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Our trip to Dingle Peninsula and Dromoland Castle, Shannon, Ireland
Nov 3-10, 2018

Connemara National Park:

The Star Wars VIII set on Sybil Head, across from our cottage:

We often receive notes from strangers using our travelogues to plan their own trips. We welcome comments and questions. I put the travelogues up quickly, while the memories are still fresh, with little regard for grammar or punctuation, and I'm SURE there are many errors. If you find one, please let me know! If you find any broken links, please let me know that, too. The web page was developed in Mozilla FIREFOX; if you use a different browser it will not look as intended.

That said, I create these travelogues primarily to help US. They remind us what we did when, who we met, and what we would do differently next time. The personalization makes for some very, very long webpages. We came home with 800 pictures from which 414 were chosen. This is about 25 more than last year but last year was a 10-day trip and this year was 15 so I managed to reduce the average-per-day photo count by 10!

If you prefer smaller pages, here are links to daily pages (they are repeated at the end of each page as well). A new window will NOT open.

Page 05: Fri - Prep and leave Boston for Dingle.
Page 06: Sat - Arrive Dingle, Drive to Cottage, Garvey's, dinner at Murphy's Pub, Wards arrive.
Page 07: Sun - Herb and Elke arrive, hike An Drom loop, dinner at John Benny's, Music at Nelligan's.
Page 08: Mon - Blarney Castle, dinner at Murphy's Pub.
Page 09: Tue - Hike An Drom, tea at Mulcahy's, dinner at Murphy's Pub, Sciopa Ceoil concert, Mighty Session.
Page 10: Wed - Inch Beach, dinner at Doyle's, drinks at Kennedy's.
Page 11: Thu - Dingle, lunch at Benner's, whiskey tasting at Dick Macks.
Page 12: Fri - Niall, lunch at Goat Street Social Club, dinner at Global Village, Kennedy's.
Page 13: Sat - Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Glenlo Abbey outside Galway.
Page 14: Sun - breakfast in Abbey, hike Connemara Park, lunch in Leenane, dinner in Pullman Car.
Page 15: Mon - Return Home
Original, all-on-one-page version.

Press here to return to personal picture menu.

This was our eleventh vacation in Dingle!

This was our ELEVENTH vacation in Dingle
so I will focus on those things which are unique to this trip.
It amazes me that we have not yet run out of things to do! Every year is different
(and seemingly better than the last) so please read all our travelogues on this wonderful area
to see the many interesting things it has to offer. You will get much more out of them if you read them
in order from the earliest to the latest since I don't repeat all the little tidbits that will make your visit more enjoyable.

Press here for 2018 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2016 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2015 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2014 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2013 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2012 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2011 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2010 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2009 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2008 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2007 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2006 Ireland travelogue (a new window will open)



We have been coming to Ireland for so long that the minutia I used to record has become redundant and unnecessary. If you are a first-time visitor, I recommend you read the older blogs as they have information that will help make your trip more enjoyable. Starting in 2015, the blogs will be much shorter and will be primarily pictures. I no longer have time to add links and descriptions for every new thing we do. Therefore the 'disclaimer' no longer applies. The examples below will give you an idea of the type of information found in the older pages.

If you order "bacon" in Ireland you will get what Americans call "ham" or Canadian bacon, which comes from the loin (back) area of the pig, whereas traditional American bacon is made from pork belly and is called "streaky bacon" in Ireland

Another useful bit of information is that if you want half-and-half with your coffee, you must ask for "full cream" or you will get milk.


Most of the maps I post here were created using MapQuest, Google and Adobe Photoshop. I found that MapQuest had more detail, especially in the shoreline, than Google. But, neither MapQuest nor Google was detailed enough for our nature hikes so those maps I created by scanning the Ordnance Survey maps we use when we were hiking and then photoshopping the scanned images together. Please do not rely solely on my maps if you travel to this area!

BUY YOUR OWN Discovery Series Ordnance Survey Maps HERE

These maps are also available on Amazon.

This year KC's mother, step-father, both daughters, grand-daughter, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew all joined us.

Pre-Travel Preparations

We booked our seats on Aer Lingus which flies direct from Boston to Shannon. We paid extra for premium seats in an exit row. We invited KC's family to join us and everyone accepted the invitation.

KC's daughter, Leah, met us in Boston and flew over with us. Herb and Elke followed the next day (miscommunication on dates, they were supposed to be on the same flight). Pat, Heidi, Shea and Kade flew into Dublin and left the cottage a day early so they would have a few days in the capitol. Adriane and Lashay met us in Shannon and returned home on Wednesday. Herb, Elke, Leah, KC and I all spent the last night at Dromoland Castle, which is close to Shannon Airport, and flew home the next morning.

NOTE: We brought KC's new camera, ????.

Travel to Dingle

Friday, November 2

Our flight left at 8:40pm which should have meant I would have plenty of time to finish packing and tidy the house but I had so many things left to do - and it was raining which slowed everything down - and I didn't have time to tidy.
We planned to leave the house at 4:45 but KC's work delayed us 30 minutes and then we hit unexpected traffic when we got off the ring road.
We checked our bags and headed to the gate at 7:00pm where we had 55 minutes to grab a bite to eat.
We waited 10 minutes for a table at Wahlburger, which was decent but not spectacular. Bun not warm, too much pickle, not enough sauce. KC had beer, I had Kim Crawford SB.
We took two medium suitcases, and one carry-on each. Mine was a ??? backpack.

Check-in and TSA weren't empty as they had been last year but they weren't a nightmare either.

a single man sat next to me. He put his duty free in the overhead bin and gave his carry-on to the flight attendant as the overhead was full.

I put on my eye shades and neck support and fell asleep.

Sunset and sunrise:

KC declined the meal and says he slept for an hour or two. In spite of the late start, we landed 45 minutes early.

Service was horrendous, delivered with a snarl.
Flight attendant broke duty-free
KC asked for water and it arrived 15 minutes later, slammed down on his tray

Leah's bag out first,ours last
KC got car and put our bags in. We waited for Adriane.
Adriane's flight 15 min early
We piled in car and left
Drive uneventful, arrived at 11:30, Sharon met us 10 minutes later and stayed about 30 min
Drove into Dingle, saw Michael in his store where he recommeded music at Nelligan's
stocked up at Garvey's (250 euros!), then grabbed a quick bite at Murphy's pub before driving back to cottage to meed Ward's.
They beat us to cottage by 2 minutes!
broke out the bread, cheese,and salami and nibbled on that till we crashed at 9pm
room was too warm and I had trouble staying asleep. Finally drifted off at 4am and slept until 9:30!

