"Our colourful itinerary" Ireland Travelogue by sabsi
Ireland Travel Guide: 16,282 reviews and 37,361 photos
While me and my boyfriend Colm were touring Ireland in summer 2001 I bought a postcard every day. Instead of writing a travel diary I wrote what we did onto them so that I have a nice souvenir and the complete route description now. I wanted to share the cards and some of what I wrote with you here... Maybe it helps one of you to plan a 2 week road trip along the west coast of Ireland...
You find more details and my pictures on my several Ireland pages! Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed building them!
We take an early morning flight from Amsterdam Schiphol to Dublin. I'm so scared of flying, I couldn't sleep all night but that's ok, we had to get up at 5 in the morning anyway... Colm is more knackered than me...
We shop a bit in Schiphol airport and have to run to catch the plane because we forgot the time ... we jumped onto the plane, sat down and suddenly the pilot announced that we have to wait for 45 minutes because London said we're not allowed to fly over it at the moment. Aaargh waiting doesn't make me more calm I'm afraid.
I survived the flight with a long kiss during take off and landing, a book, my teddybear and tranquilizers (which didn't help of course because I took them too early because of the delay!!
I was so happy when we arrived at Dublin airport ... got brochures on Foot & Mouth Disease and the first ad we saw was "Welcome to the home of Westlife". Ouch!
We pick up our rental car at the carpark and watch people who can't drive their cars (e.g. don't find the reverse gear!) We get a Fiat Seicento! (Aaaargh. What have we done to deserve this?)
We leave Dublin quickly (no traffic jams! Well none that I didn't cause ;) and head west, direction: Kerry. (Information fron the guy at the car rental office: "The best way to get to Kerry? Don't go to Kerry!") Unfortunately I can't get used to the pedals of the car, they are too close together so I always hit brake and accelerator at the same time! I will have to drive all the time - we had to insure the car in my name because Colm's driving license is out of date. And I thought I'd go on holidays with a personal Irish driver ... ;-)
Lunchbreak in Roscrea in the White house, excellent chicken baps and the first Club Orange after a long time (Yummy, missed it!!!). This place still looks like from another decade. And it smells like the GDR in winter -- because the houses here and there were/are heated with coal. Clocks seem to move a lot slower here...someone parked his car in front of ours and trapped us. It wasn't too bad, he came back 15 mts later without saying sorry ;-)...
Terrible Traffic in Limerick because there are silly roundabouts all over the shop. I get used to driving on the wrong side of the road slowly. But I don't know how many times Colm had to say "Mind your left!"..
We leave the bigger road and drive on little roads towards the Ring of Kerry. A lot of scary Kerry drivers around us... We have a break at the beach in Rossbehy, wonderful place, very nice views! Suddenly the sun is out. It was grey when we arrived in Dublin... "when angels travel..." :)
After a cigarette and a phone call we continue west along the - amazingly quiet - Ring of Kerry to go to Skellig Ring a wonderful (scenic and deserted) road along the coast off the touristy Ring of Kerry.
We stay at Beachcove B&B, St. Finian's Bay, the best B&B I've ever seen, lovely seaview room, only 18 IEP, beach right in front of the house and view on Skelligs from our bedroom window!!! We were so lucky to have found it on the internet... it was paradise! ...and to have called in the afternoon to get a description on how to get there ... it was hidden!
The landlady tells us about nice walks around here and tells us that she has arranged a trip to Skelligs for us tomorrow. She also says that today the sea was a little bit choppy. It's the first time I hear the word but I fear I might hear it quite a few more times during this holiday... We rest a bit after the long drive (if only the Irish had said yes when the "Germans" wanted to build them an Autobahn ;), have Muffins for dinner because the restaurants in the next town, Portmagee (4 miles away), are already closed at this time and afterwards we walk to the old pier in St. Finian's Bay, it's so quiet! We only meet crazy dogs and kids on bikes! At the pier there's bits and pieces of the seagulls' dinner lying around. And so is the smell... But it's a great place, anyway! We walk back home and collapse into bed early
We have to get up early to find out whether boats go to Skelligs today or not. Our landlady welcomes us at breakfast with the good news that we can go. I'm worried, in my imagination the sea looks really wild today, even though you can't really tell from where we are... I give it a try and have a full Irish breakfast. I realize once again that I don't like them and decided to have fruit and yoghurt tomorrow.
