pmuellr is Patrick Mueller, Senior Node Engineer at NodeSource.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

dear lazy web - travelling to Ireland

Dear Lazy Web,

We're heading to Ireland for a week+ vacation in March. Any must-do ideas? I mean besides testing Jon Udell's theory on Guinness. Actually, I've been to Dublin before, I can vouch for his theory already.

Here's the general plan. Fly into Shannon. Leave from Dublin. Presumably travel along the coast (southern). Though there is already some interest in going north from Shannon for the first day or two.

This particular trip we're making with two of our friends from college days, and without the kids. We've travelled with these particular friends several times over the decades. They travel more than we do, and have volunteered to get an itinerary together, along with handling reservations at B+B's and what-not, as they have for other trips we've made with them. Which is great for me. Well, easy. They've done an outstanding job of finding places for us to stay over the years. Except for "Barnacle Bill's" in Topsail Beach. We shall not speak of that.

But that means I don't have a lot of pressure to do any research. Really, no pressure at all. And to cut down on even that small amount of research that I should do, I figured I'd see if you can help. If there's something that you just know we should do, which I can propose, via ... you, please let me know. ASAP.

thx, bye


sogrady said...

hopefully a little colorful language is permitted, b/c the following is an email i sent to a buddy of mine who was considering a honeymoon in Ireland. i'm certainly no expert, but feel free to drop me a line w/ any questions.


look at ashford castle ( it's a
four star hotel - seriously nice, and is fucking ridiculous. golf course right on the property (replete with shamrock bunkers) fishing right there, plus all kinds of trails and coolness. there's irish music every night, as i remember, and we actually shamed my dork brother into getting up and singing as well. unfortunately, it's also not cheap. but check it out, rates can be reasonable depending on when you go.

not familiar with most of the other attractions around cashel house, but connemara is gorgeous. you're also close to galway (40 miles) , so it'd be easy use cashel as a base for visits there.

overall, i think your strategy is sound. if i was you, i'd try something like 2 nights in cashel, 2 nights on the corca dhuibhne (AKA dingle peninsula). make sure you see the strand beach on the dingle, which is where fionn maccumhail and the fianna defended ireland from the armies of the world lead by daire donn, although they were outnumbered 9 to 1. actually, that's just legend, but it is gorgeous scenery, and the standing stones that were supposedly put up by fionn are cool.

from there head east. you could spend a night in cork or waterford - might want to keep the lady friend out of the waterford crystal place (my dad was pissed off because we had to stop there because i had to piss so bad) as it's easy to drop a fortune :)

then circle back all the way east and spend a night or two somewhere in wicklow - my choice would be glendalough (awesome lakes and hiking in the area, with waterfalls and the like - ( cooler than shit - and there are some great ruined abbeys and round towers too.

then a night in dublin so you can see trinity dublin (see if you can catch one of the cricket matches while drinking guiness on the pavilion steps), the post office from the easter uprising (bullets marks still there), get a pint of the best guinness you'll ever have (mullligan's off o'connell st - in between trinity and the post office - it's supposed to be the best b/c they store the kegs right in the basement where they're cooled by the liffey - turns out it they're right :), and of course the temple bar area (temple bar, gogarty's, etc).

that path more or less mirrors the "Together and Independent" trip outline, altho mine differs on some of the particulars. i'd do as much of it on your own as you can, as the tours tend to blow major chunks. it's not all that sweet being herded through megalithic tombs with 500 other dumbass americans who don't know shit about the country's history.

my main recommendation would be to do something like this and not try to see the whole island in one trip. my parents made that mistake the first time we went, and it was tough because it was like national lampoon's vacation where we had to drive like 200 miles a day, every day. the trip outlined above is basically a swing through the most scenic spots in the south half of the island, and should be pretty manageable.

make sure to pay homage to my people when you drive through limerick - that's where we lived and had a castle before cromwell came in, killed most of us, and then wouldn't let the survivors go to school, vote, or
own land. sweet deal.

hober said...

If you think you'll head north from Shannon for a bit, try sticking to the Clare coast -- hit up the Cliffs of Moher, check out the Burren, and wind up the day with dinner, drinks, and music at Gus O'Connor's pub in Doolin.

Matt said...

Last year, Erin and I went to Ireland for about a week and there was one spot that we definitely thought was the highlight of our trip. It was only a small mention in our guide book, but the place was stunning. Here is a picture. I don't remember the exact name of the ruined castle, but I tracked it down on google maps.

My only other suggestion is about music. Everybody talks about how great Irish pub music is, but there was only one place that didn't feel cheesy/touristy. That was at Cleere’s pub in Kilkenny on a Monday night. Supposedly those guys only play on Monday nights there, but they were amazing.

If you are thinking "I want to know what else Matt did in Ireland", Erin posted a long rundown of our trip.

the Rab said...

I've got a good friend who suggests this: "See the brewery. Check out O’Connell St. and Temple Bar (that’s a section of Dublin where the young beatniks go - very cool). Grab a pint of Guinness."
Apologize that I couldn't squeeze more specifics out of him, but consider these a second vote for the mentions in sogrady's comment. Enjoy your time there.