A 22-day adventure by Eileen
  • Day22

    Home Sweet Home!

    June 23 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 70 °F

    End to a beautiful trip! Started our day early and found huge crowds and long lines everywhere at Dublin airport. It has been all over the Irish news with severe problems on the weekends, especially, due to staffing. We had over 3.5 hrs to navigate it all and had just enough time to use the restroom before we were called for boarding. Flight was filled, so no spreading out, sadly.
    Picked up in Philadelphia by Kelly. God bless her for coming to get us. Sleeping in our own beds and waking to see our waterfront will be wonderful. Hope all have enjoyed following along.
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    Traveler

    Welcome home! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    6/23/22Reply
    Traveler

    Welcome home! it was so fun to be along on the trip! thanks for sharing 🤗

    6/24/22Reply
     
  • Day21

    Last Day 🥲

    June 22 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    We begin to cross the middle of Ireland to position ourselves closer to Dublin for our flight on Thursday afternoon. Our plan today is to do some shopping in Athlone (town where Deni and Patrick Reilly, Barb’s niece, got married in 2005) and then to Tullamore and the Whiskey museum. The tours for today only had one vacancy, so Larry opted to spend money on take home stuff (ie: whiskey) than to do another tour by himself.
    Speaking of making choices - we opted to do this trip without internet or gps. It saved us a ton of money over the course of 3 weeks but also helped us to connect into the area we were driving through. It has been challenging at times but we had some good detailed maps and did use google maps at all of our stops to know where we were heading. Wi-Fi is widely available throughout the country. And, of course, it’s always a hoot to ask for directions because everyone knows everyone! The directions are usually “just a wee bit down the road past the farm” or “Turd (3rd!) turn off the roundabout”. Oh, how we will miss the beautiful brogue! Gaelic is still spoken in much of the country and there has been a resurgence of importance in last 15 years to ensure that the language does die off. Children are required to take the language in school and have a required testing in order to leave school. Many towns are strictly Gaeltacht, as are their signs. Most places have both English and Gaeltacht.
    Grogans pub in Athlone was closed on Wednesdays. What a bummer. We found the B and B that we stayed at and the golf course that the guys all played before the wedding. We couldn’t find the castle, someone told us they think it was sold off and is now private. Did a little shopping in town. We opted for the Brewery Tap to eat in Tullamore. Had great food, sidewalk table and people watching during the busy lunch hour. Larry was quite amused by the toilet facilities and they apparently rank in the top 50 of best urinals in Ireland. Yes, those are beer kegs.
    The Tullamore Whiskey factory has moved to a big brand new place out of town. Unfortunately, it’s has lost a lot of it’s charm that we experienced during our first visit there 15 years ago. Got a few things and hoping for access to more in the duty free shop at the airport. Nothing special that isn’t available in the US.
    Checked into our B and B for the night. Anne O’Brien is a talker! Lovely older woman who has been doing this for 25 years. Room is basic, older house but has upgraded electric so we could plug in all of our essentials. Perfect location to the airport. Dinner in town. Delicious seafood in a Spanish restaurant for our final meal. Early night and off to the airport after breakfast.
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    Traveler

    Funny!

    6/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    thanks for all the updates, amazing and beautiful trip!

    6/23/22Reply
     
  • Day20

    Inisheer

    June 21 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Breakfast by Kate was tasty and simple. Over-easy eggs are the standard so you have to ask for scrambled. Sausage and bacon ( actually our ham) are much improved since our last visit, a bit more flavor. Black pudding is no longer a breakfast standard. We never knew exactly what it was but it was definitely disgusting. Coffee is more available too. We are starting to like the pressed coffee idea.
    As always, finding the docks in Doolin is suppose to be a 45 minute trip. Shortcuts and back roads later, it’ll be 1.5 hrs. So glad we allowed extra time.
    The town of Lisdoonvarna is having a matchmaking festival in September for anyone interested and available! I’d google it for details. It’s suppose to be quite the event!
    The ferry ride to Inisheer was only 15-20 min, very pleasant and stable. Trying to decide how we want to see this small little island. Walking 10-12 km is out for Larry’s ankle and back. We could take the easy way with a donkey carriage but we thought we would be fine with bikes. Very few cars on the Island, more competition from horse and donkey carts! Not going to lie, we missed our E-bikes! Some amazing views from different vantage points around the island. Sun came out and it got very warm. We survived, having a cold one in the beer garden at Tigh Ned Bar, waiting for our ferry to return us to the mainland. The local fudge shop had baileys fudge, along with others. Had to reward our selves! Tomorrow is a travel day as we position ourselves closer to Dublin airport, spending our last night in Tullamore, home to our favorite Irish Whiskey.
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  • Day19