So then, with our landlady's binoculars in our waterproof bag we drive over the next very steep hill to Portmagee, the next village. Our captains already has contacted us.. he looks .. hmm how can i put this.... Irish!
Wait for boat to Skellig Michael, our captain Pat Murphy says it "perfectly calm". Heard to many terrible stories about waves and seasickness to believe him, think his "calm" differs from my "calm".
We made fun of the other boat next to us because everyone was wearing army style camouflage weatherprove clothes. "Them Americans..."
It's quite calm as long as we are still in the bay but there are quite a few big waves before getting to Little Skellig!!! On our boat the People fall over while taking too many pictures. "Them Italians". I stay seated and watch the puffins flying around in their most clumsy way! Lovely!
Little Skellig is an island where only birds live. There's lots of puffins and gannets flying around, seals lying in the sun - lovely! We stop here and go around the rock slowly... to take a lot of pictures and have a look (and hear!) the thousands of birds!
On the the last bit to Skellig Michael all the seaspray ends on my jumper and I'm soaked before getting there, I definitely had the worst seat and wish I was wearing an army uniform ;-) My Fleece jumper weighs something like 10 kilo now...
We get off the boat and walk along the path, my jumper is dripping from the too of my backpack. There's puffins everywhere, they are soooooo cute!!!!
We start to walk up the 680 steps (built by monks 1400 years ago!) towards the monastery from AD 600. They are steep and scary. More puffins. I have a break and a picnic and share a cookie with one while Colm races up to the top.
I don't go up the last steps to the monestary (Beehive huts), the steps look too scary. I get a great view from shoulder between both peaks, anyway. Windy. Colm tells me about beehive huts, they have one window - facing Little Skellig! Very funny "(Oh, where will we build our window?" "How about here, we get a nice view then" ;) Next time I'll go up there, too!
We climb back down to the boat and everyone get's an army uniform because we're expecting a bit of seaspray! HAHAHAHAHAHA People from the army boat from this morning are taking the P***, we take loads of pics coz we looks like being in "Saving Private Ryan".
Choppy sea but no seaspray on my seat this time!! Hehehehe we were smart and learnt from our mistakes on the way here. After 1 hour we're back in Portmagee (yippeeee! we survived!). It was a day I will never forget in my life! What an adventure. What a place!
Found this postcard which shows our captain and went for a drink in the pub. Then we drive over the bridge to Valentia Island to visit the Skellig Experience ~ Heritage Centre. It was good to see and read about Skelligs after having been there, it would have been boring without a trip to Skellig before (The real thing!)
We have dinner in the pub at the bridge in Portmagee and go "home" afterwards. We drive down the Cul de Sac along the cliffs but don't find the walk our landlady had told us about. Of course we go to bed rather early again. This place is so quiet and relaxing, it makes us sleepy! Well that, the warm wind, the comfortable bed and the view from our bedroom window...
The long version of this day's diary you find in another travelogue on my Kerry page!
These are more postcards for Day 2 - because I didn't know which one to buy...
The one above shows the window in the beehive hut. The other ones all show Puffins on Skellig Michael, with little Skellig in the background
In the morning we have to leave Beachcove unfortunately. Our next (pre-booked) B&B will be in Dingle. I'm curious. I was in Dingle 11 years ago but all I remember from then is Fungie the dolphin and a storm and many funny stories that happened to us on our Campground back then... I bet it has changed a lot over the years...
We drive back to the Ring of Kerry and continue anti-clockwise. At Coomakista Pass we take a break and admire the view and the little marmelade cats and rabbits of a strange guy sitting there at the carpark.
