August 2, 2013. Venice, CA — The last time I was in Ireland, I hitch-hiked, drank most of my meals, and stayed in funky B&Bs with shared baths. This time I’m doing it in style
– driving a rental car with GPS, sampling the best of the new Irish cuisine, and staying in luxurious lodges and manors for at least a few nights.
How times have changed. Probably more accurate, how I’ve changed. What can I say? Who would pick up this grizzled geezer with his thumb out on the side of the road? And one meal after another of heavily battered fish and chips would drive my cardiologist up a wall. Plus, what more need I say than “en suite bathroom”?
So, this is our itinerary for those of you want to follow my later day adventures.
We fly into Cork on Monday night, pick up our car and drive to the Hayfield Manor. Pretty posh, huh?
The next day we drive to Baltimore (yes, there is a Baltimore in Ireland. I wonder if I can get steamed crabs….) via Kinsale. The big activity for the day, other than driving on the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the car without an accident, will be a moonlight kayak on Lough Hyne. The next big activity will be learning how to pronounce “lough.” We spend the night at Casey’s of Baltimore. The posh continues.
From there we head to the Beara Peninsula via Bantry, Ballylickey (you got to love these names), and Adrigole. We hope to get in a bit of hiking in the afternoon. We spend the night in Kenmare at the Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel (I mean, can you stand it?!).
From there it’s a drive around the Ring of Kerry, “Ireland’s most famous panoramic loop,” according to Lonely Planet. Along the way we’ll stop at the quaint fishing village of Portmagee and take a boat trip to the Skellig Islands. Then its dinner, traditional music and overnight at the Moorings (enough already with the posh).
The next day we head to Killarney, stopping for a hike in the “ruggedly beautiful” and historic Gap of Dunloe. We spend the night at the Malton Hotel (you get the idea).
The next two days we’ll be in Dingle, near the tip of the peninsula that bears its name. We’ll take a boat trip in Dingle Bay, learn to pull a pint of Guinness, learn a few words of Irish, and visit the Blasket Islands. We spend both nights at the Greenmount Guesthouse (etc.).
We end the structured part of our trip in Killorglin for the last day of the legendary Puck Fair. Probably won’t party as hearty as I did in 1969, but we’ll give it a try. Besides, we might want to spend some time in perhaps the plushest accommodations of all, the Ard na Sidhe Country House.
After that we’re on our own. We’ll head further up the west coast, also known as the “Wild Atlantic Way” and visit Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, Connemara, Donegal, Londonderry, and end with three days in Belfast, then three days in Dublin.
Follow all the adventures (and misadventures) on the Adventure Geezer. I’ll try to post every day, except when I’m hung over or soaking up the posh in luxury lodges, manors and hotels along the way.