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Mark D. Simpson



Journal Pages
for Ireland

May 14 thru May 30, 2010

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The following is Kathleen Marie Beddow Simpson's journal from our 2010 trip to Ireland:   Dublin, Puckane, Galway.


Day 1       Friday, May 14, 2010

Mark & I left our home in Ruckersville at 1:00 PM to drive the Mazda to Charlottesville Airport. Checked in at the US Airways express counter, then sat and waited. Our flight finally came in, we were able to board at 4:00 and took off for Philadelphia. Landed in Philly at 5:15, had mediocre pizza for dinner, and waited out a severe thunder, lightning, and pouring rain storm which caused our flight to Dublin to be very late - we left at 11:10, or I should say we boarded the plane at 11:10; didn't actually leave until midnight since there were 22 planes ahead of us on the tarmac!  Flight was Ok- food OK- at least Mark and I got to move from 10D and 12D into 17C and 17D, which put us in aisle seats across from each other.


Day 2        Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arrived in Dublin around 10:30 AM, waited about 15 minutes for our baggage claims, then met up with Dan & Sally who had arrived 2 hours earlier from their week in Scotland. Mark & Dan took care of the "car hire" at the Avis counter. We jammed our luggage into the Mercedes and Mark drove us from Dublin to Kildare. We stopped there for a pint and a nice pub lunch at Grace's Bar and Lounge. Headed for Puckane, made a few detours (Oh those round-abouts!) and finally found Peg's cottage!

Got the key from Margaret Moran (the caretaker) and headed on foot to Kennedy's Pub for a pint at 5:00 PM. The kind, elderly woman (Oona) at the bar told us about the Whiskey Still Pub and it's "lovely" food.
We bought some breakfast and snack items at Kennedy's Store (next to Kennedy's Pub), then headed out to see if we could find the Whiskey Still Pub. We did; we found it! Had a very delicious dinner there.

We are beat! Mark, Dan & Sally have gone to bed while I sit writing this journal entry. Now I'm off to bed - It's 9:15 PM and I am hoping for a decent night's sleep.



Day 3        Sunday, May 16, 2010

Up for a wonderful breakfast, thanks to Sally! Eggs, toast with Raspberry jam, and coffee.  (also a banana for good measure) ! Showered, dressed, waited for Margaret (the caretaker) to come over to show us a few things we need to know in Peg's Cottage,

then off we went to the Tesco (like Walmart) in Nenagh (Nina).

(Sally & Kathleen guarding the rental car)

We went to the World Wide Web store to pay our toll from yesterday online, and to send some email. Next, on to the Hiberian for a lovely lunch & a pint. Drove on to the quaint, thatched-roof village of Adare! Visited their Heritage Centre
 where we purchased a beautiful wall-hanging and a little Adare cottage magnet. Also visited a few gift shops
(one of which had a picture of Matt Lauer who had also been there), and we walked down to the Creamery to see some old cars and tractors.

Left Adare, headed for Limerick and P.A. Martin's Pub where we had a pint

and met Alan Bennis and his girlfriend Amanda. Alan is a postman, a musician, and has the gift of gab!
(Amanda, ?, ?, Alan)

We thoroughly enjoyed his stories! While walking to that pub, we came upon folks handing our free cans of Coke Zero so we each got one!

Left Limerick and made our way back to Nenagh and Andy's Pub for dinner. Really delicious plentiful food and a free bottle of good red wine!
(Sally's giving some sort of  "gang" sign.)

Back to Puckane (Puckaun) and Peg's Cottage by 9:00 PM. Here I am again at 9:45 writing another journal entry while Mark, Dan and Sally are watching tv and reading about other places to visit this week.
Off to bed now, 10:00 PM!


Day 4       Monday, May 17, 2010

Rashers (bacon), eggs, toast & jam, coffee & o.j. then showers and we're off for Kinsale on the southern coast, about 2-3/4 hours from our cottage. Left around 9:30 and after many, many roundabouts we stopped in Limerick for gas and a "pit stop." Then pushed on to Kinsale. Before going to Kinsale, we passed near Cork where we stopped to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle.
Mark kissed it (great picture!)

but I just walked right by - don't want to think about what that would have done to my back.

