Galway

Miscellaneous Ireland Pictures

As I have finished up my trip report from our recent trip to Ireland I still have some good pictures that didn’t make the final cut for the reports.  I still want to share these as some of them are pretty cool.  Enjoy:

Galway, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher

View from the top of Bunratty Castle, aka, the biggest waste of money in Ireland

The perfect Irish picture, a cathedral with a Guinness truck parked in front

Killarney, Ireland

Dingle, Ireland

Dingle, Ireland Harbor

Kenmare, Ireland (Great bar name, terrible bar with Turkish freedom fighters hanging out)

N71 Roadway towards coast away from Kenmare

Lone Sheep on N71 Roadway

A road in Bantry, Ireland not designed for two-way vehicular traffic

Tidal area near Kinsale, Ireland

Houses on a hillside in Kinsale, Ireland

Rock of Cashel Cemetary

Rock of Cashel Interior

Powerscourt Gardens

Powerscourt Gardens

Powerscourt Estate

Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Temple Bar Area, Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland with the spire in the background

Guinness – This sums up our trip

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Trip Report – Ireland: Day 2 – Galway to Tralee

After a fun evening in Galway my wife and I woke up early the next morning to get a jump-start on the day as we wanted to make it to the Cliffs of Moher fairly early before the larger crowds arrive.

We departed Galway around 7:30 AM and drove south towards Lahinch, Ireland (near the Cliffs of Moher).  The drive took about 2 hours even though our GPS indicated a drive time of 1 hour and 30 minutes, guess it didn’t account for the cliffs/stone walls/hairpin turns on the roads to Lahinch!  The scenery on the way was amazing though as we passed through the Burren (extremely rock landscape) and across some large hills lining the coast.  Here is a picture from our drive near the top of one of the hills (if you look closely you can see the hairpin turn):

Lahinch is approximately 4 KM from the Cliffs of Moher and there is a don’t miss attraction in Lahinch, the golf course (luckily you drive right past it on the way to the Cliffs of Moher!).  The Lahinch Golf Club is ranked by Golf Digest as one of the Top 50 Courses in the World.  It was amazing and I tried to snap as many pictures as possible while we drove past it (I know I shouldn’t be taking pictures while driving but it was so cool).  Here is the best one I got but it is still hard to see how impressive this course is:

Lahinch Golf Club (*** – Beautiful course and luckily it is on the route to get to the Cliffs of Moher)

As I mentioned above you have to drive about 4 KM past Lahinch to get to the Cliffs of Moher visitor center.  I am not sure if there is another place along the cliffs that doesn’t charge to take in the view but the price was 6 Euros per car to park and that included tickets to the Museum (we didn’t go since it didn’t look like it had that much to offer.  The parking lot for the cliffs is directly across the road from the visitor center and the walkways to the cliffs.  I must say that the Cliffs of Moher might be the most visually stunning natural formation I have seen in my life.  It was incredible.  Here a two pictures and I know they don’t do it justice but it is incredible, trust me:

Cliffs of Moher (***** – Absolute must see in Ireland)

After leaving the Cliffs of Moher around 10 AM (we spent approximately 45 minutes there, no need to stay too long) we drove towards Limerick with a stop in Bunratty (50 minutes from Cliffs of Moher) to view the castle there.  We had browsed through a few guidebooks prior to our trip and some highly recommended it while others said to avoid Bunratty.  After visiting and paying the 15 Euro per person entry fee to the Bunratty Folk Park (should have been my first clue) I can certainly agree with the books that say to avoid it.  It may be one of the worst tourist values in the entire country, if not Europe.  I can’t even explain my dismay upon entering the castle and seeing plaster on the walls from the “restoration” in the 1970’s.  This is definitely a stop made for mass-produced tour buses.  However, if you are looking for a picturesque (from the outside) castle to photograph it isn’t a bad idea to stop by as it does look real from the outside and it is right off the motorway into Limerick.

Bunratty (0 stars – not deserving of time or money)

After leaving what had to be the biggest disappoint of our trip we made our way into Limerick (15 minutes from Bunratty) to have lunch.  Limerick was interesting in that it was not a touristy town so we got more a perspective on Irish life outside of tourist zones.  The city had a nice walkable area downtown and we quite enjoyed the few hours we spent there.  We had lunch at O’Connor’s ($$) which was pretty good (we picked it due to the number of local businessmen inside).

O’Connor’s in Limerick ($$)

After lunch, we strolled through Limerick some and the atmosphere was quite good, I guess being sunny and upper 60’s will bring the crowds out in Ireland.  Around 2 PM we decided to make our way to Tralee.  We had decided on Tralee due to the convenience of its location at the beginning of the Dingle Peninsula.  Unfortunately, that did not translate to a very vibrant town.  When we got there around 4 PM it seemed as if everything was already shut down for the evening and later that evening the only restaurant in town that was open was the one attached to our hotel, luckily it was quite good.  We booked rooms based upon reviews from Tripadvisor and this may have been the first time I have been let down by Tripadvisor.  The room was adequate and clean but did not meet the expectations I have for how positive the reviews were.

Interior of Room at Grand Hotel Tralee (90 Euros per night)

That was all for Day 2 adventures, please look forward to Day 3: Dingle Peninsula, being published early next week.  Cheers!

Trip Report – Ireland: Day 1 – Dublin to Galway

My wife and I arrived into Dublin around 11:30 AM local time on Sunday, September 2, 2012.  We were quite tired from traveling but we had made our first nights destination Galway, on the west coast of Ireland.  After an on-time arrival into the airport we had an approximately 35 minute wait to get through immigration due to extremely low staffing levels at the Dublin Airport.  Makes for a rather lackluster first impression of the country.  After making our way, finally, through customs we began to search for the SIXT Rental Car Desk.  Unfortunately, the rental car desk is located in Terminal 2 and we had flown into Terminal 1. (As a side note, when you think you can’t go any farther and that the SIXT rental car desk is not there, turn the next corner.  It is hidden back there).  To continue with our first day misery we had to wait about 55 minutes at the SIXT desk prior to being helped.

After all of that wasted time spent in the airport we were very excited to finally be out of there (we did have a 15 minute wait for the rental car shuttle bus but that is besides the point).  Here is a view from the rental car shuttle bus pickup point of Dublin Airport:

After retrieving our car from the off-airport lot, we made our way to Galway.  Driving on the wrong side of the road was quite challenging on that first day!  However, we made it safely and checked into our hotel, The Galway Harbor Hotel ($$$$).  The hotel is located approximately 3 minutes, on foot, from the old city centre.  The hotel itself was nice enough but was nothing remarkable.  It was clean which for me is honestly one of the most important things.  Here is a view of our standard room:

After getting checked into our room we made our way into the city centre which was quite lively, even for a Sunday evening.  We strolled for a bit through some of the old town and eventually decided on having a pint or two in a few of the pubs (obviously that is not Guinness, it is Smithwick’s):

Our dinner was nothing special that night so I won’t mention it other than to say that it is recommended not to wait too long to eat dinner on a Sunday night in Galway or you may risk all the good restaurants being closed for the night.  Eat prior to 8 PM!

Overall, I must say that I was slightly disappointed with Galway.  Everything I had read or seen recommended it so strongly but all we saw were approximately 2 streets worth of old town with a large industrial center surrounding it.  Maybe we were there at a bad time or missed seeing what makes Galway special, not sure, but for right now I probably wouldn’t recommend people to stay here unless they are looking for a good jumping off point for touring the Cliffs of Moher.

My next post will cover Day 2: Galway to Tralee, with stops at Cliffs of Moher and Limerick.