Ireland Travelogue

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Traveling in Ireland in February 2012.


  • Ireland February 2012 1

    Introductory Email (written February 19)

    Febraury 20: Travel from Madison to Chicago to DublinFebraury 21: Dublin to New-grange, County Meath, to Adare, County Limerick

    Febraury 22: Starting out slow. Adare and Limerick City, County Limerick

    Febraury 23: The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, and Bunratty Castle, County Shannon

    Febraury 24: Waterford City, County Waterford, and the Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary

    Febraury 25: The Dingle Peninsula, County KerryFebraury 26: The Jameson Expe-rience, Midleton, and Blarney Castle, County Cork

    Febraury 27: From Adare to Dub-lin to Chicago to Madison

    What started out as an innocent email turned into a fun week with friends.

    them ourselves. Once the travel agent and I figured out the dates we could go, they asked if we wanted to book the flights with them. Turned out they had a deal set up with Aer Lingus (the Irish airline) and could save us about $250-300/person. I was amazed. Even af-ter agreeing to trip protection insurance, the final cost of this trip is less than $1000/each.

    The first time I went to Ire-land was in 1998the fall af-ter my dad died. The last thing I wanted to do that year was to be anywhere near a Thanksgiv-ing celebration. When I had gone to Irish Fest in August that year, I saw that Aer Lingus was offering two-for-one fares from Chicago to Dublin direct for $500. Couldnt really pass it up at the time. I asked my friend Ann if she wanted to go and the plan was started. Even when Ann ended up without a job a month or so before we were supposed to leave, I wasnt worried. For that price to get us both there, it was a steal. I said that the flight was covered and Id cover the car rental and the B&Bs if shed do most of the driving. She just had to cover her food and souveniers. We had one book of driving tours, 10 days, and very little in any other plan before we left. It was an awesome trip. In 2001, Ed and I decided to go to England for a week and found a similar fare deal so we went through Ireland. On our way back, we spent a couple of days in Ireland. I had a chance to show him a few sites that

    Ireland with FriendsFebruary 20-27, 2012

    Wandering around the Southwest(anchored in Adare, County Limerick)

    Those of you who belong to this group have followed my travels before. Well, were off again tomorrowthis time, to Ireland.

    It was serendipity in many ways. Back in December, our friend Mary sent me an email asking me Did you see the getaway to Adare Ireland? I knew she was talking about a groupon but I had deleted it without looking cuz the money was looking a little tighter for the coming year and Ed had said we shouldnt think on a big trip. But I rescued the email from my trash and found the price was incredible. is the deal if you want to see what was so tempting. The final cost would be dependent upon finding a decently priced flight. After a bit of back and forth the next day between Mary, her husband Clint, and Ed, we decided that sometime in late February would work for all of us and I was designated to order the groupon and to deal with the travel agency they use. We had investi-gated the cost of flights before I called so I knew the ballpark cost if we booked

  • Ireland February 2012 2

    Ann and I had seen 3 years earlier and we found a few more. And now we get to go back for six more days.

    Our current plan will be for the four of us to drive to Chicago mid-afternoon tomorrow. I like the fact that the flight times are very reasonable. We fly out around 7:15pm tomorrow night and are due to land around 9:00am on Tuesday. Since well only be about a 3-hour drive from Adare, we figure well head up to New-grange, a Megalithic Passage Tomb built about 3200 BC. Ann and I had visited that site back in 98 but Im the only one of the four of us that has been there before. We should be able to explore that site nicely and wander around before heading to County Limerick and our home away from home for the next week.

    I will try to write every day as I have done in the past and I promise a travelogue with a link to my photos when I return.

    Well see how coherent this is since I technically had only about 4 hours of sleep so far but Im up and I might as well do something useful. Especially since coherency was not something I possessed much after our arrival at our villa last night.

