Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ireland - Day 8 (Cork)

Today, we do the Slea Head Drive, visit Killarney, and then head to Cork.

Our Lidl breakfast.
Hillgrove Hotel was okay, the room had a good amount of space, actually had a double bed and a single bed. Breakfast was not included with our stay, however, we were told that it is a breakfast buffet if you wanted it. We stayed in room 11 here and it was the further room in the place, there aren't that many rooms at only 12 rooms. It isn't far from the town center and it is right next a Lidl (supermarket), if you don't stay when the night club is open, I would suggest it.

Slea Head Drive scenery. 
Slea Head Drive scenery.
Slea Head Drive scenery. 
Slea Head Drive scenery. 
Slea Head Drive scenery. 
Slea Head Drive scenery.
We went to Lidl for breakfast and we were off by 9:30am, and did the Slea Head Drive going in a clockwise direction and we finished by 12:30pm back in Dingle. The Slea Head Drive is very nice and well worth doing, it is the reason to visit Dingle. It took us 3 hours to do, but this is heavily dependent on how many stops you take and how long your stops are.

Smoked Mackerel at Anchor Down. 
Lemon Sole at Anchor Down.
Mussels at Anchor Down.
We ended up at Anchor Down again for lunch since we had such a good experience yesterday and it did not disappoint, the waitress actually remembered us. We ordered the sole, mussels starter and the mackerel starter for just under €24.

We stopped at Murphy's again and this time we were smart and ordered a medium to share and it was a lot more ice cream, so, I would suggest doing this instead if you can. Medium was €5.50.

Torc Waterfall at Killarney.
Torc Waterfall at Killarney.
We left at around 1:45pm and made it to Killarney by 2:45pm, go to tourist information and got some info and made it to Torc Waterfall and did a bit of Muckross House and finished by around 4:45pm. Torc Waterfall is a nice big waterfall that is just a short walk from the parking lot. Muckross House is a huge property that is visit to park and visit the grounds, but I believe you need to pay to visit the house itself. Worth a stop.

Muckross House.
Muckross House.
Muckross House.
We made it to Cork by 7:00pm and we will be stayed at The Kingsley which is about a 20-25 minute from the city center. Stayed in room 359 which is about as far from reception as you can get. Plenty of on site parking above ground with a parking lot underground as well. Breakfast is included here.

Mushrooms on the left, Goat Cheese on the right.
Rib eye steak at Strasbourg Goose.
Sea bass at Strasbourg Goose.
We walked to the town center and ended up at Strasbourg Goose for dinner and ordered from the set menu. Starter and entree for €18.50. We ordered the mushrooms, goat cheese starters, and steak and sea bass for mains. There was a €3 supplement cost for the steak. The food was really nice, the restaurant is fairly small though. No issues suggesting it, do check the menu though since it is a small place with a small menu.

Saint Mary's Cathedral.
Hello to you to Kingsley!
The Kingsley is a nice surprise compared to where we have been staying. It is a bit further from the town center but the rooms are very nice. The washroom had double sinks, a tub, a shower, free slippers, really nice looking soaps and shampoos. If you don't mind the distance, I would suggest it.

Tomorrow, we head to our last destination, Dublin and on the way, we will visit Rock of Cashel.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ireland - Day 7 (Dingle)

The Pier Hotel has a very good location, however, there are less than 10 parking spaces, with only two left when I arrived at around 5:00pm and due to poor parking, there was only one left. The room was in poor shape, the door frame was obvious damaged, there were tiles missing from the washroom, good thing we only stayed for one night.

The Pier Hotel breakfast menu. 
The Pier Hotel Full Irish Breakfast.
Breakfast was included and it was the traditional Irish breakfast, however, it didn't taste very good compared to other ones, it might be due to them keeping the food heated up since they do have a lot of guests here compared to the B&Bs we had been staying at.

Coat of Arms!
Bunratty Castle.
Our goal for today is Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and we got there at 9:40am and there were already a few tour buses here. We spent about an hour at the castle and we lucked out that when we arrived, there was a short English tour. The castle was really neat to see, however, there stairs are tight and there is no room for people to go up and down, so it was confusing when you would run into people when you are trying to go up or down.

Bunratty Castle Interior.
Bunratty Castle stained glass.
The Folk Park area was okay, it reminded me of Black Creek Pioneer Village. They have some really old buildings which were actually buildings before and they were relocated to Bunratty for the purpose of preservation and to show you how things looked and were in the past based on an individuals job and status.

Scenery from Bunratty Castle.
Playground at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.
We finished by 1:00pm, so we were here for roughly 3 hours. Lunch today was at The Creamery right across from Bunratty. We ordered two specials which were the Bunratty Chicken and the Grill Sea Trout. The lady warned us that it would take a little while since the sea trout was a bit portion and when it came, it was SURPRISINGLY big. Roughly the size of 3/4 of a keyboard. The portions were very generous, the sea trout was appreciated by Allison, the chicken had a very nice creamy sauce that reminded me of cream of mushroom. I would recommend the place if you are hungry and in the area. It cost us just under €30 for both.

