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So, now that I’ve finally visited Ireland, was it what I expected? Yes and no. I did expect the initial confusion caused by driving on the left side of the road. That awkward moment where as the passenger you try to get in the driver’s side. I did expect the rain, but more sunshine would have been nice, especially in Derry.

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Ross Castle isn’t far from Swords, but it was far enough from Dublin Airport that we felt we needed another night close to the airport. So with some recommendations from Jackie, our B&B host, we set off to explore the area around Ross and on our way to Swords.

First up was the Fore Abbey. Unfortunately our app delivered us to a private address. It was a nice house, but we didn’t think they’d invite us in for tea. We continued on and eventually saw a sign pointing us to Fore Abbey, but it was sending us back the way we came. So we continued on.

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When we were planning our trip to Ireland, I told NosyNeighbour I’d really like to spend a night in a castle. He researched online and found us not just any castle, but a haunted one!

Okay, it wasn’t actually haunted, but it is supposed to have a happy spirit called Sabina living in it. Which coincidentally was also the name of the wifi network. Wifi was only available in the common areas, which is to be expected with an old castle with thick stone walls. Read the rest of this entry »

Our hotel in Kilkenny was meant to be a spa on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately for us the experience was rather less than expected due to the high volume of unattended children shrieking and running and bouncing off furniture in the lobby. We had booked into a hotel with an indoor pool on the week before school started. Every family in the middle of Ireland seemed to have had the same great idea! Read the rest of this entry »

Although our morning began with a spectacular sunrise and few clouds, it is Ireland. So by the time we arrived at Blarney Castle, the rain had joined us.

Fortunately Irish rain isn’t constant. The rain would peter to a mist, then the sun would break through for 15 minutes, then a 2-minute downpour, and then some cloud. Weathermen in Ireland have the easiest jobs! Read the rest of this entry »

The next morning we drove the Dingle loop. I’d forgotten to save all the web pages to my phone, so I was only able to annotate the first five kilometres It didn’t really matter because it rained the entire time. It made it a quicker drive because you just couldn’t see any of the spectacular views everyone had raved about.

From there we drove through Cork and still it rained. Finally the clouds parted and we were on our way to Ballycotton, a true small fishing village unspoiled by the masses of tourists. The anticipation was allowed to build even more as we encountered a detour after Cork that took us along winding farm roads. Read the rest of this entry »


Because it was Heritage Ireland week, many castles and grounds were free or had special activities. Unfortunately, we never were able to time our visit to a particular place with a freebie.

On our way to Dingle, we stopped first at Athenry Castle. NosyNeighbour particularly liked seeing the “old-style” plumbing arrangements. It was an interesting castle and the staff was very helpful. Read the rest of this entry »

When we did our research about visiting the Aran Islands, I learned that a lot of people get motion sickness on the 40-minute ferry ride to Inis Mór. The port for the ferry is farther away and parking is not free. The airport is closer with free parking and wifi and early morning flights. So it was a no-brainer … the extra money would be worth it because we would beat the crowds to the island. Read the rest of this entry »

We’d had a good time seeing my family in Devon. My cousin was somewhat surprised for her 40th birthday. We’d won over her children for a visit to Canada. We’d learned a new card game, Nine Card Brag, which is much more fun when played for money. But our time in England had come to an end.

My uncle got us to Exeter in under an hour. As we were getting close to the airport, he started to explain that he wouldn’t drop us off in front because the airport charges £1 for the privilege. He wasn’t alone. There was a queue before the gates. And taxis behind us weren’t impressed

This time no issues with flybe. In fact the flight attendant even offered to move one of our carry on to under an empty seat.

Back in Dublin, we rented a car through Enterprise. The experience was surreal.  They kept shaking our hands. (Aaaaaah! Get me the hand sanitizer!)

If you are renting a car in Ireland, it may be worthwhile enquiring about whether tolls are included in your contract. The €3.10 toll on the M50 ring road must be paid by 8pm the next day. Most people pay online, which is a bit problematic when you are using free wifi. We did learn that you can pay it as most gas stations.

We used my newly downloaded navigation app to get us to Galway. For some reason it didn’t know where our B&B was and directed us to a parking lot instead of College Road. We were looking at a run-down council house worried that our B&B was no more. NosyNeighbour went inside the nearby pub and got directions to the correct address (phew!).

The staff at the College Crescent B&B were very helpful. We were staying two nights so that we could take an early morning flight to the Aran Islands. They were able to accommodate our early departure with an early morning breakfast.

It was a 10 minute walk to the city centre. On the way we stopped at the tourist information, where we chatted with an Irishman who couldn’t say enough about Dingle.  We left armed with loads of maps and pamphlets and learned that it was the start of Heritage Ireland Week.

We explored the main shopping area, stopping for an icecream, despite the cool and soon-to-be-wet weather. The umbrellas came out, the hoods went up and we looked for interesting stores to go into. We did discover a largish indoor mall, where NosyNeighbour made his big purchase of the trip … a new full-size umbrella!

On our way back to the B&B, w20150822_174252e stopped at An Púcán. It was a bit early and we weren’t sure if we were ready for supper so we started with a tasty serving of their Trad Wedges. Then after a few pint, I had a goat cheese salad and NosyNeighbour had the Irish stew. Both were very tasty.


Next post: The Aran Islands

The next morning we woke up to a cloudy day. And soon the rain began, first as a mist, then progressing to a steady pitter patter. We had a tasty breakfast in the restaurant part of the pub, still smelling of yesterday’s beer. The cook was busy running back and forth bringing coffee and food to the other guests. There were three cyclists who didn’t seem keen on cycling in the rain.  We’ve been there, done that in Germany. It wasn’t fun. At least on the Romantic Road we had paths. They were sharing on narrow country lanes with camper vans and tour busses.

Through the beauty of our Ooma account, we had used the wi-fi to phone my uncle and aunt the evening before to arrange our pick up time. They would meet us at the London Inn (the only pub my uncle know in Padstow … so it must be good!) at 11:30. But we needed to check out by 10 a.m., so we set off for a walk in the rain. Read the rest of this entry »


August 2015
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