Arrived in Kinsale by 1:30 for a late lunch at the Armada Pub and Grille.
In spite of the drizzle, we strode around the lovely seaside village of Kinsale and took several (hopefully good) pictures.

Moved on to see Charles Fort which is rather large and offers amazing views and photo ops of the water and Kinsale. Left the fort and headed for Limerick where we stopped for dinner at the Oyster House At The Locke.
Really wonderful place with excellent food and atmosphere.

Finally reached Peg's Cottage, each had a glass of wine, and off to bed by 11 PM - very long day, we are beat!


Day 5       Tuesday May 18, 2010
Another rashers & eggs breakfast with toast, juice, & coffee. We decided to wash our bath towels so we were rather held hostage by the washing machine at Peg's Cottage until noon.
Then we drove to Nenagh to the train station so Dan & Sally could check on train schedules for their upcoming trip to Dublin this Saturday.
Then we checked & sent email from our favorite World Wide Web store where they are so nice to us! Next, we hoofed it to the Post Office so I could mail 9 postcards to the USA and 2 to the UK.  Then we walked to Andy's again for a HUGE delicious pub lunch!  
(Look at all that "mashed" food!)

We were all so full we never ate any dinner; just cheese toast and potato chips.
Drove back toward Puckane (Puckaun) stopping at Hanly's Woolen Mill and Mark bought a boat-load of stuff. Hanly's makes lovely things such as scarves for L.L. Bean right there in their mill !
Drove on to Puckane; tried to go the McGrath's Pub but it was closed.
McGrath's Pub

So we went to Kennedy's for a pint then back to Peg's. Oona Kennedy is the little old lady, at Kennedy's, who served us.
Back to Peg's Cottage  - watched a movie (The Brothers McMullen) then to bed.



Day 6       Wednesday May 19, 2010
After another "Dan Kemper" breakfast we drove to Cashel to tour The Rock of Cashel.

Our tour guide, George, was very informative and the weather was super!
Lunch was there in Cashel at Lawrence's and it was yummy! We walked around the town of Cashel and then back to the car and headed for Limerick Junction and the train station so that Dan & Sally could make sure that their train plans will go smoothly on Saturday - They need to travel by train from Limerick to Dublin.
Left Limerick Junction and made our way to the Tesco (like a Walmart) at Nenagh for some supplies. Headed to Peg's Cottage in Puckane where we enjoyed a couple glasses of wine out on the patio and Mark let us review some of the pictures he had taken today.

Dan & Sally prepared an incredible chicken, salad, & garlic bread supper! Then we walked down the lane to McGrath's Pub for a pint and conversation with the female bartender Sinead Foley (very nice). She and Mark have made plans to keep in touch on Facebook. Back to the cottage for more wine & some tv, then decided to venture back to McGrath's at 9:00 PM to check out the poker games.
Sally stayed at Peg's Cottage; Mark, Dan & I had a pint at McGrath's Pub and spoke with the young female bartender whose father owns the pub. I suddenly noticed that I was the only woman in the pub (other than the bartender) so I left.
Dan & Mark returned to the cottage about 1/2 hour later so now they're watching tv and I'm headed for bed - 10:30 PM


Day 7       Thursday May 20, 2010
This morning I had yogurt, and one rasher for breakfast. After showering and dressing, we headed out around 10:30AM for our lovely WorldWideWeb store in Nenagh to check and send email. Then on to the all-day-drive around Lough Derg ( the huge lake).
Today is the most beautiful weather we could ever wish for! We stopped for lunch at McNamarra's Pub in Scarriff.

I really wanted an egg salad sandwich so I ordered "egg mayonnaise" (which is what egg salad is known as in England and Scotland) but I was given a
salad with hard boiled egg on top! Oh well... it was OK. The fella who took our order (the owner, I think) was a hoot! Quite a talker and great sense of humor.

