Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Back to Dublin for the weekend

We hated to leave Doolin. Jonathan picked us up at 10:00 for the trip to Dublin. We visited the Obama Mall again and arrived at our hotel in early afternoon. Thanks, Kim, for the hotel recommendation. It worked out very well.

We wandered the pedestrian-only downtown district, or rather tried to. We were overwhelmed by the Saturday crowds. The street musicians had such huge crowds that you could not walk past them.

Ducking down a side street, we lucked onto a wonderful cheese shop and then a pricey, but heavenly quite downstairs tavern.  We navigated our way through the crowds back to the hotel and had a nice dinner and pleasant evening, thinking our first impressions of Dublin were not favorable, compared to quiet Doolin.

Sunday redeemed Dublin. We had the tourist districts almost all to ourselves for the walking and sightseeing. We strolled Grafton and O'Connell Streets, the Temple Bar area, and the historic district around Trinity College and Dublin castle. We stopped for a break and coffee, and then spent hours at the National Museum of Archaeology and St. Stephen's Green. We topped off the day with an evening at the Bleeding Horse Tavern, founded in 1649.

We won't talk about our Monday travel day, other than to say that we got to the airport at 7:30 and had no time to spare catching our 9:30 flight to Charlotte. Then we sat in Charlotte through a five hour layover and a three hour mechanical-troubles delay before arriving in Gainesville to have neighbor Peggy waiting for us at almost 11:00. Thank you, Good Friend!!

Crowds on Grafton Street
A respite and a culinary delight
Quiet tavern, ahhhhh

Strolling the city

Our kinda confessional
Walking where they drive on the left is hard too
City art
pedestrian bridge

Temple Bar
Nice museum

St. Stephen's Green

Bleeding Horse, 1649

Reading the specials
James and me in our matching colors
Inside view of the Bleeding Horse

Friday at the beach and at the Music Festival

Thinking it would not be much to see, we ended up spending half a day at Doolin Beach. It is a limestone wonderful of cracks, crags, ankle-breakers, boulders, wildflowers, and waves.

Along the few miles from our B&B to the beach, we stopped in lots of shops. Now with cash in hand and no longer worrying about the weight of my backpack, wowie was shopping fun. We eyeballed hat we wanted and bought it on the return trip.

Seen on the way to Doolin Beach

At Doolin Beach

Lunch spot on the way back to town

Doolin Folk Festival in the evening

Thursday's Bummer of a Bus Ride

Doolin is rural, down home, fun. It has four pubs and several restaurants, which we never visited because we loved the pubs. It has the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, the Burren, and a beach.

It does not have a bank or an ATM. You might think that is not a big problem. Pubs take credit. But many independent shops don't take credit. Nor did our B&B. A critical error on the part of our hostess was failing to inform us that she didn't take credit and there is no ATM.

We were on foot. Not to worry, we thought. We will take a bus to Ennis where there is a bank and we can spend a day seeing the town.

A bus is scheduled to leave Doolin for the 1-hour trip to Ennis at 10:00 and return at 2:30. Perfect, given our 9:00 breakfast habit. We'd have lunch in Ennis, wander around, go to the ATM, and catch the 2:30 getting back in good season.

Wrong. To start with, the bus cost 26 euros ($30) a person, making for a pricey lunch trip. Then it was an hour late and took an hour and a  half to get to Ennis, where the bus station was a few miles from town. We had all of 40 minutes to find a bank and hightail it back to the bus station. Since we didn't have lunch or see Ennis, all we achieved by our trip was to save our hostess the cost of accepting a credit card. Hmmmmm, not a good exchange . . . and one that could have been avoided easily with more information.

We did get to go by the Cliffs of Moher on the way and count all the buses in the parking lot. And we saw every little town from Doolin to Ennis, both directions. We also confirmed our conviction never to drive the bus-loaded, narrow roads of Ireland.
on the bus, for a long time!
in Ennis, for a short time
found the bank
walking back to the bus station
views out the bus window of little towns along the way
Lots of Dooliner beer when we got back to Fitz's Pub

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wednesday in the Burren National Park

After Wednesday's 9:00 breakfast feast, we took a leisurely stroll around town while planning our afternoon visit to the Burren. This National Park is also right in Doolin's backyard. We could have walked to one of its five trails. but the park is almost 250 square kilometers and we wanted to see more of it than we could walk. So, we hired Jonathan to tour us through for an afternoon.

This large area of Ireland, including the Aran Islands, is limestone rock. The wild flowers are abundant and the vistas are as spectacular as they are stark. Having a local guide meant we got lots of down home stories and visits to lesser known spots that tour buses cannot negotiate.
Tried a new pub, McGann's after the Burren. More great food. Chowder, stew, fish fry, brown bread, Guinness