so … we arrived in Dublin after the usual long and uncomfortable flights, and transiting in the giant shopping malls crossed with bureaucratic nightmares that are airports, but managed to catch up on a few good movies so it wasn't all bad (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a hoot). But please Lord, may I never have to transit at Heathrow again.
Now we are just about to leave Ireland after some magical days driving around the west coast. Crab claws and langoustines in Dingle - heaven! the first week of a holiday always lasts the longest, and it seems we have been in Ireland for aeons, among friendly and chatty locals, who always assure us "You're welcome".
|Lobby of Buswells Hotel, Dublin|
|Breakfast at Carluccios|
|Chris drinking Sicilian sangiovese|
|What church is that?|
Then a few days of driving, walking and (of course) photographing and eating on the wonderful west coast - Connemara, the Burren and Dingle peninsula, with a brief dip into the Ring of Kerry. What is wonderful at this time of year is the endless light - the sun doesn't set until almost 10pm, which makes for some late dinners, and the weird feeling of sometimes going to bed when it's still light. The landscapes are of course amazing, endless stone walls and rocky outcrops, ruined cottages and castles among the green green grass that is dotted with sheep. A surprising amount of new development, much of which is built to match older architecture, so you only see close up how the charming village you are approaching is actually a vast new suburban housing estate. Some rather scarily touristy towns, yet others are still charming and authentic with minimal tourism.
|The Burren coast|
Galway is clogged with tourists and traffic detours, so we end up at Roundstone - recommended by our Dublin taxi driver - and it is perfect, a gem of a little fishing village perched on the Connemara coast. We eat salmon and hake in the bar of our hotel overlooking the main street and harbour. Next day we explore the Burren Coast, wild and craggy, down to the Cliffs of Moher, then head inland to avoid the hordes and end up late in Ennis, an attractive medium sized town with a rather upmarket heritage hotel. Chris orders the duckling for dinner, and it comes with three kinds of potato (deep fried threads, mash, chats in cream and butter). Luckily I have ordered only a soup - the ubiquitous chowder - so we manage to demolish it all.
|Ennis main street in the evening|
|Dingle main street|
|Ruin on the Dingle peninsula|
|Dingle crab claws, mmmm|
Back in Dublin we book into the Ferryman Hotel - a pub situated on the river between the city and the wharves. Nice room with view of the Liffey, breakfast and wifi included - it's a bargain. First thing in the morning we find ourselves once again eating eggs, bacon, black pudding - the whole disaster (I am becoming accustomed to skipping lunch altogether). Off we go again - ferry to Wales, then train via Bangor to Glasgow, Saucy-hall St and Gallowgate ;)