Drove on to Portumna and lots of other little villages, all the way around this huge lake.

Portumna Friary

 Stopped a number of times to stretch our legs and take pictures.
(Swans on the lake, old ruins, brightly colored pubs, a man on a hover-round in the middle of the road)!

Made our way back to Puckaun, had a few pints, drove to the Thatched Cottage ( pub and restaurant) for one of the BEST dinners ever!
Then back to Peg's Cottage and bed - 9:00 PM
Dan & Sally want to go to the Cliffs of Moher tomorrow. They have to go on to Dublin on Saturday.



Day 8      Friday May 21, 2010
We got up early (6:00Am) showered and had a quick breakfast of bagels with cream cheese, then piled into the Mercedes at 9:30 and headed for the Cliffs of Moher.
Arrived around 11:30 and WOW! it is not to be missed!
Anyone who ever visits Ireland really MUST see this lovely magnificent place! We walked all around and took loads of pictures and weren't we lucky to have the most perfect weather for it!

After getting our awesome look at all the cliffs, we spent about 20 minutes in the gift shop, then left for Ennistymon
Ireland is having a drought!

where we had a brilliant lunch at the Byrne Restaurant.

After lunch we drove on to Bunratty where we spent about 2 hours touring Bunratty Castle and Folk Park ( very good) !
Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Folk Park

Mark and I made reservations for this coming Tuesday (May 25th) evening to partake in the 5:30 PM Medieval Feast at Bunratty Castle.

After touring all that we walked down to Durty Nelly's Pub (oldest pub in Ireland) and had a few pints and huge steak burgers with fries!
Met a judge and his wife, from Spokane, Washington. Our waiter was a riot!

Finally made it back to Peg's cottage around 9:00 PM and had to pack for an early exit tomorrow.

Margaret, the caretaker, came over at 9:30 to collect the meter readings. We paid her for electricity and water (total was about 22 euros) and also gave her a tip of 20 euros plus the pineapple-shaped bookmark from the Virginia Shop in Charlottesville.




Day 9        Saturday May 22, 2010
Up early again, quick breakfast and out the door by 9:15 AM, after feeding the left-over fries to the crows!

Headed for the train station (Colbert Station) in Limerick and said our good-byes to Dan & Sally who are going by train to Dublin for 2 nights.

Mark & I are headed for Galway. Stopped at a Land Rover dealer and we were given key chains, bumper stickers and directions to
Morans Restaurant where we ate lunch.

Kept driving toward Galway and stopped in Clarinbridge at the Poppy Seed Cafe'. We were told it had Wifi but we ended up using the manager's computer to check email.

After leaving Clarinbridge, we found Batur (our next cottage) - with some difficulty.
Let ourselves in, phoned Sophie Fitzgerald (the caretaker) then went to SuperValu for supplies, including detergent - we're doing laundry and drinking wine, eating cheese & crackers and feeding our horse/pony (Dobbin) some carrots,

and enjoying the fabulous views out over Galway Bay!
The Cliffs of Moher are visible on the far side of Galway Bay.



Day 10      Sunday May 23, 2010
Mark & I slept in a bit (7:30AM) and then went out to drink coffee & tea out on our little patio with the big views! We just cannot believe how lucky we are to be here in Ireland in this wonderful cottage with such outstanding views of Galway Bay.
Mark made an excellent breakfast of rashers, eggs, bagels w/ cream cheese & jam and coffee/tea. He likes his hot tea. After hanging more washed wet clothes outside to dry in this amazing, perfect weather, we had late showers and headed out.

We stopped at Coral Beach

where we saw lots of beach-goers, dolphins, and an elderly couple who changed into their bathing suits right their in front of me ! Mark missed it.
We wanted lunch so we drove toward Clifden and found Dan O'Hara's Lodge (about 6km before Clifden) where we had soup, sandwiches, and apple pie, and checked email on their computer. Drove on into Clifden and went on to the Sky Road
which was just too awesome for words! We took loads of pictures but you really have to be there to believe it! This is Connemara National Park and we just loved it!
Mark even found the ruins of Clifden Castle and got a couple great pictures.

