Take Two (Ireland Part 1)

A while ago, another blogger I follow posted a list of blogging Dos and Don’ts, which included “blog about where you’ve been, not where you’re going.”  Literally, not metaphorically; it’s a safety thing, and having watched Taken 2 on the flight to Dublin, I took this advice to heart, which is why I haven’t actually posted anything about my trip yet.  But, I’m back in the U.S., safe and sound, so now I’ll catch everyone up on the last 10 days, with pictures and all…

Where we left off, Mom and I had just missed our flight to Dublin (by 10 minutes!) and were camped out in an airport hotel.  The next day we got to the airport nice and early, and had no problem getting on that day’s flight.  Aside from losing a day in Galway, we didn’t suffer any ill effects from the delay.  Upon arriving in Dublin we hopped on a bus to Galway, then took a cab from the bus terminal to check in at our B&B, where we immediately crashed for a couple hours.  We rolled out of bed mid-afternoon, took a bus into the city center, and walked around for a few hours, stumbling on the pedestrian area, and McDonagh’s — a restaurant to which I was referred by multiple people before I left.  We satisfied our obligatory fish and chips meal on this first day: 

Fish and Chips at McDonagh's.
Fish and Chips at McDonagh’s.

We then found a pub where we were able to snag seats to listen to some live music:

Pub music.
Pub music.

A good, stereotypical, touristy day in Ireland, gray, occasionally rainy weather and all.

The next day our plan was to pick up our rental car at noon, and head south to the Cliffs of Moher and then the Dingle Peninsula, then continue on to Killarney for our next two nights.  We called first thing in the morning for Enterprise to come pick us up, and they say no problem.  Great, we’re on our way, everything’s back on track!  Ha, yeah right.  An hour later Enterprise calls our B&B, to let us know there is a problem with our rental car.  We specifically reserved an automatic, since 1) driving on the left-hand side of the road would be enough of a challenge, and 2) I don’t really drive manual.  (I technically know how, and I’ve done it before, but it wasn’t a fun experience for me or the car I was driving.)  But the only automatic had been returned with some kind of mechanical problem, and it was going to be an hour or so before they knew if it was a quick fix, or if they needed to find us a different car.  Fast forward a few hours and the car needs to spend the night at the repair shop, can we pick it up tomorrow?  NO!  We want to get on our way!  Ultimately we decided to take a manual car, which Mom could drive, and see if there was another car in Killarney we could pick up the next day (turned out, there wasn’t).  Finally, we were on our way!

I brought my GPS so we would have the option of using it, but we planned to just follow street maps.  After studying a variety of maps and generally plotting our route, I acknowledged my tendency to get lost in any situation and decided to buy the Garmin GPS maps for the United Kingdom.  Best decision of the trip.  Our road trip would have been disastrous left to our own devices, given the lack of street signs and the general tendency for Irish “roads” to resemble American driveways.  We drove through The Burren and a few hours later, we were at the Cliffs of Moher:

Aside from a bit of snow flurries, and wind, the views were excellent, and our first demonstration of how nice it is to be a tourist during the off season.  Because of our delay starting out in the morning, it was already getting late, so we had to bag the Dingle Peninsula and head to our B&B in Killarney.  We arrived pretty exhausted, and later than expected, and discovered the whole town shut down before 9pm on Mondays, except for one pub which luckily served really good food: 

Laurel's Pub - excellent late night grub!
Laurel’s Pub – excellent late night grub!

Next up: The Ring of Kerry…


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