everyone else was up early and was there to greet Herb and Elke when they arrived.
KC and Adriane cooked a huge breakfast- eggs, potatoes, sausage, bread, butter, cheese, & coffee
just afternoon Herb and Elke, took a nap and everyone else went off to Clogher Beach where the waves were wonderful, and then up An Drom, along the cliff, backto the road, and back to the car.
Weather was perfect - sunny but cool and with enough wind to whip up the waves.
We got back around 2pm and raced into Dingle to restock on water, chocolate, cheese, cold cuts, bread and whatever the Wards needed (another 180 euros)
We got returned to the cottage around 4pm, freshened up, and then drove back into Dingle for an early dinner.
In back of John Benny's,we moved 4 round tables together and crowded around them.
Food was delicious, especially tagliatelle with wild mushroom cream, and the bread pudding. Chocolate mousse was denser than I remember.
waitress excellent
Walked over to Nelligans (too far for Elke) where music was pathetic - guitar and violin who took way too long between songs.
Dara out of town unexpectedly, Michael also said he was out of town and didn't meet us.
Returned to cottage at 9 and chatted until midnight.
Agreed to do Blarney tomorrow and planned to leave at 9am

got up at 8:30, grabbed a quick breakfast, and on road at9:40 with Pat following KC
Herb and Elke to hire a car to take them to Dingle and back
Arrived at Blarney just before 12:30 - 3 hour drive - with beautiful sunny weather all the way
When we arrived at castle, weather turned to misty/rain
We all kissed the stone, some us more successfully than others! Heidi and I kissed the wall, Leah missed completely.
grabbed a quick lunch in the castle cafe
We walked almost the entire grounds - giant cedar, poison garden, fern garden, horses graveyard, wishing steps, witches kitchen, witches stone, druid's cave, ???
Left at 4:33. Stopped for gas on the way out and got on the wrong road!
Made a wrong turn that took us at least 30 minutes out of our way and arrived in Dingle at 7:30.
On the way I called 5 restaurants and 4 of them were closed until the end of Nov!
We ended up at Murphy's again so Heidi could have sticky toffee pudding
Leah, Adriane, and Lashay didn't want a restaurant meal so they drove back to the cottage with KC when he went to collect Herb and Elke,and had frozen pizza for dinner
Murphy's was kind enough to put two tables together for us (only 8 this time) but service was slow and inattentive
Fish and chips for kc and I, Heidi and Pat shared a burger, herb had grilled ham&cheese (out of lamb chops), Elke has seafood chowder and salmon on brown bread, Shea had chicken, Kade had a wrap
Home at 10 where Leah, Adriane, and Lashay were watching Contagion
Everyone went to their rooms at 10:45,I stayed up to update blog, then off to bed at 11:50

It rained and the wind blew all night
KC got up at ?? and I luxuriated in the large bed alone until 9.
Everyone in our cottage was up so KC laid out breakfast (boiled eggs, leftover potatoes and sausage, coffee and swiss roll. Swiss roll was a disappointment - dry, sweet,and no flavor (Elke thought it needed more cream filling, too)
Had a bit of trouble getting the eggs cooked right - first batch was too hard (perfect for Adriane and KC), second was softer.
Wards were still in bed at 10am, Leah not feeling well.
Had a quick breakfast of leftovers
Drove over to pottery - bought a large vase for garden, then had pastry and hot chocolate in cafe. Leah, shea, kade stayed home
Picked Leah up at cottage (almost lost her hat in driveway)and drove up to Conor Pass - cloudy and very windy so didn't stay long.
Back into Dingle, money from bank/atm, dingle crystal (met Rebecca, Sean in Dublin, 7 people in factory), Lisbeth Mulcahey
Herb, Elke, Adriane, Lashay, KC and Lashay went to Acquarium
Barb, pat, Heidi walked down to Holden and then back up to Dick Macks
Heidi and I sat in the snug, Pat held court in bar while he had 2 shots. Called Lord Baker and made reservation for 6:30
Back to cottage for 1 hour then back into town for dinner
Amazing dinner at Lord Bakers courtesy of Herb.
Returned home at 10pm Catatonic
Agreed to leave at 6:45 to take Adriane to Shannon and then stop at Adare for lunch on way home.
Have to be up at 5:45am so off to bed early.

KC's alarm never went off! We got up at 6:35 when Adriane knocked on our door and scrambled to be ready by 6:45
Leah never got up so KC, me, Herb and Elke left at 6:55 to take Adriane and Lashay to Shannon airport. Leah stayed home.
Heidi, Pat, Shea and Kade left 30 minutes later and met us at the cliffs of Moher.
I took us exactly 2.5hours to get to Shannon airport after which we stopped at Starbucks for toilet and coffee.
We met the Wards at ??
It was cold and very windy. Elke lost her hat and Herb ran after it.
Wards went right into the gift shop to buy scarves
Herb, Elke, KC and I watched the movie and then went outside to closest lookout point.
Wards met us, and HEEL went in to wait in cafe.
Almost lost my earmitt - wind took it everywhere!
photo bombed Shea Kade photo

We walked over to tower, took some pix, then went inside for pastries in the cafe. KC had egg salad sandwich
KC had egg salad sandwich.
As we got close to Adare KC (who had sandwich at cliffs) tried to renege on his agreement to stop at Adare but got so much flak we stopped anyway
Dunraven Arms restaurant didn't open until 7 and we couldn't find parking in Adare so we agreed to go to next town
On way Heidi found Foley's on 'restaurants near me' which was fantastic
On way home, KC alarm went off at 5:45PM
stopped for gas (diesel) on way back and Wards went on to Garvey's
No one wanted to go out again so we got stuff for dinner
Meanwhile, Leah slept and hung out in cottage.
After a ragged dinner (potpies for some, salad for some, bread/cheese for some, leftover desserts) we taught everyone Nerts
Went to bed at 11pm and no one set their alarms

Migraine in the middle of the night.
KC got up at 8, me at 9.
Rained overnight but was clear in the morning with fairly rough seas
We're going to try see the Aghacaribble in Lispole valley where the cows gathered round looking for carrots

Aghacaribble (new window will NOT open)

Aghacaribble map (new window will NOT open)

Situated: From the N86 before Lispole, take a left turn at the shop at Kate's Cross. Then right and then left. Then first right and then next right. In a field 800 metres on your left.

When The wards came over just after 11, and Pat discovered the cream was bordering on curdled, having been left out all day yesterday, he decided to go to Mulca hey cafe for a latte and we all went along except herb.
after coffee/tea/chocolate and pastry for everyone we went back to the cottage, used the toilets, and then left for Slea Head Drive at 1pm
Herb and elke asked Kathleen to take them into dingle - they ate at Dingle Bay Hotel and said it was excellent,
stopped on slea head 3 times - once for photos, once to held lambs and see bee hives, and once at the statue
dunquin pier
home again at 2pm, toilets, then back into dingle for shopping (Kade stayed home to do homework)
Met Elke outside Garvey's while Herb was buying coffee and cream
They went back to cottage with Kathleen
Heidi, Shea and I went to Lisbeth Mulcahey
J Curran's first for pint plus dingle whiskey, while Heidi, Shea and I went to An Galerie Beag
then Dick Mack's where KC, Pat and Leah had beer and 3 shots
Heidi and Shea went back to cottage to join Kade and finish Shea's homework
Herb and Elke rode back with Kathleen and we met them at Random, where An Canteen used to be
Heidi and kids returned, we ate, then went to Nelligan's for set dancing.

