Ryanair were offering one of their promotions recently (April 2008,) and they were marketing flights from my nearest airport in the UK at Gatwick (around thirty or so miles from where I live) to the Republic of Ireland for just one penny there, and a return flight back to the UK for just another penny, plus a booking fee of two pounds for buying your ticket online by debit card. At £2.02 for a return flight from Gatwick to Shannon(no taxes or any other extras were applied, as long as you only took cabin baggage) this was most certainly an offer which I just had to follow up. I had never flown with Ryanair before, and I hadn't been to Eire for years and the icing on the cake was as these were daytime flights I was able to use my 'all England' senior citizens' free bus pass to get me from my home in Peacehaven to Gatwick Airport and back for nothing, although I did have to use a combination of three buses to make this portion of the journey - but then, as it's free - who is complaining?
As Shannon appeared to be just a rather remote airport surrounded only by a collection of light industrial estates, I considered that the nearest centre of any great importance to there, and which would be an interesting place to visit would be Limerick City, which was some fifteen or so miles away from the airport.
By checking on the internet I found that the irish bus network, 'Bus Eireann' operated a good bus service from Shannon Airport to Limerick City, and that it was also possible for me to pre-book tickets for this particular service on my computer on their website, which I duly did, and the actual bus service turned out to be most comfortable and punctual.
I had also checked various Irish internet sites for suitable bed & breakfast accommodation in Limerick City, which had to be priced in the budget bracket as I have just turned 65 and I am now officially a 'wrinkly' (a pensioner!) - but like so many of you in this day and age I do have to watch the pennies! - more so as I only work part time now.
I selected and pre-booked a bed and breakfast establishment on the outskirts of Limerick City in which to stay for a couple of nights called 'Acacia' which was located at 6 Greenview Lawn, Glencairin, Dooradoyle, which I thought was about a couple of miles away from the city centre when I booked, but when I had arrived I discovered that 'Acacia' was further away that I had first thought and that it was around three to four miles away from the city centre.
'Acacia' b & b was in the first instance hard to find due to the fact that many of the streets and roads in the locality did not have nameboards, but fortunately I did eventually find 'Acacia', after having chosen to walk from the city centre suitably armed with a map printed off the internet.
After I had got my bearings I did find subsequently that there was a local bus(route 312) which took you from the corner of Greenview Lawn to the city centre(just one bus an hour, though - do make sure that you've got the timetable which can be downloaded from the Bus Eireann website), although I tended to walk from 'Acacia' to the main St.Nessans Road (about 25 minutes away on foot) and catch the route 304 bus which took you directly to Limerick City Centre, and which was an extremely frequent(a bus every10 minutes) and efficient bus service.
Should you own a car, I can assure you that parking would be no problem whatsoever as Greenview Lawn in which the 'Acacia' guest house is located is a most pleasant residential estate with sufficient on street parking available, and in fact I suspect that it might even be able to park your vehicle in front of the house on the hard standing. I would add at this point that 'Acacia' was not so far away from the Crescent Shopping Centre, which had Boots, Tesco, and Argos stores there together with a multitude of other shops, and which I found to be a good shopping centre to visit, more so bearing in mind that that plentiful refreshment facilities are provided there. In addition there is a local convenience store, together with a pub and a chippy just a five minute walk away from the 'Acacia' guest house.
Regarding the 'Acacia' guest house ... ... it is in my opinion 'superb!!' - the proprietor Mary Dundoon is a most charming person, and it seemed to me in just the two days that I stayed there, nothing was too much trouble for her - in fact she even offered to pick me up in her car in the evening and bring me back should I become lost if I telephoned her..
My bedroom was most tastefully furnished, and it was most comfortable and it was extremely clean and fresh also - and although I had previously only booked a basic single room, as no other bookings had been received I was allocated a double room(no.2) with a private bathroom which was an extremely kind gesture and a very nice surprise too,(and for which no extra charge was even requested.) I paid €35 per night, and my room was fitted out with a television set, tea/coffee making facilities(a rather nice touch was a container of biscuits which was provided), and a radio/clock/alarm was situated by the bedside - so no excuses for oversleeping in the morning!
Breakfast was amazing - cereal, fruit juice, egg, bacon, black pudding, sausage, toast, marmalade....it's just a good job that I only spent two nights there - otherwise I would had put pounds on!!
All in all - although not exactly in the city centre, and somewhat difficult to find....once you've got there, 'Acacia' is in my opinion a superb bed and breakfast establishment.....the breakfasts are great, the house is clean and well tended, the bedrooms are most comfortable, and Mary,the proprietor is charming......I will certainly go back to stay there when I can find another 'cheapo' airfare with 'Ryanair.'
Regards to you all;