As I got ready for my trip in April I spent a lot of time in the forum reading about what to do and what was the best way to do it. All of the advise and suggestions made my trip unforgettable. I wanted top share what we did on our trip and hopefully someone else can benefit from it.
We booked the land portion of the trip through myguide Ireland. They were very helpful answering all of our questions. The plane ticket we booked through cheapoair. We flew US Airways to Philadelphia then to Dublin. We arrived in Dublin 30 min in advance and we were greeted with nice weather. It was pretty easy to get through the customs, but we found out that nuts and granola bars are not allowed in Ireland.
We decided to be adventurous and take the city bus to our hotel. With the help of a very nice lady, who traveled with us almost all the way to the hotel we found our way. It was very sweet of her to go out of her way to help us. We arrived at the Davenport hotel around 10 am and our room was ready. The hotel was nice and centrally located. The breakfast was very good and had a variety. One of the ladies at the desk was very nice, she even called Hertz for us to help us our with the extra insurance.
After we freshened up we decided to use the hop on hop off city tour bus. It was perfect to see all the places we wanted to see in Dublin and spend as much time as we wanted in each place. The pass for the bus was valid for 48 hrs and there are bus stops all over Dublin coming every 10 min. We started the tour with a sweet old man that tried to teach us the Irish dance in the middle of the street and warn us about pickpockets. We had an amazing time touring and taking pictures on a beautiful sunny day.
In the evening we came back at the hotel to get ready for dinner. We asked the lady at the desk for a good reasonable priced pub. She suggested Foleys. We got there and there was a pub entrance and a restaurant entrance. We weren’t sure where to go and one of waiters ushered us upstairs towards the restaurant. We weren’t looking for anything fancy and expensive, just wanted some good Irish food. We tried to tell them before we sat down that we wanted to go back down to the pub. The waitresses told us that we can order from the bar menu upstairs also, so they rushed us to sit down and gave us the restaurant menu, which was more that we wanted to pay. They were very tentative to us until we decided to order from the bar menu. After that it felt like we weren’t even there. The food was ok, but we were made feel like we werent important customers because we didn’t order from the expensive menu. Needless to say we went somewhere else for the Guinness.
Day 2 we picked up our car from the airport and headed towards Waterford. We ended up with an automatic Ford and we had our first experience on driving on the other side of the road. We survived and there were only minor scratches ☺. Waterford was a cute little town and parking was fairly inexpensive. We had a great lunch at the Gingerman ‘s bar and the food was delicious. We had the potato and leek soup with the special chicken sandwich. The service there was also wonderful. After getting lost a few times we found the crystal factory. At this point we hadn’t made any B&B reservations so we thought about staying in Blarney. We tried calling some of the B&B on the list and nobody answered. So we decided to go towards Kinsale instead. Kinsale was a beautiful harbor town. We had dinner at the Jim Edwards seafood pub. They were very busy so we enjoyed a drink while we waited for our table and food. We started with muscles with garlic bread and they were yummy. For our main course we got the steak baguette and veggies, the lasagna and fresh salad. The food was really good. That night we stayed at Rivermount B&B. The place was beautiful and our room was pretty big with pretty decor. Claire the hostess was very nice and very helpful with suggestions and advice. Breakfast was delicious.
Day 3 we took the scenic rural route to Killarney. The scenery from Kinsale to Kenmare was breath taking. You have the mountain with its sheep and tunnels. Kenmare was a cute little town. We had lunch at O’Donnivan’s . We tried the lamp stew, goat cheese panini and lamp leg with veggies. They were all delicious. After lunch we started towards part of ring of Kerry and Killarney national park. The views were breathtaking even with the rain and fog. That afternoon we arrived at Ballyseede castle where Arthur and Einstein (the castles faithful dogs) greeted us by the fire. We decided to stay in that evening since it had been raining that day and try the castles restaurant. We decided to have the two course dinner. We tried the roasted duck and the beef fillet. The desserts included the dark chocolate brownie, the apple crumble crisp and the poached pear with caramel. We were very satisfied ☺.
Day 4 we got up and had a nice breakfast and headed for the Dingle peninsula starting with Connor’s pass. The weather was not cooperating with us that morning; it was rainy and foggy. Needless to say driving on Connor’s pass was a little scary because I couldn’t even see 30 ft in front of me and the road was so narrow. We weren’t able to see much of the scenery at this point. As we headed towards Sleigh Head we saw beautiful cliffs and pre-historical beehives. That was pretty neat. We stopped at Dingle to stretch our legs and figure out what was going on with our car. It was making a funny noise. Parking was limited in Dingle. We stopped at this cute little bakery and their food was delicious. We had to try the carrot cake and the blackberry and apple pastry. We weren’t disappointed. After taking the ocean route back to Killarney we headed towards Doolin. We took the car ferry across and it saved us a lot of time. We got at the Oconnell’s B&B around dinner time. The B&B was a newly developed quiet farmhouse. It’s very simple and clean. Our room was spacious, but the bathroom wasn’t. To our hostess suggestion we took the 10 min walk toward the Oconnor’s pub. The food was good; we tried the Irish burger.
Day 5 we wanted to visit the Aran Islands but the weather wasn’t cooperating and the boats weren’t going there. We decided to do the Cliffs of Moher instead. The cliffs were spectacular. The weather started a little foggy but it cleared out as the morning progressed. After the cliffs we decided to check out the Burren. It was very neat and it continues to amaze me how nature works. We stopped to have dinner in Ballyvaun. The food was amazing as always. We stayed another night in the same B&B and it was so nice not to have to worry about packing again. We stopped at at Oconner’s pub that evening to enjoy a drink and listen to Irish music and good Irish company.
Day 6 we headed toward the Aran Islands. The morning was foggy and I wasn’t sure about the trip, but im glad the girls talked me into it. The day progressed to being beautiful clear skies. I have to say that was the warmest day we had in Ireland. We visited the smaller island and had a blast exploring on our own. Later that afternoon we headed back toward Swords. We didn’t arrive back there till around 8 and the hostess at St. Augustine’s B&B was very nice and waited for us even though she had to be somewhere. We struggled with directions (Anna, the hostess was not very good with them) but we finally found the place. After we dropped our stuff we headed to the town center and enjoyed our last dinner in Ireland. The B&B was cute but our room was tinny. We struggle moving around as we were trying to pack our stuff.
Day 7 we had a nice breakfast and headed towards the airport. After we dropped off our car (with only minor scratches) we headed towards our terminal. We were rushed checking in and were told that we were late. We got at the airport at 9:15 and our flight wasn’t supposed to leave until 11:15. Apparently boarding was supposed to be at 9:15. After freaking out we rushed to part of the airport where Americans went through security. After seeing the line we really thought we were in trouble. I met some really nice people in line that assured us that the plane wouldn’t leave with out us and all this was normal. I finally relaxed and was able to enjoy a nice conversation with the couple next to me in line. The flight home was nice and uneventful.