B&B vacation in western Ireland

By: Louise Messner
This item appears on page 45 of the July 2018 issue.

Louise and Bob Messner at Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park, Ireland.

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a letter about traveling independently in western Ireland, Sept. 12-20, 2017, utilizing B&B vouchers.

For our second night in Ireland, and still in County Clare (June ’18, pg. 14), my husband, Bob, and I stayed at the comfortable Glasha Meadows B&B (www.glashameadows.com), on the outskirts of Doolin.

Heading to Tralee, we drove by the Cliffs of Moher and toward the Loop Head peninsula, then out to Kilbaha and Killimer, where we took a car ferry over to Tarbert. Running every 30 minutes in September, the Shannon Ferry (www.shannonferries.com) cost $23.

From Tarbert, the town of Foynes was only 15 minutes away, so we decided to go to the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum (www.flyingboatmuseum.com/aviation-museum), a fascinating aviation museum. An excellent introductory movie, “Atlantic Conquest,” had original footage of the Boeing 314 Pan Am Clipper in the ’30s and ’40s, and a full-size replica of the cabin was on site.

Arriving at Ashville House B&B (www.ashvillehousetralee.com) in Tralee for a 2-night stay, we were offered tea or coffee in a very attractive community room by Tim. Our room was very comfortable.

We had dinner at Kirby’s Brogue Inn (Rock Street; thebrogue.ie). The restaurant was quite busy at 6:30 and we were seated upstairs, which was not as attractive as the main dining room. Dinner and drinks for two cost about $55.

An outstanding breakfast in the lovely sunroom at Ashville House included lots of fresh fruit.

Our day was spent touring the Dingle Peninsula. We drove over the Conor Pass — an awesome experience — and spent time exploring the quaint town of Dingle.

The Burren at Black Head, north of Doolin, Ireland. Photo by Louise Messner

Throughout our trip, lunch was usually a warm bowl of soup at a bar or small restaurant.

Before returning to Ashville House, we drove around the Dingle Peninsula to sites such as the Blasket Islands, the beehive huts, the Gallarus Oratory and Slea Head Drive.

Then it was off to dinner at Cassidy’s Restaurant Tralee (16 Abbey Street), and this time we had reservations! Made up of many small dining areas, the restaurant was cozy. Our meal was excellent ($80).

We had debated whether or not to drive the Ring of Kerry tourist route (around the Iveragh Peninsula) and set off for it the next morning. We were disappointed with our decision later due to the amount of tourists and traffic we encountered.

We visited the villages of Sneem and Caherdaniel and enjoyed walking the Derrynane Seashore Nature Trail. We also drove to Portmagee and Valentia Island. It was an interesting (but not outstanding) day.

Our next B&B, for a 2-night stay, was in Kilgarvan, a small town just outside of Kenmare. We were welcomed at Birchwood B&B (www.birchwood-kilgarvan.com) with coffee and tea by Tom, who was immersed in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

It was a match of Gaelic football between counties Mayo and Dublin. It appeared to be a combination of football, soccer and basketball. The scoring was unusual, but Tom patiently explained the game to us. It was very exciting, with Dublin pulling out a win in the last minutes.

In the morning, we were off to the Beara Peninsula. Our first stop was Glengarriff on Bantry Bay, where we purchased tickets for both the Harbour Queen Ferry and admission to the Ilnacullin Garden on Garinish Island (for us seniors, about $28 for two). We saw many wild seals during the short ferry ride and thoroughly enjoyed walking through the woodlands, seeing many exotic species.

After about three hours, we headed to where the cable car left for Dursey Island across Dursey Sound. We reached it after a circuitous route, wondering if we were actually lost!

The old cable car (Ireland’s only cable car) was running and was quite an antique! We did not cross to the island but did spend some time in that spot. There were things to read, etc. This tip of the peninsula was spectacular and not touristy (no traffic).

On our way back to Kenmare, we took Healy Pass, where we saw many sheep grazing by the roadside. Dinner was spent at P.F. McCarthy’s (14 Main St., Kenmare; www.pfskenmare.com). It had a nice ambiance and the food was good. Our dinner cost about $50.

The cable car from the Beara Peninsula to Dursey Island crosses Dursey Sound — southwestern Ireland. Photo by Louise Messner

Our last day was spent driving to Bunratty, just south of Shannon Airport. The scenic route included Moll’s Gap and Ladies View, part of the Ring of Kerry. We stopped in Killarney and then Killarney National Park, where we saw the Torc Waterfall and Muckross House. Our final visit was in the small town of Adare, with its quaint thatched roofs.

We were warmly greeted with coffee and tea by Mary at Gallows View B&B (www.bunratty-gallowsview.com). Dinner was back at Durty Nelly’s (Bunratty West, Co. Clare; www.durtynellys.ie), with reservations this time! It was an excellent meal for $88.

On the morning of Sept. 20, we returned the rental car and flew home. We had enjoyed this trip very much. We got to see just what interested us and were able to take our time. It was nice to just drive along, stop for a view when we wanted and then continue on.

Bob adjusted well to driving on the left-hand side of the road. The Ring of Kerry was taxing, but that was for only one day.

All of the B&Bs we stayed in were very comfortable, but some had larger rooms than others. Breakfasts were substantial and delicious, and the company of other guests was welcome.

LOUISE MESSNER
Warren, VT