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A Bit of the Irish For You

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    A Bit of the Irish For You

    A few weeks ago I put together a five day tour of Southern Ireland as my wife and in laws, although much travelled, had never been. A 190 mile journey to Anglesey to board a ferry at a return cost of £480 was a no brainer. Flights out of BHX cost £38 Return and a four dour Budget Rental Dacia was £61 all in, including full insurance cover, collected from Dublin Airport upon our 9.00am arrival.

    So a left turn out of Dublin, due west, and we were on our way to Galway. As this was only 130 miles away, we made a midday stop in Athlone. After a very pleasant walkabout in this historic town alongside the Shannon, we found Seans Bar, said to be the oldest pub in Ireland dating back over 1000 years. Immediately you enter a pub in Ireland the hospitality is overwhelming, something I wanted my wife & co to experience.

    Sean's Bar by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    Sean’s Bar complete with sawdust on the floor.

    After a taste test on the Guinness we were on our way to Galway for our first nights stay. My intention was to book each night in a typical Irish pub to take in the Irish music and its welcoming atmosphere. If I’m honest I got bedazzled on this first choice by a utterly charming private B&B, not allied to a pub. The Tripadvisor and Booking .com reviews were over 9 out of 10 and the photos looked heavenly. If I’m honest the hospitality was 10/10 but the place itself was in need of a refurb, so I won’t mention names, just to say you can’t win ‘em all.

    That night walked into Galway centre as drink and drive is something I deplore and boy did it rain. We made it into one of the recommended pubs for Irish music and it was heaving in there. As far as I could tell there was about 5 or 6 musicians playing, so we found a seat and settled down with a few pints of Guinness. Unfortunately, due to the rain I didn’t take my camera, so I have nothing to remember the night by.

    After a hearty Irish Breakfast we were on our way to Tralee, about 100 miles away due south, with the intention of a midday lunch break. As luck would have it, by late morning our route took us through Adare, a place I was not aware of, but it was obvious the little town was worthy of a stop. The main road through was lined with beautifully coloured shops and pubs, plus a Heritage Centre. Aunty Lena’s last pub before Dublin looked so inviting, as did the lunch menu and we all agreed it did not disappoint.

    P1030164 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    Suitably refreshed it was onwards to Tralee where the first overnight pub stop awaited. This was Sean Og’s Drinking Consultancy, another pub in the true Irish tradition, with furnishings and nic nacs untouched for decades. But what a surprise the accommodation turned out to be. This was very modern indeed and would shame many of the corporate hotels that I’ve been in. We quickly learned that the live music in the pubs doesn’t start until about 9.00-9.30pm, so after some local advice from the barman we walked to his recommended Asian Street Food Restaurant.

    P1030171 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030172 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030174 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030178 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    This was a new adventure for us and when we walked in we were a little unsure. It was like an upmarket McDonalds, but with waitress service and alcohol. The food was cooked to order behind the counter and arrived in individual cardboard cartons, but you know what, it was really tasty food and all four of us said we would do that again given the chance.
    Back at Sean’s the music was lively, the Guinness was creamy and the atmosphere buzzing. This was what we had came for.

    Next morning we were about to get on our way to Blarney (Cork), a pleasant 60 mile drive, so this being only a short hop, I asked for local knowledge as to where to stop for lunch. Our knowledgeable barman suggested we go off route by a further 60 miles to visit Dingle. This turned out be a great decision. What a charming little tourist town this turned out to be. The immaculately kept coloured shops and pubs was utterly charming and another old world pub lunch to remember.
    P1030186 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030189 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030187 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030183 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    Back on the road and just over an hour later we were in Blarney at the Muskerry Arms. This was another Irish Pub but with a more modern updated feel to it. The music was in a separate bar well away from the main front bar with a comfortable modern style restaurant above. As with everywhere in Ireland the food is to a very good standard and the accommodation once again exceeded our expectations. We were a couple of hundred yards from Blarney Castle, but kissing the Blarney Stone was not on our agenda, so we gave that a miss.

    P1030197 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030193 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr
    Next day we set out for our final stop, Wexford, but could not resist a short detour to Cobh, where low and behold, Vision of the Seas was in port. After a brief photo stop we continued into the town for a walkabout and a quick visit to the local library to get our Ryanair Boarding Passes printed off. The Cunard Building still stands, where many of the steerage class boarded for Titanic’s fateful journey. After Cunard left the building it became a Bank, the Cashiers counters still present today, but no longer in use.

