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destinydave
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Joined: 06/10/05
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Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!
      05/22/09 05:52 PM

DAY 9
We arrive in Blarney for a great stay in Blarney Vale B + B, ALMOST within sight of the famous Blarney Castle, dang trees! After a yummy breakfast, we head off to do some kissing. The castle sits right in the middle of a lovely small town, (what a suprise!), with a beautiful green park area out front, and multicolored shops. The Blarney castle is about 600 years old, and with the castle itself, fast-rushing stream, and beautiful grounds, you could make a day of it easily here. Of course we climbed the narrow stairs all the way to the top, and kissed the stone. If you don't kiss it, they toss you off the top! Of course not, but it isn't the easiest thing to kiss, either. You have to lie on your back, hang over the opening that the stone is in, hold onto 2 hand rails, and ease down to kiss it. There are people there to help you, and you can't fall, so it is completely safe. The view from the top of the castle where the stone is, is wonderful. I guess the view from the top of a castle HAS to be beautiful, right?

From Blarney, we drove a few miles south to the city of Cork. Cork is a large city, so it lacks the flavor that you get from all the small towns. But if you miss the big city feel, maybe you will enjoy it for a change of pace. In the downtown area there are some great shopping areas, and there are also some good sights, it will just take you longer to find them, and to get around in that TRAFFIC!. St Fin Barre's Cathedral, and St Anne's Church are two of the good attractions there. Right out of Cork is Cobh, pronounced cove, which is a colorful seaside town. The original name was Queenstown, and it was the port that many of our forefathers sailed from to reach the freedom that they sought. Many of the victims of the sinking of the Lusitania are buried here, and there is a memorial there for the Titanic. Cobh was the last port of call that the Titanic sailed out of before she sank. Out of Cobh we caught a car ferry, the first we had been on, to head west to Kinsale. The ferry takes about 3 minutes, 5 Euro, and you never have to get out of your car. If you are heading west from Cobh, you would have to go up and around Cork in all of its traffic, wasting close to maybe an hour, a no-brainer! In Kinsale, we stop for the evening at the Woodlands House B + B, a great place in this lovely, seaside town. A wonderful restaurant there is called, Fishy, Fishy. Yep, that is the name, and it is a very nice place, right by the harbor. If you have been Jonesing for some great seafood, this is for you!

DAY 10
There are walking tours available here, or you can just wander around the harbor and the town, and chill out with some great people. Kinsale is a great town to begin the drive out to the southenmost peninusula, which at the tip is called Mizen Head. So that is where we headed, stopping at a little town along the way named Clonakilty. We called it Clone-a-kitty. There are 2 worthwhile attractions here, other than the town itself, once again, beautiful. One is the model railway village. This is a fully scaled down replica of some of the villages in the area, with model railways running through it. The attention to detail is wonderful, and you can feel like you are in a plane flying over the real thing. It is complete, down to the cows and sheep. If you look very closely, coming out of one of the buildings is Mary Poppins, complete with hat and suitcase! The second main attraction here is just out of town, the Drombeg Stone Circle. This is along the lines of Stonehenge, but smaller. It is a monument of 17 stones, dating from about the beginning of the Christian era.

After leaving there, we continued west toward the Mizen Head area. When the road runs by the ocean, it is so pretty you want to stop every 100 feet to take pictures. Oh yeah, another thing about the driving there. Many of the roads there, most actually, are very narrow. To complicate things, there are rock walls everywhere...they are beautiful, but they are RIGHT BESIDE THE ROAD! I'm not talking 10 feet away, maybe 10 inches, or less. So between the roads being barely wide enough for 2 fat sheep and a chicken, you have to be careful about approaching vehicles. Often you will probably have to ease over to the edge, with your mirror almost touching the rock wall, and let the other car ease by doing the same. It only adds to the adventure though! Just be careful if there are 3 sheep! Actually, you WILL have to watch for sheep and cows a great deal in the western part of the country, but mostly sheep. Often there are no fences, so the little guys wander, and they think they have the right of way. So unless you want lamb chops on the front of your car, be careful! But, I digress. We finish driving around the peninsula, taking tons of pictures, no sheep casualties, and roll into the town of Kenmare, to spend the night at the Willow Lodge B + B.