Food preferences:
Best bread pudding - John Benny's
Best banoffee - Foley's
Best sticky toffee - tie between Murphy's and Foley's
Best fish and chips - Foley's
Best stew - Dingle Pub
Best salmon - Lord Baker
Best steak - Lord Baker
Best dingle gin and elderflower tonic - Nelligan's
Best looking bar tenders - Dick Macks (per 24yo)

Got up at 10 - weather was dark and pouring
Sharon stopped by at 10:15 - we told her about the dryer below, and washer in An Sciobol
Wards came over at 10:30 (they were waiting for a break in the rain which didn't happen)
KC fixed a huge breakfast
Phil stopped by at 11 and regaled us for 15-20 minutes, then left to meet the washer repairman (door in an sciobol was broken)
KC and Herb cleaned up while the Wards packed
Weather cleared, than got dark, windy,and raining again
Wards on their way at 2pm
Weather cleared
Herb, Elke, KC and I went to Holden workshop - kc bought briefcase, 2 belts, 4 key chains, book for Leah, I bought a belt with celtic buckle
Herb bought a belt
Connor said business was declining
Went on to Dingle where KC bought a winter jacket (wool) and I bought a raincoat and gloves
Drove home via Slea Head, stopped to take pics of waves near Couminole Beach
I made a banana-chocolate-almond butter 'sundae' while I updated the web page
We laid out the bread, cheese and cold cuts, and picked at them the rest of the day
Herb cooked the leftovers from breakfast
Leah made a delicious salad using up the rest of the fresh stuff
I emailed David at Dromoland requesting a reservation for 3pm tomorrow for Leah and Herb with 3 spectators
Spent a lot of time texting the wards who had finally arrived in Dublin
Herb and elke went to bed at 9:45
I went up at 10 hoping to start packing.
We planned to leave between 10 and 11 tomorrow and KC wanted to pack in the morning.


Drive to Dingle, John Benny's, Garvey's, and Best Cottage on Earth

Saturday, November 3

The walk to the carousel was v-e-r-y long but our bags came out quickly. They both made it, intact, so we loaded them on a cart and got our rental car. We used Hertz again this year. KC had booked a Jetta but when the agent saw all our bags - Herb and Elke also had four (2 checked and 2 carry on) - he blanched, so we swapped it for a Nissan SUV. Even with the bigger car we had trouble fitting all the bags in the boot so we will have to remember to bring less next year!

The cost for the week was 330Euro including 116Euro fuel deposit and 16Euro/day comprehensive collision. If we return the car with a full tank, we get the fuel deposit back. Net-net, we're paying Euro22/day. We used an American Express points coupon.

Our Nissan ??? had a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4 engine
(EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 mpg)
and a 6-speed manual transmission.

We were on the road just after 7:00 and took the shorter interior route. The drive was uneventful except for periods of fogginess that prevented us from seeing the scenery. We decided to drive right to the cottage, unload the bags, and then drive back into Dingle for breakfast and groceries. We arrived there around 10:30am. This is much earlier than the cottage check-in time and, techinically, we should have waited, but we've been there so often Sharon assured us it would be OK.

Route from Shannon to Dingle, 120 miles (191 km), approx. 3 hour drive:


We dropped our bags off and returned to Dingle. We had breakfast at John Benny's - full Irish for KC and Herb, 4-egg omelet for Elke, and eggs benedict for me. The meal was enormous!


We stopped at Garvey's Market for provisions, then went to the bank for cash, and Re Nua for organics. I couldn't believe they had biodynamic veggies in their freezer! I bought spinach and green beans. I wish they were available in the US.

The weather had cleared and it was now bright and sunny! We drove back to the cottage, arriving around 2pm.
What a beautiful day:

Location of The Cottage in Graigue (pronounced groig) northwest of Dingle:

The Cottage in relation to Dingle:

As you can see, there are two routes from Dingle to the cottage. The northern route through Ballyferriter is a little shorter; the southern route along Slea Head drive is a longer but more scenic. We generally take the shorter route in the evenings (when there isn't much to see), and the scenic route when the weather warrants it. Although it was a gorgeous day, we took the shorter route.

Tig Meaig - Meg's Stone Cottage
our PHILOMENAL home base for the next 9 days

The cottage we rent is owned and managed by Philomena and Alec O Conchuir (O'Connor). We call it the The Philomenal Cottage, an intentional misspelling, because the cottage and Phil are both PHENOMENAL!

The cottage is large but cosy, traditional but with every modern-day convenience, and is ideally situated to either explore the countryside or just sit and gaze out the windows. It is truly perfect. And the owners concern for your comfort and safety is unparalleled.

Obviously, we love it, since we have stayed here NINE years in a row and have already booked next year's trip.

I have posted a few pictures below; but, rather than reiterate all of its virtues, which would add reams to this webpage, here is the link to the website I created for them with dozens of pictures and other information that anyone looking for a rental in this area would be interested in knowing:

Press here for link to the cottage website (a new window will open).

The EXTERIOR IS ALL STONE, a requirement for us,
and there is parking for at least 4 cars:

Press here for additional pictures of the cottage (a new window will open).

The cottage is RIGHT ON THE COAST, another requirement for us,

Press here for additional pictures of the cottage (a new window will open).

Close-up location of the cottage with respect to the shoreline
(i.e. what you are seeing when you look out the window):

Here are pictures of the living, dining and kitchen areas, where we spend most of our time. Although the cottage has 4 en-suite bedrooms, and we have never used more than two of them, it is NOT too big for only two people.

Because of the incredible view from the living-dining room we would not want to stay anywhere else.

Pictures of the living, dining, fireplace and patio:


We always use the master bedroom, upstairs, because we like the extra space the sitting area offers (and the phenomenal view of the coastline when we wake up). We could just as easily use the large bedroom on the ground floor and reduce our heating costs by turning off the heat to the upstairs; but, the heat is so reasonable, we can't justify the savings.

The master bedroom suite:

View from master bedroom:

Press here for additional (almost 100) pictures of the cottage (a new window will open).

Elke noticed that Declan was tending his sheep so I went out to see what was up. Apparently, sheep are vulnerable to many diseases, and one of his lambs had something called ORF, or scabby mouth, which is highly contagious but easily treated. He was treating the lamb.

One of our traditions is to hike up Clogher Head on our first day to drink in the incredible views and to get our bodies ready for subsequent hikes. It's right by the cottage and it's an easy climb, but it can be very wet, so Elke decided to stay in the cottage. I wore my new wellies, to see how they performed on rocks. We started around 7:00.

