|Subject: Re: Ireland trip|
A car is essential to traveling in Ireland. We stayed two nights at the George Frederick Handel Hotel, just off the Temple Bar; comrfortable and convenient. We took the open top bus tour of the city; you can get off and on it all day, at about ten stops. The central part of the city is quite walkable, split by the river. We were there on a monday, so several places were closed, but we did go to the National Art Museum. In the interest of time we went to the Kilranan Prison (I'm sure that's spelled wrong but my guide book is downstairs), rather than the Guiness Brewery. This is where many of the rebels were held and executed; we had a very good tour and really got a sense of the feelings which exist in Ireland. We also discovered cybercafes where we could check the our e-mail for a very small charge. We had good meals at Galigher's (sp?) and Jaskos and enjoyed the music at the Temple Bar. (Temple Bar is both a pub and a district of several blocks of restaurants and pubs.)
We then drove through the Wicklow Mountains, a beautiful area of hills and forests, stopping at the monestary ruins at Glendaloch. Then we drove on to stay in Galway, at the Balconies Bed and Breakfast, one of a number on the road into town. Downtown is mostly a pedestrian area (impossible to drive in anyhow) with several good pubs, including the Quay. We had a great, cheap seafood dinner at MacDonaghs.
The next day we drove off down the coast, driving over the Burren, a great area of rocky plateaus, stopping to tour the Allwee Caves, and then to the Cliffs of Moher; clear, cold, windy, and spectacular. On to Adare, a nice little town but totally a creation of its own mind for the tourists. Stayed at Adare Lodge, again one of a string of b &b's on a main street. Dinner at the Blue Door was excellent.
We took a side trip up to the Flying Boat Museum at Foyne. Interesting small museum about the late thirties when Pan Am flew into the area for a while; fun if you like aviation, but otherwise out of the way. On to Dingle, a delightful town. We had lunch in a cafe in the back of a local bookstore and then drove the loop of the Peninsula. Spectacular even on a cloudy day, with hills, fences, cliffs, islands, ruins. Stayed at An Capall Dubh (many names are only in Galic out here), a new and very nice b&b and had o.k. dinner at Doyles.
Since we were running short on time we bolted across Ireland the next two days. We stopped one night in Lismor, a charming town, staying at a good b&b, Beechcroft, and having an excellent dinner at Edmond's (and for the first time were the only Americans in the restaurant). Then on to Rosslair, to catch the ferry the next day. We stopped at the Waterford factory and took their excellent tour. We stayed at the Marianella B&B in Rosslair Harbor, and drove out to the nearby beach in the late afternoon; beautiful. Dinner was at the Lobster Pot, a fabulous pub/restaurant absoutely in the middle of no-where, but apparently known to all the locals.
Inpressions of Ireland: Full of Americans finding their roots, dozens of shades of green, friendly chatty people, folk music if you can find it (we had a hard time finding the real stuff, although this was October), lots of good food, hope you like Guiness because there are no regional breweries as in England, a real feeling about their history, new commercial and residential construction absolutely everywhere, lots of historic ruins, not very good signs on country roads, a week is not nearly enough time.
Guide books: Rick Steves is good for what he covers, particularly the Dingle Peninsula, Insight is good for seeing the sights, Frommer's is good for b&b's.
Jerry and Mary Coleman (in Belmont, California)