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Touring Ireland By Car

Just spent 2 weeks in Europe ( 1 day in Oslo and 13 days in Ireland). Flew on Norwegian Air (premium class) out of JFK. Not a bad airline. Stayed at the Radisson Blu (Oslo), a 5 minute walk from the airport. Our day in Oslo allowed us some time in the city center. Talked with the locals. Gave us an out of the way restaurant where my wife had the fresh catch of the day (mackerel) and I enjoyed a plate of reindeer. The next day we arrived in Dublin. Spent 3 days at the Premier Suites (Leeson St – city center). Visited the Malahide castle, dinner and a show at the Irish Party House, spent a couple of hours with a local found through the cityofathousandwelcomes web site for visitors and other things. Wanted to see the Book of Kells but the line was too long due to a cruise ship in port. Leaving Dublin we picked up our rental car at the airport. Drove to Kilkenny. Stayed at the Lyrath Estates Hotel and Spa. Surprised my wife with a bottle of champagne in the room upon arrival. Spent a day in Kilkenny city center. Next day drove to Cashel (Rock of Cashel) then on to Waterford. The Waterford crystal factory has tours but is no longer mass producing crystal. Next stop was Killarny where we stayed at the Muckross Hotel and spa in the Killarny National Park area. Took a horse and carriage ride. Also hired one of those ‘Tour by Locals’ who picked us up at the hotel. She drove us around the Dingle peninsula for an afternoon of information and fun. The new Star Wars movie is being filmed there. From there we moved on to Ennis. Got tickets for the boat to see the Cliffs of Moher from the ocean. Was able to spend a day in Ennis. Drove to Athenry (outside of Galway) for a one night stay. Returned to Dublin for our last night where we stayed at the Radisson Blu (airport) before leaving for home.
Some final observations. Up until I had to drive on the opposite side of the road I was very nervous but after a couple of hours I got used to it. It isn’t as bad as it seems except you need to be careful on the R and L named roads (these are smaller). Drank the local beers in each city. Ireland grows most of its foods it serves. The people are extremely friendly and seem to be more law abiding than here in the US. Didn’t see any patrolling garda (police) on the roads. Unlike many of the cities on mainland Europe, no one approached us for scamming. The customer comes first in Ireland which is the opposite here in the USA today. The food portions are very generous for the price. The fish come in fresh every day. The Irish stew and lamb are great. Unfortunately, the one time I ordered an Irish beef hamburger, they cooked it well done. I like my beef cooked rare.The menus seem to be very similar across the pubs. The temperature, for the most part, never gets out of the 60’s even though we had a couple of days in the 70’s in Dublin. You can expect showers almost every day. Very friendly people. We talked to a lot of people. Even met some families of some sons/daughters that played in the one pub in Ennis while dining. a lot of fun.
We would love to go back to visit the places we missed like Belfast and the Aran Islands. If we ever do go back, we might want to include Scotland (military tattoo and highland games).

Posted by
2785 posts

Sounds like a lovely trip, so glad you had a good time. Thanks for posting.

Posted by
440 posts

Sounds good. Would you return to Oslo for longer if you had the chance

Posted by
8 posts

I would love to go back to Oslo. The people are friendly there as well. I am hoping to go back one day to spend a few days there then also go to Scotland for the military tattoo.
Thanks for asking. By the way, the name of the private tour person we hired in Kilarney was Ann O'Dowd.