It was too early to see the sun go down over the water but we got some wonderful pictures of the surrounding area. The last three were taken into the sun and appear darker than it was. My boots were very comfortable and did surprisingly well on the uneven surface. We waved to Elke when we could see the cottage but she says she never saw us.

View from Clogher Head:

We were back in the cottage a little after 8:00 and ate dinner while the sun went down. Elke asked KC if she could slice the bread and he said something like, "Yes, as long as you don't mangle it." Elke couldn't understand what he meant by 'mangle' - how hard could it be to slice bread? She cut two slices and gave up. Here's what they looked like:

We all had a good laugh, and let KC slice the bread from then on. The St. Killian's brie we'd enjoyed on previous visits was too young but we ate it anyway since it was the only cheese we bought. I made a horseradish cream with the wasabi powder I'd brought along and ate it with some 'pastrami cured' smoked salmon. The flavor was nice but it was sort-of tough. Herb and Elke had smoked mackerel and KC had cheese and cold cuts. The sunset was spectacular.


After dinner we played cribbage, KC and I against Herb and Elke. They went to bed and Herb showered while I updated my journal. Then I showered and went to bed. KC stayed up and read a little before joining me.

Dingle - Archaeological Tour, Lunch at Sheehy's Anchor Down, Dinner at Benner's

Sciuird Archaeological Tours

Sunday, November 4

Before we left the USA we arranged an archaeological tour with Tim Collins of Sciuird Archaeological Tours, the same guide we used last year. Adriane wasn't interested in the tour, but Herb and Elke were, so we had to do it today, before Adriane arrived.

We were to meet Tim in the music shop at 10:30. We got in early, just after 10, and the shop wasn't open yet, so we wandered around looking for a good place for coffee and a scone. We had just decided on Strand House when Dara appeared. We chatted with him until Tim arrived and were disappointed to learn that it wouldn't be a private tour - there were 5 other people on the bus. I was about to bail when Tim offered to continue the tour privately in the afternoon: the morning would be on the west side of the peninsula, and the afternoon would be the east side. Since beggars can't be choosers - we had to do the tour today - we agreed.

I sat in the front and KC sat beside me. Herb and Elke were in the back.

Many of the things on the tour we had seen multiple times but you get little extra tidbits when you see them with Tim.

For instance, the seagull we often see on the wall along Slea Head Drive is known as "Oscar." He hangs out there because tourists feed him, and he will chase way other birds that try to horn in on his terrirory. One of the other tour participants fed him a breadroll and we got to see this in action.

At the Ventry Estate, we learned that the plants along the paths are wild garlic, or what we call bear garlic in the USA.

The most interesting part of the morning was the 6th century Reask Monastic Site outside Ballyferriter. How many times have we driven past it and never known it was there? The entrance was quite rocky and hard to negotiate so Herb and Elke sat this one out. It was hard to photograph without people.

When we got to the Gallarus Oratory it started to pour so we ran down to the oratory and huddled inside while Tim spoke and there was planty of room for the 10 of us plus a few others who wandered in. Back at the van, one of the tour members realized she had lost her hat, so KC ran back and found it for her. My gallant husband! Elke's gallant son!

Slea Head Drive:

Couminole Beach:

Reask Monastic Site:

The pillar stone Tim is pointing to, which is 5.5 feet tall, was 2/3 burried when excavation started in the 1970's. It was this stone which hinted that there was something hidden here, as all the walls were buried, too. After excavation, the top layer of existing stones was painted with tar to show their original height, and the walls were then built up to their current height.

On our way to the oratory we stopped at Louis Mulcahy to use the bathroom. Some people also grabbed a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. When we drove past the cottage, Tim stopped and used it as an example of the best stonework in the area! He then mentioned that we were staying there and had invited everyone in for tea. Evidence that his sense of humor isn't canned.

After the oratory, Tim dropped everyone off at the music shop and arranged to meet us back there in one hour, at 3:15. We lunched at Sheehy's Anchor Down, the fish restaurant that opened right next to the shop, and wow was it delicious!

Herb had steamed mussles, Elke has langoustine bisque, KC had fish (cod) and chips, and I had poached eggs on asparagus. KC had a bottle of Bric's beer, which is still very good.

Sheehy's Anchor Down Restaurant :

The second half of our tour was very much like last year's. We stopped at Conor Pass, Menard Castle, Eoin's Well, and the stone bridge. The most exciting part for me was when we squeezed past a huge tractor and came face to face with a herd of at least 50 cows following the tractor to the barn. Those were Murphy's cows, of the renounded Murphy's Ice Cream shop in Dingle, and it took them a long time to go around our van!


Conor Pass:


Minard Castle, outside Anascaul:

Like most castles in Ireland, this one was attacked by Cromwell's armies - you can see that the corners have been damaged making it unstable. It's on private property and the owner has surrounded it with barbed electrified wire. The cliffs beyond appear to have been mined or eroded but they are actually 380 million year old fossilised desert sand dunes. The stone beach is one of the finest storm beaches in Ireland.

Coast Guard office where Tom Cream joined the Navy (someone lives in this house now, we saw them tending the fruit trees behind it):

St. John's Well (Tobar Eoin) and rag tree:

An ancient spring where pilgrims would come to 'leave their troubles behind'. They would circle the well nine times while saying the rosary (dropping a stone or berry into the well after each round) and then leave a rag on the tree behind it. The rag represented your trouble(s) and by leaving it you would be cured of whatever ailed you.

Herb circled the well but never said what troubles he was hoping to leave there. I'll need to follow up with him and see if they're gone.

The area was recently restored: A gorse-lined path leads to wide earthen steps which take you down to the shaded clearing where the well is. You can see the Atlantic through a break in the trees.

We were back in Dingle around 5:30 where we settled up with Tim (Euro200 plus Euro20 tip). The tour was worth every penny!

It was dinnertime now, and we didn't have anything planned, so we decided to dine in town. We walked over to Lord Baker only to find they were closed. KC asked if I knew anyting about Benner's and all I could remember was that they were a high-end hotel with rave reviews on TripAdvisor. They were right next door so we decided to try them.

Our first impression was excellent - warm, cozy, and pub-like but elegant with stained glass paritions between the booths, leather chairs, and walls of books. We chose a booth by the bar, away from the door, and ordered beverages: Irish coffee for me, Guinness for KC, gin for Herb, and Jameson's for Elke. The coffee was large and super hot with lots of cream (but not enough sugar for my taste). The other drinks were also generous pours.

The menu was diverse - there was lamb for Herb and duck for Elke, sole for me and chicken for KC. Everything was superbly prepared and delicious. The bread was a huge hit so we asked if we could take some home. We will definitely be coming back here! We had dessert but I forgot to take pictures - profiteroles and flourless chocolate cake.

