A Travellerspoint blog

Ireland: Galway

Limerick: Fresh ink and fresh baked goods

54 °F

Yesterday we woke up to sunshine and a high of 54! We drove to Bunratty Castle in Bunratty, on our way to Limerick. It was a pretty impressive, intact castle. We didn't go inside. I'm not even sure you could. We looked in a few shops nearby and then headed to Limerick.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle

Limerick reminded me a lot of Pittsburgh. We were there because Tim had an appointment to get a tattoo by Ross Nagle at his shop Allstar Tattoo. He went in with an idea and Ross drew something up. It turned out awesome!

Street in Limerick

Street in Limerick


Allstar Tattoo

Allstar Tattoo

Inside Allstar Tattoo

Inside Allstar Tattoo


Harp and Anchor tattoo

Harp and Anchor tattoo

Afterwards we walked around and stopped at a bakery. We ate a "biscuit cookie", which was biscuits covered in chocolate. Sooooo good!

Bakery!

Bakery!


Biscuit Cookie

Biscuit Cookie

We drove back to Galway and took a cab to Quay Street (which we found out is pronounced "key"). It was drizzling out. The cab driver said they've gone almost two weeks without rain, which is rare. Quay Street is a small area with cobblestone streets and old pubs. There are also shops and restaurants. We had dinner at McDonough's. I really wanted fish and chips but for some odd reason I ordered baked cod. Imagine my surprise when that came out and not fish and chips. I'm going to blame a delirious brain due to a lunch made up of a biscuit cookie.

Quay Street

Quay Street

The shops were really interesting, but of course we got there too late and we only got to go into one before they kicked us out and closed. Today I am determined to get to Dublin early enough to actually go in stores!

We went to the Quays Pub and watched the Manchester United vs Real Madrid game. The pub had a giant screen that came down from the ceiling. Most everyone was rooting for Manchester. Unfortunately they lost. After the game we went to King's Head Pub. Much to my delight, they had a real fireplace in the front sitting area!

Quays Pub

Quays Pub


Julie looking over the bar at Quays Pub

Julie looking over the bar at Quays Pub


King's Head Pub

King's Head Pub

Tim next to the fireplace

Tim next to the fireplace

Today we are headed to Dublin!

Even their bouncy houses are castles

Even their bouncy houses are castles


Clayton Hotel

Clayton Hotel

Posted by juliejakicic 01:40 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Ireland: Galway

I'll see your Cliffs of Kerry and raise you the Cliffs of Moher

39 °F

We don't know if there is some holiday this week or everyone closes up shop in March but there are more things closed than open right now. This morning we walked around town looking for breakfast and just when we were about to give up and get some gas station blintzs, we found a coffee shop that served breakfast in the back. Phew!

It was drizzling this morning but that didn't stop us from going to Kennedy's Pet Farm. On my gosh, I'm so glad we did! We got to hold/feed/pet so many animals! And we were the only ones there so we had the whole place to ourselves. We saw puppies, goats, cows, deer, pigs, donkeys, an array of birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and sheep! The baby cows were only 5 weeks old and soooo cute. They kept licking our legs and chewing on various clothing. We purchased animal food to feed them and they didn't quite understand how to eat the food out of our hands. Instead, they put all of our fingers in their mouth and we had to tip our hand up to get the food to fall in. The deer were also cute. They didn't want any of the food but after we visited all the animals and they saw we were ok, they were all about it! The aggressive one was even snurfing my face. Soooo cute! Definitely the highlight of the trip so far. At least for me, haha. I wish I could post ALL of the pictures, but here are a few.

Tim and Casper - 5 weeks old

Tim and Casper - 5 weeks old


Julie and puppy

Julie and puppy


Julie and pug

Julie and pug


Deer snurfing my face

Deer snurfing my face


Feeding the calfs

Feeding the calfs

Mama goat and her triplets

Mama goat and her triplets

Eating my fingers

Eating my fingers

Kid!

Kid!