We are about to head back to our cottage when we decided to find Kylemore Abbey.

It reminds me of the Biltmore (in USA) and I had found a postcard picture of it while lunching at Dan O'Hara's today. Mark was determined to get me to it and he did!
We found it at 5:20 PM (they close at 6:00) and had time go in and also see the Gothic Church there. Wonderful sights, lovely grounds.
Headed for our cottage at 6:00PM, went through Maam Cross again (earlier there were more than a 100 cars parked everywhere along the road. Maam Cross is where parts of "The Quiet Man" (starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara) was filmed and they have a replica of the little cottage there.
Kept going until we came upon the Costcutters store where we stopped for beer and chocolate. Made it back to our cottage (Batur) by 7:15 PM, folded and put away dried clothes, fed a large carrot to Dobbin (the horse), and then relaxed with a pint on the patio. Can't stop thanking our lucky stars. We love Ireland!



Day 11       Monday May 24, 2010
After last night's journal entry, Mark & I walked on the lane from our cottage to the water (Galway Bay). Along the way back we met Jean-Pierre, a young man who also lives down this lane. We stopped to chat for a few minutes and along came another man and Sparky the dog  (who does not belong to the man). We chatted a wee bit with him (the man, not Sparky) and went on our way. Mark took a picture of Sparky and a white horse with her little white colt.

This morning we slept in, had breakfast around 9:00 AM, showered and headed to Galway. Found a store called Net where we checked and sent email, and Mark posted some pictures on Facebook. We then found the train station but it was closed for lunch so we walked to Garvey's select Bar and had a really yummy lunch. Walked back to the train station for information. We are considering turning in our Avis rental car at Galway airport on Saturday and then taking the train to Dublin for our overnight... we'll see.
Left Galway and drove to Kinvarra (about 12km away). Stopped and "toured" Dunguaire Castle

and Mark got some lovely pictures of it. He & I walked the spiral stone staircase (77 steps) to the top and then out and around the very narrow parapet.
More great pictures from up there!
Drove on into Kinvarra where we walked around a bit, then headed to Batur (our cottage)
We're having wine on the patio with a breeze and THIS view!



Day 12       Tuesday May 25, 2010
Today is our 30th wedding Anniversary!
We exchanged cards which we had both thoughtfully brought for each other from Virginia!
Had to turn on the heat in the cottage (for the 1st time) to take the chill off.
Ate another good breakfast, watched some news on tv, and Mark spent about an hour or so selecting and renaming lots of our fabulous pictures for Facebook.
After a nice salad for lunch, showered and dressed up a bit for our Medieval Feast at Bunratty Castle tonight! Before we left our cottage, I called Dad; It was 2:00 in the afternoon here, but it was 9:00AM for him. He and Mom are doing OK.
He was happy about doing well in the Elks Lodge Golf Tournament this past Saturday; he won $38! Janine and Martha have been checking in on Dad and keeping in touch with us by email.
Mark & I left for Bunratty Castle around 2:15 and arrived there at 4:20. Shopped around in the gift shop and the entered the castle at 5:15. Everyone (about 200 people) climbed into the Great Hall where we had a cup of mead and listened to live harp and violin music. We then proceeded downstairs (spiral stairs) to the Main Grand (the giant living room) where we were seated, fed, and entertained. There was red wine, soup & bread, spare ribs, boneless baked chicken, cooked carrots, broccoli, and delicious potatoes, a little pudding-tart for dessert, and coffee or tea. The only thing I didn't like was the soup. The banquet food was fabulous and plentiful.

The singing and music were very well done. I cried when the ladies sang "Oh Danny-Boy!" Such a sweet sad song. Mark & I sat across from a couple from Minnesota. Next to them was a couple from Texas. We also met a couple (outside) from New Hampshire.
We left Bunratty at 8:00 PM and arrived "home" to Batur (our cottage) at 9:45.