Dinner at Mrs. Benner's Bar:

On our way home Elke saw a huge rainbow! It was still there when we got home.


We played cribbage again tonight. KC and I won the first game, Herb and Elke, the second.

Tomorrow we drive to Shannon airport to pick up Adriane, Martin, and Lashay. We discussed stopping at the Foynes Flying Boat museum on the way there and having lunch in their restaurant. To do this, we need to leave at 9:00am.

We all went to bed early.

Drive to Shannon to pick up Adriane, Martin, and Lashay; lunch in Adare, dinner at Murphy's

Monday, November 5

What a beautiful day!

We were on the road at 10:30, after deciding to stop at Foynes on our way home for a late lunch.

KC had reserved a ??? but we swapped that for a VW Caddy when the agent commented that with seven people it would be "a tight fit". In other words, there would be no room for luggage, not even carry-ons. They only had an automatic, which KC hates, but they gave us a break on the price. In retrospect, it was easier to drive than the Nissan because it wasn't as wide, and there was plenty of room for everyone to sit comfortably PLUS a small boot for luggage or groceries.

VW Caddy

The flight got in late, which meant we didn't have time for Foynes, so we stopped in Adare for a late lunch. We couldn't find parking on the main street so we took the first open spot on a side road and went into the nearest restaurant offering "food all day". I didn't get the name of the restaurant, or pics of the food, but they had a table big enough for all of us and the food was good. I had smoked salmon, Adriane and Herb shared a pizza; I don't remember what everyone else had.

When we got to Dingle, we stopped in Garvey's for provisions, and then went to Murphy's Pub for an early dinner. I had a side of vegetables which was delicious, and sticky toffee pudding which was better than I remember it. They're cutting it thinner now and serving more sauce. Again, no pictures.

While we were in Garvey's, Caitriona came in so I asked her for a recommendation for dinner tomorrow night and she recommended Grey's Lane Bistro. It's the former Goat Street Cafe that we used to love. They changed their name when the moved to the bigger space on Grey's Lane. I made a reservation for 7pm.

Back at the cottage, we put the groceries away and Adriane and her family settled into their rooms. We hung out together, decided what to do for the net few days, and we admired the sunset before hitting the sack.

Adriane's partner, Martin, is wonderful! He's intelligent, funny, nice, good looking, and very good with KC's grand daughter.


Drive to Killarney, Dinner at Grey's Lane Bistro

Tuesday, November 6

After a quick breakfast, we were on the road for Killarney at 10:00am and arrived just after noon. We decided to do the castle first, then lunch, then the abbey.

The castle tour was about to start so we passed the time reading the panels in the entryway. There was a new one this year, a painting of a castle scene with several hidden incongruities for you to find, things like rifles, sunglasses, and bicycles. I was able to find most but not all of them so I am reproducing it here. There were 15 incongruities and 9 black cats. If you click on the photo a new tab will open with the full-size version.

Another new item was the mock up of the castle with cut-away areas showing the different rooms.

Castle mock up:

The tour itself was not as interesting as I remembered it. The guide was a woman and I thought her delivery was boring and that she left many interesting details out. Adriane didn't like her, either, but the guys thought she was OK. They don't allow photographs so there are none of the interior.

We all had to use the bathroom, which is outside and about as far way from the entry as possible. Plan ahead if you have a weak bladder.

We drove from the castle to the restaurant/gift shop and had a quick lunch. It's a cafeteria and the food is decent. I had poached salmon (cold) with a delicious horseradish sauce (that I hoped wouldn't give me a migraine). I don't remember what anyone else had. We had to use two tables so KC and I sat with Martin, and Adriane and Lasha sat with Herb and Elke.

It was cold and windy now, and the walk to the Abbey is about half a mile, so I recommended that Herb and Elke take a Jaunting Car (horse drawn carriage). Adriane and Lashay wanted to join them so KC, Martin and I set off along the path from Muckross House to the Abbey.

Jaunting car with bad weather protection:

This photo of Killarney National Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The walk was invigorating and as beautiful as I remembered it but many of the trees appeared to be damaged including one enormous one that had fallen over completely.

We arrived at the Abbey long before the Jaunting Car did and had plenty of time to walk around. I got a good picture of the yew tree in the courtyard and the diagram of the age of each section. They continue to restore and the bell tower is now open. The bell tower roof has been restored (wood) and there is a slate roof over the corridor surrounding the courtyard.

Yew tree in courtyard and legend:

The Jaunting Car has a roof, plastic windows, and copious blankets, so they were warm and cozy. They also got to see the Torc waterfall which KC and I have never seen. Adriane said the waterfall was the best part of the day for her. I don't have any pictures so here's one from the park's website:

Torc waterfall pictures from Zicasso website:

We wanted to be back in Dingle for our 7pm dinner reservation and had a little time to kill so we drove up to Lady's View before returning home. Although it was now rush hour traffic wasn't too bad and we made good time.

Lady's View:

We got in a little early but went to the restaurant anyway. The new space is HUGE! There was a big wedding party on the lower level so they seated us upstairs where it was nice and quiet.

We started with beverages – beer for KC, Martin, and Herb; Prosecco for Elke, Stonewell cider for me, and Coke for Adraine and Lashay. For starters we all had salad of some sort. For dinner KC and Martin had steak (sirloin?), Elke and Herb had chicken, Lashay had pasta with shrimp and salmon, Adriane had Thai chicken curry and I had Thai vegetarian curry. I think. That's all I have pictures of. For dessert Lashay had creme brulee and didn't care for it. Elke ordered the pear and almond tart and enjoyed it. I ordered the cheesecake and it was delicious - light and creamy.

Dinner at Grey's Lane Bistro

It was a long day but a very good one! We drove back to the cottage and were in bed before midnight.

Hike behind Blasket Center, Clogher Beach, Top Gear in Dingle, Risotto, Concert at Siopa Ceiol

Wednesday, November 7

We left at 10:00am today for the Blasket Center. Herb and Elke wanted to finish exploring it, and the rest of us wanted to hike the trail so we dropped Herb and Elke at the door and started up the looooong road to the top. We ran into one group of schoolgirls on that road but no one else the rest of the way. Lashay was able to keep up with the rest of us and even climbed the rock pile (seen in the picture above). Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this adventure!

We met Herb and Elke in the Blasket Cafe around noon and had lunch there.

On our way home we stopped at Clogher Beach.

We drove into Dingle to pay for our concert tickets and restock our food provisions. We parked by the Farmer's Market and walked up to Main Street to stop at the bank. There were a bunch of people in front of Dingle Pub waiting for the Top Gear crew to arrive. KC had heard they would be in town today and wanted to stay as well. So, we waited. And waited, and waited, and waited! Finally, the Garda said it would be at least an hour so we left.

