Arrived Dublin around 7 pm. Checked into the hotel and walked around the Temple Bar area a bit before having dinner at the Quay restaurant right by the actual Temple Bar. Dinner was good and the atmosphere was fun. After a long day of travel, we fell asleep immediately.
Got up early the next morning and did the hop on hop off tour around Dublin. Really enjoyed ourselves, especially the Guinness brewery. Had dinner in the Temple Bar area again (I believe it was at Fitzsimmons) and then went back to our room to drop off things before a night of more Guinness. To make a long story short, we walked into our room and there was a man in it who was strung out on drugs, had broken in and had obviously been going through our things. The guy said he was front desk staff, so my husband calmly said, “lets go to the front desk then” and off they went. Front desk called the police and the man was arrested. Wow. We gave statements, the hotel comped our rooms and we had a bad night sleep. We did enjoy our day seeing Dublin but were glad to leave the next morning.
We picked up our car from Auto Europe (I posted a separate review of them and they were great) and went west the next day. From here forward our trip was like a picture book. The land was beautiful, the people friendly and the Guinness delicious.
Our favorite places included:
1. Connemara - We first drove from Galway up to the Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore is beautiful and the drive to get there was so fun. From there we went to Clifden and the drive up the Sky Road was incredible. Going back we went through Spiddal. Standun’s is a wonderful shop in Spiddal.
2. Doolin – The Cliffs of Moher were stunning. We also enjoyed a good meal, good beer and great music at Gus O’Connor’s. Doolin is tiny so we were able to walk and it was black out when we left the pub which was fun. I was under the influence but I don’t remember a single streetlight!
3. Dingle – The Connor Pass is incredible. Don’t miss that drive for anything!
4. Kenmare – Kenmare is quaint and felt authentic. The Horseshoe was great food and Virginia’s was our best accommodation the entire trip. The drive through the Killarney National Park is fun with the curvy roads and great landscape. It’s really a drive unlike other drives we had in Ireland.
1. Drive the coastline whenever you can. You’ll never get sick of the view.
2. Talk to anyone and everyone in a pub. We met some great people and got great recommendations along the way.
3. In Cork we were told that there is no traditional Irish music played there on Friday or Sat as it is reserved to get people into the pubs on the other nights so don’t go looking for it on the weekend.
4. The Killimer Ferry to Talbert was fun, quick, cheap and my husband saw dophins off the side. Definitely take it if driving from Doolin to Dingle.
5. Whenever something catches your eye, pull over and take a picture. We were so very glad when we got home and had amazing pictures.
6. If you are trying to weigh whether to drive or take a tour, I recommend you drive. We were able to go places that a tour bus won’t and it was on our own time. Driving on the other side of the road was simple as long as you always reminded yourself when you set out to drive on the left and yield right.
Hotels and B&Bs
I’m posting all the reviews on the individual hotel or B&B sites. We had good experiences overall but Virginia’s in Kenmare and the Fernroyd House in Cork were by far our favorites.