Not sure where we'll venture tomorrow; we need to go to a Pharmacy and the Net store again. To bed now 11:00 PM.



Day 13      Wednesday May 26, 2010
Late breakfast, late getting our day started. Left Batur at 12:00 noon, stopped at a nearby pharmacy for cough drops and new sunglasses for Mark.
I asked the kind woman behind the counter if there might be a nice gift shop nearby and she directed us to Standun which was right down the street! It was perfect for our needs and we completed our gift shopping there.

Programmed the GPS to find the village of Moycullen and "she" led us on a gigantic goose chase! You should see the video clip of where we went!
You should have also seen the look on the face of the old farmer cutting weeds by the side of the "road"/path!
Peat pile along remote farm road

When we finally came to the end of the road (probably his driveway) and turned around, we drove back to him and I rolled down the window and explained, "Sorry, we're lost." "Oh aye... I figger'd as much," he replied, and then gave us directions; it really sounded like another language but we did understand enough between the two of us to finally reach Moycullen. Stopped for gas and asked the helpful girl at the counter if we might be near a place to get a good, hearty lunch of meat and potatoes.
Her face lit up and she answered straight up, "The Forge!"
It was about 50 yards away! That lunch was extraordinary! Beef, carrots, onions, cabbage, potatoes and in a wonderfully thick Guinness sauce; very filling -
no dinner tonight. After lunch, in Moycullen, we tried to find the Connemara Marble Visitor Centre but what we found was definitely NOT it!
Oh well...on to Galway and to the Net store
to post loads of pictures on Facebook, and to check email.
Walked around Eyre Park
in Galway City Centre.

Then headed for our cottage. Went on by Batur so we could get an Angelitos ice cream cone and a few necessities at Costcutter which we like better than Supervalu.
(there aren't any other grocery options). Costcutter is farther away from our cottage but is easier to get in and out of; and has much has better parking !

Back to Batur by 6:30 PM - let's have a beverage now!



Day 14      Thursday May 27, 2010
We slept on and off until 9:00 AM when we finally decided to have coffee and breakfast. Mark called for information about the ferry boat to the Aran Islands (which we can see from the cottage). There are three islands, the largest of which is Inis Mor.
The ferry leaves a 1:00PM and returns from the island at 5:00PM. We decided to go, in spite of the weather which has turned chilly and misty. I needed my umbrella for the first time in Galway. The ferry trip put on the island at 2:00 PM so we walked to the Bayview Restaurant for lunch (beef and Guinness pie topped with puff pastry).
Finished lunch at 3:30. Visited the Aran Sweater Market
and the gift shop next to it. Also found an internet store where we checked email and Facebook.  Walked back to the pier and boarded the boat early (it was windy and cold outside) at 4:30. The ferry left at 4:50 and we were back at the mainland at 5:30.

Mark drove us back to Batur where we had a slice of Dutch Apple Cake, then relaxed for a bit.

At 7:30PM, we decided to go to the local pub. Actually, there are two pubs but he first one (Tish Mholly) was not open yet so we went to the Pointin Stil Pub. Had a pint of Guinness. I wanted some peanuts, so we drove to the Supervalu (it was close by) but it wasn't open. They close at 8:00 PM and we got there at 8:05!  No peanuts for me. Drove back to Batur and, had wine, a sandwich with a few Pringles and some M&Ms. To bed at 9:30



Day 15       Friday May 28, 2010
After breakfast, Mark & I went to the local Pharmacy (Walsh's) for more cough drops and a recommendation for lunch with a water view. The kind woman once again sent us to another winner! Right across the road from Walsh's! very filling lunch, then drove to Galway. Walked around the 2-level indoor shopping mall, then went outdoors and took the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour of Galway City. Good tour.

Left Galway and drove to Moycullen. We were determined to find the infamous Connemara Marble Visitor Centre... and we did! Mark bought a pin and a necklace for me, both of the Claddagh Ring!