Our landlord at St. Finian's Bay had told us a nice beach to go to so we stopped and went for a paddle in Caherdaniel at Derrynane Bay. It's behind Derrynane House, the houses where Daniel O'Connell used to live. Not too many people here and a nice place for a walk. Colm is a chicken and says his feet get cold in the water. Well it's not warm but really nice and refreshing!
After a while we have to dry our feet and continue along the (still amazingly quiet) Ring of Kerry. We have a terrible lunch in the Blue Bull Pub in Sneem, YUCK! Sneem is a place full of tourists, we didn't see much more than the main road and a newsagents though ;-)
We leave the Ring of Kerry here and continue over a mountain pass towards the really lovely lakes of Killarney. I am cought behind coaches most of the time... so this is where they bring all the tourists then? Hmmm Sally Gap... heard this one before...
We get petrol in Killarney and try to drive through it as quick as possible with all the jaunting cars. We continue towards Dingle.
After a while (My driving gets faster but the Kerry licenced cars still overtake me like maniacs ;) we arrive in Dingle, our B&B is Emlagh Lodge, a nice new house and (of course!) seaview. We can watch the Fungie chasing boats from our room but what we ask ourselves is .... Is our room called "Bayview" or "Mind your head"?
We walk through Dingle a bit, it has changed a lot over the last 11 years, actually more than I'd expected. More dolphin tourists, more restaurants, a new marina and huge car park where our supermarket used to be. Hmmmmm we search for the campground we stayed at in 1990 but it's gone as well. I wonder where all the backpackers sleep these days!
We have dinner in the pub next to Long's Restaurant. It wasn't cheap but the food was excellent! I have my first <b>Guinness</b> with it hmmmmmm.....at long last!!! As I don't drink Guinness anywhere but in Ireland it's always something special!!! Very tasty!
We decide to go to <b>Foxy John's</b> bar afterwards, we read about this place in our favourite travel story book "McCarthy's Bar". It's a hardware shop during the day and a pub during the night. Excellent!!!!! I have a 2nd Guinness (and I stopped counting them here!) A lot of tourists seem to have read about the pub as well. It was really empty when we were in the pub (just us, the barman and two old fellas). From time to time the door opened and tourists came in with video or photo cameras, they got their pictures and went straight out again. Very annoying. I'd never do anything like that!
We went home afterwards and go for a drive to <b>Slea Head</b> to watch the sunset - very spectacular coast and a breathtaking view in dusk!!!
Today we have to get up at 7 a.m. because Colm has to collect a wetsuit from the local wet suit hire. He decided to swim with Fungie the dolphin today - I'm too chicken to do so!
We walk to the pier and he looks like Jacques Cousteau - I can't stop laughing!!! We are waiting at the Fungie monument (!) for the boat to bring us to Fungie.
On the boat there's 15 people who want to swim with the dolphin and 5 people (like me) who just want to watch and take pictures.
We go out of the bay to Fungie's favourite spot. Colm knows it because he had done this before. We search for Fungie, suddenly he turns up and the little boat chases him to the people in the water.
Taking pictures of the "stupid fish" is almost impossible! As soon as you click he's gone again. I take a lot of pictures of the water only! But Colm is lucky and he sees him turning under water, doing the "Flipper" impression ;)
After 2 hours the boat goes back, it was really good fun. Now we're hungry and luckily our landlady said we can come back after the boat trip and we will still get breakfast then. Very nice - and the delicious bagel with fresh fruit I had was the best breakfast in the whole two weeks!
We drive around <b>Slea Head drive</b> again - it's very scenic. But it looked more spectacular last night!!! We walk down to the beach in <b>Dunquin</b> for a while and go to the pier where the boats to the <b>Blaskets</b> leave. We drive back over the mountain to Dingle.
I asked Colm a hundred times to play golf with me while we are there because I never tried it and always wanted to. So we played <b>Pitch & Putt</b> in Dingle Milltown next!!! It was easier than I thought .. well apart from the putts. Never knew the ball on the green got that fast!! Great fun but I didn't make a 4 - and the one time where I hit the ball completely perfect it went over the fence onto the street of course!!!