DAY 11
After a good night's sleep, and a great breakfast, off we go. The next portion of the drive, is around what is called, The Ring Of Kerry, the most famous section of road in Ireland. Words cannot begin to express the beauty of the area. The farther north you begin to go on the western coast of Ireland, the wilder, and more beautiful the scenery becomes. The drive around the peninsula will take every bit of 4 hours, probably more if you love pictures. The ring goes pretty much around the entire coastal section of the peninsula. There are many small, great towns to stop in here, just depending on your time. Almost all of the tour buses travel the ring in a counter-clockwise direction. Given the size of the roads, and the amount of bus exhaust, we chose to drive clockwise, so as not to follow the exhaust, and not to have to pass those monsters! After the drive, I was extremely pleased with that decision. We finish the drive, and come into the pretty town of Killarney to spend the night in a wonderful place, The Killarney Lodge. Our gracious hostess, Catherine Treacy, was kind enough to let us know when I asked about a reservation, that the weekend we were wanting to come, there was a road rally that is held yearly, and the traffic would be intense. It was great of her to let us know, but with the schedule that we were doing, we would go for it. All in all, it wasn't too bad. Yes, the traffic was heavy, but it worked out that it flowed mostly in the opposite direction we were driving, both coming into town, and leaving. It added some pizazz to the evening, tons of the sport cars, many done in the decals, cruising through the town. I only saw a couple with sheep in the grills.

DAY 12
We said goodbye to the Killarney Lodge, and started farther north. First we stopped at Ross Castle, a stoic old castle with a beautiful location right on a stunning lake. Then on to Muckross House and Gardens. These are located at the Killarney National Park, and a great place to spend a slow, relaxing day. The house is huge and beautiful, the gardens and flowers are stunning, and there is a section called the Muckross Traditional Farms. This is what you would expect from a typical Irish farm, if you had visited in the 1930s and 1940s. A great place to spend the day.

The next peninsula going north, is the Dingle peninsula. I will do no jokes about the berries. The drive on it is similar to the Ring Of Kerry, but far shorter. The namesake city is Dingle, a fishing village as you approach the end of the peninsula. It is beautiful, has great scenery, atmosphere, people, and was just generally fun. We finished the drive for the day, with a glitch. Mary Clare got lost, blew a transistor, or simply had a meltdown. When we were going along, she started saying, 'go left, go left, go left, go left'. I tried to tell her that 4 lefts have us going in the same direction we were to start with. After that, she really broke down. Sometimes if she, or even possibly I, made a wrong turn, she would say, 'recalculating', until we both were going to the same place. At one point today, she starting saying, 'recalc, recalc, recalc, recalc, recalc'. She couldn't even get out the whole word. It was really sad, even if we were in hysterics! Even though she finally righted herself, we had to add on to her name now. Instead of just being Mary Clare, she was now renamed Mary Clare O'Doofus, as a tribute to her Irish heritage, and her inability to stay focused!

We finished the day with a special treat. We drove to the town of Tralee, to spend the night in an honest-to-goodness castle, Ballyseede Castle. One of the first things you will see if you go to Ballyseede, is one of the biggest dogs you have ever seen. Arthur, is an Irish Wolfhound, and pretty much runs the place, or you would think so from his actions. He has a huge bed, right inside the front door, and wanders the property at will. He has a little buddy, who we thing was also a dog. He looked like he could have been made from spare parts from other dogs, maybe even something else, we were not sure. He was a hoot, though. On top of it, his name is Einstein. If you ever want a dog to stand and stare at your shoes, then Einstein is your dog! I'm serious, if you got in front of him, he would stare unflinchingly at your shoes. I'm not sure what he thought was going to happen, but it was hilarious. Einstein, so appropriately named! We had a wonderful dinner in the castle by a large fireplace by the window. Outside we could see a couple of donkeys in the pasture playing, and of course, our little buddy, Einstein. We retired to our corner room, claw-footed tub, and flat screen tv, a great combination of old and new. This ended the Southwest portion of the trip, tomorrow we head farther north for our last section, the North and Northwest.

