John F

Ireland & Scotland 2013

This is a page detailing Carla and I's trip to Ireland and Scotland in August of 2013.

Friday, August 16 - Santa Fe to Shannon

The trip started out of good ol' Santa Fe, with the ususal 5am drive to Albuquerque to catch the plane. Then we had the fun adventure of catching up on our airport advertisements in Altanta, and then again in New York. Finally we boarded a plane to Shannon, Ireland at 9 that night and away we went.

Saturday, August 17 - Galway

We arrived at around 9 am (5.5 hour flight with the time change) in Shannon, Ireland. It was Green! For those of us from places where green includes shades of brown, this was kind of a thing. After getting a latte from a woman who pressed a button on a machine, we took the bus to Galway, a city to the northwest of Limerick. We found our B&B, Prague house, and were able to put down our stuff and head into town. The main street for pubs and such is High street. It runs roughly southwest to northeast and follows the same path it did in the 1600's. It is a great place to walk around and check out all the stores and restaurants. We found a farmer's market in the area and Carla grabbed a falafel while I had a sausage. Then we came back to our B&B and attempted to butcher a charging plug adapter we had picked up at the store. I had forgotten one at the house so we were down to one for the computer, cell phone and both the kindles. Next time I am just bringing a power strip. The nice lady who ran the B&B pulled out a tin full of adapters and just gave us one. It was pretty cool. We went back into town after a jet lag nap and found a place called, "Vina Mara". It was a nice restaurant for our first dinner in Ireland. The food was great, afterwards we took a walk along the port and checked out the spanish arch on our way back to the B&B to enjoy the rest of our evening.

Sunday, August 18 - The Aran Islands

In the morning, we woke up and had a wonderful breakfast with Mary and Charlie of Prague House B&B, they served a great traditional breakfast that lasted us until dinner. We packed up and headed to the bus stop for Aran Island Ferrys. It turns out that Galway is not the preferred port and rather a port on the northwest corner of Galway Bay is where we departed from. The ferry took us to our next destination, Inis Meain Island. Here we followed the Lub Dun Fearbai trail to our next B&B, An Dun (On Duun as pronounced). We were served a cup of tea and biscuts, then we set out on a walking tour of the island. Our route didn't follow the whole Dun Fearbhi loop, but it did cover the Dun Fearbhi ruins and the far side of the island. Carla was in search of a wool sweater and we tried our best to find one before they closed at 3 on sunday, but to no luck. After missing out, we stopped in at the local pub for a commiseration on the unobtainment of the sweater and a vow that tomorrow is another day. Then on the way back we checked out the Dun Chonchuir ruins which have been in place since before 0 A.D. They were a pretty interesting example of what kind of structures the ancient irish built in and lived around. We had a relaxing rest of the afternoon followed by a great 3 course dinner at An Dun. It turns out that there are about 4 posters of "The cripple of Innishman" hanging in the common room at An Dun, the owner has been trying to get her hands on each run of the show and is working on getting a London copy of the version with Daniel Radcliffe now.

Monday, August 19 - The Cliffs of Moher

Off to the cliffs of Moher! We started our day with a great breackfast at An Dun. Then we were able to get to the sweater shop when it opened at 10. Carla bought a button up black wool sweater, her excitement was hard to keep contained. We caught the Aran2Doolin ferry and arrived in Doolin around 1:45. After getting to Twin Peaks B&B, we met the very friendly host Sinead O' Conner (no relation). We then found some lunch at O Conner's Pub and caught a bus to the Cliffs. The sky was very tempermental and we had a couple run-ins with rain, but the view was still worth it. After spending a little time at the Cliffs, we decided to walk the 5 miles back to town instead of waiting until 7:15 for the next bus. It was a great cliffside walk back and despite the sore feet, worth it. We saw spectacular cliffs, a wild ocean, some great salt spray gysers, and even a castle. We finished out the evening back at O Conner's pub eating dinner and listening to some live local music, it was a lot of fun.

Tuesday, August 20 - Killarney and Ross Castle

Our tuesday started out much earlier than Carla or I would have liked. We had breakfast at 7:30 and caught the bus to Killarney at 8am. Part of why we caught it is that Sinead actually got us breakfast early and drove us to the bus station. She was a gem. The bus trip started from Doolin and we switched in Ennis and Limerick before arriving at Killarney at 1pm. We got our tickets for the next day's "ring of Kerry" at the Bus Tour office, then walked the 1.25 miles to our B&B. After droppoing off our stuff, we were treated by our host to some tea and scones. We set out and headed for Ross castle. The castle and grounds were impressive, but I was more interested in the copper mines used by the early irish from 2400-2200 B.C. It was interesting learning how the bronze age inhabitants used Ross island as a mine for copper. Carla had fun in the wind! We headed back to the B&B, then after a bit, went to town for some dinner. We had done some searching on the internet and found a Indian food place called Usmania. It was good but mild. I finally got annoyed and ordered their hottest dish extra hot, and it was just what I wanted. Carla did some window shopping on the way back and I managed to lose the key to our room. We will be keeping a close eye out on our way back tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 21 - Ring of Kerry

The morning came and we had a nice breakfast at Ross Castle Lodge B&B. It was good and we were well fed for the mile trek (the key never showed up)to our next adventure. We used Deros Tours and got a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry. It started off with a run through of the important features of Killarney itself. Including the St. Mary's Cathedral. A 200+ ft stone building built between 1842 and 1861. It was quite a sight. To be finished: We moved out of town and across the countryside, passing "Puck", for a good warm coffee with Bailey's. One of the highlights of the day was an Irish dog sheep herding demonstration! We saw views of Dingle Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the silent valley, the Ladies view, the Gap of Dunloe and general beutiful scenery. Came home and had dinner at a pub. The nachos were terrible, but the sea food was tasty. We walked through Killarney park on the way home.

