Ireland | Until We Meet Again

We had a wonderful time in Ireland, but felt we were just getting to the best places on our final couple of days. More than one person had said “Go to the west coast.” Unfortunately we didn’t take that advice and took longer than we should have to get there. On the flip side, we got to see a lot of Ireland and have a more definite plan for what we’d like to see when we meet again. After a three day stay in Dublin, we rented a cute little Mini Cooper and spent 14 days on the road in Ireland. Total miles – 905 Total estimated curves – 6335 One lost hubcab Number of Roundabouts – too many to count Cities that began with Kil or Bally – Kilkenny, Killarney, Killorglin, Kilmore Quay, Ballybunion, Ballycastle, Ballyhale, Ballydehob, Ballycotton, Ballylanders – the list goes on and on. We were so confused sometimes we didn’t know where we had been from where we were going. Counties visited – 9 -County Dublin, County Wicklow, County Wexford, County Kilkenny, County Waterford, County Cork, County Kerry, County Clare, County Galway Driving the countryside of Ireland was a blast. It did take a little getting […]

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Ireland Road Trip | Final (and Favorite) Days

Our last two days in Ireland were incredibly beautiful, and we consider them our best days. As we traveled along the west coast and through the amazing countryside from County Clare to Connemara we were wishing for more time to just hang out and enjoy the views. Our first stop, a short drive from Moy House, was the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs stretch for 5 miles along the Atlantic Coast and stand 702 feet tall at their highest point. There are walking paths in several directions with incredible views any way you go. The Cliffs of Moher are a big attraction and can be a little crazy with tourists so try to get there early morning, or for the best lighting for photography, late evening just before the area closes. We were there late morning in drizzly rain, but it was still well worth the stop. As we continued on the Wild Atlantic Way, the rain subsided, the sun came out, and we totally fell in love with Ireland! The Burren was a uniquely beautiful area that we would have loved to explore more if we had the time. The 160 square km is covered with huge pavements of limestone. […]

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Ireland Road Trip | County Clare

This was the first time I got brave enough to attempt driving in Ireland. After taking in a several leaves from the bushes along the left side of the road and panic at driving manual transmission, on a hill, where I had to join other traffic – I chose to return to the left side of the vehicle and my navigation duties. Traveling north from Carrig House in County Kerry, we crossed the Shannon River on the  ShannonFerry. The 20 minute ride took us into County Clare and the Loop Head Peninsula. At the tip of the Peninsula we were able to climb to the top of Loop Head Lighthouse for beautiful views of the Atlantic. A short drive back up the Peninsula, we stopped at Keatings Bar in Kilbaha harbour for delicious seafood chowder, fish and chips. We were welcomed in for lunch served with free advice from the waitress on where to head to as we continued our journey. The owner Bernie, in his strong Irish brogue, was not only giving travel advice, but love advice as well. Can’t say enough about how much we enjoyed the Irish people – they are just a joy to be around.   There was not a lot of […]

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Ring of Kerry & Fitzgerald family

As we traveled more into the southwest region of Ireland, we reached the Ring of Kerry, the edge of Europe on Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard. Based on a recommendation from one of those kind and helpful Irish, we decided to go at a little slower pace and enjoy the beautiful coastal views on the Iveragh Peninsula After all, in her words if we tried to drive the neighboring Dingle Peninsula, we would just be “looking back at ourselves”. Gotta love how the Irish can put things into perspective. At the edge of the peninsula we drove across the bridge from Portmagee  to Valentia Island and were rewarded with beautiful views and cliffs. The 360 degree views from the highest point of Valentia Island, the top of Geokaun Mountain were stunning even though it was a little overcast. On a clear day you can view The Skelligs, Dingle Peninsula, & The Blaskets, and the Fogher Cliffs from this viewpoint. Our only regret was that we didn’t pack a lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables with spectacular views on the mountain. Even though we didn’t have lunch, we did stop for a treat (more sugar of course) at Ceol Na Mara Cafe. It was a […]

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Ireland Road Trip | County Cork

Not all the roads in Ireland are narrow and full of curves. While we enjoyed the beautiful tunnels and scenery, it was nice to spend a day traveling to County Cork along the motorway. The best views and rhythms of the country are best seen by driving the country roads, but driving the M9 (motorway) to County Cork was a much easier and less stressful drive. We enjoyed a day of easy driving and just getting to the next destination. We spent the night along the beach in Garretson at the Blue Horizon B&B. It wasn’t quite what we expected and in retrospect we would have chosen a place closer to Kinsale. However we have a wonderful dinner of seafood chowder and salmon at The Speckled Door. Once again we enjoyed great company as Harry from England sat right down at the table with us, asked about our trip, and proceeded to explain how driving on the left side of the road is the “right” side of the road. The following night we stayed at the Trident Hotel in Kinsale and loved every minute of it. The walks along the water were beautiful, we had wonderful food, and just enjoyed the vibe of this quaint […]

