We've just got back from a short trip to Ireland, we flew Ryanair which was economical enough and comfortable enough for a short hop. Unfortunately 'budget' translated once or twice into brusqueness, which was unwelcome. I was told to remove headphones (I hadn't heard the announcement) - not asked, told, and people getting on the plane were continually nagged to take seats, despite all moving pretty quickly and not blocking others. At one point the announcement began something like 'once again...' (despite the people standing not having been on the plane for the previous announcement). It was all rather whiny - it was ineffective as nobody could move any faster, and the people who were moving hadn't been on the plane to hear the earlier announcement. I don't understand why the budget airlines like Ryanair and Easyjet have a 'free for all' seating system, I can't see how it would shave anything off their boarding times.
We flew out on Saturday, into Cork from Gatwick, and drove to Killarney, staying at the SunnyBank Bed and Breakfast. I found the drive rather tiresome, but we found it with no problems. The manager/owner(?), a guy by the name of Brendon, is very helpful, and every morning he makes a point of talking to each of his guests and making suggestions for their activities that day.
For our first evening we walked into town and went into 'Murphy's Bar', where we had Guinness (which does seem to taste different in Ireland) and food. Irish Stew for Monica, a Beef and Guinness casserole for me. Excellent stuff, and good value.
On Sunday, it was time to head out. We began by driving toward Muckross on the Ring of Kerry, and visited the traditional farm centre at Muckross House. It was a heritage day when we went, so entry only cost us €1.
From there we went to the Torc waterfall, very nice, if a bit busy.
The road began to climb, and we soon found ourself at "Ladies' View". There is a tearoom here, and it's quite popular so there was nowhere to stop. Fortunately about 100m up the road there is an area where parking is much easier.
We continued on, and left the Ring of Kerry for a while, taking a right fork for the direct road to Sneem. Along this road is a pancake café called 'The Strawberry Field'. They also sell garden ornaments, sculptures, paintings and trivets. I can recommend their bacon and leek pancakes, Monica took the salmon and sour cream.
Rejoining the Ring of Kerry at Sneem, a very colourful little place, we continued our drive, stopping briefly at Waterville, mostly in order to find an ATM (in a little supermarket), and then completed the loop driving back to Killarney - it was getting late.
In the evening we headed out for some food and music. We wandered around a little, and considered eating in the 'Danny Mann' at the Best Western, but when we said we probably only wanted a light bar snack we were directed to the bar there, which didn't feel very nice at all (the connecting restaurant looked good). We ended up at a place called 'The Granary' (speakers off, annoying music on the webpage), the food was really good, but there was no music on that night. The service wasn't great at the Granary - it started off good, but as the evening dragged on, we seemed to be forgotten about. In the end I had to go hunting for a waiter to settle the bill.
We went in search of music, and a few doors up from Murphy's bar we found a pub on a corner, there was a sidestreet and a stage had been set up there, with lots of people sitting on tables which had been set out. All good stuff.
On Monday we had a slow start, going into the Killarney Outlet Centre. There were some real bargains here, I got a good jumper (no, not Aran style!) for €9, I also got a decent fleece for about €29;. It was fairly late afternoon before we headed out 'for real', driving toward the Dingle Peninsula. We went up to Tralee and then took the road toward Dingle going over the Connor Pass.
The peninsula is really spectacular, and the Connor Pass affords some really good views, at places the driving is a little hairy.
Back in Dingle we took our evening meal in Paudie's bar at the Dingle Bay Hotel, again, very good food, but I was driving and so had to save the Guinness for later, I had to watch Monica drink hers. We had to leave to drive back to Killarney, and so didn't have the advantage of the musicians which started to play in the bar. Unfortunately for me, we arrived in Killarney rather tired and fell asleep promptly, and so the final Guinness was Monica's.
The next morning we flew home. At the airport there a sign saying there was a caf´/bar through the security in the gate area. Great, I thought, a final Guinness while I wait for the plane. Unfortunately it didn't serve Guinness - and there was a big glass window which let me see through to the pre-security area, where there was a real bar which served Guinness. Ah well.
The plane did a worrying swerve on landing, they must have had a trainee in the cockpit!