We go home and sleep for a while, we've been so busy in the last days so it's time to have a rest. Afterwards we search a place to have dinner in the pouring rain. We eventually go to El Toro in Dingle Main street.... YUCK! It was disgusting!!!
We go home again (HAHA Colm eats a biscuit ;-) which will remind all the future guests of our stay!) and watch Father Ted and read before falling asleep. Hopefully it'll stop raining tomorrow!!!!
This is a postcard from the coast at Slea Head
We go for a walk to the entrance of Dingle bay before breakfast, Fungie is not seen. Even the boat with the swimmers can't find him. There's rumours he's not there because there's a whale somewhere in the bay. Others say he's not there because there is a cruise ship outside the bay. Anyway, it's been a wonderful walk along the water. We meet cows and joggers and watch how the people get from the cruise ship to Dingle Marina. As soon as we get back into the B&B door it starts to rain.
We then leave Emlagh Lodge after another lovely bagel breakfast, paid 22.50 IEP each for this very good place!
The weather doesn't look very nice, dark clouds and rainy showers from time to time. We drive over Conor Pass towards Tralee and continue north towards Tarbert here we take ferry over the Shannon to Co. Clare. In the meantime it got really really stormy and we can't believe we are actually on a river!!!
By the time we have our lunchbreak in Lahinch it feels like gaelforce winds. It's hard to walk and funny to watch other people trying. Imagine playing golf in a weather like this! Well some people on Lahinch's famous golf course did!!! We go to the tourist information to check where we could search for a B&B. We decide to go to Doolin or somewhere around there to see the Cliffs of Moher from there early tomorrow and then go to the Burren. After a great lunch at the Shamrock Inn we continue and search for a B&B.
We go to Doolin and have a look at the high waves at the pier. It starts raining so we try to find a B&B. We decide to stay at a guesthouse close to the pier and to the pub so we can have a look at the storm (and the Cliffs of Moher!) from our bedroom window and a few drinks at night.
We watch TV for a while ("Who wants to be a millionaire" was on - and after that a documentary about Skellig - in Irish! ;) and then we go to Gus O'Connor's pub - loads of tourists in this legendary pub. With the Irish music and the loads of people it's a really nice atmosphere. We get rather drunk. I wonder how we got home in the rain and the storm. ;-) We can hear the waves from our bedroom... wonderful!
We have breakfast (I eat too many eggs here for sure!), it's still stormy and the waves are still really high.
We drive to the Cliffs of Moher. They look quite spectacular in the storm but due to Foot and Mouth scare, all the paths are closed apart from one up to the tower where all the tourists go :-( The cliffs were on my "To-Do-List" for almost all my life and now I finally made it there and I can't go for a long walk along the cliffs. What a pity! No chance to lie down on the cliffs like I always wanted either :-(
We took funny pics with the wind and Colm stood too close to the edge for a while, it made me really nervous. Maybe it's good that the paths were closed ;)
After leaving the car park (always a tourist trap sign if you have to pay for the car park ;) we head north into the Burren region - fantastic landscape, boulders lying around on the stoney grounds....wonderful. We take a break at the beach in the sun, a second later it's raining heavily. Luckily I was closer to the car than Colm at that time ;) It stopped raining for good after half a minute .. Hehehehe
We decide to stay in Ballyvaughan, because Colm loves the sandwiches in the Spar supermarket ;). We walk around and after waiting at our favourite B&B for an hour without anyone comeing we find a mediocre B&B without name. We have lunch in Monk's, very nice pub and lots of fishy food. Hmm too bad I am not too much into fish, well I have an apple pie instead of a prawn sandwich.
It's not even 5 yet so we go to Aillwee Cave. The tour through the caves is very interesting and the place is quite cool. Colm bought a Burren map for teachers and the teacher (him) points the pupil's (me) attention to Paulnabrone Portal Dolmen a grave from 2500 BC
. I admire the stones on the ground more than the actual site I think but it's great!!! Especially the grounds and the street to get there. I felt like driving around on the moon :-)
We have dinner in O'Brien's in Ballyvaughan, fight against their public internet access and go to bed early.
