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Trip Report-Day 1

Lima, New York
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249 posts
8 reviews
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Trip Report-Day 1

We arrivied into Shannon at 5 am on an excellent overnight flight from JFK. We slept about 4 hours on the flight. Aer Lingus was excellent. And we even landed early. We loved Shannon airport-friendly, small, easy, and the best thing-----easy to drive out of! It was about 6:00 am after we got our car from Hertz. We had a bite to eat in the airport and then we drove around a bit to get the feel of the car, driving on the left and roundabouts. Really...all easier than I expected! I drove the entire trip because I get motion sick easily and I dont read maps as well as my husband. We used our Garmin Nuvi GPS with Ireland maps newly updated from the garmin website. We also used the OSI Road Atlas and the Frommers Ireland atlas. My navigator hubby liked the OSI map the best. Hubby sat with the maps in his lap and the GPS on the windshield so he could follow along the suggested route. He often times reminded me to stay left and he would point to exits on roundabouts which made it easier.

Side note about GPS...it worked.....most of the time. It often sent us on back roads. It sometimes said we were in the middle of the ocean or a field. I STRONGLY suggest to use a map as a back up.

We made our way to the Sky Court mall in Shannon. We went into the grocery store there, got cash out of the ATM, and looked for the cell phone store. The mall did not fully open till 10 or 10:30 so we got some fruit and other assorted snacks to have in the car. We decided to skip waiting for the phone store to open which ended up being a great decision and saved us abot 50-75 Euros. We used our netbook and skype to call home and within Ireland. Skype to Skype is free and Skype to phone was only 2 cents/min. Perfect!

We then made the easy drive to Bunratty Castle. We did the castle tour and walked in the folk park. It felt good to walk and we enjoyed Bunratty. We spent about 3 hours there. I would suggest Bunratty as a great place to start or end your trip. We had lunch at Durty Nelly's and I raised my first glass of Guiness. My son toasted our trip and learned how to say Slainte from the friendly bartender! After lunch we drove to Doolin to check into our first B&B-Daly's house. I am posting a review in the B&B section. In short, we loved Daly's House. Clean and comfortable and wonderfully friendly. Compared to the 11 other B&B's the triple room was on the smaller side but the view was great and we enjoyed our stay.

We decided to keep moving cause if we sat down we would have napped. We made the very scary drive to the Cliffs of Moher on one of the narrowest/winding road of our entire trip. But the Cliffs were beautiful and even my 9 year old was impressed!

It was windy and the sea was rough and the sun was breaking thru scattered clouds. It took my breath away and hubby and I walked hand in hand on the path to O'Brien's tower. We finished the day with a lovely dinner in O'Connors pub and some yummy chocolates from the candy shop on the small main strip in Doolin.

A note about Doolin... Since we had our 9 year old son with us, going to the pubs in the evening was difficult. So we did not get to fully experience what Doolin is famous for. Due to that--- Doolin is at the bottom of our rankings of great small towns in Ireland. Doolin is just two pubs, a pier, and a couple small shops. For families it is limited and we were glad we only had 2 nights there. We called it a day around 8 pm. It was still light outside till nearly 11 pm but we were all exhausted. Hot showers andthe comfy bed felt good. My first day in Ireland was wonderful and my son kept saying he wanted to move there because it was so pretty..

2 observations after day one-

Radio in Ireland is very limited. We did not get any reception in the car at all. We lauged because we hit the search button and it kept searching for hours. When we did find a station it was either talk radio or 1980's American music. Bring your Ipod and play Irish music in the car. : )

TV in Ireland is also very limited. The most channels we had on any TV was 9. RTE stations which were usually news or sports. BBC channels-Big Brother in the UK is crazy! Old American crime/drama series reruns are popular. I could not live in Ireland because of the limited radio and TV. LOL!!

Day 2 coming up-The Burren area AND the Rock that ate the rental car!

West Chester
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151 posts
57 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

Looking forward to reading the next installment! LOL at the idea of the GPS trying to send you into the ocean! Just curious...how scary was the drive to the Cliffs? Is it the only route to get there, or is there an alternative for the less-brave driver?

Portland, Maine
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303 posts
26 reviews
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2. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

Thanks for the report. We'll be staying at Daly's in October. Looking forward to your review. We too are thinking about a phone for emergencies. It sounds like the phone store does not open until after 10.

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for County Galway
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1,994 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

More wonderful personal and practical experiences and reflections - posts like these are priceless :-)

Lima, New York
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249 posts
8 reviews
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4. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

It wasnt that the road was on a cliff -it was just very narrow and winding. We drove very slow and the rewward is at the top with the view of a gorgeous castle and the ocean behind it. I am not sure if there is another road from doolin. I am sure others here on the board can answer that.

I will try to do the Dalys review today for you all. In a nutshell it was great!

Ragoora...we LOVED Markree Castle! More on that later though! Thanks for the compliments!

Lima, New York
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249 posts
8 reviews
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5. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

The phone store in the sky court mall did not open till 10:30 am on Thursday when we arrived.. We didnt want to wait...so we skipped it... Seriously think about getting a netbook for your trip. You can download photos everyday and you can check internet and best of all is Skype. You can call computer to computer to anyone anywhere for free. You jsut have to download the skype program for free, and have anyone you want to call do the same. Then if you need to call a phone or cell you can call from skype as well for around 2 cents per minute. There was internet access in all but 2 of our B&B's/hotels. Saved us arond 75 Euros in the long run.

London
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759 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

Regarding the lack of tv stations, most people in Ireland sign up to a digital or satellite package that gives you hundreds of tv stations, without those packages you're limited to the 9 or so stations that you found in your B&B. It's rare that a B&B or hotel will have more than the basic tv channels available.

There are also lots of radio stations in Ireland that play a very wide variety of music, not sure why you couldn't pick them up on your car radio, maybe there was something wrong with the radio. I live in the UK at the moment and I much prefer Irish radio to UK radio as the music variety on Irish is much wider.

County Clare...
Destination Expert
for County Clare, Aran Islands, Bunratty, The Burren
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8,408 posts
34 reviews
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7. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

Thanks KB - fair point about Doolin; it's a handy location as a touring base but quite limited when you're with children.

That narrow road - is that the one past Doonagore castle?

Fantastic views over the islands ...but not for the faint hearted:)

Keep 'em coming:)

Lexington, Kentucky
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83 posts
6 reviews
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8. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

I will be following your trip regularly. We will be vacationing in Ireland and the UK in Septembet. Your observations are priceless!

Cork
12 posts
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9. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

You can now make travelling in Ireland using a Garmin SatNav much easier with the new All Ireland Digital Address code - a smarter type of postcode - called Loc8 Codes - http://www.loc8code.com

Available on new Garmin Nuvi 12xx, 13xx, and 14xx with unlocks available at the loc8code webite for presold units.

upstate NY
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202 posts
51 reviews
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10. Re: Trip Report-Day 1

thank you. I am very appreciative of your posts. We are travelin ght eend of August, also from upstate New York adn planning to do some hiking.