enjoyed the view. As Toby looked around, he noticed the chef run out the back door, it turns out he was getting dill from his garden to garish our dishes- very fresh ;) The food was great and I would recommend it to anyone who is close to Lahinch- just look for the sign :)

As we continued toward Doolin, we stopped at the Cliffs of Moher. The weather was beautiful, but crazy windy- I would not have wanted to be on the coast during a storm.

The Cliffs of Moher were awesome. After we walked around the official section, we went out on or own and were able to get as close to the cliffs age as we dared.

Hold on Toby!

If we kept walking, we would eventually make it our next destination.

Here we are on the cliffs edge.

It's a looooooooong way down!

These "fences" are all over the area created out of local rock.

If you go to Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are a must! (just pray for good weather)