    P1030199 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030203 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030206 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    As it is still mid morning, we move on, stopping for lunch at Dungarven. Yet another place I had not heard of, but recommended by the local butcher in Blarney as a worthy look see. Mrs W and SiL spotted shopping territory so myself and BiL sat outside Nagles Bar, soaking up the sunshine. The multi coloured building’s certainly make for a very pleasant and charming outlook in these little Irish towns.

    P1030208 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030209 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    Our last stop on this circular tour of the ROI is Wexford, Jim McGee’s, another traditional Irish pub. Once again the accommodation took us by surprise, well above what we had expected in terms of cleanliness and facilities.

    P1030217 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1030219 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    After a well deserved Guinness or two we set off to explore the town. Wexford had a different feel to our other stops, probably as this is a university town, so a younger populous was out on the streets. After looking around the many restaurant choices we spotted another Asian Street Food eatery. It didn’t take too much to decide after our Tralee experience, and although it was not part of the same chain, it was equally as good.

    Jim McGee’s was in full swing when we returned, this time a solo performer on vocals and keyboard.

    This was everything I had hoped for as the family thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the trip just as I hoped they would..........Wilba

    Great story. Fabulous photographs.

    Nobody does bar food and drinks like the Irish, to be sure, to be sure!

    I visit often as my wife's Irish.



      Where did you say you were going, Wilba?

      Wherever it was the photography and the ambience was a bit brilliant. Well done.....Neil


        Hi Wilba, your trip reminds me on one we did with my Aunt Lucille about five years ago. She was desperate to visit Ireland as that is where my grandmother came from and where my grandfather's family came from. My mother had to get the flight dates altered so we could actually do something as my aunt, bless her, hadn't allowed enough time to do more than a quick trip to Dublin. Hubby fiound an incredibly reasonable coach trip with National Tours that went to Bantry Bay with stops in Cork and Blarney before hitting Dublin on our way back home. It was about £220 per person for travel, half board at decent hotels. We had a fabulous time and my husband did the honours with kissing the Blarney Stone for all of us. Our coach driver was really nice and pointed out all the high points for us on our way. I think we'd do it again if the right deal came up. By the way, we got a kick out of the full glory of the Dulux paint choices on all the buildings!

        Take care, Helen


          A great tour- I felt I was there! Thank you for this.


            Putting that Lumix to good use I see. Very colourful and a fascinating read and somewhere I have yet to venture. Could be an advert for dulux paints!!

            I also see you are now using Flickr instead of Photobucket.


              I enjoyed reading of your Irish experience Wilba and particularly liked the photos, especially the one of the sign that said' we have no wi-fi- talk to each other.'

              Your trip reminded me of our first tour in Southern Ireland 3 years ago. We took a coach trip to the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. The scenery was beautiful and the people we met were very accommodating and friendly.
              We are thinking of going back to another area some time soon.

              Thanks again for sharing your story.


                Sounds and looks fantastic, thank you for sharing.
                I love Dublin, and have been to Cobh, and Belfast where we visited the Giants Causeway which was amazing.
                The places you visited look equally as good, I'll definitely have to go again .................................................. .Carol


                  Brilliant as usual Wilba,thoroughly enjoyed both pictures and descriptions.


                    From an Irishlady thanks for your review


                      Was this lovely tour a tour of ROI or really an excuse for a pub crawl Wilba? Hehehe

                      Great photos. It's been many a year since I've visited Ireland.
                      don't want to work, just want to cruise.


                        Thanks Wilba, a good read, I have very fond memories of living in Galway for 6 months in the 70's, the drive from the ferry always included a stop for breakfast in Athlone.



                          As usual a great blog and photos , have only been to Ireland twice, on British Isles cruises , loved the places especially Cobh , but obviously didn't get the same experiences as you .thank you .


                            Great read as usual ,well done Wilba and thank's for posting....Taffy


                              Hi Wilba

                              Thoroughly enjoyed the read and the photos as usual.

                              Reminds me of our coach trip to Ireland, not a booze cruise but did visit some of the places you also visited such as Tralee and the Rose of Tralee gardens, Dingle the Dingle peninsular and Slea Head, also did the ring of Kerry. We were based in Killarney our hotel also having a public bar which provided the evening entertainment, I also remember O'Donoghues bar in Dublin.

                              Seeing your colourful photos reminde me of this Hostel we passed, not just the colour but also the name of the hostel and Paddy Wagon parked outside.

                              Last edited by Delboy, Essex; 23rd August 2017, 03:59 PM.

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