Herb and Elke had gone into Paul Geaney's Pub to wait so we joined them there and decided to split up - KC would go to Dingle Crystal to say hello to Sean and we'd go on the Garvey's. When we passed Dingle Crystal KC was still there so we nipped in. When we left, KC raced on ahead of us and we assumed he was going to Garvey's. When we got there he was nowhere to be found. We lost Martin somehow, too. So, I called KC and discovered that he had gone to the music shop to pay for our tickets and was on his way. It took him forever!

Top Gear at Dingle Distillery.

We hurried home so Adriane would have time to fix dinner before we had to leave for the convert. While she was cooking, Brian stopped by to take us to see the ponies so we piled in the car and followed him to Dunquin. Lashay and I hand-fed them carrots, played with Petra's two King Charles Spaniels, and then returned home. Brian told us the Top Gear folks were supposed to pass by the cottage later that day and the neighbor would drive his sheep behind their car. We were worried they would prevent us from getting to the concert but they were nowhere to be seen when we left at 6:30.

Adriane's dinner was delicious - risotto with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and peas, and garlic bread. We opened the bottle of wine Phil had left for us, a tasty red from France, and savored it with the meal. When the wine was gone, the guys shared a bottle of beer Martin had recommended - Hobgoblin, a red ale from the UK. We're hoping it's available in the US.

We got to the music shop just before 7 and grabbed our seats in the first row. The shop cat jumped up on Elke's lap and stayed there until the music started. The performers tonight were a woman we'd never seen before, Rosie Mackenzie from Cape Breton, on the violin/fiddle and Matt Griffon on guitar. She was amazing! She played so fast I couldn't get a picture that wasn't blurry. She also sang.

At half-time we took a 30 minute break and they served us Irish coffee - the best one I've had this trip. We watched Dara make it: he put a good sized spoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of decaf coffee granules into the glass, filled it half full with hot water and stirred to dissolve the sugar. Right before serving he poured in 1 ounce of Bushmills and then filled the top with shipped cream. Delicious!

After the break, Theresa Horgan played one tune on the flute with Michael accompanying her on the accordion, and then she sang one song with Matt accompanying her. I love her voice! It's so haunting. She then joined Matt and Rosie for one instrumental and one vocal. After the concert I bought one of each of their CDs and can't wait to listen to them.

After the concert they were all going over to John Benny's, and we wanted to join them, but it would have been too late for Lashay so we went home. We were peckish so we set out some bread, cheese and cold cuts.

Star Wars, Aquarium, Shopping in Dingle, lunch at Benner's, Cruach Mhartain, drive to Shannon Airport

Thursday, November 8

Today was a very important day - we were going to drive as close as possible to the Star Wars set and see if we could get some pictures. There were NO TRESSPASSING signs everywhere and KC refused to drive up to the gate, where we would have been stopped anyway, so he pulled over as close as he was willing to go and we hopped out and took as many pictures as we could.

Fortunately it was a nice day and I was able to get fairly close with the zoom on the camera. This was the first time on this trip that I wished we'd brought the big camera. Oh well. If you compare the shots below to the one at the top of the page, taken when we first arrived, you can see that they continue to build huts. KC thinks Luke is training Jedi knights up there.

The Star Wars VIII set being built on Sybil Head:

We reluctantly tore ourselves away and proceeded on to Dingle. We had promised Lashay she would see the acquarium so KC parked by the Framer's Market and we split up: the guys took Lashay to the acquarium and took the ladies shopping in Dingle. This was the first time I'd been shopping in Dingle on a Sunday and I had assumed everything would be open since the weekend is a busy time for them (and I know the music shop IS open). Well, I was wrong. MANY stores were NOT open!

Some of them were, so they got our business. Adriane bought a few souvenirs and Elke and I looked at others but didn't buy anything. We stopped in Lisbeth Mulcahy where I bought a few greeting cards. Elke did point out some gorgeous lavender bags in Holden, which was closed. If I buy anything this trip it will be one of those bags.

Once Adriane had her fill of shopping we started looking for a place to grab a bite. I called KC and he said they needed another 20 minutes - the acquarium was much bigger than it looks. We were right by Benners so we went in for a coffee while we waited for the guys. When they arrived we decided to stay for lunch even though the table was too small. When the food arrived, Martin took his plate and sat the the next table over. Once again, the food was delicious.

I had fried calamari, Elke had vegetable soup, Herb had lamb (mutton) stew, Adriane and Lashay had fried shrimp, and KC and Martin had spicy chicken on foccacia.

Lunch at Mrs. Benners Bar:

As we were leaving we noticed a sign in the loppy indicating that the chandeliers were made by Sean!

Sean's Chandeliers:

On our way back to the car KC went into Garvey's for bread, kleenix and cold cuts. While we waited for him, Elke and I got ice cream at Murphys Ice Cream two doors down. They had sticky toffee ice cream!! Martin, Adriane and Lashay also got ice cream but across the street (I don't know the name of that place).

When we got back Adriane, Martin and Lashay climbed the hill behind the house while KC set out the cold cuts he'd picked up in Garvey's. We had a long discussion about cheese and the correct way to slice it.

While we were eating, KC remembered a photo we had taken years ago with four generations of his family sitting on the sofa in Herb and Elke's living room. He wanted to recreate that photo now so all the women piled onto the sofa and KC snapped a few pix. They were awful! So, we rearranged ourselves and took some more. There still wasn't one shot where everyone looked good. Here's the best of the bunch:

Four generations of Healy women:

Adriane's flight left from Shannon at 10:15 and they needed to be there 2 hours ahead of time. KC suggested that he and Herb make the drive alone so Elke and I didn't have to spend 5 hours in the car and we agreed. We reluctantly said goodbye and they left the cottage at 6:30. They made good time both ways, traded the big Caddy for a small Peugeot, and were back at 12:00. Elke spent some time packing since they were leaving tomorrow morning. It was sad knowing that the family portion of the vacation was ending.

The Kerry Airport is only 1.5 hours away and their flight left at 12:50am so we had to be on the road at 9:30.

Kerry Airport, lunch at Anchor Down, shopping in Dingle, Holden Leather,

Friday, November 9

We left the cottage at 9:30 and got to the airport early. It's a very small airport with only one check-in counter and it doesn't open until 20 minutes before the flight. Herb and Elke told us we didn't have to hang around but we were interested in what the airport had to offer so we waited until the restaurant opened at 11am. While we waited, we looked at the pictures on the wall and saw one of Ted Kennedy in the filed behind our cottage!

Ted Kennedy behind cottage:

Nicole and Tom on Main Street in Dingle:

The restaurant was quite nice for such a small place. Herb and KC both had Guinness, Elke had coffee and I had a latte. Since it's impossible to get cream with coffee, the best way for me to get something I like is to order either latte or cappuchino. Cappuchino has more foam, latte has more milk, so I order a latte if possible.

Elke had a sandwich, KC had an eclaire, and I had a scone. KC said the éclair was very good but my scone was a bit on the dry side. Unfortunately, I think that's standard for scones. Perhaps that's why Dara doesn't like them.

