Maybe I'm just a wimp. Probably.
Ireland was lovely, but if you visit in September, it's windy
and the rain is chilly.
Ten days in Ireland, and we jammed a lot in! Get ready for some great tips, including driving and renting a car in Ireland and much more- along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Before scooting down the page, I want to give you a little info on the picture above. These remains are the Tankardstown Copper Mining Ruins If you are driving in Waterford County, Ireland, along the southern coast, not only is it historically impressive on its own, the view is fabulous! There is a pullover from the road. Below is a picture of the sign at the Ruins and a website.
Below is the map for our journey.
We drove from Dublin > Doolin > Galway > Ennis > Mallow > Killarney > Dungarvan > Wexford > Dublin.
And below that, a Google inactive map, you can play with!
We decided to fly into Dublin, rent a car at the airport for the duration of the trip.
Not our best decision.
Renting at the airport was fine, but driving in Dublin, it was Hell!
More on that a little further down, first here's how to rent a car.
Driving, insurance and exploring Ireland
If you would decide to rent a car, we suggest you get the Chase Sapphire Visa Card. They will cover car insurance in Ireland, however it's a good idea to check before you go.
Also make sure you have enough credit to cover the cost of the car, they will put that amount on your card for the duration of the trip. We used Avis and rented a mid size Peugeot. The "hold" amount on the charge card was $6,518.79, but the whole trip including a GPS (for $15 a day was $297.31.) A great deal!!
** We used a fold out map on our journey. When we return to Ireland, we will purchase a Sim card for a cell phone, that way we'll have Google Maps and internet. Sims cards are available in the airport, terminal 2 in the SPAR shop Or in Dublin at Tesco, Three, eirMobile or Vodafone**
TIP : To save money we rented a diesel and manual transmission. If you are comfortable driving a stick you'll save about $20.00. Remember, you will be driving on the left hand side of the road, so whatever you feel comfortable with.
Gas is in litres. One Gallon equals = 3.79 Litres.
The republic of Ireland, the southern portion, including Dublin uses Euros.
Notes are in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500
Coins are in 1cent, 2cent, 5cent, 10cent, 20cent, 50cent and 1 and 2.
Note: Northern Ireland uses Pound Silver.
Visa/Mastercard debit cards are widely accepted in ATM's, just make sure you notify your bank of your travels.
If your bank refunds ATM fees (Charles Schwab does) go ahead and
get some money at the airport.
Here is a link to ATM's in the airport. ATM's Airport
If your bank does charge, then just get a low amount at the airport.
ATM's in Dublin's are easy to find, they are everywhere!
**We took $700 in US cash, but didn't exchange any, next time we'll just take $200 next time for emergency money.
You will find Atm's in the larger towns such as Cork, Killarney, Dublin. Smaller towns such as Doolin, do not have ATM's.**
Get Some Change Right Away. Especially if you rent a car, you will need coins for the meters and tolls if you travel outside Dublin.
When we arrived, our first tour was with See Dublin by Bike tour
(we have the link and short video below)
The tour was for 3 hours, meters are 3 hours max, at least around the tour location. We maxed it out, then ran there to refill before lunch.
If you venture outside Dublin
there will be toll roads.
Cars were 1.90 Euro and we just flew through the "no change" lane, with a 2.00 Euro coin. Good planning on their part, picking up those extra dimes adds up!
Cash vs. Charge Cards
All restaurants, (that we dined at) took charge cards, along with most of the tours we booked ahead- online. We just printed out vouchers before we left.
Most bars want cash! So when you're heading out to the 700+ bars in Dublin take- EUROS.
Speaking of Dublin Bars, below is the The Bernard Shaw... Info HERE
Beer _Music_ EatYard_ Meet-up_ Flea Market_FUN.
Now, you're ready!
TIP: If you are driving (for the first time in Dublin) take a hand held telescope.
Street signs are NOT always apparent, the ones you can find are tiny.
Oh yea and the traffic is heavy.
Next time, we will get our car after we leave Dublin.
I will say this, Ireland drivers are extremely courteous! It is amazing what they put up with, tourists, tourists, tourists.
Excellent, Informative, a great tour to start with when you have jet lag or NO sleep. This is our first GoPro video, we'll get better, but it was great fun! Here is the link for the bike tour, highly recommended! The video shows only a small part of the tour: CycleDublin
Getting out of the city-for just a bit....
When we travel, we like to head away to a local park, for running, walking or a little playground action. It's also a great way to get a local "vibe".
We chose St. Anne's Park. A HUGE park.
We were told we might find some HURLING ACTION there. I didn't know what the heck Hurling was, but it's the big sport in Ireland & considered the FASTEST GAME ON GRASS here's some info on the sport: HURLING
No Hurling to be found that day, but the park was lovely, including this impressive wooden sculpture by Tommy Craggs.
Back to the city for the Teeling Distillery tour.
Jon wanted to head to this one, it's the newest
Whiskey Distillery in Dublin.