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* IRELAND, first time, Now with Trip reports destinydave 01/30/09 05:04 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! mmk   04/02/09 06:14 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   04/03/09 01:08 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! SMC_Irish_68   04/03/09 10:23 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! SMC_Irish_68   04/03/09 02:55 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! Toronto_Frank   04/05/09 10:36 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! CJIMI   05/18/09 09:51 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! DLJ   04/05/09 03:01 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   03/26/09 11:43 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! mdoyle9999   03/26/09 12:23 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! maximum   03/31/09 12:01 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! SMC_Irish_68   03/31/09 02:14 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! sxmcpl   02/04/09 08:32 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   09/21/09 09:55 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! seaside2   02/04/09 01:22 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! Temery   02/03/09 04:17 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   02/03/09 06:47 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! SMC_Irish_68   02/03/09 11:19 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   11/25/12 09:20 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! PelicanPirate   11/26/12 07:00 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! Emers410   02/03/09 02:56 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   04/11/09 12:25 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/15/09 05:32 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! SMC_Irish_68   05/17/09 07:10 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/18/09 12:05 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/21/09 11:21 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/22/09 11:08 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/22/09 03:41 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/22/09 05:52 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! islandgem   03/08/10 10:07 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   04/01/11 06:23 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   03/09/10 09:38 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! kneafseym   03/10/10 04:30 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! dannyintampa   03/16/10 01:51 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! DanGay   03/17/10 10:40 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    05/26/10 06:52 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    07/05/10 12:15 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    09/05/10 02:23 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! seaside2   05/26/10 11:31 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   08/19/11 12:20 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    10/22/10 10:50 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    11/09/10 12:16 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! Jorgen   11/09/10 01:59 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   07/25/13 05:55 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    10/04/10 05:49 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! seaside2   10/05/10 12:48 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    12/28/10 05:11 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    01/17/11 09:24 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! portston   01/17/11 11:09 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   02/01/14 04:30 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   11/24/11 09:22 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! islandgem   11/28/12 11:38 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   01/11/13 10:14 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! PelicanPirate   03/09/13 02:15 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   03/29/13 05:09 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please!    03/02/11 03:43 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! kneafseym   12/28/10 09:09 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/23/09 02:11 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! WBL_Couple   05/24/09 03:23 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/24/09 08:41 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! SMC_Irish_68   05/25/09 12:37 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   05/27/09 09:47 AM
. * * AUTOEUROPE + GPS RENTAL WARNING! destinydave   05/29/09 04:14 PM
. * * general trip ? Temery   06/10/09 07:28 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   06/10/09 08:42 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? SMC_Irish_68   06/11/09 12:40 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   06/11/09 02:33 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/03/09 10:25 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/06/09 06:02 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/06/09 06:56 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/08/09 02:59 AM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/11/09 10:18 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/12/09 03:34 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/12/09 06:22 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/18/09 12:38 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/31/09 06:08 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/31/09 06:53 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   08/16/09 11:23 AM
. * * Re: general trip ?    08/26/09 02:33 PM
. * * Re: general trip ?    11/24/09 01:31 PM
. * * Re: general trip ?    10/18/09 10:11 AM
. * * Re: general trip ? SMC_Irish_68   12/29/09 03:21 PM
. * * Re: general trip ?    01/31/10 08:52 AM
. * * Re: general trip ?    03/06/10 09:54 AM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/23/09 09:04 AM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/14/09 03:39 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/14/09 04:33 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? kneafseym   07/16/09 08:17 AM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/16/09 07:13 PM
. * * Re: general trip ? destinydave   07/08/09 08:07 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   02/03/09 06:45 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! DanGay   02/05/09 08:25 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! ohtoobtan   02/10/09 06:01 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! destinydave   06/10/11 06:11 PM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! Rasputin   03/26/09 09:39 AM
. * * Re: IRELAND, first time, help please! Caribsearchers   02/21/09 03:46 PM

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