After the farm, we drove to the Cliffs of Moher. We took a short cut across the Shannon estuary on a car ferry! First time on a car ferry. It was a little anticlimactic. It was too cold/misty to get out and see anything so we just stayed in the car.

Getting off the car ferry

Getting off the car ferry


Lahinch - a surf town

Lahinch - a surf town

The Cliffs of Moher were crazy. I don't know what was crazier: the Cliffs themselves or the fact that there are no railings. It was also kind of refreshing. If you fall off the ledge, it's no ones fault but your own. They had a makeshift path along the edge of the cliffs and there was another not-so-official path closer to the edge. Separating the two was a rock wall, but even that was SUPER close to the edge. We were commenting on how there were so many crazy people standing near the edges of the cliffs....and before long we were doing the same thing.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher


90_2BBDE9CF2219AC6817103AB6DB29AC48.jpg
Yep, that's the edge

Yep, that's the edge


2BCA5D8C2219AC68176A428EC6061DAD.jpg
The "official" path - so close to the edge!

The "official" path - so close to the edge!

At the same site there was O'Brien's Tower. There was a heavy fog rolling in so a lot of our pictures are misty/gray.

O'Brien's Tower

O'Brien's Tower

We did a lot of driving today, so we called it an early night after getting into Galway and had dinner at the hotel. Tomorrow is still up in the air!

Posted by juliejakicic 15:00 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Ireland: Killarney

Day 2: Holy sheep, this is high!

overcast 107 °F

We got up early this morning and hit a gas station (or shall I say petrol station) for a quick breakfast. Turns out they had hot ham and cheese blintz. (I think that's what she called it. Whatever it was called, it was delicious. We got our food to go and headed out to the Ring of Kerry, which is basically a road that loops around the Iveragh Peninsula with all sorts of towns and stops along the way.

First stop: We drove to Cahersiveen and hiked a hill to see two stone ring forts: Cahergal and Leacanabuaile. We were only able to get inside of Cahergal. It was very impressive. Historians guess that it was built sometime between 500BC and 400AD, and housed a very important person. We climbed the original stone steps and stood at the top. No safety regulations here! I forgot to take a picture with one of our phones so I'll have to upload one later.

Second stop: St. Finian's Bay, a beautiful beach with fort and/or castle ruins just off shore. A lot of people had their dogs there. In fact, there were dogs everywhere! I can't tell you how many times we drove down a road and had to stop to avoid hitting a dog. Oooor let it finish peeing on our tire. Poor Pixo....

St. Finian's Bay

St. Finian's Bay

St. Finian's Bay

St. Finian's Bay

Third stop: The Skellig Ring Loop. We were actually supposed to drive the Skellig Ring before St. Finian's Bay but of course we missed the sign. We really wanted to drive it though, so we just went backwards. It was totally worth it. I've definitely gotten the hang of driving on the 1 or 2 lane roads, with several blind turns, at 100km per hour. Tourists started pulling off to let me pass, assuming I'm a local. You can tell who the locals are. They drive well over the speed limit! I don't know how they do it! Even though it's cold, I'm glad we didn't visit during a peak tourist time. I don't know if I could handle passing giant tour buses on the narrow roads. We were also on the edge of cliffs for half of the trip with no guard rails. Crazy!!! It was scary how high we were!

Country road

Country road

Road sign

Road sign

Fourth stop: We saw a sign for a B&B that advertised the best view of the coast in County Kerry. All you have to do is pay a small fee. We've all heard this one before, right? But we're on vacation so we did it. They weren't lying!!!

Cliffs at County Kerry

Cliffs at County Kerry

Cliffs at County Kerry

Cliffs at County Kerry

Cliffs at County Kerry

Cliffs at County Kerry

Fifth stop: In our tourist book, it said to visit Staigue Fort. It was 4km off the Ring, on a one-lane road, with blind turn after blind turn, oh and rogue sheep. If you came upon someone, one of you had to backup until there was enough room to move over. The sheep - well that's a whole other story. We drove real slow and we spooked them, causing them to run down the middle of the road until they moved over enough that we could pass them. We got to the fort and it was just like the Cahergal fort. On the way back, I drove faster by the sheep which did not spook them, surprisingly enough, and they just stayed where they were while we maneuver around them. Tim is going to post the video of the sheep running on Facebook.