Wow! What a disgusting breakfast, YUCK! Plus it's raining heavily, what a great start for a new day :-( What shall we do? We walked to hike around the Burren today - but not in the pouring rain!!!
We drive around the Burren for a while and mostly end in Cul de Sacs or on offroad roads. After a circle trip we are back in Ballyvaughan, we get the lovely sandwiches from the Spar supermarket and decided to go to Galway because it was still raining. As soon as we're in the car it stops raining and we stop at the Martello Tower before driving to Galway.
We leave car in carpark in Galway after having seen our first traffic lights in a week!!! We have our sandwiches in the sun in Eyre Square - I can hardly remember this place from 1990!!! Colm needs T-Shirts so we go shopping a bit and search for a B&B. Our McCarthy Book talked about a B&B on Monk's island - we walk there but all B&Bs are booked.
Galway is full of people from Northern Ireland who escaped from the marching season in the north - that's why it was really hard to find a B&B! Eventually find a terrible dump (called Sacre Coeur on one side of sign, and Sacre Couer or something on other side ;-) Well better than nothing and within walking distance from town!
We walk into town, watch the Galway (university?) rowing club and their excellent technial skills and then we have dinner in a Mexican restaurant called Cactus Jack's - Excellent Cajun Chicken Burger! Unfortunately two big groups of Norther Irish pi** artists took over the pub already so we can hardly talk!!! Well we can 5talk .. but the other doesn't hear it ;-)
So we leave quickly after the tasty meal and we go for a drink in the Cellar Bar with live Rock-Music. It was a nice change not to hear Irish folk but electric guitars for a change. We walk home, thank god I know the way, Colm didn't have an idea where we were!! Men... ;)
We decide to sleep a bit longer and leave without breakfast. The place we stayed wasn't so convincing so we weren't sure about the breakfast ;)
Our task today is to drive through wild and wonderful Connemara until our booked ferry to the Aran Islands leaves.
We accidently find the village where Colm had to learn Irish for two summers when he was a teenager. ("This looks like the school where I was...no wait, this is the school!")
We drive into the road where he stayed back then and walk down to the sea - what a wonderful quiet place. I can't see a house for miles!!!
Afterwards we drive through the mountains of Connemara, it suddenly starts raining :-( Well I heard in this area of Ireland it rains for 200 days a year so I am not surprised! We pass by Kylemore Abbey (coaches, coaches, coaches, ideal toilet stop ;-) and continue through Clifden and with a little lunchbreak in Recess back towards Rossaveal. Our ferry to Inis Mór (Inishmore), the largest of the Aran Islands leaves from here at 6 pm.
We get our tickets, park our car on the car park and ask at the ticket office whether there's a bank on the island. Hmmm I lost my bet.. yes there is a bank - opens twice a week!!! Luckily we have enough time to we drive back to the last ATM machine in the next village to get money.
We finally take the fancy new Island Ferries boat for 15 IEP return to Kilronan.
We sit outside between the instruments of a band ("pierced youngfellas") and the island's milk supply for a week and we arrive after only 30 mts. A short and calm journey for a change ;) On our way to the pre booked B&B we hire a bike for IEP 6 a day.
Again we stay in a nice B&B, Ard Mhuiris. It's only a short walk from the pier, people are really nice and the room is quite cosy!
We take our bikes and cycle towards Black Fort (Dun Dúchathair) - Hmmm after a short while we find out that it's a steep uphill offroad path! We give up before getting there and decide to walk there tomorrow. After all this we are getting hungry so we have dinner in the Aran Fisherman, the only real restaurant in Kilronan. It's very expensive and not really good, the food Colm had was disgusting actually. Well it only cost 15 IEP so that's ok HAHA!
We have a drink in one of the pubs afterwards and find our that the tab water is conterminated. Hmmmm we are pretty tired so we head home, brush our teeth with the conterminated water and go to bed.