    Roots

    June 20 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

    After bidding goodbye to Bridie and her lovely home, we headed to St John’s Church in Tralee. What another amazing old structure. It was humbling to think that my grandma received the Sacrament of Baptism in this church in 1890. Off to the office where we got contact information for the archivist of the church. I’ll email him details and any pictures of documents we have. The parish cemetery is a few miles away, so we headed off to Rathass Cemetery. The caretaker of the cemetery was so helpful. He took both my great grandparents names and did a search, but found nothing. He said the data base is very incomplete before the 1920’s. We took a few pictures of headstones with Reidy names and will try and do more research through Ancestry. It’s amazing how easy it is to spend 2 hours in a cemetery.
    We had at least another hour to get to Kilcolgan in Galway county just south of Kilorglin, where we stayed many years back with Jen and Kelly. Our hosts for the next two days are Kate and Michael at Rafterys Way. So we hit our first Motorway of the trip. M18, with a speed limit of 120km/hr. We think it’s around 75miles/hr but the 120 is much more impressive! Kate offered us tea and biscuits when we arrived, had a chance to explore her garden and talk flowers with her and politics with Michael. As in the US, there are varied opinions about how each government handled the Covid lockdown. Tourism is such a huge component here that many businesses never could reopen. One owner we spoke with in Dingle said they learned some very important lessons from the lockdown. He said it rekindled their family time which had been lacking due to the business. He has chosen to close on Sundays for family time. Many businesses don’t have that luxury.
    Had an early dinner and bedtime. Heading to Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands by ferry tomorrow.
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    Traveler

    This is beautiful! The church is breathtaking and I could have sat there for hours just taking it in.

    6/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    Agree, Jen. It just blows my mind that Nanny was baptized there.

    6/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    Bike 🚲 rides on islands are soooo fun! LOL take pics of sheep and cows for me 😉

    6/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    This church is stunning. And how special to see these gravestones of family.

    6/21/22Reply
     
  • Day18

    All Things Dingle!

    June 19 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    The weekend in Dingle went by so quickly and we realized that this is our last weekend in Ireland. How sad that even over 3 weeks just doesn’t seem like enough!
    Weather has been much cooler, windy in the 60’s, down in 50’s at night. Everyone has been complaining that they have not had any warm days but grateful for the sun when it shines, no matter the temperature.
    We drove the Slea Head route out past Dingle to the far west. Stopped at an archeological site with Ft Dun Beag ruins that you can walk through. This area is very restricted now as the weather has damaged some of it. Our last trip, it was wide open to walk through. Grateful they are doing what they need to do to preserve the remains. The drive was extremely tight in spots, we went later in the afternoon to avoid the tour buses and we were very lucky. Stopped at several places for pictures. So much more development since our last visit. Homes and businesses all along the road. Some businesses haven’t survived the lockdown.
    On Sunday, we decided to drive through Conor Pass, hitting the most remote area of the peninsula. Some amazing places that we have never been, stopped for a hot chocolate ( it was so cold!) At Murphy’s Bar in Brandon Point. The kind young lady made an awesome hot chocolate and told us to not miss the hike up the rocks to see the lake above the waterfall on our way back. So we did - one more hike and rock climbing adventure! It was challenging for these old folks but we did it and no falls or mishaps! The views were as promised.
    Dingle evening are pretty much a repeat. The bars have music, so you roam from one to another, hoping to find some traditional stuff. The streets are busy with big groups of “hen” parties as well as bachelors too. Never a dull moment, even on a Sunday night.
    We have enjoyed walking the waterfront and people watching. A little bit of shopping and Mass at the local church. Stunning large old church. Our host said it was renovated in the 60’s and her husband was very involved in it.
    Off to Tralee tomorrow to see if we can get more info about Eileen’s grandmother. Nanny was Margaret Reidy from Tralee. She was sent to the DC area when she was 16. We have her birth and baptism certificate so we plan to try the church office and cemetery.
    Lots of pictures, should be marked.
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    Traveler