Sixth stop: We got back on the Ring of Kerry and stopped in Sneem for lunch. I had the lamb, cabbage and potato lunch and Tim had a turkey sandwich with stuffing. Their stuffing was just toasted breadcrumbs and onions. I'm not sure if that is unique to that restaurant or all over Ireland.

Restaurant in Sneem

Restaurant in Sneem

After lunch we drove through the Killarney National forest on our way back to Killarney. The trees were so big and there was green moss everywhere. There were several pull-offs and we saw some amazing lakes.

Killarney Lake is Killarney National Park

Killarney Lake is Killarney National Park

When we got back to town it was still early enough to walk around and do some shopping. We hit a few stores and like we noticed earlier in the day, most everything was closed because it was Sunday. The few stores that were open, closed early. This seems to be a regular occurrence. We know now to not ever go by the hours posted. We had a snack at Gloria Jean's coffee. Tim swears there was one at Century III mall in Pittsburgh at some point. Sound familiar to anyone? We had a caramel shortbread (yuuuum) and a cappachio charlottine (also yummy).

Gloria Jean's Coffee Shop

Gloria Jean's Coffee Shop

Tonight we had dinner at Murphy's Pub. I had the seafood chowder and Tim had the burger (sans horse meat haha). After dinner we went to the Fáilte Pub for a pint. Before we came here I jokingly told Tim that I was going to order Coors Light at every pub. He said they probably wouldn't have Coors Light and if they did it would be expensive because it was technically an import. Well, we've seen Coors Light on draft here more than at home!!! Tim fail!

Hellmann's vs Heinz

Hellmann's vs Heinz

Smithwick's!

Smithwick's!

Tomorrow we are visiting Kennedy's Pet Farm. I'm soooo excited to see all the baby animals!

Posted by juliejakicic 14:42 Archived in Ireland Comments (3)

Ireland: Killarney

Day 1 - Wow, this is dangerous!

semi-overcast 104 °F

This morning we got up a little later than we wanted and had breakfast in the hotel. We had the best toast and jam ever! I don't know what made it so special, but it was delicious. After breakfast, we decided I would try driving and let Tim navigate. That was probably the best decision we've made so far. Tim is MUCH better at reading a map and understanding these crazy street signs. We were able to make it out of Kilkenny with no issues!

Our first stop was the Rock of Cashel. It's so big! The castle was under refurbishment but we were still able to see a lot of the castle and most of the grounds.

Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel

Rock of Cashel

After the Rock we drove to Midleton to "experience" the Jameson Experience. We took a tour through the old distillery grounds (the new one is right behind the old) and then had our complimentary drink in the bar. Tim had his Jameson straight up and I had a "Ginger and Lime", aka Jameson, ginger ale and lime. Yum! I might have found my new drink! Tim also tried the Midleton Very Rare whiskey. He really enjoyed it, and he better have at 15.50 euros per pour! We had lunch in their cafe. Best potato and leek soup I've ever had. I feel like I'm saying that a lot!

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery

Jameson Distillery

We spent a lot of time at the distillery so we decided to skip Cork City Gaol (a jail) and go straight to the Blarney Castle instead. Aaand we made a wrong turn. Seriously, I've never seen such poorly marked streets. Alas, we made it with an hour to spare. Only to find they closed an hour early. GRRRR!!!

Since we are spending the next two nights in Killarney, we decided to head straight there....in the dark....on back country roads.....going 100km per hour. In Tim's words, "Wow, this is dangerous!!!" Buuut we made it in one piece!! We were booked in the Fairview's townhomes but when we checked in they said they were having trouble with the electricity so they moved us to the main hotel. It's very nice! And warm! They are definitely not stingy with the heat.

