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Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Dingle Peninsula June 6th 2006

I LOVE IRELAND!!!!!! I'm really having a lovely time here in Ireland. We took an overnight ferry from Swansea in Wales about a week ago now and had a beautiful sunrise that morning that seems to have been a good omen since. We have had only bright sunny days since our arrival. People are like, no one gets a suntan in Ireland, what is going on? Anyways, Carlee and I rented a car and have been cruising. On the left side of the road that is, in a manual, the stick also on the left, but only one mishap when I took out someones sideview mirror and part of my own, oops. But honestly, the roads here are very thin and wind all around, it's really cute. So the Irish people are GREAT. They love their ... read more
sunrise
Cork city
Carleola

Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Dingle Peninsula June 6th 2006

Today we headed to Killarney and spent several hours at Killarney National Park, including Muckross House, Gardens, and Traditional Farms. The park encompasses more than 25,000 acres and was Ireland’s first National Park. When we toured the Manor House, we missed the English-speaking tour, and rather than wait for the next one, we tagged along with the French-speaking group. My French is a bit rusty, but I was able to understand much - maybe even most - of what the guide said. One of the things that stood out in my recollection of her tale was that the estate was purchased by a wealthy American as a wedding gift for his wife. When she died an untimely death, he was too grief-stricken to stay at Muckross, so he donated the entire estate to Ireland for the ... read more
Killarney National Park
The Baron and Baroness at Torc Waterfall
The Inch Strand

Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Dingle Peninsula June 5th 2006

Our Irish friends and the tour guides all seem to agree that Adare is one of the prettiest, most picturesque villages in Ireland, so we made a point of stopping here for dinner and a little sight-seeing as we drove from Glenstal to our next destination - the Brandon Hotel in Tralee. Adare is a lovely town, though I thought the same of many Irish towns. Perhaps it’s the number of thatched roofs in Adare that makes it stand out. I read somewhere that while other towns were busy “upgrading” to slate roofs back in the early 1800s, the local landlord in Adare (the Earl of Dunraven, I believe) preferred to stick to the traditional thatch, which is apparently a lot more work to maintain properly. Here in Adare, I bought a Kodak disposable camera, so ... read more
Holy Trinity Catholic Church - Adare
Holy Trinity Catholic Church - Adare

Europe » Ireland » County Donegal » Arranmore June 5th 2006

It was a long but uneventful drive from Kilarney to Rossenvael (sp) for the ferry to Inis Mor (big island in Gealic). We made it in plenty of time for the 12:00 ferry. One word of advice, don´t park at the 1st car park if you can avoid it. There is another one alot closer to the ferry. It was fun sitting on the ferry watching all the folks who´d parked at the further car park and were close to the departure time run to get the ferry! It only took about 1/2 an hour to get to the island. The island was just as quaint and old-fashioned as you read. After dragging our luggage up the hill to Mainistir Hostel (which was alot further than we´d expected, so take a mini'bus if its in your ... read more
ChataBike
InisMorPort

Europe » Ireland » County Clare » Shannon June 4th 2006

We left our home in Lancaster, TX on Saturday morning, 3rd June, and arrived Shannon Airport Sunday morning, 4th June. Even taking the time difference into consideration, our journey was still long - about 12 hours actual flying time. We arrived tired and hungry, so our first goal after collecting our rental car was to find something to eat. We drove in to Limerick City, thinking there would be plenty of choices, but found the town closed up - apparently the Catholics in Ireland take their Sabbath more seriously than their counterparts in America! Even McDonald's and Burger King were closed! So..... onward Christian soldiers, to our first destination. Glenstal Abbey Glenstal Abbey Website This was the perfect place to rest after our long journey. Glenstal is a Benedictine monastery located just about an hour's drive ... read more

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Europe » Ireland » County Dublin June 4th 2006

So we're down to our last full day in Europe. We've decided to spend it in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, lots of people, shops and most importantly, pubs. We're hoping to catch some more futbol on the tvs in the pubs because we've been trying to pay more attention to the World Cup teams. As we said before, the people over here love their soccer! We watched England run circles around jamaica yesterday. Sara is going to root for England and i'm going for the US and Holland. UNKA ED, since you've been one of our most consistent commenters, we have to tell you about the coffeeshops in Amsterdam. First of all, I'm guessing there are as many coffeeshops there as there are pubs here in Dublin. Each little section of the city has ... read more

Europe » Ireland June 3rd 2006

As the bus from the airport passed each Catholic Church the old lady next to me, wearing a rain bonnet akin to a shower cap, bowed her head and did the sign of the cross. I had arrived in Dublin. 90% of Irish residents here declare themselves Catholic and interestingly 41% of the country are also under 25. However, I found the best thing about my time in Ireland (Guinness aside) was the warm, friendly and generous locals who let me immerse themselves in their culture, stay in their homes and serve me delicious home-cooked food. Not only is Dublin the home of Guinness, but it is also the home of Noreen - a friend I met in India - who had invited me to stay. It is also the temporary home of the Houlihan family ... read more
Cheers to free beer!
Kylemore Abbey, Connemara
My Great Grandmother´s Hometown before she came to Australia

Europe » Ireland » County Cork » Cork June 3rd 2006

Cork: Sheilas Hostel was OK... sort of run of the mill, although very clean and well appointed. After checking in and buying a parking disc for the car (1.80 Euros for 2 hours, and you're supposed buy a new one every 2 hours which sort of limits where you can go! I just bought 2 and scratched off 2 different time periods on them.) we walked down to the bus station and bought tickets on Bus Eiarran to Blarney. You can take a 3 hour tour but that is restrictive and cost a bit more than the 5.10 Euros round trip ticket on regular bus. We got to Blarney and paid our 8 Euros for admission. Again, a great tour of a cool place. I kissed the Blarney Stone, but Manoli bowed out. You had to ... read more
ChataRock
ChatoTree
BlarneyCastle

Europe » Ireland » County Dublin June 3rd 2006

Paul drops me off at the Toronto airport eight hours before my flight with only a backpack and a cocky mental attitude. Having never been on a plane or in an airport before i don't realize how long eight hours will really take. The only real indication of the passing time is how many times they play that Will Smith movie 'Hitched'. Apparently there's a group of travelers who swap information about the best airports to sleep for free in. Personally I don't see hows it even possible or why anyone would ever do it. Finally I go through security check and a pretty stewardess behind me looks to be in a rush, so i let her go ahead of me. Looking at my boarding pass that I had gotten many hours ago I go ... read more

Europe » Ireland » County Kerry » Killarney June 3rd 2006

After a pleasant trip from Cork, we found Kilarney International Youth Hostel without too much trouble (only one wrong turn!). We checked in about 9:30am, stored our luggage and bought 2 Ring of Kerry Tour tickets @16.50 Euros each. The sights were awesome! We stopped once to watch a presentation by an Irish shepherd, explaining the different types of sheep and demonstrating how his sheepdogs work. They were something and the whole thing was very informative and only 4 Euros. We stopped for lunch at the Scariff Inn. The food was good, but very expensive (13 Euros for a small bowl of soup, a small salad, and water). After lunch we stopped several times for picture-taking and rest/shopping. Got back to hostel about 5:30pm. Bus is called by the hostel, so very easy to do, picking ... read more
KilarneySheep




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