We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip Report - Part 2

Which Ireland hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Rolla, Missouri
Level Contributor
399 posts
41 reviews
Save Topic
Trip Report - Part 2

I'm posting this in parts as I can.

Day 1

Arrived around 7:30 am at Shannon (about 20 minutes early). Airport was small and easy to negotiate. Picked up our car and began the great "driving on the wrong side of the car" experience.

Stayed on the back roads (the "R" roads) and went through Newcastle on Fergus to Dromoland Castle, which is now a hotel/golf resort. Drove to Knappogue Castle outside Quin, stumbling across a ring fort on the way, and the ruined abbey in Quin. Knappogue Castle was interesting, and it has a nice walled garden (which we noticed as we were returrning to our car and went back to see). We practically had the place to ourselves. While wandering the gardens, we were accousted by a grouse, I assume protecting her nest. We next drove to Dysert O'Dea (boy, it that in an out of the way location!) and the abbey next to it. Stopped in Corofin for some great soup and a half pint, before meandering (accidentally) on to Doolin. Drove by Leamaneh Castle on the way. Doolin was an intesting little town and a little difficult to negotiate (at least after being up for nearly 30 hours and driving on the left for the first time) but we finally arrived at Daly's House. Went down to O'Connor's Pub for some great fish, average chips, and a wonderful pint of Guinness, while listening to an early set of music. Then early to bed to recover from the trip.

Day 2

Went to the Cliffs of Moher which, while no longer "natural" still worth the stop. The views were great, but it was somewhat crowded. The visitor's center is an interesting building, built into the hillside. We drove along the coast to Galway, with some stops for the scenery. Stopped in Kinvarra for an appetizer and a half-pint. Stopped at Dunguire Castle, then into Galway. Driving in Galway was an experience. I had a map, I know where I wanted to go, but the streets aren't marked. I finally found my B & B from landmarks. We then drove out to Carraroe/Coral Beach to walk on the beach (cold, windy) and collect a few shells. Returned to our B&B near the University and walked down Newcastle Road/St. Mary's Road into the Cottage Bar, which was, of all things, a Tapas bar. We had tapas and a local beer (Galway Hooker Irish Ale - the boat, not the lady of the evening) and, of all things, an American university student waitress from Minnesota.

Day 3

Drove to Aughnanure Castle (really liked it) and then down to Roundstone, dodging sheep and cows on the road as we went. Roundstone is a lovely little town on the coast and we visited the music shop. Drove on to Clifden, but didn't stop as time was short, and then to Kylemore Abbey, which we really enjoyed. Drove out to Renvale (sp?) Castle on the Northwest coast, a ruined tower house.

Returned to Galway and had dinner at a place called McSwiggers - excellent meal.

More to follow.

Co. Kildare
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
8,256 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Great! Looking forward to reading more...

New Hampshire
Level Contributor
2,762 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Great report.... I love comparing notes. I really enjoyed driving around the Burren area, as it seems you did. We stopped at Dysert O'Dea on the way to Ennis (I tried to avoid the National roads, even when in a hurry) and I thought the high cross there was absolutely breathtaking. Out of the way.... yeah, a bit ;-) But that's why we were the only ones there, and being alone there really enhanced the atmosphere.

Hubby and I really enjoyed Aughnanore Castle as well. A nice mix of restoration and ruin, with some very good infomational plaques.

More, please!!!

Salt Lake City
5 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Thanks RonWhite. I'm thoroughly enjoying your very well-written trip reports! I'm planning a week in September and I'm addicted to this forum...hoping I can narrow down my choices. There's just too much to see and do. Looking forward to your next installment!

Jen

Austin
Level Contributor
902 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Now if you could only cut and paste a map of your trip. ;-) I'm trying to follow it using my AA road atlas.

Thanks for the Burren report. Seems like Dysert O'Dea is a must-see. How about Knappogue Castle?

Destination Expert
for Dublin
Level Contributor
3,093 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Can I ask why some of you try to avoid the National Routes? I ask this because a lot of US visitors are nervous about coming here and driving on narrower roads yet the R roads are the narrowest!!

New Hampshire
Level Contributor
2,762 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

I avoided the National roads when I could because I *like* the scenery and being off the beaten path.... once I realized Hubby and I weren't going to die accidently or kill each other with the driving, we chose to get off the boring roads and into the adventure of the "wilds" of small-town Ireland.

Rolla, Missouri
Level Contributor
399 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

JoJoKo, I'd cut and past the map if I knew what roads I had used! :-)

I generally used a pretty direct route, but sometimes road markings, or lack thereof, led to some unplanned side trips.

I didn't avoid National routes, but did tend to avoid the motorways. Sometimes, the difference between National routes and Regional routes wasn't readily apparent!

Waterford, Ireland
Level Contributor
6,414 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

The difference between an R road and an N road is that on one you can do a maximum of 80 kph and on the other 100 kph, with absolutely no reference to the width, quality or straightness of the road.

Rolla, Missouri
Level Contributor
399 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Doneraile, unlike here, the speed limits in Ireland, in my experience, had little to do with how fast you could safely drive. There were 100 kph roads we were on that I wouldn't have driven over 60 on if I knew I was the only car on the road. The only time I had to watch my speed was the 10 minutes I was on the new toll road north of Cork.

Illinois
Level Contributor
24 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Trip Report - Part 2

Great report again! Thanks for the tip on Galway driving. We'll be there in 3 months!