    I cannot remember a time when travel went much smoother than it did from 1400hrs CST on Monday until we arrived at the Adare Manor, Adare Village, County Limerick, Ireland about 1800hrs GMT on Tuesday. From the drive between Madison to OHare to the finding of the parking lot with no wait time for the shuttle to the international terminal; to the quick

    check-in at the Aer Lingus desk and fastest airport secu-rity line Ive ever encountered; to a flight that not only left on time but arrived at Dublin International Airport almost an hour early; to s quick shot through passport

    control and baggage retrieval; to having not too much trouble finding the care hire desk (only marred by a small glitch in using the debit card but nice to find out the credit card was at least working); to the shuttle to pick up said car (much bigger than we expected since we went economy, Im surprised we got a Ford something-or-other [about the size of a Ford Focus}); to finding

    February 20-21: Chicago to Dublin to Adare

    Photos for the first two days

  • Ireland February 2012 3

    our way out of the airport area, our of Dublin, and on the road to Newgrange; to finding the Br na Binne Visitor Centre and having the right amount of time to explore the centre as well as watch a short video before the 1115hrs tour of this 5000 year-old passage tomb; to a bit of wandering to find a meal and eventually wind our way down to where we are calling home for the next almost-a-week.

    The only technical difficulty besides the small glitch w/the debit card (more on that later) was trying to get

    electronically connected upon arrival when we were thoroughly exhausted.

    However, its all starting to catch up to me again and Im going to see if I can get another couple of hours be-fore everyone is awake and ready to find breakfast and the start of our second day here. So, details will have to wait until later. At least this much will give my aging brain an outline to use to write more extensively later. (Later note: Ive decided not to edit too extensively since I kind of like this train-of-thought log.)

  • Ireland February 2012 4

    February 22: Adare and Limerick City

    Ive decided that these updates to this list (waving to yall from our office in our villa) probably wont get a lot of details fleshed out in them. Im a bit tired and quite happy after mostly a pint of Bulmers this evening and writing a long, detailed account of the day just isnt in me. This doesnt mean that more wont be written later but consider this more notes to help my memory along (and to feed those who wish to travel vicariously with us) rather than a fully completed travelogue.

    After waking up, reasonably wide awake, around 0215 this morning, I found myself up and about for a couple of hours. This wasnt a bad thing. However, it did mean that going back to sleep around 0430 and not setting an alarm meant that we didnt waken until about 0900. We really want to get our days started early but it turned out to be just as well today. The package that we booked includes 4 breakfasts for each of us at the Adare Cultural Heritage Center (small museum, restaurant, and gift shops) but they do not open until 0900. I think well be eating other places to break our fast most of the rest of our trip.

    We stopped at the bank to try to retrieve our ATM card and were told it was possible but would take a bit of

    time. So, we went wandering. Ed to the hardware store, Clint & Mary to the grocery store, and me wandering back and forth between the two to keep from losing people. We came back together and walked most of the main part of the villagewindow shopping and wandering through the parkuntil around 11:30. Retrieved the bank card and headed back to the villa to regroup before spending the afternoon in Limerick. The weather was gray and misty throughout the day, never really switching to a hard rain so it was quite pleasant.

    We toured King Johns Castle, a fortress that Ed and I had toured through in 2001 but more has been excavated since then. A nice museum with the history of the castle and of Limerick along with a couple of short videos made for a nice experience. Enough had been added, and my memory has deteriorated enough, to make it still very worthwhile.

    We found a nice restaurant for a late lunch on the recommendation of the docent at the castle and had a great lunch. The Locke Bar overlooks the Abbey River not far from where the Abbey meets the Shannon and

    just around the corner from St. Marys Cathedral. I had a huge bowl of mussels in what appeared to be a white win/cream sauce, a pint of cider, and talked everyone into sharing a berry/rhubarb crumble with me. Everyone else had fish & chips. We were all quite happy with our choices and pleasingly full when done.

    We tried to check out the cathedral, it was about 1700 hours, but never found a way inside. So, we found the car and wound our way through the city to find our way back to the villa for a rest. I napped in the tub for a bit while everyone else did whatever they did to relax. Around 2030 we went into the village to find some music at one of the pubs. The place, unfortunately for us and fortunately for them, was packed . Ed and I shared a plate of boiled bacon, cabbage, and creamed potatoes. Mary & Clint shared a ham & brie panini