I wake up with a sore throat feeling weak and sick :-(. I go down for a nice breakfast though, tried it the savoury type again today for a change.
Afterwards we cycle to the path where we gave up cycling yesterday, leave the bikes behind and walk up towards the Black fort (Dun Dúchathair).
Lovely weather! Great views from there, big cliffs, no tourists - wonderful (see picture on postcard!). Colm loves to walk close to the cliffs, I stay a big in the distance as I don't like those overhanging cliffs really. We stay there for a while and walk back to our bikes.
We cycle back down to Kilronan pier and as I am feeling too sick to cycle we take a bus from Kilronan to see the other sights this way.
We drive to Seven churches, ruins of an old monastery, first. On the way our busdriver tells us in his lovely accent about the facts of the island and about the oldest lady that lives there, 107 years old she is!!!
We walk up to Dun Aengus (Dun Aonghosa), the main tourist attraction of the Aran Islands.
Huge cliffs, huge walls from the old fort and we can finally lie down to have a look down the 100 mtr cliffs!!! We get a great views of Cliffs of Moher and even Mt. Brandon on Dingle Peninsula in the distance!
We then return to Kilronan. I go to bed coz I'm feeling sick (first I have to find a way to get into the B&B, someone locked our room's door even though we left it open - and of course Colm has the keys!). Colm cycles to another fort, almost falls off the cliff and brings water and medicine back home :) Very cute :) I feel a bit better after a long afternoon in bed.
We have a better dinner than yesterday in the Fisherman and a (alcohol free) drink in the American bar to have a look at the band which was on the ferry with us (the pierced youngfellas called "Bottle" and their filthy manager).
I sleep longer to get rid of my cold while Colm has breakfast. We leave and go to the pier because our ferry will leave at 12. We hang around in the (very helful) tourist information and have a look for books on Aran. We enjoy the boat ride over to Rossaveal with lovely sunshine & blue skies!!
We then take the road to Leenane at the end of Killary harbour, Ireland's only fjord. Our destination will be Co. mayo close to Croagh Patrick where we called a B&B yesterday and booked a bed. We have lunch in Leenane and watch the Formula 1 race a bit.
I learnt that boats here give seasickness guarantee, if you get sick you get your money back!!! Very funny idea I think but I wonder whether there's ever a little wind on this calm fjord!?
We drive along the fjord and stop for a drink and a few attempts to convince me to rock climb or waterski at the Adventure Centre in Delphi before we continue towards Clew Bay. We pull left at the Famine memorial and check our "friend's" book McCarthy's Bar again to see what he had said about this place!
Eventually we get to the sea again and we sit down at the beach at Old Head close to Louisburgh. We had a few troubles finding this place and ended up on a cul de sac, the narrowest road I have ever seen in my entire life ;) The beach is a lovely place, full of families who go for a swim. Little nudies are building castles and canals out of sand and water. Very entertaining to watch!
We then drive to our B&B "Seavilla", a farmhouse in a place called Lecanvey - at the road between Louisburgh and Westport
. We receive a very warm welcome by our friendly host, if only the room was as warm as him ;). He recommends a restaurant in Louisburg so we go there and have an absolutely gorgeous dinner. We then bring our car back "home" and go for a few Guinnesses the pub in Lecanvey "downtown" (= 3 houses) before going to bed. There's terrible live music in the pub and a lot of middle ages women having a party. Terrible!!
Excellent Breakfast in the B&B. It's a bright and sunny day so we borrow sticks from our landlord and drive to two miles to the car park of Croagh Patrick. I start getting the impression we are crazy ;)
At the start of the path up Croagh Patrick in Murrisk there is St. Patrick's statue, people are walking around it praying when we arrive their (breathless already from the first steps ;). This place is definitely a holy place .. a strange site actually!
We continue up the terrible path - it's very steep right from the beginning, very scary because it's just loose rock you are walking on and very exhausting because you have to concentrate a lot and can't just walk...