    💚💚

    6/20/22Reply
    Traveler

    Frame this!! ❤️🍀❤️

    6/20/22Reply
     
  • Day16

    The Land of Kerry! Killarney and Dingle

    June 17 in Ireland ⋅ 🌧 59 °F

    Usually travel days are uneventful, but we stopped for lunch in Killarney at the family restaurant and pub of one of our Bayville Shores neighbors, Ann Fontenot. Annie’s grandfather married Margaret O’Callaghan from Killarney. The family still owns this business. We had a wonderful lunch there, met Paudry, one of the cousins. It is truly a small world. He was very grateful that we are traveling and was also interested in our rental car! It’s everywhere! After lunch, we headed into Dingle - truly one of the most magical places. We checked into our B and B at Dingle Heights, overlooking the harbor. Our hosts are Bridie and Brendan Fitzgerald. Of course, it’s only a short walk to town. That would be the Irish short walk! Dinner at Bakers on Main St, and too many pubs to name them all! Music everywhere. Some traditional, some more folk/rock. Streets are alive. The sunset at 10:30 so it was still kinda light as we headed back up the hill to our room. Needless to say, we might take a cab tomorrow night! Enjoy some music in the videos. So encouraged to see young kids perfecting the skills! Good night allRead more

    Traveler

    😍😍😍😍

    6/17/22Reply
     
  • Day15

    Mizen Head, Barley Cove, Ring of Beara

    June 16 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

    Mizen Head is the most southwestern part of Ireland. Looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. It’s another must see! The bridge to the lighthouse is very substantial and nothing like the rope bridge in the beginning of our trip but the hike to the lighthouse and different vantage points were steep. We had the picture perfect day as some walkways are closed off, depending on weather conditions - so we did it all. Pictures are from multiple views, we will try and label them. On the drive back to town, we were determined to find a beach and wade in the Atlantic. Barley Cove had a few people on it so we parked and assessed the situation. To reach the beach we had to climb down a gentle rock slope. It was more challenging than we anticipated, with a few stops to breath, say a prayer and move on. The trip was worth it. Ocean water temperature was similar to our June temperature. It felt good to walk the beach.
    We rewarded ourselves with a late lunch/early dinner in the harbor village of Crookhaven, Larry had Mediterranean Seafood Soup that was a collection of fish and shellfish in a light tomato sauce, more like a blush sauce. Eileen had a local favorite of linguine with crab. It was good but not like eating our local MD/DE crabs!
    Each evening, after supper at the Inn, we walked up the hill into the village. The Lobster Pot Pub has been the perfect spot for a nightcap. The owner’ daughter helps run the place and they have apartments above and behind the bar. Anna has been welcoming and talkative. She talked about the little bit of assistance the government gave to pubs during Covid, differentiating them from pubs that also serve food. Several businesses on the Main Street are for sale and Anna and her dad are worried that tourism is still slow. Ireland has now stopped all subsidies for businesses and the tourism forecast doesn’t look promising. Rental car prices are through the roof. Anna has been asking everyone what they paid to hire a car. We were fortunate that our companies we dealt with - CIE and Celtic - both honored our prices from 2 years ago when our trip was originally planned. The only thing that was not part of the original package we planned was the airfare. So we were very lucky. The board of tourism needs to figure this out - public transportation is spotty and limited, as is railway options.
    All the above happened yesterday. Today was a bit of a lazy day, we explored Bantry and part of the Ring of Beara, smallest of the peninsulas in the southwest.
    Tomorrow we head to Dingle for a 3 day stay and our last weekend in Ireland. Hoping for some music and shopping!
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    Traveler

    amazing 👏

    6/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    Stunning! That water is soo pretty.

    6/16/22Reply

    Beautiful!!! [Tricia]

    6/17/22Reply
     
  • Day13

    Heron’s Cove

    June 14 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    To say that we have found paradise, is an understatement. This delightful B and B is tucked away on a cove. A tale of two pictures! One after the tide goes out - such dramatic tide changes in many of these towns. Boats lay on their side until the tide come back in. Never will we complain about low tide again! At least we can get boats out whenever we want. Haven’t seen our buddy, the blue heron here yet but we’ve spotted him in other spots over last few weeks.
    The B and B owner isn’t here this week but the restaurant chef, Irene, is in charge and has been so nice to us! She has prepared some amazing meals and accommodating us as we finished up our isolation period for Covid. Checked in with the local chemist in Dungarvan after we did a random home Covid test, mostly due to a scratchy throat and cold symptoms in both of us. Nothing serious but we figured we should check. So we were both positive. The chemist (equivalent to Pharmicist in US but can prescribe some meds and treat minor illnesses) suggested that we probably had an atypical presentation with the GI bug we had last week. He said that Ireland’s rule is 7 days from the onset of symptoms to isolate. Fortunately, we have been doing a lot of outdoor sightseeing and driving ourselves. So that is what we have continued. A quick check in with our driver, Pat, and all is well with him. Larry rolled through with just a bit of stuffiness, Eileen developed a cough that is just annoying. Fortunately, the weather has been beyond beautiful and outdoor dining and beer gardens have made this a lot easier! We also had already planned a lighter, relaxing few days in West Cork, so that’s what we have done. As in the US, outdoor dining has become popular in the post Covid world. Unfortunately, a lot has changed in the post Covid world here but that will be for another post.
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    Traveler

