**ROISIN** Feedback on our trip to Ireland as promised.(12 Posts)
Really really lovely.
Went feeling very sceptical (went out with an Irish guy for years and have had 'Oirland' pushed down my throat for all of that time) but my prejudices vanished almost instantly. The palce is happening,a great mix of old and very hip and groovy,and every damned person we came across was unfailingly charming and courteous. Only problem was that it is expensive and they are damned good at hyping up some stuff that isn't so great at all with swish marketing and sales patter.
Even the trip across on Stena fast thingy was good. Excellent kids' entertainment by a bloke who made balloon animals for about 60 kids.
We followed a Lonley Planet one week itinerary which went as follows..
1. Stopover in Mullingar after the ferry. Fine.
2. Up to Pollatomish and Ceide Fields (prehistoric bog site) then onto the Gaeltacht Mullet peninsula (of particular interest to us as Welsh speakers) and a night in Ballina.
3. Night in Westport,delightful Georgian small town full of great pubs and shops.The quay particulalry llovely with cool places to stay and eat.Had an oyster feast at one of them.Visited Wesport house, mad theme park/stately home.
4.) Connemara.Wild and lovely.Great white sandy beaches. Renville Point and its eponymous hotel particularly good.Night in Clifden.
5.) Galway.Busy and happening! Pretty hard to find places to stay if travelling without bookings in August.Wouldn't do it again. Wish we'd had time to go to the Aran islands.
Visited Ailwee caves.No big deal.
6.)Dingle. Dream of a seaside hotel.Stayed in terrific Dingle Skeelig Arms which was very child friendly with a great pool and gardens.Ate in a fantastic seafood place called Out of the Blue on the quay and took a boat ride to see the famous dolphin,Fungie.
If he doesn't come out to play you get your money back.He did and it was magic.Children were enchanted. Wish I had had time to explore that peninsula further and go to the Blasket islands.
7.) Ring of Kerry and Killarney.Lovely.Very crowded with tourists but lovely.
8.) Kinsale. Another charming seaside town (bit of a weekend hangout for rich folk from Cork.) Had one of the best farmers' markets I have ever been to and I am a serious foodie.
9.) Last night in Cork. Stayed in the Kingsley Hotel.One of the swankiest places I've ever stayed and was about £130 for four of us for B & B. Visited Heritage centre in Cobh (nearby) where most emigrants left from (and last port of call for Titanic). Very moving.I was enthralled. Loads to see and do in Cork.
On reflection we moved too fast and tried to pack too much in. Would have been better to focus on one area but it was still fun.We tended to have picnics on the beach for lunch and always stayed in places with pools as that is what the children love the most.
It was delightful.
Blimey Moondog, you packed a lot in! Did you stay at the Renvyle House Hotel? I love that place.
lol at moondog beign a serious foodie!!
Glad you enjoyed your break sounds lovely!
Ah Kerry,had I but known you were offering..
Didn't stay Rosa, no (en route elsewhere) but had a pint and heard Irish spoken which made my day.
OOh sounds fab Moondog - thanks for the post, I've only just seen it.
Where did you stay in Ballina and in Westport? Would you recommend?
Did the children like the Ceide Fields - I remember being stunned when I first saw them (15 yrs ago), but I'm not sure whether the boys will be so impressed!
Oooh I can't wait til we go
Ballina hotel (Ridgeport) was the only dud. Pokey and room stank of fags.Yuck.
In Wesport we stayed in the Clew Bay hotel which was nice. Best is apparently the Olde Railway but is having a massive refit. Wyatt also looked good but was full.
Yes Ceide Fields now has a very nice futuristic pyramid shaped visitor centre dug into the mountain which is fun in itself.Guided tours,little museum,great views from the top and interesting film. Women in the cafe were lovely.They gave ds a chocolate biscuit thing just for being cute.
<proud mum emoticon>
We are still prevaricating as to where we are going
We have a cottage booked for a week at the far end of Kerry - hopefully off the major tourist routes.
But we will spend 4-5 days touring beforehand, and 2-3 days touring afterwards.
At the moment I'm thinking:
Ceide Fields, Cragannouwen Project [sp?] nr Ennis, and Dingle in the first section. Then Cork and Newgrange in the second.
We will prob stay B&Bs rather than hotels: but if you have any particularly stunning recommendations for accommodation, please pass on.
Was Dingle very crowded and touristy? I'd like to spend a couple of days on Dingle if poss., but not if it's likely to be heaving!
Glad you had a good holiday Moondog - if I had known you were going (and that you are a foodie!) I would have recommended some great restaurants in Cork/Kinsale. I know it's because we don't go out much in the UK but really my absolutely favourite restaurants in the world are there...
Ah, next time eh KTP? Seriously impressed at how the Irish have got it together foodwise.
No Roisin, Dingle wasn't at all crowded and it was peak season.I would have loved to have 'done' that little peninsula properly.Seeing the dolphin was truly magic.
I'd invest in a Lonely Planet guidebook.They have loads of accomm. recomendations and they are always spot on with descriptions and price guides.
Thanks - we've picked up the LP guide already, and it's great: loads of info in there. Far better than the other two we tried first, which are rubbish.
(DK Eyewitness Travel and "The Hidden Places of Ireland" which sounds great and is trash!)
Dh has fond memories of Dingle, but I just remember staying in this B&B run by some distinctly odd Americans, that made me want to flee screaming from the place
Galarus's Oratory made a great impression though.
Fungie sounded a bit over-commercialised in the Guide, so I'm pleased to hear it's a worthwhile trip to see him.
I need to get my itinerary planned now and start booking some accommodation!
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