After two hours I give up because I was too tired and it got too dangerous I thought. When you are tired it's easy to slide a bit - and I wouldn't want my head hit on of the big rocks!! Colm continues to go to the top, now finally he can walk at his own (lightning) speed! The Irish seem to be born as holy rockclimbers ;)
On my way down I meet many nice people who ask me whether I had been to the top and when I say "No I gave up" the tell me lots of stories about the holy mountain. One lovely old fella told me about the times when he was young and when he was still doing the pilgrimage. He said he robbed around the chapel on the top 7 times on his knees. When I said it sounds more like a children's birthday to me than a religious thing he just laughed :-) Another guy further down told me about all the miracles that happened and still happen to people who climb the mountain....
Back on the carpark Northern Irish women want to borrow my shoes!!!! I make another woman happy by giving her a cigarette, she's dying for one and her cigarettes are in the car. Her husband is still on the mountain with the car keys and I prevent her from breaking into her own car ;) I think this must be one of the most bizarre places I have ever been.
I have a drink and something to eat in the visitors centre while waiting for Colm. A few old ladies and a nun invite me for tea - wonderful! Welcome to Ireland ;-) "There's nothing worse than to waste a good tea dear". I loved it but said no when the nun wanted to give me her fruit cake :-) When she asked where I am from she told me she knew Hannover from the "Hannover treaty". Hmmmmm never heard of it ;)
I go and have a look at the wonderful National Famine Memorial across the road. When Colm is back we go "home", rest for a while and then we drive to Westport to search for dinner. We find a nice place, reserve a table for an hour later and have a drink in front of the fireplace of McCarthy's Bar in Westport (we owed that to our guide book "McCarthy's bar somehow ;-). After that we have a fantastic Mexican/Cajun dinner in O'Malley's restaurant.
We drive home and go to bed really early because we're wrecked
Read the whole story in my Croagh Patrick Travelogue on my Co. Mayo Page
After another freezing night in the B&B (it as so dark there that Colm dreamt he's blind for the 2nd night in a row!) we have to leave the most friendly B&B on our trip (even though it was the coldest room we loved it!)
Today is the day we have to drive back to the East to go to Dublin. Luckily it's raining - as usual when we are spending our day in the car ;) Not much is happening, we drive through Castlebar - it's the first time I read the name - I always thought this place only exists on VT ;)
We take a break for lunch in Athlone. Com used to work here and we went to the place where he used to go for lunch. Unfortunately we found out after lunch that the owners moved down the road. As we only had something really small we go to their new place, too. It's a great place with excellent food called the Left Bank Bistro. I have my first Banoffi Pie here -- YUMMY!!!
After a long day on the road we finally arrive in Dublin at the worst time of day - rushhour! We go straight to our B&B in Howth to get rid of the car for the last days. It's a huge old house with lovely rooms... very nice. We take the bus into town and have a drink in Bewleys in Grafton Street. Even though I have been in Dublin a lot of times I'd never been here before (believe it or not ;)
We then walk around a little bit and have dinner in one of my favourite restaurants, "Mexico to Rome". Bigs will will be devastated to hear that Penne Arrabiata aren't on the menu anymore! The food is still very tasty though. We walk around to find a nice pub and we are on our way north when we see a poster saying it's "Open stage night" at the Comedy Pub "Ha'penny Bridge Inn". We decide to risk it and go upstairs. It's fun! Some people are really funny, some are just terrible. That's what you get from a night where all the spare time comedians are allowed to enter the stage!
When it's over most pubs are closed and as it's Tuesday and we have nothing better to do we take the nightlink home.
We are late for breakfast because we're too lazy to get up. Have a look at the family pictures while having breakfast and find out who is who. Very entertaining (needed something because the jam tasted a bit boring ;)
We walk down to Howth village and watch the huge waves at Howth pier before taking the DART into town. We walk through Trinity college campus to Dame Street and go to the tourist information because we have a few questions. Must be strange for Colm to be a tourist in his own hometown...
