A March 2005 trip
to Connemara by patrickoconnell2
Quote: My wife and I toured the Emerald Isle from Galway, along the southern coast and up to Dublin for St. Patrick's day.
It stands proud and majestic overlooking the famous Ballynahinch Salmon River, whilst being surrounded the splendour of the Twelve Bens Mountain Range.
It was a beautiful place to stay and allowed access to may of the small towns on the Connemaran coast. It is a bit on the expensive side but was well worth the price.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 30, 2005
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
+353 95 31006
Restaurant | "The Owenmore Restaurant, Ballynahinch"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2005
The Owenmore Restaurant
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
353 95 31006
Attraction | "Muck Ross House"
Muckross House was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolourist Mary Balfour Herbert. This was actually the fourth house that successive generations of the Herbert family had occupied at Muckross over a period of almost two hundred years. William Burn, the well-known Scottish architect, was the designer. Building commenced in 1839 and was completed in 1843.
It was the most beautiful place we found in Ireland. We wished we had found it earlier, it was just gorgeous, and a fabulous place to walk around and enjoy native Ireland.
Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms
The National Park
Killarney, County Kerry
353 (64) 66 70144
I had been before, but this was my wife's first visit to the Emerald Isle. We had about nine days, ending on the 19th of March. I plan our trips, so for Ireland, I wanted her to see the beauty of the island while still getting several of the "sights". I like to use several travel books before I go and love to search the Internet for info also. Our first steal of the trip came in our airline fares. I used several sites to monitor the fares, to include Expedia, Travelocity, and several local airline websites. I found the tickets we used on the Air Lingus website for 45 euros ($70 US) per person, round-trip from Frankfurt, Germany, to Dublin, Ireland. I also only booked hotels for the first stay and the last stay. Ireland has so many B&Bs, I found it best to bring along a book or two and picked up one in the hotel on B&Bs and just found places on our way, in whatever town we need to stop in.
We rented a car from Hertz and when we arrived we hopped in and headed west toward Galway. It took us about 3 hours to get to the Galway area. We however continued on to the castle in Ballynahinch (www.ballynahinch-castle.com), a small town in the Connemara Park amidst the 12 Bens. The castle is a beautiful hotel nestled in a park with tons of hiking paths. It was beautiful up there, Sarah and I had a great time exploring the small Irish towns on the coast. Our favorite town on the Connemaran coast was Roundstone. It was so early in the season, only one bar was open, and a second had its season opening, filled with locals playing music, dancing and making Irish merriment. One local tried to sell us some music he had written.
We really enjoyed the entire area--it was beautiful, yet lacking in the one item we were expecting on our trip: green. Being early March, the green hadn’t quite made it that far north. Fortunately, we next headed to Killarney and the green south. On our way, we swung by the Cliffs of Mohr and headed on to our hotel. Our first day in Killarney, we drove out to Dingle, through the Devil’s Pass, which afforded fantastic views of the countryside from out either side of the mountain pass. However, the roads are two-way and fit one car across, so be very careful if you decide to go this way. Having lived in the German countryside, I was used to small roads.
In Dingle, we took a boat ride out to see the local Dolphin, Fungie, and actually saw a female dolphin out there with him. After that we headed back to Killarney for dinner. At dinner, we met a couple of local guys who work as tour guides for golfers. We spent a delightful evening discussing travel, history, and golf. The next morning as we headed to Kinsale, we stopped at the Muckross House (http://www.muckross-house.ie) en-route, and it was fabulous. While there, we walked around the beautiful grounds and took a horse and buggy ride up to the Torc Falls, where I upset my wife by climbing halfway up the falls with the camera. This was definitely a must-see for an Irish trip.
We then completed our journey to Kinsale, a cute little fishing village on the southern coast of Ireland. From Kinsale we headed to Cobh, pronounced COVE, spelled with the Gaelic letters. This is the last port of call for many Trans-Atlantic journeys, to include the Lusitanian and the Titanic. We took a guided tour of the city, and our favorite Irish story came from Cobh.
"So, the pier that had once housed the Café that fed the last land meal to some Titanic passengers, was now the local unemployment office. One of the Irishman who had been collecting unemployment was refused pay on this fateful day. On his way home he stopped, and with his last few dollars bought a lottery ticket. He won several million Pounds and went back and bought the unemployment office building, moved them out, and restored the building from pictures to its original look."
From Cobh, we headed up towards Kilkenny. On our way, we stopped at the Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel, which was closed by the time we got there. Both are fine example’s of Irish castles with great lands surrounding them. When we arrived in Kilkenny, we headed out to dinner at Kyteler’s Inn, once owned by Dame Alice Kyteler, who was tried for witchcraft and condemned to burn at the stake but escaped never to be seen again. A mannequin of her sits in the basement bar. We met several other Americans on holiday at the resteraunt. The next day we toured the city then we headed up to ole Dublin, thinking it would be better to get in the evening of the 16th as opposed to driving into the city on St. Patty’s day. In Dublin we had a great time. We met up with the several friends in the city. We watched the Parade from the one of our friends hotel room window ledge. Then we drank all night, the next day Sarah and I explored the city, seeing the sights on the Dublin City Tours Buses (http://www.dublinbus.ie/your_journey/dublin_city_tour.asp).
Overall, it was a great trip in the early spring of Ireland.
San Antonio, Texas