Thursday, August 22 - Killarney to Dublin

The day started out with a very nice breakfast to the Ross Castle Lodge B&B followed by a mad dash to the train station. We made it by less than 3 minutes! Dublin here we come. Upon arival, we caught the bus to our corner of the city and found our hotel. We went to the National Gallery walked to Temple Bar Trinity College, Hotel, Walk, Merrion park, food at mamas revenge, national art museum, other big park, temple bar, badass cafe, oconnely's?, walk home and nice little pub, lincoln inn hotel complaint list, scratchy sheets or no top sheet, short shower, no free wifi, impersonal staff, badly lit bathroom, etc.

Friday, August 23 - Dublin

To be edited:Woke up nice and late. got breakfast at an insomnia cafe, downloaded Guiness walking tour, Walked from hotel to St. James gate, ate lunch in guiness. Had pint at the sky bar. Found Oscar Wilde. Dublin castle on the way back, dinner at the Lincoln Inn. Pretty good fish and chips.

Saturday, August 24 - Dublin to Edinburgh - The Fringe festival - Day 1

Our day started off with a very early pack up and leave of our hotel. We were out the door and walking to the bus by 7 am. The bus station location was still a little fuzzy and we ended up almost missing the bus. The nice driver let us in at the light after the stop because we ran so convincingly. After getting to the airport, we were well prepared for a long wait getting through security and checking in, we were done by 8:05 for a 10 am flight. The plane was actually the first turboprop commercial airline I had ever flown on, go Aeir Lingus. When we arrived, we walked right through customs and didn't even get a cool stamp for our passports. We made it to downtown Edinburgh and were met by Carla's firend Lauren who had come up from London to go the the festival with us. We managed to get two shows for Saturday, 4 for Sunday and 2 for Monday. The two we saw saturday were Your Problem with Men/ Luna Unlaced and 1000 Suns


Monday, August 26 - Edinburgh - The Fringe festival - Day 3

Today was the shopping day, Carla and lauren went out while I hid out and worked on some updating of the blog. After they came back, sans empty hands, we made our way to a tasty lunch at mother india cuisine. It was a India tapas place and was great. We then saw a play called Banky: The room in the Elephant, then we came back and watched some street performances and bid farewell to lauren, her visit was very much appreciated. We caught one more show called voices in the night before having our first night in since we arrived.

Tuesday, August 27 - Edinburgh - Castles and Royal Miles

We slept in again, and eventually managed to make our way to the royal mile for a guided tour. Tour highlights Greyfriars, Writers Museum, Deacon Brody, Bobby the Dog, Harry Potter refences, Elephant House. Castle of Scotland.

Wednesday, August 28 - The National Museum of Scotland

Carla slept in while I ventured out into the wee hours of the morning (8am) and got information on getting out of town. We had discussed renting a car and decided that it made more sense to get on a tour bus. We found a small tour company around the corner that does tours of Loch Ness, Stirling, Isle of Skye etc. I tried to get something set up for Isle of Skye, but there was too short of notice. Instead we decided on two day trips. One to see the Highlands, Loch Ness, Glencoe and the lands on the way. The other to cover Loch Lomond Park and Sterling Castle. The only reason we didn't add a Saturday tour as well is our prompt (6am) departure from Scotland on Sunday. We are planning on getting to Holyrood and Arthur's seat that day.

Thursday, August 29 - The Isle of Skye Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands

The morning was a quick series of getting up and our to catch our bus. We left at 8 am and headed out of Edinburgh towards Sterling. After passing through town, we made our way northwest and stopped in a town called Callendar. Next came Benderloch, then Fort Willams and then Fort Augustus and the tip of the Loch Ness. Back down through Perth and home to Edinburgh.

Friday, August 30 - Scotland - Loch Lomond Park and Sterling Castle

Our morning started out late, we left at 9:30 for Sterling castle. It is much more of a castle than the Edinburgh castle. The Sterling castle has been the home of Mary, Queen of scots among others. It was very cool seeing all the work that has been done to restore it. We then worked our way over to lunch in Aberforth. Next we moved on to Loch Lomond and had a great walk along the lake (loch).

Saturday, August 31 - Scotland - The Holyrood and Arthur's Seat

Before we left, I scouted out a place to rent a bicycle as I was worried that the walk around Arthur's Seat was going to be quite a journey. I found a place around the corner that had bicycles for rent. Carla is not as avid a cyclist as I am and I suggested that we try a tandem bike so I can deal with the steering and help with the balance. She wearily agreed and we had a great time working our way down to the hill that is Aruthr's seat. As we started to ascend the hill, the chain on the bike snapped. We pushed it up and found a group that had a pair of pliers. With a little paticence and determination, I was able to get us us a working bike for the loop around the hill. We stopped at a little lake and trekked up to the top of arthur's seat for a 360 degree view of edingburgh. After that we carfully worked our way back down to holyrood and took in an exhibit on Leonardo Da Vinci at the Queens Gallery. On our way back out for adventure the chain failed again and we pushed the bike back to the shop. All in all, it was a good time and I was very happy to get Carla on a bicycle.

Sunday, September 1 - Edinburgh to Santa Fe - The long voyage home OR How we spent our one year anniversary