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Ireland>London>Paris>Bruges>Amsterdam>Iceland. Part 1- Ireland

Some thoughts about our 17 days trip in June 2018 from Evansville, IN (EVV) to Europe. I’ll try to limit this to things that might be unique or different, and a few recommendations too.

Shannon, Ireland- Always our first choice. Shannon is a breath of fresh air after being on planes for too many hours. The small airport was quiet in the morning with no crowds. I didn’t sleep on the 757-flight segment from EWR (Newark), but it didn’t matter. It was a beautiful day and we were off to Kilkee, after having a cuppa.

Car Hire- We decided to do a one-way rental from SNN to Galway City on this trip, as our plan was Irish Rail from Galway (Ceannt) to Sallins/Dublin. Budget has an office location right next to the train station in Galway, although I dropped off the Nissan Micra at a car park/garage a few blocks away, following instructions from the office. The attendant at the garage gave me a lift back, as I had previously dropped off wife and 15 y/o son. The Rick Steves’ Convertible Carry-On Bags (x3) fit perfectly side-by-side (vertically) in the small hatch back of the compact Micra and everywhere else. Well worth the purchase price.

Ennis, Clare, and The Burren- Ennis is a thriving town and one of our favorites. There was a thunderstorm and downpour just after leaving the Clare Museum, but we tucked into a nearby café for tea and waited it out. This was the only rain until Iceland two weeks later! Amazing (ominous?) weather in Europe this summer. Clare is known for traditional music, and sure enough, this was the case on our first night at The Old Ground Hotel (drinks and dinner). We stayed at Newpark House B&B in Ennis and The Waters County House in The Burren. Both are quiet, beautiful, and nice accommodations. I didn’t get a chance to hike or explore The Burren- next time.

Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann)- a fun, inexpensive way to see the Irish countryside and avoid the hassles of driving. I purchased the tickets 60-90 days in advance when they were listed online. I wanted the advanced booking in case of a big sporting event, etc. and the train being sold out. The Sunday noon train to Dublin was mostly full.

Dublin- After a fun day’s barbecue at my cousin’s place in Naas, we stayed two nights in a 3 story (4 in USA convention) Georgian Guest House near St. Stephen’s Green. A top floor room is exercise and can be warm until midnight (our first night). A fan helped a lot. We used a city bus one way west to Guinness Storehouse, and then walked back east catching sites along the way. We visited “Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger,” which was on temporary exhibit at Dublin Castle, and free of charge. Its permanent location is Quinnipiac University. A taxi to Dublin Airport the following morning and then City Jet flight to London City Airport.

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