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Friday
Sep192003

Macroom to Cashel

After leaving our genial host at Macroom we drove to Blarney Castle. The surrounding parkland was quite nice but I found the castle itself to be a bit of a let down and we didn’t bother joining the large queue to kiss the Blarney Stone

We then continued on to Cork and Cobh (Queenstown). We went around the Titanic display, which was interesting and then went to Cork Goal. We got lost in Cork a few times, there were some major road works and the GPS had one junction slightly wrong.

We left Cork and drove to Cashel, which was quite a long drive and we were glad we knocked it off the next day’s drive. The woman host at our lodgings was a bit regimental with signs on everything, but the accommodation was nice and in a good location for the castle. In the evening we visited a nearby pub for our evening meal and I had a nice steak, a pint of Smithwicks and two pints of Guinness.
Thursday
Sep182003

Newcastle West to Macroom

We left Newcastle West for the Ring of Kerry. The weather was OK at first but then it turned to mist and rain and we didn’t really get to see the sights. We went to Killarney, but decided to carry on towards Cork and stayed at the Fountains just outside Macroom. Nice friendly accommodation, the room wasn’t too bad, but bathroom a bit cramped
Wednesday
Sep172003

Galway to Newcastle West

The next day we left Salthill and drove through Galway and on to the Burren. It’s a rather strange landscape. Went to Aillwee Cave, and then on to a pedestal tomb before we reached the Cliffs of Moher.

On the way to Limerick we paid a flying visit to Bunratty Castle. I quite enjoyed the castle and would have like to spend seom more time there looking around the grounds. We carried on through Limerick and stayed at Newcastle West where our host for the night was Carmel.

She recommended The Mallard restaurant and we went there for our evening meal. We weren’t too impressed by it, one customer complained about the food and walked out. My wife had a bad stomach that night.
Tuesday
Sep162003

Athlone to Galway

After breakfast, an Irish Breakfast and toast, we set off for Knock. We got slightly lost at the start finding the right road. My wife was reading the map as the GPS didn’t have much road data for Ireland. A lot of the time it showed us driving across fields. Not too sure what to make of Knock...

After Knock we stopped for a pub lunch on the way to Connemara. I vaguely remember parts of Connemara from when my parents took me there as a child, probably some 40 years ago. The roads were a bit narrow in places but the views were lovely. I wish I’d stopped more to take photographs.

We eventually arrived at our lodgings for the night - Sailin, Gentian Hill, Salthill, just outside Galway. The lodgings were not as nice as the previous night. I got the feeling that out host, Mary McLoughlin, opened up a bit more to us when she realised we were Manx and not English.

In evening we went into Galway, which to be honest we found a bit boring. We sat on Salthill promenade for a while then returned to lodgings where we left the car and walked back the “The Spinnaker” for evening meal. I enjoyed it, had a couple of Buds, my wife struggled for a vegetarian option as usual. Trish the waitress says if we’re ever back in area then call her for lodgings.
Monday
Sep152003

Isle of Man to Dublin and Athlone

We caught the afternoon Seacat from the Isle of Man to Dublin and arrived in Dublin at about 5pm. The traffic in Dublin was a bit “interesting” and the GPS was invaluable in getting us out of the city and on our way across country to Athlone.

When we arrived at Athlone we had some trouble in finding our guest house but a kind local explained where it was and then showed us in her car. We were staying at Jim & Nancy Denby’s Shelmalier House and found it to be better than we’d expected, with a nice modern room, bathroom and television.

We went back into Athlone town for a brief look around and then had an evening meal in Di Bella for evening meal and used the GPS breadcrumb trail to find our way back to our lodgings.
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