Sea Trout at Creamery.
Bunratty Chicken at Creamery.
With Bunratty finished, we left The Creamery at 2:00pm and we drove to Dingle and got there at 4:40pm.  We stayed at Hillgrove Hotel, which is actually connected to a night club but since it is a week day, we were okay, make sure to check if the night club is open when you go. Plenty of free parking on site, no breakfast included. After checking in, we made it to Tourist Information just before it closed and got some restaurant recommendations. We checked out the recommendations and ended up at Anchor Down.

Inch Beach.
Inch Beach.
We ordered the Langoustine bisque, pan fried hake, fish cake starter, mussel starter, and the oyster starter. It cost us €37 for everything and it was more than enough food. The seafood was really fresh and we would highly recommend it.

Fish Cake top left, mussels top right, bisque on right, oysters bottom left.
Next up, ice cream! Murphy's is a well known Dingle ice cream shop the ice cream here is really good. It is a bit expensive at €4 for the small, but it is really good. We wandered the downtown area a bit and we ended up doing a part of the Conor Pass which I highly recommend. There are very narrow roads here, but only really one section that is a issue but it should be okay.

View from Conor Pass.
So where does the other car go?
Beware of sheep!
Tomorrow, we do the Slea Head Drive, visit Killarney and Cork as the final destination for the day.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ireland - Day 6 (Limerick)

Today, we visited Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and stay in Limerick for the night.

Fruit smoothie at Almara House.
Breakfast breads at Almara House.
Breakfast at Almara House.
We arrive at Cliffs of Moher at 10:15am and at this time, it wasn't very busy in the parking lot, so that was a good sign. With map and information in hand, we went to the Doolin portion of the Cliffs of Moher, on the way, there is a little tower there that you need to pay €2 to climb up. AVOID THIS TOWER! It is not worth the price since the viewing platform is actually really bad, it is low, there isn't a view over the tower itself, completely pointless.

Mountain Pass!
Mountain Pass!
The Doolin portion is to the right over the visitor center and we went to the part just before it started turning into a green field with a steep descent and we turned back and made it back to the visitor center by 12:00pm, so, we spent about 1.5 hours to walk there and back to give you an idea of time spent.

Cliffs of Moher. 
Cliffs of Moher.
Cliffs of Moher.
The Doolin portion has REALLY nice area for photos, so don't miss out. Lots of braver people than myself went near the edge and they got great pictures, but I'm find with my close to land pictures.

Cliffs of Moher.
Cliffs of Moher.
After we got back to the visitor center area, we decided that we would walk the other side a bit and see if it was worth while. We got to the first little area that juts out and decided that we would have to walk really far to see anything and we decided to leave, by the time we left, it was around 1:00pm. By now, LOTS of tours were arriving, so again, if you want better photos with less people, make sure to come early.

Beef Stew on the left, Fish and Chips on the right.
We drove to Doolin to McDermott's for lunch, they open at 1:00pm just when we arrived, so we lucked out. Originally we were going to go back to McGann's but we thought that we should try another pub out while we were here. We Ordered the fish and chips and the Guiness Beef Stew, both cost us just under €30 again. However, we liked yesterday's fish and chips more and we liked the beef stew from Front Door more, so, overall, if you are in the area, I would suggest McGann's over McDermott's.

After lunch, we drove to Limerick since based on time, we didn't think we had enough time to do Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and we would save that for tomorrow. The Pier Hotel is where we are staying in Limerick and we are here for one night and we arrived at just before 5:00pm.

The Pier Hotel has very little indoor parking, so you may have issues with finding a spot, if I recall correctly, there were less than 10 spots available. Breakfast is included with our stay, so we will find out how that is tomorrow. The room is a bit smaller than our previous B&Bs but that might be because we are in the heart of Limerick, although it is a very small town.

Sea Bream on top, Fish and Chips in the middle, Oysters at the bottom.
We spoke with the receptionist for information and dinner recommendations and we ended up at The Locke Bar just a short walk away. It is the oldest traditional Irish bar in Limerick, there is live music everyday and they actually had tap dancers while we were there and it was really cool to see. For dinner we ordered the sea bream, fish and chips, and half a dozen oysters for just under €45. Allison didn't like the oysters here as much, they were smaller and not shucked very well. Both the sea bream and the fish and chips were really nice though. We saw some people other the chicken sandwich and that looked really really good with a big portion. No issues recommending this place if you are in the area. For orders, you have to order at the counter, they give you a number and you bring it to table and they will bring your food over when it is ready.

With dinner finished, we did a little stroll around the river. It is a nice area and easily walkable from our hotel which is a first since we were always 15+ minutes away from the downtown area.

Tomorrow, we visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and head to Dingle.