    I love these pics. The tide thing is crazy! I’m sorry you all are under the weather, I remember my upper respiratory thing I got our 2nd week and a visit to the chemist. If you are not coming home, just let me know and we will take your house LOL

    6/15/22Reply
    Traveler

    Ha! Kelly and Tim might fight ya for it!

    6/16/22Reply

    Will your covid diagnosis give you the extra week there that you were hoping for? lol [Marilyn]

    6/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it. Larry is thinking maybe witness protection would allow him to extend our stay?

    6/16/22Reply
     
  • Day12

    Kinsale and Ardmore

    June 13 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    After the weekend, we ventured over to explore Kinsale, a small coastal town, maybe 1 1/2 hr drive from Dungarvan. As with all drives, the last 10-20 km is nail biting. Oh well, getting used to the idea. Traveling on weekdays helps though. Certainly less traffic coming toward us! Kinsale is another coastal town, very similar to Annapolis in MD. Narrow, cobble streets, and shops everywhere. Unfortunately, the restaurant we wanted to have lunch at was closed on Monday. So sad, great location and have heard the food is amazing. Second choice was the Cliff House in Ardmore - another beach town. We did not hike the cliffs today but lunch on the patio over looking the cliffs and the water was a nice choice. Driving back down the cliffs? Yeah- can’t describe. Thank goodness it wasn’t the weekend!
    Every good trip that lasts this long requires some chores. Today was laundry day. We’ve been washing some things out by hand but it was time. By the way, Underarmour shirts wash up nice in sink and dry overnight. Got the big washer, so we put everything in together. Oh, laundromat is in the parking lot of the gas station. Yeah. Out in public for anyone driving by…….
    Off to the Beara peninsula to town of Goleen tomorrow. Staying at Herons Cove, our first B and B. Address? The Harbor!
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  • Day11

    The Waterford Greenway

    June 12 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Saturday ended up being a lazy day (we deserved it!) so we walked around town, had a few pints, got a few groceries and ate! Nothing special, just a chill day. Went to evening Mass at the Friary because we made plans to bike ride the next day. In our stroll, we met a local couple who recommended the Greenway by bike. So off to the bike shop, and decided on an E assist bike, recommended by the guy at shop. He told us we should have no problem doing the 46 kilometers round trip from Dungarvan to Kilmacthomas. That’s half of the trail, we definitely were not going to do 92 kilometers! Mission accomplished! Took us 4 1/2 hrs with one long stop to eat and drink. 46 kilometers! Pretty proud of ourselves. It’s was an incredible trip and a must do for anyone near any of the many Greenways in Ireland. Most were constructed 5-10 years ago, using the old railroad access to creat these bike and walking paths. This one took us along the coast and then into the mountains (thank God for the assist bike!), through farm lands and unspoiled spaces. Ended our bike trip with a ride through the Abbeyside, an upscale neighborhood overlooking the town, with an Abbey that sits right on the water. Peaceful. Strolled through the headstones (Jen and Kelly experienced that when we were all together - cemeteries are so interesting).
    The foods festival finishes up today. We strolled through the square and Larry found the seafood paella he was looking for - it was tasty, not the best he has had, but good.
    Running out of clothes, so laundry is definitely on the schedule for tomorrow. Heading to Kinsale on the south coast and Ardmore, which is supposed to have one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. Sun was in and out today, tomorrow is supposed to be more sun! Yeah!!
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    Traveler

    Where was the e-bike when we were there?! Lol. Sooo pretty and yes I could spend days walking thru the cemeteries reading the family names and how beautiful they are.

    6/13/22Reply
    Traveler

    Wow! Can’t believe all the biking you managed. Good for you! Beautiful sites.

    6/13/22Reply