Restaurant in Kerry Airport:

When we finished our snack, we said goodbye, and returned to Dingle. We decided to do our souvenir shopping today since half the day was over. We started at the music shop and bought tickets for Tuesday's house concert. Then, we had lunch at Anchor Down, fried cod for both of us, and it was again delicious. The batter is so light and crispy. I d idn't eat the chips but KC said they had no grease flavor. We shared a glass of Chilean sauvignon blanc that was also very good.

Lunch at Anchor Down:

After lunch, we went into Strand House where KC bought a hat to replace the one he lost last year. Next, we stopped at Lisbeth Mulcahy for a scarf for KC. Her scarves are beauriful but they're delicate and after one season they're covered with snags so we buy a new one every year. After that, we stopped in Dingle Crystal and ordered a small pitcher and two roly poly glasses. Adam told us the Dingle Whiskey Society was hosting a whiskey tasting Thursday night at Dick Mack's so we bought two tickets. Supposedly, they hold a tasting on the 3rd Thursday of every month.

We went to Garvey's for dinner provisions and stopped in Holden to look at the lavender bags. The color was still gorgeous but I was reluctant to buy another tote bag since I have so many already and rarely use them. They didn't have any smaller bags but suggested we stop at the workshop and have one custom made. So, we did.

Conor was there and helped me design the perfect bag! It will be lavender leather with a lavender croc flap. The flap will be lined in purple suede, the interior in lime suede. There will be two zipper pockets, two slip pockets, a pocket for my salt packets, and two clips for keys. A matching notebook will fit in the back pocket. I took a picture of the order sheet to remind me what will be arriving in about 6 weeks:

Custom purse order:

Back in the cottage, we decide to chill out tonight. KC started a load of laundry and was reading (sleeping?) on the sofa, and I was doing crosswords, when Sharon showed up! We invited her in, broke out the whiskey, beer, cider, cheese and crackers and talked until after 1:00am! She is an amazing woman: she works with mentally challenged people who are living in a community home. She's also very funny and had us roaring with laughter on more than one occasion. We hope she stops by every time we visit.

Drive to Glenlo Abbey via Foynes Flying Boat Museum, Dinner in Abbey Pub

Foynes Flying Boat Museum
Glenlo Abbey Hotel

Saturday, November 10

I got up at early today and threw everything into our two cases not caring whether they were balanced weight-wise or that everything was roperly folded. I can sort that out on Sunday before we fly home. For now, I just need to get everying packed and into the car. For breakfast I had some of the spinach I'd cooked last Thrsday and the yolks of the two eggs Niall had brought over yesterday. They were delicious!

We had hoped to be out by 10am but we didn't have to because we knew there was no one else coming to the cottage until Tuesday. At 11am I called Phil and told her we were ready to settle up with her. She came right over and we chatted for half an hour then left at 11:48 for Dingle. We stopped at the music shop to say goodbye to Dara and Michael and were on the road to Foynes Flying Boat Museum at 12:30.

The museum was open until 5pm so we had lunch in their café first. The food was very basic – I had the quiche which was overcooked and very dry – and KC had a club sandwich that looked better than my quiche and he said it was tasty. He also had a cup of coffee.

Lunch at Foynes Flying Boat Museaum

The museum, on the other hand, was phenomenal! We spent about an hour there and enjoyed every minute of it. You start out with a short film on the history of flying boats which includes old footage of them actually taking off and landing. Since I never even knew they existed, I was fascinated. There are several rooms with equipment and costumes – old radios, stewardess unforms, and some wreakage remains. The museum is located in Foynes because that is the port they flew in and out of. The museum is in the old terminal and you can go up into the old control tower.

One of the most interesting parts of the museum is the replica that you can tour. Only 14 of these planes were built and all of them have been scrapped or destroyed so the museum built a full scale replica. It's amazing how big and spacious the interior is. Imagine a plane as big as a 737 that only seats 36 people. Passengers had a 14-seater dining room with linen tablecloths, crystal glasses and a full waiter service. About 300 lbs of food would be loaded for a transatlantic flight with all the food prepared by two stewards. Passengers would find their shoes cleaned and polished overnight and each passenger had a bed to sleep in during the flight. This was essential as some of the flights were 17 hours long.

Foynes Flying Boat Museaum

We left the museum and continued to Galway then on to Glenlo Abbey . I called the Abbey to inquire how to reserve a time for dinner and was told that they had made a reservation for us for 9pm that night. I asked if we could change it to tomorrow night and they agreed so I requested a 7:00pm reservation. We were both relieved that we didn't have to suit up for a formal dinner minutes after checking in.

We didn't hit traffic until we were about a mile away when is screeched to a stop. A few cars would periodically come from the opposite direction and then nothing for several minutes. As we crept forward, we realized there was some kind of roadworks in progress that was limiting the road to one direction only.

Then, while we were waiting, 3 ambulances, 2 fire trucks and several Garda drove past us with their sirens blaring. So now, not only did we have road works, we had an accident. A few minutes later, we came upon a funeral that must have just ended because there were about 20 cars parked in front of a roadside church with people milling around and all those cars trying to reenter traffic.

Talk about a perfect storm! Roadworks, an accident, and a funeral. We were about 1 mile away from the Abbey and couldn't get there! When we finally made it up to the signal controlling the roadworks we saw that it was cycling every 200 seconds, or every 3.3 minutes. We assumed that someone had ignored the signal and caused a head-on collision. We proceeded with caution but got to the end of the roadworks without ever seeing an accident.

Traffic tie-up:

The entrance to the Abbey was at the end of the roadworks. We pulled in and drove around to the parking area behind the main entrance. Check-in was a breeze and we were given a room around the corner from reception. We had requested a room with a grounds view and were given one with a lake view so we thought we'd been given a free upgrade. Granted, the room looked out on the parking area, but beyond that was the lake. More on that later.

Glenlo Abbey :

The room itself was very nice. We had a king size bed with Egyptian cotton bedding, a large closet with a minibar and safe, and a marble bathroom with a large shelf over the sink and a shower. The bed in the picture below looks rumpled because KC flopped down on it as soon as we entered, before I had a chance to take pictures.

Our room:

Because we were so close to where we had parked the car, we brought our bags up ourselves. While hanging up our clothes for tomorrow night, I discovered a door stop embedded in the rug that I managed to stub my toe on EVERY time I hung something up. This was EXTREMELY ANNOYING! After a while, it annoyed KC, too. Strike one against this otherwise elegant hotel.

We checked out the three restaurants and settled on the pub in the basement because it was the most casual, with stone walls and subdued lighting. KC ordered a Guinness and I asked for an irish coffee. I had a slight caffeine withdrawal headache. For dinner he had a hamburger and I had salmon and shrimp on toast. Both were delicious even though KC's bun fell apart and he had to eat his burger with a fork. For dessert he had some kind of mousse with meringue and I had chocolate cake with brown bread ice cream.