Before the tour begins, there are plaques and information about the history of the whiskey. That area was great! The guide was just "okay" the whiskey- huh...OUTSTANDING and yeah we bought a bottle.
It's worth taking the tour, just to taste this
We did hear a lot of people raving about the Jameson Distillery Tour, so we'll hit that next time. Here's a link for the Teeling Distillery TOUR
Jameson Distillery here: TOUR
This was our first experience with Airbnb.
Overall it was great, but we had some surprises, only because we missed a few items during the reservation process.
We continue to rent Airbnb's and love them!
Here is a post I wrote helping you get the very best Airbnb experience ever!
We were off to Doolin with a stop at Leap Castle. We would be returning to Dublin at the end of our journey and we tried to S Q U E E Z E in everything in 3 1/2 days, but no way!
Before we move on, here is a couple of great sites for Dublin and a worldwide tour company that we have used many times.
First: Dublin, Living; Working; Learning' What's On- HERE
Next: Nightlife, Shopping; Tours; Yada Yada Yada -CLICK HERE
Tours: Dublin And Beyond, click here- GetYourGuide
On The Way To Doolin- Leap Castle
Meet Sean Ryan, castle owner.
Just knock, and he will open the door.
"We are here to see your castle"
"Oh, come on in" He said.
You can email him ahead and let him know your coming, but it's casual.
Interesting dude, incredible musician, just lovely to talk to!
Even though he has probably told his story hundreds of times, he is passionate about Ireland; music and his "CASTLE".
He will probably ask you what brings you Ireland and what your last name is.
If you're Irish or even a bit connected, he will tell you what he knows about your ancestors related to Ireland. It was fascinating!
Also ask him if he would mind playing his whistle, you will be amazed! We later found him in Galway.........Read On.
Here is the link for Leap Castle. LEAP
On to Doolin.....
After we arrived in Doolin, we were disappointed that we only had one night.
We booked a room in Doolin, because it was close to our horseback ride, the following morning. We stayed in a splendid B&B with spectacular view. GREAT breakfast. We paid $84.
The host was perfect!
Here is a link to the B&B and a few pictures around Doolin. Including views of the shore, ruins of an Irish Catholic Cemetery and just outside our room, we found a very content horse, snoring in a bed of lush green grass.
Here is the link for you: Seascape b&b
We didn't visit the Cliffs of Moher or Aaron Islands this trip, but for your information, this would be a great place to stay. The Doolin harbour is just 2 kilometers away!
Here is some more information about the town of Doolin: LINK
Note: no ATM in Doolin.
We walked into town for dinner. The two main restaurants are McDermott's and McGann's Pubs, both have traditional Irish entertainment.
I use the word "entertainment" because if you do wander into the bars with traditional Irish musicians, you will not only experience a "lively" night of upbeat music, dancing and clapping, but many of the locals may join in with Cappella ballad singing (often referred to as Sean Nos) from their tables or bar stools.
These singers were mesmerizing, gave me C H I L L S, as I listened. Hope you enjoy at least one night in a traditional Irish bar.
Time to Ride !
The next morning was chilly ( of course ), but not raining yet....
Mountain View Riding Centre is only 12 minutes from Doolin, located in another small town called Lisdoonvarna. We are experienced riders, but this riding centre invites ALL levels of riders, even if you have never been on a horse!
The ride was Superb!
These are Irish Cobb horses, mine was named Guinness and Jon's was Max.
Hey Take a Look at Max's mustache.
The owner Peter, said Max was very proud his mustache and always happy to pose for picture!
It was a breezy, misty ride but when you've made that sweet canter connection with your horse, the weather doesn't matter. It's IRELAND!
You can choose from 4 different types of trail rides. We chose the 3 hour Burren Trail Ride which takes you past historical ruins of the 1840 Potato Famine. Really a terrific ride, If interested, here is a link to the stables MountainView
Galway was calling.
Everywhere we went, we heard the same comment about Galway,
"Oh, you'll love it there"!
We had cycling tour lined up and was on the search for some Lively Irish Musicians! We found a crew of them at the Crane Bar.
But first, food.
We love fresh seafood, so our Airbnb host suggested Oscars Seafood Bistro. Price rating is $$-$$$. Well worth it, delicious and romantic.
You will need a reservation on the weekends.
Here is a link to their website. SEAFOOD
There is plenty of shopping and bars everywhere, so you can easily stroll around and take your pick!
Below is a stunning building, The Treasure Chest Shop.
We didn't go in, but wow!
Next, bike tour - Galway
Another splendid cycle tour. The guide, John Kennedy is a descendant of one of the Galway "Tribes", in other words, he knows his city!
The name of the tour is Galway City Cycle Tours. (See update below)
We highly recommend it! Here are couple of pictures from the ride (below).
One stop is Blake's Castle, also called Menlo Castle.
Interesting, Menlo Park in Silicon Valley is named after this castle.
John will give you the "inside" story at each stop.
Another stop in the cycle tour, is the National University of Ireland, Galway.
