Top o’ the Morning from Killarney!

Time traveling back to Summer 2018, I’m with Oldest in Ireland.  After pretending to be part of a medieval adventure with Game of Thrones Tours,  it was time for some real,  2018-style adventure:  driving in Ireland.   That’s right, I’m getting behind the wheel, on the “wrong” side of the road.

First up:  I heeded the advice of the Tripadvisor forums, and rented the smallest car possible. I think a well-fed horse might have been bigger.

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I hired Corporate Transfers to take us from our Dublin lodging to the Hertz Dublin City Centre South location on Circular road;  their Transfer & Pilot Service includes a driver who we would follow out of Dublin city onto the main highways.   I have had the pleasure of meeting Corporate Transfers’ proprietor, Fintan Murray, on previous Ireland visits.

The Hertz location was packed and although we had a reservation, we waited in line for a good hour, while Dave from Corporate Transfers waited very patiently outside.  If you rent a car in Ireland, be prepared for long waits: many people do not do their research and do not understand the insurance options for driving in Ireland (hint: buy it all), which lengthens the process.  Finally,  off we went toward Killarney,  following Dave around busy city streets (eek!) until we reached the M7, a major, divided highway where I felt very comfortable driving. If it’s your first time driving on the left,  I highly recommend this service, as navigating tight one-way city streets is unlikely to be an easy baptism.

The drive from Dublin to Killarney takes a little over 3 hours.  The drive was surprisingly uneventful, and we were thrilled to find a tiny parking spot, to fit our tiny car, right in front of our hotel, the International Hotel Killarney.  This was our biggest lodging splurge of the trip;  I figured that after 9 days of traveling, we were due for a full service hotel experience.  The hotel is well-located in the center of town, and we found the beds to be extremely comfortable.

 

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Killarney’s High Street. It think that dude is checking me out ;)!

After checking in, we began to make our way into Killarney’s afternoon/night life.  It was the weekend of the annual Ring of Kerry charity bike race,  so Killarney, as the largest town on the Ring, was full of very fit revelers.   We spent most of the evening in and out of O’Connor’s and Tatler Jack’s –  the, uh, fuzzy/crooked nature of these photos hopefully assures my readers that I was having a GOOD time.

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Tiny car trying to drive through the alley outside O’Connor’s.  Those guys don’t look like they’re getting out of the way, do they?

 

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Fun, mixed-age crowd (who might have had a few drinks?) at Tatler Jack’s

Killarney is an excellent base for touring beautiful southwestern Ireland:  the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, and other beautiful landscapes.  While not a large city,  there are plenty of lodging and dining options from hostels and pubs to upscale resorts and 5 star dining.  And look:  other Cubs fans visit here too!  Hi Dave & Alex! Go Cubs!

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Delightful Dublin

After 8 days in Scotland,  now it was time to revisit an old favorite:  Ireland!

We had  a ride to the airport through Inverness Taxi. A cheery, punctual driver picked us up in the morning for a ride to Inverness Airport.  It’s a small,  easy-to-navigate airport, and we encountered no security line whatsover.  The tiny LogainAir plane required a walk on the tarmac –  thankfully, again, it wasn’t raining.  We climbed up the stairs and performed a royal/ presidential wave as we embarked.

 

After a short, pleasant flight to Dublin Airport, we opted for a taxi into the city.  My research told me that this was the lazy person’s way out – the Green 747 Bus would have taken us within 1/4 mile of our AirBnB – but we didn’t care.   The taxi ride almost became embarrassing, however,  when we found out that the driver didn’t accept credit cards, and didn’t think he could make change for my €100 bill.  Having just now entered the EU, we hadn’t had a chance to break our larger bills yet.   Um,  you’re charming and all,  but I’m not giving you a €70 tip!  As I prepared myself to make a big old Jersey Girl stink, the driver magically found change.

Another mention of politics vs. World Cup fandom from the cab ride.  Although our driver was 100% Irish,  he supported England in the World Cup.  This, honestly, surprised me.  I could understand the Scottish having divided loyalties.  His explanation:  “they helped us with cash when we needed it in the recession, no one remembers that”.  I think he is referring to the post-2008 banking crisis.  Oh, and also he is a Liverpool FC fan, and several Liverpool players were on the England team.  Now THAT makes more sense!

We were too early to check in to our AirBnB: AirBnB Sir John Rogerson’s Quay , so we had a pub lunch down the street at the Ferryman pub.  Guinness pie –  always a favortie in Ireland.    Once again, the AirBnB proved to be a hit,  on the first floor with two nicely sized bedrooms,  and walkable to all our Dublin targets.

Our next stop was the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street.  We’ve both done the Guinness factory before, and Oldest recommended this instead.  We enjoyed the short tour,  which was less cheesy than Edinburgh’s Scotch Whiskey Experience.

 

 

After a brief history tour, we got right down to business with our free drinks at the bar.  There they conconted some excellent and varied cocktails using Jameson’s.  Oh, and the bartenders were cute (whoops did I say that out loud?)

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Drinking having commenced,  we wandered toward Temple Bar.  We got a kick out of finding the famous Temple Bar webcam and waving to Dearest Husband, who we texted to look us up, and then sent us a screenshot of us.  Technology!  Yay!

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Look!  there we are on the webcam!

We enjoyed an excellent dinner at Fade Street Social on Drury street, which Oldest had picked out on Yelp.   It was a definite foodie joint, and a welcome upgrade from the heavy fare we had generally been enjoying. The venue includes both an upscale restaurant and a more casual, loud gastropub.  Since the restaurant was packed, and even the gastropub booths were full, we ate at the tapas bar overlooking the open kitchen and enjoyed drinks while watching the staff prepare the tapas-style meals.   When a man in a leather jacket arrived toward the end of the evening, observing the chefs, having discussions with the manager, tasting the food as it was prepared, and generally seeming in charge,  we googled the restaurant (technology! yay!) and found that he was indeed the restaurant’s proprietor, Dylan McGrath, a star of MasterChef Ireland.

A great day/evening in Dublin ended fairly early because we needed to rest up for …. DUN dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun duuuuunnnnnn

(what the heck is that? find out in my next post 🙂)  When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or ….you are really entertained