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The Best Bits of Ireland

  We don’t agree! T and I, that is. Usually we pretty much agree about a country. Not only do we disagree about our favourite best bits of Ireland, but we can barely decide which of half a dozen places we individually feel are our favourites.   T says, “The most fascinating place was Ballynahinch Castle (see Ballynahinch Castle) because it seemed like stepping back in time. It felt real and authentic.”   “For me, it was Wicklow County. Those amazing rolling green hills and deep valleys were mesmerizing to me. I could easily live there.” I say.   “Yah, it was nice, … More…

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Ring 3: The Dingle Peninsula

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  The Dingle Peninsula was the most fascinating and memorable of the three “Rings” on Ireland`s South coast. Wild and rocky, wind-blown and untouched by tourism, it’s the REAL IRELAND.   The poor little sheep were clinging to the sides of the rocky crags. With vast valleys or ocean below, did they ever slip and fall? They certainly ended up on the road often enough.   We sort of went backwards around the peninsula, counter-clockwise, starting at Castlegregory, a quaint little town with a 50’s-style gas station, and 14 miles of wind-swept rocky beach.   One-way mountain roads zig-zagging into … More…

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Ring 2: Skip The Ring Of Kerry, But Don’t Miss Killarney Park

  The Kerry Peninsula (aka Ring of Kerry) is the next peninsula after the Beara Peninsula driving from Southeast to Southwest in Ireland. Although it is likely beautiful, it is the most touristy of the 3 rings, so horror of horrors, we skipped it. We heard that the Ring of Beara and the Ring of Dingle were even more amazing and much less touristy than the Ring of Kerry. We`re not saying that we don`t recommend the Ring of Kerry, but given time restrictions, choose the Dingle Peninsula as a first choice. Of course we always avoid the most touristy places wherever … More…

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Balleylickey, Skibbereen, Hag’s Head & Klonikilty

  With Irish place names like Balleylickey, the Burren, Hag’s Head, Klonikilty, Skibbereen, Salthill, Graiguenamanagh, Sheep’s Head, Beara and Dingle, driving around Ireland was filled with curiosity. What would a place with such an odd name be like? There was a wild variety of landscapes, but like most countries, it was the little-known, off-the-beaten path places that were the most beautiful. We drove in a circle that started in Limerick, went North to Sligo, then East to Dublin, then south  along the coast, then inland to Cork, then South along the coast, then around the three peninsulas: Beara, Kerry and Dingle, … More…

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There Are NO Restaurants In Ireland!

  You may be surprised that there are no restaurants in Ireland! None. Every town we came to, we could not find a restaurant. There are dozens and dozens of bars, one on every corner, even in the smallest town, but no restaurants.   Finally, we reluctantly started going to the bars, and lo and behold, they all serve meals – excellent meals. The food in Ireland in general is outstanding. We found it fresh and wholesome with good-sized portions.   It was pouring rain (it`s Ireland after all) when we ran into Moll Darby`s Bar and Restaurant in Limerick, where … More…

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Living Like Royalty In Cabra Castle

  Cabra Castle was elegant. A 19th Century castle, set deep in the hills of Cavan County, it was stately and refined. While Ballynahinch Castle had felt more authentic with the hunters going out for the early morning hunt all decked out in somewhat traditional hunting attire: short pants, knee-high socks and rubber boots, a white shirt and tie, a sporty wool plaid jacket and a woolen newsboy cap, rifle tucked under the arm; Cabra was fit for a Queen, and King of course.   The entrance to the castle was long, and as the castle came into view, it felt like … More…

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Getting Your Hand Slapped in Ireland

  While touring Ireland in our rental car, we, of course, had to try Guinness, the beer that is the pride and joy of Ireland.   T is a beer connoisseur, but I was surprised that I liked it too.   One day, we stopped at a local pub for a Guinness. The stern bartender came over to take T’s order of a Guinness.    “What’ll yer ‘av?”    By the way, when in Ireland, just say “pint, please”. If he asks “a pint of what?” then scowl at him and snarl “Guinness, of course”. Most barmen won’t ask anyway, … More…

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Falling Down the Castle Stairs in Ireland

  What a thrill it was going to be to actually stay in a real castle! We were excited. After spending a few days in Limerick and driving out to see the Cliffs of Moher, we were on our way to our first castle – Ballynahinch Castle.    We drove down quiet roads winding through the countryside towards Galway, passing by small towns, green fields with endless stone fences, driving right by impressive castles, and crossing bridges over creeks and rivers. The scenery was always engaging and quaint.   There was even a flooded road… where we had dutifully followed … More…

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Ireland: Playing In The Rain

  Even if it was raining all the time in Ireland, we loved it. I’m sure you’re wondering how anyone could love rain, but just wait a minute; there is some real evidence of the beauty of the Emerald Isle.   After spending a few days in Limerick, we drove the 100 km to the coast to see the famed Cliffs of Moher.   The Cliffs of Moher in the rain are so beautiful… especially in the rain.   This is the lookout tower, O’Brien’s Tower, at 214 meters or 700 feet above sea level, built of local stone by Cornelius … More…

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Driving On The LEFT

  “Now why in God’s creation would you take yourself ever go to Ireland if yer didn’t havta? The weather is bloody miserable! For God’s sake, it rains all the frickin’ time. Are you daft man? And the wind’ll go right through ya… give yer head a wee shake.” T’s solidly Irish friend said, just before we left. “The people in Ireland go away for the winter themselves!” he exclaimed.   We laughed. Our philosophy is that rain is better than snow, and 15 degrees above zero is better than 20 degrees below zero. And T had a vested interest in Ireland … More…

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“Aw Sha, It Could Always Be Worse!”

  Lost luggage is a fact of life for most travellers. It has rarely happened to me but it did once, at the worst possible time.   We had just arrived in Ireland, and I was given assurance that they would find my bags any day, and that they would be delivered to me. We moved on to stay in a perfectly enchanting castle (this is one of very few package deals I like – flight, car, and castle stay package for Ireland).         I was making do with the few clothes I had with me, and on the … More…

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