Our first trip to Ireland was full of excitement, anticipation, beauty, 40 shades of green and history. Oh, yes, and plenty of laughing.
We asked friends for advice on how to best attack this storied land. Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Adare, Dingle, Killarney, and Cork received the most votes. So we decided to spend four days in Dublin (turned out to be one day too long for us). Then we’d cowboy-up and rent a car. Seriously, driving in Ireland, shifting with the left hand on the “other side of the road”, on narrow lanes, dodging sheep and cattle is insane. We bravely head toward Galway working our way down to the Cliffs of Moher . We were told they were not to be missed. Then we headed on to Dingle, The Ring of Kerry, over to Limerick and Adare (which my sister visited one year ago and loved), then to Cork if time permitted.
As with most of our “seat of the pants” touring, changes come often and swiftly. While visiting a tourist office in Dublin a young man suggested the following:
Go to Bantry in County Cork. It is not only a small town (our favorite) and beautiful but also has easy access to many attractions that rival some of the best known and most crowded tourist stops.
Avoid the Ring of Kerry at all costs, unless following behind busses inhaling exhaust and dodging wobbly bicyclist is a passion of yours. This was underlined by every local we asked.
Drive the back roads as often as possible (set your Google Maps to avoid highways and tolls). Be prepared for roads that are barely passable by one vehicle, let alone two or more farm vehicles. Look for Mohawk roads which have grass growing down the middle.
While in Dublin we stayed in a small accommodation at Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.
Today, one of the main attractions of Trinity is The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It was created by contributions from various Columban institutions in both Britain or Ireland. It is believed to have been created around 800 AD. We were a bit disappointed in that there were only two pages of the Book is on display. Each day a “protector” of the Book with hands covered with archival gloves turns the page and another two pages goes on display for that day. This system helps to protect the Book.
Walking Temple Bar
If you have never been to Ireland, as we had not, you’ll be tempted to go to Temple Bar for the Guinness Experience. According to virtually every Irish person we met, DO NOT BE FOOLED.
First, Temple Bar is a retail section of the city, not actually a bar. Most Irish will not go there as it is for tourists and the prices for just about everything is higher than elsewhere.
A residential section of Dublin, this area is beautiful. The garden is meticulous and has a whimsical and relaxing statue of Oscar Wilde, an Irish Poet and Playwright and student at Trinity.
Along The River
Ennis and Adare
Four days of Dublin was plenty. We set off for Bantry, in County Cork, John’s homeland on his mother’s side.
Everything we had been told about Cork and Bantry in particular was spot on.
Durrow & Sheep’s Head
Before leaving Bantry we have to give a big shout out to Maureen and Pete Farreley, our Airbnb hosts. They made our stay a barrel of laughs. Each morning we would gather around the breakfast table chatting about everything from my ancestors (the O’Driscolls who were/are “Tinkers” — gypsies ) to President Trump, Brexit, Irish football, Cork vs Kerry and laugh until our sides hurt. Thanks Maureen and Pete, we’ll see you soon. Here is to keeping our fingers crossed that your favorite team comes out on top on Saturday September 14.
We could go on and on about how much we enjoyed the beauty of the Irish countryside and the people. We will return for sure. Hopefully as pet sitters. In the meantime, each time we raise a pint we’ll be thinking about the 40 shades of green that astonished us each day in Ireland.
Thanks for joining us on the road.
Bev & John
Caring for two dogs in a small village in a foreign country
can be daunting. But, not for us. We have done it before,
As International Trusted House Sitters we get to make
new friends with all sorts of critters. The best part,
however, is making new human friends.