We then made our way to Spiddal and stopped at the Spar gas station across from Galway Bay. We each got an "Angelitos" ice cream cone again and ran across the road to eat them while sitting on the large rocks overlooking Galway Bay.
Tomorrow we drive to Dublin.


Day 16       Saturday May 29, 2010
Up early, all packed, no breakfast (don't want to fool around with kitchen clean-up).
We were ready to leave by 9:10AM so Mark called the caretaker, Sophie Fitzgerald, to let her know. She was scheduled to come and read the meters, collect the money, and collect the keys at 10AM. She told Mark to read the meters, calculate the charges and leave the money (cash) and the keys ...and have a nice trip.
I'm disappointed that we never had a chance to meet her (no tip for her!). Anyway... we left Batur, our great cottage with fabulous views, and headed for Dublin.
We detoured to Athenry to find food (breakfast) and finally made our way to Dan's Bar
 for a Full Irish Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 rashers, 2 bangers, 2 puddings (blood), baked beans, toast (white & brown bread), and chips; and that's just for one person! We also had coffee. Mark ate my puddings!

Waddled away from Dan's around 11:30 and headed for Dublin again. Finally found our B&B (Donnybrook Hall) at 1:45, checked in but had to leave our luggage in their lounge. Our room wasn't ready yet (check-in is at 2:00)
We walked down the quaint quiet residential street to Kiely's Pub ( huge really neat place) and had a couple pints then headed back to Donnybrook Hall

 and officially checked into our lovely, ground floor room. Freshened up a bit, then hoofed it to the nearest bus stop and road it to Town Centre Dublin.
Lots of people, lots of stores, lots of traffic. we found a Hop-on Hop-off tour bus and took the grand tour of Dublin. Their park could hold two of New York's Central Park!
Hopped off near where we had originally hopped on and went into an Internet cafe ; printed out our boarding passes for tomorrow's flight home. Down the street, and on a corner we decided to eat at Grand Central Bar

 -- now there's a huge, "happening place! Delicious filling dinner, then a city bus ride back to Donnybrook Hall. We'll try to get some sleep; we have to get up at 5:00 AM in order to shower, dress, pack the car, and have breakfast at 7:30.  We have to be at the airport by 9:00 Am to turn in the rental car and check in for our flight to Philadelphia which leaves at 11:00AM



Day 17       Sunday May 30, 2010
Woke up before 5:00 Am (it's a good thing because the alarm never did ring)! Showered, dressed, packed the car, and went to the breakfast room at 7:30 AM. met the owner of Donnybrook Hall; a very pleasant man who graciously prepared orange juice, coffee, fresh fruit, omelets and toast for us!
We were on our way to the airport by 8:15.
Turned in the Avis rental car without a "hitch". Amazing - Mark did an outstanding job driving that big Mercedes all over Ireland (more than 3,000 kilometers) without a scratch!

Long, long queues for overseas check in and boarding! Finally boarded our plane at 10:30 and took off at 11:00 AM. Spot On!

Landed in Philly at 1:00 PM on the dot. No it didn't take only 2 hours to fly from Dublin to Philadelphia! Factoring in the time zones, it took 7 hours.
Now we just have to wait 8 hours in this airport until our flight to Charlottesville!

Mark & I walked & sat, walked & sat until we grew tire of walking and sitting! We had some really yummy Chinese food for dinner, then we walked around some more and finally sat in an area near Gate F19. Boarded our plane on time, departing by 9:10PM - recognized and spoke with the same flight attendant we had on May 14th!
She is British, from Dorset (where Margaret and Eric Shaw live). Very nice and friendly, and she was pleased to know I remembered her from two weeks ago!

Landed in Charlottesville at 10:30 PM - collected our luggage and Mark got the car from long term parking ($119) and drove us home by 11:30PM

Wonderful trip - but always good to be home!


Last updated 03/28/2011 06:01:15 PM ®MDSimpson 2002 thru 2010 and beyond