Dinner in Glenlo Abbey Oak Cellar Bar:

We were very tired now and wanted to sleep. However, it was Saturday night and the hotel was REALLY NOISY, both the hallway and the parking lot outside our window. Was there no insulation? Not only that, the parking lot was lit with a huge floodlight that streamed in through our window. The room was warm, so we wanted the window open, but if we closed the drapes to block the light, we also blocked the air; and, we prevented the sun from waking us up in the morning. Opening the drapes as far from the light as possible shone the light directly on our heads; opening them away from our heads led a huge amount of light into the room. We no longer felt like we'd gotten an upgraded room. In fact, we probably won't come back here.

We both finally fell asleep, much later than we had hoped to.

Return Home

Sunday, November 11

Our flight left at 11:40am, so we needed to be there at 9:40 and wanted to leave 2.0 hours for the trip due to the construction just outside the hotel. In order to leave at 7:40 we would need to have breakfast at 6:30 and they didn't start serving until 7:00 so we elected to skip breakfast even though it was included in our package.

We got up at 6:30, dressed quickly, and KC settled our bill while I closed the the suitcases. We were on the road at 7:30. There was no traffic in the roadworks and, although it was raining, very little traffic around Galway. The rain produced a rainbow - was this good sign or a bad one? We got the the airport at 8:00am which meant we could take our time with everything.

There was no one in the checkout line which was a good thing. Our seats were no longer in the row we had originally booked, and that row was now taken, so the agent moved us to the premium seats in the back near the lavatories. She gave us the window and middle seats. Security hss been a bit of a problem for KC on this trip because they keep asking him to remove his laptop, which he keeps at the bottom of his carry-on, and his shoes, which lace up. So while our bags go through without incident, it takes him several minutes to put himself back together again. For once, it was not me slowing us down.

We went up to the restaurant and placed our order - full Irish for KC and latte for me. I took my supplements with the banana and walnuts left over from Dingle. We filled out the customs form while we ate and then KC went over and dropped off the VAT documents.

Although it was still very early, we walked over the the customs pre-check area and waited for them to open the doors. It baffles me why they have a second security checkpoint but I'm prepared for it now. While we waited in line for the customs officer, a member of the beagle squad came over to sniff our bags. She liked my carry-on which used to hold the banana and walnuts I ate for breakfast. Beagles have to be the cutest dogs ever!

In the duty free shop, KC bought a bottle of Powers John's Lane Release 12yr Whiskey which had been recommended by several people in Dingle. Awarded 94 points by Whiskey Advocate it's described as "A single pot still release of Powers whisky. It's matured in a combination of bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, and named after the distillery where it was first made, now sadly closed. Very smooth with vanilla, dry spice, chocolate and coffee. There is dark fruit here too, raisins and blackcurrants. A very well balanced whiskey with not a note out of place." I got 4 boxes of Lily O'Brien's Sticky Toffee chocolates.

We boarded as soon as they opened the gate and were pleased that we weren't being bussed to the plane. We stowed our bags and waited to see who had the seat next to me. Two very tall Irish women claimed it and the one across the aisle. Although they seemed to be seasoned travelers, they acted like novices drinking huge amounts of alcohol, fidgeting constantly, and talking non-stop. Being so close to the bathrooms was also a problem - there was a constant steady stream of people lined up outside them. Although I didn't eat or drink anything, I had to use them once and they were disgusting. Next time, we're going to look into flying business class.

I inflated my neck pillow, put on my eyeshade, and fell asleep. KC had lunch (stew) and a snack (chicken sandwich). I woke up right before we landed.

Although we left about 20 minutes late, we landed early, just after 1:00. At Logan airport, the route from the gate to the baggage carrousel is still long and convoluted, and there is only one carrousel for all Aer Lingus flights. Is this a temporary situation or is Are Lingus a low status airline? Our bags took FOREVER to arrive. We were actually worried they had missed the flight even though we weren't the only ones waiting that long. A flight from Dublin arrived about 30 minutes after we did which complicated the situation as there were now twice as many people trying to get at their bags.

About an hour later - yes it took an HOUR to get our bags - we were walking out to our limo. The driver was waiting for us and she was very nice. She also drove very carefully and didn't throw us around, a nice change after two weeks of KC's driving. We will use this company again, Border Limousine . We were in the car at 2:15pm and home at 3:30.

Everything is still brownish here, but our daffodils are up and the apple tree is starting to leaf. There were also two wrens bathing in the bird bath. I was so glad to be home!

KC took a nap right away, showered, and went to bed early. He had to work tomorrow. I had slept on the plane so I forced myself to stay awake unpacking and tidying the house until 11:00pm. I slept until 5:00am and got up as soon as KC left. I spent the day doing laundry and restocking those things that I'd run out of before we left (I don't restock before we leave in case we don't make it home).

I started this webpage Wednesda afternoon, after spending the morning creating the individual pages for the 2015 page. This year, I'll do that task right away. It took me 2.5 days of constant coding to get the page up, and another half a day to create the individual ones. Every year I come home thinking that we didn't do as much as we hoped to, and then discover that we did much more than I remembered. Next year, I really AM going to try and shorten it.

=================================THE END=================================

What follows are notes to myself for next year's trip.

Our wish list, from most to least important:

00. Ruins at base of Conor Pass lookout
01. Climb to the top of Brandon Mountain, Cnoc Breanainn, highest mountain on the peninsula.
02. Climb to the top of Eagle Mountain, Sliabh an Iolair, second highest mountain on Dingle.
03. Ballymaloe Restaurant in County Cork; and, possibly Dun Chathail, the star fort.
04. The Cliffs of Moher and/or the Aran Islands .
05. The other side of Loch a'Duin valley
06. Coumaloughig (Valley of the Lakes) in Feohanagh River Valley
07. the Skellig Islands off the Iveragh Peninsula.
08. Kate Kearney's Cottage in Killarney National Park
09. Ruins at Adare .
10.Walk to the second peak on Great Blasket.

Refund protocol: All the forms I filled out specified "no customs stamp, no refund" and I had seen no place in which to get a customs stamp so I wrote to their Chamber of Commerce and was directed to this WEBSITE (www.revenue.ie) where I discovered that (1) only those goods worth over Euro2000 needed a customs stamp, (2) there are drop boxes inside the terminal where you can place those envelopes to avoid having to send them in and (3) you can have your receipts notarized in the US if you are unable to get a custom's stamp. All of this was good news. Keep in mind that it will take 2-3 MONTHS for your refund to be processed. I got mine two months after we returned.

Link to a universal travel adaptor (this is NOT a voltage converter, only a plug adapter)
Link to Discovery Series Ordnance Survey Maps

Things to do next year:
Call ATT BEFORE we leave next year and sign up for international plan. They're only good for the duration of your trip.

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