Love the Ivy on the front entry!
UPDATE: As of 09/08/2019 it appears John has changed his business name.
Contact him here: Bike Galway.
After the Tour
It was time to hit the Galway "strip" again. If you like wine and a variety of cheeses, you will love Sheridans Cheesemongers, Here is a LINK.
This tasty beer is the Galway Hooker.
It has nothing to do with the "ladies" of the night.
It's named after a unique boat, "Hookers".
There are 4 different types of Hookers depending on the size.
The term "hooker" actually refers to hook and line fishing. We did see a few along the bay. Again, we are talking boats!
There is an impressive exhibit of these boats and much more at the Galway City Museum, really outstanding displays and it's FREE. Here is a link to their site See Hookers
It is open Tuesday Thru Sunday.
Irish Music/ Crane Bar/ Sean! ( The guy that owns Leap Castle)
Hey, look on the wall behind the Zombie musicians, It's Sean, the Leap Castle guy! He had told us, he played his whistle all over the world and we believe it ! This is Crane Bar and as I mentioned, hopefully you can take in a WHOLE LOT of Traditional Irish Music. It was quite a night!!
On To Ennis.
Our road trip for the day was:
The town of Ennis > to Mallow for see the Donkey Rescue >
then onto Killarney for two nights!
Ennis, was another quaint town where we had a lovely brunch and walked around a bit, the rain was pounding down a bit, so it hampered our stay,
but I would you encourage your to stop by.
Here are a couple of somewhat "dry" pictures.
Now For The Skinny On The Back Roads
Below is a narrow road you might encounter. THIS IS A TWO WAY ROAD Y'All!
Historically, these roads were used for cattle or maybe a horse and carriage.
Many have not been widened due to land/ownership issues.
We put this very short video to music, so you couldn't hear me "gasping".
I was on riding on the left.
Not all roads are this narrow through the countryside, but many are.
Just pull in the side mirrors!
As with the BagsandBones tradition, we decided to stop at two rescue/shelters for animals, here is the first in Mallow, Ireland. The Donkey Sanctuary. The grounds are lovely and it is a great organization throughout the UK. Amazingly, they have taken in over 2,500 donkeys!
You can donate; sit on the benches and enjoy the views of the donkeys and countryside.
Here is the Link for the location: DONKEYS
Killarney here we come.
We splurged on the accommodations here.
Because ALL the airbnb's were booked! HA!
It's okay, it was lovely, the bed was incredible and the choices for breakfast were outstanding, including the Bailey's Porridge!
It is located on the river and the breakfast room faces the back garden and river.
Below is a picture of the front, and our lovely bed.
The B&B is called Crystal Springs B&B.
If you only stay one night, they do prefer cash. They are just minutes from the main square.
Here is the link to the B&B: HERE
Killarney Bike Tour
This tour took us to the Killarney National Park, along with visits to the 15th Century Muckross Abbey, Ross Castle, the Torc waterfall and the surrounding lakes.
The mountain range called the Mcgillycuddy's Reeks and is the highest mountain range in Ireland. See below.
A peek at the Killarney National Forest (above). The bike tour can be found at this LINK
**Here is another link for tours in Killarney (and around Ireland), we have used them a lot and you can also book on online.** Killarney Tours.
Muckross Abbey above, wonderful to explore inside and out.
The streets are lively in Killarney, plenty to See, to Do, to Eat, to Drink!
Restored and OPENED IN 2016! A great tour; rich with history; now open to the public, FREE tour.
Walking paths and garden (see below).
We chose the coast.
It was a splendid path, Our coastal drive took us to the town of
We walked through the streets and came upon the ruins of St. Mary's Church and graveyard. A must see and beautiful view.
Back On The Road And A Stop In Wexford for ...
The Seal Rescue.
This little guy (see below) is next to his private; heated bathtub. The incredible
group of volunteers; marine biologists and vets work 24/7 to rehabilitate rescued and sick seals all over Ireland.
We are so glad we stopped!
The short tour is free and they always need volunteers.
This was our favorite place to rest our Bags And Bones....
We booked our last Airbnb at a Organic Sheep Farm
I really wanted to stay longer.
We arrived late, met the farmers, walked around and scared the poor sheep with our ponchos.
400 sheep; 140 Acres~ Spectacular!
This Airbnb is located in Wicklow (between Wexford and Dublin on the East side).
You can see it on our map, noted: Springfarm cottage.
We stayed in the house, but I believe there is a detached cottage that is available. Here is the link to the Airbnb Sheep Farm: SHEEP STAY
-And back to Dublin, pub time.
Our last day was Sunday and rainy.
Bars are VERY packed on Sundays.
Maybe every night?!
Remember to have cash available for the bars.
One of our last stops was the Brazenhead Bar, Ireland's Oldest Pub
They have really great food, not bland, very tasty and of course Fresh Guinness, live music every evening!
It was a great trip and we brought back many memories along with this quote I saw in an Irish Bar.
"There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened."
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