Julie driving

Julie driving

Killarney is a beautiful town. I can't wait to see it in the daylight. We walked around a bit tonight and had dinner at an Irish/Mediterranean restaurant called Salvador's: "traditional Irish cuisine with a continental touch." Note to any future travelers to Ireland, there is no such thing as a quick sit-down meal. We don't know if we're doing something wrong or if we're so used to fast the American pace, but getting a check is painful. We're going to have to look that one up. Do we raise a hand, turn our forks over, or as I suggested earlier tonight, stick your foot out and trip her as she goes by? We're open to suggestions!

Tomorrow we visit the Ring of Kerry! Sorry there aren't many photos. The wi-fi connection is poor so uploading takes forever.

P.S. The car washes here are outside. Like, no roof, just two walls and some water, outside.

Posted by juliejakicic 15:32 Archived in Ireland Comments (2)

Ireland:Kilkenny

Itinerary - 1, Tim & Julie - 0. A day of lessons.

semi-overcast 107 °F

This morning we landed in Dublin around 9:30AM. We were running about an hour behind and I'm not sure why. The line for immigration was long but it moved pretty quick. We made it to Hertz and picked up our PURPLE Nissan Pixo. We were just thankful Tim and our luggage fit. Small world: the guy that waited on us was visiting Punta Gorda only a few weeks ago to play golf with his Uncle.
image.jpg

After that it was smooth sailing. We decided against the GPS (Well, I did. What kind of adventure would it be if the GPS decided where we went?) and went old school: atlas style. Tim got us on the highway and we were off to Kilkenny! Fast forward 1.5 hours and this is where things start to get hairy. We were able to get to Kilkenny but finding our hotel proved to be a much tougher task. Lesson #1, travel book maps aren't always to scale and roads in Kilkenny are not marked clearly. Maybe that's 2 lessons. After driving past the same Aldi 3 times, we finally found our hotel.

Our hotel is very nice but cold. I called the front desk to see why even though I kept turning the knob, no heat was radiating. Turns out, the hotel doesn't turn on the heat until 4PM; lesson #3.
Newpark Hotel at night

Newpark Hotel at night

Since we were running late, we skipped Glendalough and decided to go straight to the Smithwick's Brewery for a tour and tasting. The front desk assured us that all locals sites were within walking distance, so off we went....in the wrong direction, sigh. When we reached the end of the road and saw a sign for a highway, we knew we'd made a mistake. 20 minutes after we'd started, we were back at the hotel but this time we were picking up the car. We drove to the brewery (which was NOT within walking distance in my humble opinion) only to find they were booked up today AND tomorrow! Very disheartened considering we contacted them months ago, specifically about making reservations ahead of time and were told it was first-come, first-serve.

There was only one thing left on our itinerary: Kilkenny Castle. It WAS within walking distance to the brewery. The castle was beautiful. Almost fully restored with restorations on-going. We did a self-guided tour and were amazed at the size of the castle and opulence of the rooms!
Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle


Tim & Kilkenny Castle

Tim & Kilkenny Castle


Tim & Julie Kilkenny Castle

Tim & Julie Kilkenny Castle

After the castle we had lunch at Hibernian Hotel gastro pub. The food was delicious, but after eating granola bars and airport food, blood pudding probably would have tasted delicious. Since there wasn't much left to do, we walked the streets and hit up a mall. We don't have H&Ms close to us, so I checked that out. And of course we had to go in TKMaxx!
Soup!

Soup!


Caesar Salad.....with bacon!

Caesar Salad.....with bacon!

We decided to call it an early night and have a late dinner in the hotel bar. Wow - the food was delicious!!! Best spring roll I've ever had and Tim's teriyaki wings were soooo tasty. A great end to a somewhat stressful day!
Smithwick's at hotel bar

Smithwick's at hotel bar


Chicken Spring Roll

Chicken Spring Roll

Fingers crossed tomorrow is filled with a little less drama!

Small world still: a large group of girls from Mercyhurst college were at the airport at the same time as us. Now we can't escape them! Are THEY the ones that scooped up all the brewery spots???

Posted by juliejakicic 14:07 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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