Anyway, we take the bus to St. James's Gate. Colm had heard that the new Guinness museum, the Guinness Storehouse was very nice. We go there, it's quite interesting, better than I expected actually because from the old place I had only heard horror stories. Now it's very modern, a bit like Expo, just a little smelly because of the waterfall in the exhibit.
In the end we collected our free pint (that *shame on me* I didn't like) in the wonderful "Gravity" bar on top of the building. You get a wonderful view over whole Dublin and the mountains around it from here!!! Excellent. This bar is worth the money spent for the ticket to the exhibition!!!
We take the bus back towards city centre and buy a sandwich in a pub. We walk to St. Stephen's Green, sit down in the sun and have our lovely (Colm's special ;) sandwich.
Another one of the things I always wanted to do is have a tea in Shelbourne Hotel. So we go for it... I love this old fashioned high society atmosphere, even though the tea is really expensive and we burn our mouths with it we enjoyed it. I wonder why the waitress brought us the bill that quickly though ;)
We then walk around Georgian Dublin for a while, I just love these streets from Merrion Square to the Grand Canal. Luckily we find the new DART station at Grand Canal Dock so we are not too late to meet my friends Gareth and Stephanie in the White Horse Inn next to Tara Street Station. The evening is a great laugh, after Gar and Steph have to go home (they have to work tomorrow - poor bastards ;) Colm and I continue drinking in Messrs Maguires where they play German music all evening... Very strange. Anyway, we get home drunk at 2 am!
HAHAHAHA we sleep until 2, I guess we missed the breakfast ;) I can't believe my eyes when I look at the clock ;-) It's a nice day though so we go down to the harbour and have a lovely cajun wrap there. Unfortunately I spill half of it on my clothes. Clumsy ... must have been the Guinnesses from last night!
Colm goes for the cliff walk but I want to go into town to do some shopping. I can't leave this place without having spent some money in Dublin at least ;) After a little bit of shopping I walk around town to say "byebye", I hate this feeling. Normally when I am on holidays on my last day I am looking forward to home. Here I don't. I feel like I have to leave "Home". At the quays I have to disappoint a tourist with a guide book. She asked me where Ha'penny bridge is and showed me the picture in her guidebook. I had to show her the scaffolding and say "There, sorry!".
I then meet VT member Lochlainn in front of Bewleys and I end up drinking Guinnesses with him and Colm in a lovely pub all evening. We go for a Chinese meal (Thanks Marc!) at Good World restaurant really late and take a taxi home afterwards. Our last night :-(
We have breakfast, then we pack our stuff. Hopefully my luggage isn't even heavier than on the flight here...
We drive to Skerries. We wanted to go for a nice long last walk along the sea... but it starts raining on the way so we park on the car park and just have a look from inside the car.
Hmmm what can we do with a rain like that and this terrible "I just want to go home, why can't our plane leave in the morning" mood... Go to the cinema!
We go to see "Shrek" in the UCI cinema in Coolock before we have to go to the airport - it's really cute & funny and cheers me up for a little while. Then it's time to say Bye Bye and to get scared of flying again. I tried not to think of it for the whole trip (and I succeeded but shortly before the flight it all collapses again as usual...
We give back our car in the rain (No rain but tears because we have to leave!), "no damages, you can leave your rubbish in here", check in and go for a last souvenir shopping tour at the airport. I get a last Club Orange and get the jackpot at the Club Orange machine so I can take some cans home ;) Of course our plane is delayed due to an aircraft change. (of course.... Mr. Delay Colm is with me ;-) We get another smaller plane, they change our seats (I thought I'd be lucky and sit in the back row again - now we are supposed not to sit next to each other. I let them change it because I wouldn't survive a flight without Colm!!!).
It's a very smooth flight home to Amsterdam, in the end I even dare to have a look out of the window and see how we are approaching the Dutch coast... Looked nice (You don't know what a big word that is for me!). Colm ears don't pop so first thing we do in Schiphol is to go to the nurse and ask what he can do. Then to the chemist and then we take a taxi home, order our favourite pizza and fall asleep in front of the telly as usual .... A fantastic holiday is over!!
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