Ireland with Cheryl
Date: May 2013
Places visited: Dublin, Galway, Cliff of Moher, Killarney, Blarney, Cork, Kinsale
Overall Impression: Beautiful dramatic scenery, historic and rich in culture, friendly people, musical, great food
We decided to do a self-drive trip through southern Ireland. It took us about a day to get used to our manual, right-hand drive car. Our itinerary was organized by Emerald Custom Tours, experts in all things Ireland.
We stayed at the Westbury Hotel, a great located off Grafton Street. With only one day in the capital city, we took in as much as possible by foot; Molly Malone Statue, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, St. Patricks Cathedral, Temple Bar area and the old General Post Office.
Dublin to Galway. The drive is approximately 2 hours. About halfway to Galway, we stopped at Clonmacnoise, a monastic site overlooking the River Shannon. Clonmacnoise was founded in 548 by St. Ciaran, the son of a master craftsman. The extensive ruins include a cathedral, castle, round tower, numerous churches, two important high crosses, and a large collection of early Christian grave slabs.
We stayed at the Historic Meyrick Hotel in Eyre Square Galway. The Hotel Meyrick first opened its doors in 1852, as an old railway hotel. Galway City, originally a small fishing village located in the area near the Spanish Arch called ‘The Claddagh’ where the River Corrib meets Galway Bay. A popular seaside destination with beautiful beaches, a long promenade and busy city centre. Enjoy a walk along the cobbled street, shop the local shops and relax at an outdoor café. Day trip to Kylemore Abbey, a majestic Benedictine abbey on the banks of Lake Kylemore.
Galway to Killarney via the Cliffs of Moher. We left Galway and headed southwest towards the world-famous Cliffs of Moher, travelling along scenic coastal roads, stopping to visit cute fishing villages and historic sites. Through Burren National Park, view the moon-like landscape, with rolling hills covered with limestone rocks. The park is home to numerous ancient monuments like the Poulnabrone Dolmen, which is said to be the most photographed Megalithic monument in the country.
The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. Standing 214m (702feet) at their highest point, they stretch for 8km (5miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland.
We stayed at the wonderful Killarney Park Hotel, this family-owned hotel is located within walking distance of the towns quaint shops, entertainment, golf courses, restaurants and pubs. The Ring of Kerry or “The Ring” is a popular day trip and numerous bus companies offer trips. As the narrow roads make it difficult for tour coaches to pass, all tour buses run in a counter-clockwise direction, therefore it is recommended that self-drive cars travel in the opposite direction. Attractions we visited along the Ring of Kerry include Gap of Dunloe, Bog Village, Straigue Fort, Moll’s Gap, Ladies View and Torc Waterfall.
Killarney to Kinsale via Blarney Castle and Cork City. No first-time visit to Ireland is complete without kissing the Blarney Stone! Blarney Castle was built nearly 600 years ago; millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. The legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of the Tower, kiss it and you’ll never again be lost for words.
Cork City: Stopping only briefly in Cork, we visited The English Market, a wonderful market with so many tasty delicacies, stalls of local produce, cheese, fresh fish and meats.
This quaint fishing village 25km south of Cork City is the perfect end to a great holiday in Ireland. The town is compact with quaint narrow street and shops, several art galleries and is known for its restaurants. We stayed along the marina, at the Trident Hotel Kinsale.
Hugo’s – Dublin (French) www.hugos.ie
McDaids – Dublin (Irish Pub)
Moran’s Oyster Cottage – Galway (Seafood) www.moransoystercottage.com
Cucina Italiana – Killarney (Italian)
Gaby’s Seafood Restaurant – Killarney (Seafood)
Fishy Fishy Café – Kinsale (Seafood) www.fishyfishy.ie
What we bought:
Claddagh Rings for our daughters, Aran wool sweaters and a wool blanket, Irish Toffees for family, friends and colleagues and souvenir T-shirts.