After dreaming up a new trip in my last post, “Travel Plans for 2017,” I’ve been quite busy this past month taking the steps to make this dream a reality. I’ve been reserving lodging, renting cars, and planning out a detailed route and itinerary, but…. I haven’t been doing it alone!
A couple of days after I posted my last entry I received a message from a dear friend, Lynne, that I’ve known for many, many years. Like a lot of you, she also ‘follows’ my adventures on my blog and is an avid supporter. (Thank you Lynne!) Recently, after she read about my current dream, she’s exclaimed, “I wanna go!” I’ve inspired someone else to dream; this is cool! So I responded and said, “Welcome aboard Lynne – let’s start dreaming up this trip together then. Now is the perfect time!”
I already had purchased my plane ticket, so she started looking at her calendar & my itinerary to decide where she might be able to dovetail into my roughly sketched plans. A couple of days of checking her calendar, available flights and the like, she announced that she wants to join me right at the onset of the trip. She found a seat at a reasonable price on the same flight (non-stop from San Francisco to Dublin) that I had booked and we’re set!
She also allotted enough time to completely tour Ireland with me – a full 5 weeks! Originally, I had thought about flying over to Amsterdam from Dublin for a couple of weeks but I have decided to save that portion of the dream for next year. I’m going to spend the entire time right there in Ireland touring clockwise around the Emerald Isle with Lynne instead.
We will be taking the same basic route that I took by myself a couple of years ago, revisiting some sights I vowed to return to and adding a few stops I had previously missed. On my previous trip I only allotted 3 weeks time to complete this circuit, but this time we’re tacking on an additional 2 weeks to allow for more exploration and fun. From my first trip to Ireland, I learned that I wanted to spend more time at each place because there are so many things to see and do in each place as well as along the route between each stop.
Below is the route we’ll take (designated in blue) and the places we will stay in overnight lodging (designated by the yellow beds).Quite a route, isn’t it? It’s going to be a lot of fun. We will start out in Dublin (which is barely visible on this map about midway on the east coast of the island. You can just see the “n” in Dublin sticking out on the right.) We will rent a car in Dublin and head south toward our first stop, Glendalough, as we begin our clockwise tour around Ireland & back to Dublin again. This will all transpire from May 10 to June 15th.
The next map view denotes some of the various “sights” we’ll stop to see and admire along our route with a partial list on the legend to the left…. Castles, Abbey’s, pubs, waterfalls, ancient burial mounds of the Irish Celtic nobility! As you can see, we’ve been scouring our guide books for places we don’t want to miss and have placed a marker on the map so we’ll know when we are near one while traveling and don’t accidentally drive past it.Our first stop, Glendalough, is a gem of a place. There is a lovely Youth Hostel there called “The Lodge.” It is nestled in the pleasant green valley right next door to the ancient monastic ruins where the monks created the illustrated Book of Kells during the middle ages.
The view below is taken from Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains above the beautiful valley and Glendalough as seen below.This the “The Lodge” where we’ll be staying for a couple of nights while we explore the ruins and the gorgeous and extensive trail system around the valley and Glendalough lower and upper lakes.
We’ll spend a couple of days and then travel south and west toward Blarney, visiting the Rock of Cashel en route.
We’ll spend the night at the Muskerry Arms Pub and B&B in Blarney. That’s handy! Some friends of Lynne’s are currently touring Spain. Toward the end of their 3 month trip they will also be going to Ireland and plan to do a similar route as ours only in a counter clockwise direction.
Our paths will cross in Blarney. They’ve also booked a room at the same B&B the same night. We’ll have the wonderful opportunity to connect up with them, hear about their travels as they are about to complete their final week of traveling and as we are just getting started on ours! What fun that will be. There will probably be some good craic that night and libations all around. Good thing we will only have to stumble up the stairs afterward!
The following day we’ll make an attempt to kiss the Blarney Stone and be blessed with the gift of eloquent gab. We will also plan on exploring the vast & varied grounds of Blarney Castle afterwards.
We’re hoping to get to the castle early in the morning to get a choice spot in line in what can become a VERY long line that can take a very long time in order to kiss the Blarney Stone. (I didn’t do it the last time I was there because the wait was about 3 hours long and very very boring!)
As you can see the castle is fantastic but the surrounding extensive grounds are equally outstanding to explore.
It will be a full day complete with visiting a Chocolate Shop in town! After that full day schedule we will travel a short distance to the tidy seaside fishing town of Kinsale to spend another couple of nights.
Kinsale is a delightful town, full of color, charm and hospitality around every turn. There are all kinds of wonderfully delightful pubs to whet your whistle in and where you can catch some foot-stomping traditional Irish music too!
There is a wonderful waterfront to stroll along with all kinds of fascinating and whimsical things to admire…
Great places to eat freshly caught seafood prepared to perfection…
and if it’s shopping you’re looking for, Kinsale has a plethora of shops to choose from up and down the twisting, turning and colorful lanes of town!
Kinsale even has a Castle and a nearby fort!
To finish off the first week Lynne and I will travel next to another lovely little village, Kenmare, stopping along the way to stop & smell the roses at the Garnish Island Gardens.
That takes care of just the first week! Wow! We still have four more to go!
On my next post, which will be following soon, I will share the plans we have for the next week – starting in Ballinskelligs and visiting the famous Michael Skelligs island; a Christian monastery founded on the island at some point between the 6th and 8th century which remained continuously occupied until it was abandoned in the late 12th century. The remains of the monastery, and most of the island, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.