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Ireland Road Trip | County Wexford to County Kilkenny

We continued our journey in County Wexford a little further south in the seaside town of Kilmore Quay and stopped in at The Silver Fox. The fresh seafood chowder and catch of the day were amazing, and the Irish once again showed their kindness by giving us information on the best routes to take and sites to see. Before leaving County Wexford we made a stop in the town of New Ross to tour a replica of the Dunbrody Famine Ship. The original Dunbrody launched in 1845, the year the potato famine struck Ireland. As more than a million people fled the country, there were not enough passenger ships so cargo vessels like the Dunbrody were fitted with bunks to meet the extra demand. However, lax regulations allowed ships this size to carry passengers in horrible conditions. Only an elite few were able to pay the price for cabin passengers so most were in the steerage section below decks. The average farm labourer at the time made only about £1 per month so even the steerage fair of  £3 – £4 was beyond the reach of many. The steerage passengers mostly had to fend for themselves. Going down into the ship and hearing the stories […]

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On the Road Again – Ireland Road Trip | Dublin to Wexford

We set out from Dublin for a 14 day road trip. I’m not really fond of selfies, but I had to get a shot of us just before “takeoff” in our Mini Cooper. Unfortunately, my video skills were not much better than Bill’s driving on the left skills coming out of the parking garage. I wish I had the video and hysterical laughter, but somehow I missed it when that curb jumped out and got us, dinging the hubcap which we eventually lost. Actually, Bill’s done an amazing job driving here, other than a few moments of me yelling left, left, left as he turns into the right side of the road. Occasionally it just doesn’t register for either of us. Once on the road we were amazed by the beauty of the trees as they canopied the road. We made a few stops along the way for photo ops and just to regroup and assess the damage – yes we eventually lost a hubcap from the curb that jumped out to bite us leaving the airport. Here it is, prior to completely losing the hubcap – wondering if we have met our deductible? It’s amazing how narrow these road are! […]

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Dublin, Ireland

We arrived in Dublin amidst blue skies – a rarity in Ireland. The weather is a daily topic of conversation, especially with the locals. Depending upon who you talk to it rains anywhere from every other day to 4 out of 5 days. The luck of the Irish was with us as we enjoyed sunny, but very cool weather during our three days in Dublin. We did enjoy the beautiful weather and walking around Dublin, but in retrospect wish we had cut that time to just one day in Dublin and then headed to the countryside. We tend to prefer more remote, non urban, less touristy areas so the feel of Dublin just wasn’t quite our thing. However, if we hadn’t experienced it we might have wondered what we missed. Visiting Trinity College was a favorite stop in Dublin, especially the old library and the Book of Kells. One of the best parts of strolling through Dublin is enjoying the unique and extremely talented street performers. By far my favorite street performers in Dublin were this group called Key West. They are well known in Ireland and I think we’ll start hearing them in the states soon – loved their music! The […]

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Indescribable beauty, cute animals, and runs like clockwork | Switzerland

When asked my favorite place to travel, I usually reply wherever I am. However, I do have a special place in my heart for Switzerland, especially Kiental, and can’t wait to return. While reflecting on the trip there are a couple of travel tips I’d like to share: Be prepared with adapters for your electronics. Most places we stayed did have adapters we could borrow, but it was sometimes a challenge to get what we needed when we needed it. Take care that you not only have an adapter for regular plugs like your phone, but also a three-prong version for items like a laptop. The cheese, yogurt, and chocolate in Switzerland were amazing, but can have a negative effect on the traveler’s digestive system. TMI…? Just a fact to be aware of – you may want to take something along in your first aid kit to get things moving again 🙂 Speaking of first aid kits – mole skill was invaluable with the amount of hiking we were doing – it’s the best for protecting blisters so you can continue to hike. And, the number one tip I give on every blog, but have yet to master – do […]

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Zurich Switzerland

From Kiental we took the bus and train back to spend our last night in Switzerland discovering Zurich. I usually prefer more remote, rural areas over cities, but I loved the feel of Zurich – the beautiful historic buildings against modern conveniences and architecture; the cleanliness, neatness and precision; interesting, eclectic, fashion conscious people with dogs just as interesting and stylish; families, friends, and lovers enjoying the warm spring afternoon and evening around Lake Zurich. One afternoon and evening were really not enough time to enjoy Zurich, but we had to leave early the next morning for Dublin. Anyway, as much as we loved the town, staying here long would definitely put a strain on the budget. Still, we will look forward to another visit to Switzerland someday ~ maybe next spring?

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