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May 20th 2017
Published: May 23rd 2017
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Dia duit gach duine (Hello everyone)

Landed in Ireland after a brief and uneventful flight. Had to go through immigration which turned out to be a bonus as we had to go through the non-EU line which compared to EU was minimal. Off to get the rental which is a Nissan Pulsar Diesel, which I initially took a dislike to but after a day or two it did everything so much better than the Skoda Rapid I drove around England and Scotland.

Found our way to our hotel, The Marker (https://www.themarkerhoteldublin.com/ ) which was a bit swish but you have to spoil yourself sometime. The area it is in is a recovered docklands area, very similar to Melbourne and Sydney but not quite on their scale. (http://www.dublindocklands.ie/ ).

Had a meal at an eatery over the road called HQ (http://hqhanoverquay.ie/ ) and early night to bed as we have had a big day.

Up Tuesday morning after a lie in for our foray into the city. Got directions from the doorman to the centre of town and proceeded to walk into town. Found a hop on hop off bus guide and went in to buy a day ticket. Gaynor went outside for some fresh air because as you may know, after being outside in the brisk air and you go into a shop etc they can be oppressively hot. Whilst standing outside she bumped into a good friend of hers from back home, Elizabeth Szwarek. What a surprise and just an indication how small this world is. Elizabeth was on an Insight tour with her sister in-law Kerry.

We got on our bus and went around Dublin taking in all the sights including the Guinness Brewery, lots of Churches and Castles. Dublin itself is a construction zone, it reminds me of Sydney pre Olympics. Apparently, according to our cabby, they built a tram system for the north and the south but didn't think to link them up so now they are retro fitting and the centre of town is a bomb site. After our tour we met up with Gaynor’s friends for a drink at The Ferryman (http://www.theferrymantownhouse.ie/ ).

Retired back to our hotel and dined in. Repacked and ready for tomorrow on the road. Up to a hearty breakfast and on the road to Cork via Waterford. Got to the Crystal factory around midday and went on the tour. Fascinating albeit a lot cleaner and more structured than I remember from my tour in 2003. I find out that this facility is brand new and they moved there in 2009. No wonder it looked completely different. Managed to get through the gift shop purchase free. Had a quick look around the town and then back in the car to head for Cork.

Got to our B&B which was Creedon’s (http://creedonsbnb.com/ ). Well I found the pub and then found the door to Creedons which is above the pub. Knocked on the door and was greeted by a wild eyed Bernie who explained the parking which was effectively you might as well stay parked on the street. Grabbed our bags and went up a very steep set of stairs to the breakfast/check-in room. Got our key and was told our room was on the second floor, no big deal, except for the fact that it was 2 floors above the floor we were on so actually the 3rd floor. Cosy room with a cupboard size bathroom (Probably was the cupboard at one stage). We were situated at one end of Parnell place which was basically a street full of pubs and shops, so no need to wander far for anything.

Wandered round for a few hours and then went to the Oliver Plunkett (http://www.theoliverplunkett.com/ ) for a pub meal. At 7pm some local Irish musicians and dancers provided some entertainment. Now whilst it’s toe tapping music eventually it all sounds the same after 20 mins. Anyway we had a good feed and back to battle the stairs to bed.

Next morning we were given a list of about 20 places we should visit over the next 2 days between Cork and Tralee, trouble was we only had one. We headed for the Beara Peninsula (http://www.bearatourism.com/visitorinfo.html ) and drove the Ring of Beara. Picturesque and sometimes stressful drive along narrow roads to the very end of the peninsula where an aged cable car could take you across to Dursey Island for a day of walking. We opted to continue on and arrived at Allihies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allihies ) which took Gaynor’s fancy for its distinctly coloured houses. Stop for a cuppa and pressed on to Tralee via Killarney. Arrived in Tralee and our B&B Brook Manor Lodge (http://www.brookmanorlodge-tralee.com/ ). Surprisingly sumptuous and well-appointed considering how much we paid for accommodations in much less salubrious places. Did not see much of Tralee as it was just a pit stop on our way to Galway.

We head towards the Cliffs of Moher (https://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/ ) where we took a boat ride to look at these huge cliffs from the sea. We also saw some puffins which was exciting as you don’t get to see them that often. Disappointed we didn’t get a photo of some but good to see them. From there we travelled to Galway (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galway ) to The Huntsman Inn (http://www.huntsmaninn.com/ ).

This is a 2 night stop for R&R as well as a laundry stop as we are running out of clean clothes. Found a fluff & fold and headed into town for a wander around Galway. Had a good time as they have quite an extensive market selling all sorts of craft etc as well as food including freshly shucked oysters, delicious. Back to the hotel as it was Gaynor’s nap time as well as a rest up before tomorrow’s travel.

I am slowly coming to realise if you want to see everything Ireland has to offer you would need to move here for about 3 months. It has so much to offer and to make a flying visit of 6 days and expect to do it justice is a bit silly. Anyway back to London for 3 days then onto Portugal and Spain for 3 weeks.



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