Since I gleaned so much helpful information from TripAdvisor before our recent trip to Ireland, I would like to share our experiences in the hope it will help future travelers. We have no known relatives or roots in Ireland - I've just always thought it would be a beautiful place to visit. And I was right!! Amazing!
2/22/11 - We flew out of Kansas City airport using Continental Airlines, changing planes in Newark, NJ for the overnight flight to Shannon. We did pay extra for extra-legroom seats, and it was VERY worth the extra money!
2/23/11 - Landed in Shannon right on time, about 6:45 am. Not much sleep on the plane (a very loud chatterbox sat just behind us on the flight), so a bit bleary-eyed. We had reserved a rental car with Hertz, filled out all paperwork & purchased Super CDW - absolutely necessary for peace of mind!! - they brought our car right to the door, and off we went. Driving on the left was very challenging for my husband, and sitting on the left (and trying to get used to seeing everything in reverse) was nerve-wracking for me. Took a couple of days for my brain & my eyes to adjust! Drove from Shannon Airport to Ennistymon in Co. Clare, where we stocked up on groceries/supplies for our self-catering cottage near Doolin. Then on to Fuschia Cottage to the north of Doolin. Oh my, what a LOVELY home and view!! Owner Frank Sheedy had already been to the home to open it up and start up the stove for heat. We arrived probably around 9:30 am. He came back to give us a tutorial on how to use the stove, the showers, hot water for the bath, etc. Quite different from what we're used to in the US.
We started to drive to Doolin a bit later, and somehow blew a tire, so my husband got to change a tire along a very narrow roadside (in the thorn bushes)....in the misty weather and with almost no sleep for over 24 hours....he's a champ! We then took the car to a garage in Lisdoonvarna where we ended up buying a new tire for 85 euro (of course tires aren't covered under the SCDW). Oh well. Had some seafood chowder & brown bread in a pub there in Lisdoonvarna, collected our new tire, and went "home" to Fuschia Cottage where we passed out around 3pm.
2/24/11 - Slept until about 9am, felt MUCH better! Drove back to Ennistymon to buy cell phone minutes (the owners provided a cell phone for our use), internet minutes and groceries. Found an internet cafe (behind the barbershop) where internet use was free if you bought a coffee/tea. Also found the ATM (there isn't one in Doolin or Lisdoonvarna). Weather was mostly overcast, although we did see a little bit of sun. In the evening, drove in to O'Connor's Pub in Doolin, where some musicians came in around 9:30 pm. Enjoyed that!
To be continued.....