Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wild Atlantic Way...a preview of my Irish trip

 KLM to Amsterdam

And Samsonite...

Aer Lingus to Dublin
 I will be spending a week in Ireland.
This is the itinerary...
but I hope to be posting on a daily basis once I am there.

Dublin Airport.

Depart for Ballyvaughan, Co Clare.

Burren Steps and Bites!

Lunch in Cathleen Connole’s Burren Fine Wine & Food highlighting the best of local produce. 
Corkscrewhill Road
Tina O’Dwyer of Burren Ecotourism to join? Meet guide here? 
A guided walking tour of the majestic, rocky Burren in North Clare with expert local guide Mary Howard of Burren Guided Walks.  The walk is easy - two hours long with the high point being the visit to a remarkable monastic site and pilgrimage station. Highlights include a rich complex of penitential stations, holy wells, rare reliquary shrines and an Early Medieval chapel with subsequent Romanesque ornamentation - all set in a remote, secluded valley. The Burren's famous limestone pavement and wildflowers also of course feature prominently during the walk.

Dinner Barrtra Seafood Restaurant, Lahinch

Overnight Lahinch Golf Hotel 

Visit the Cliffs of Moher Centre
The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of up to one million visitors every year.  Standing 214m (702 feet) at their highest point they stretch for 8 kilometres (5 miles) along the Atlantic coast of County Clare in the west of Ireland.

Cliff Walk from Cliffs of Moher Centre to Doolin (086 8229913)
A 3-hour walk along a graveled path, always with the sound of the ocean in your ears and spectacular scenery for the eyes.  Tough for the first ten minutes or so with an uphill climb, but downhill after that.  Suitable footwear is essential and raingear recommended.  Our guide, Pat Sweeney, is passionate about the preservations of a rural lifestyle enjoyed by five generations of this family who have farmed in this area.  Web:

Lunch in Doolin. Gus O’Connors

Doolin Cave
The Great Stalactite at Doolin Cave is the longest free-hanging stalactite 
  in the Northern Hemisphere and is a stunning underworld wonder.  

Depart for Lisdoonvarna where we will visit the Burren Smokehouse

have a Bodhran (traditional Irish instrument) demonstration.

Craft beer tasting and dinner in the Roadside Tavern.

Overnight Lahinch Golf Hotel

Loop Head 
The Loop Head peninsula on the west coast of Co Clare juts into the Atlantic Ocean like a gnarled finger pointing westward.  It is bounded on the north and west side by the Atlantic ocean and on the south by the River Shannon estuary with barely one mile of land saving it from island status meaning it has one of the highest ratios of coastline to land surface in Ireland. 
 It is in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way a 2,500km of finest coastal scenery in Ireland.

Depart Kilrush for Scattery Island
Located approximately one mile off Kilrush, Scattery Island is home to a monastic settlement founded in the early 6th century by St Senan who was born locally.  There are the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland, 120 feet high, with the unusual feature of a door at ground level.  Scattery has had many invasions down through the centuries; the Vikings invaded during the early 9th century but Brian Boru later recaptured the island.  It is believed that Scattery is a derivation of the Norse word for treasure, which is Scatty.

Depart Scattery Island for Kilrush

Take the car ferry across the Shannon Estuary to Co. Kerry

Dinner in Finnegan’s Wine Cellar, Tralee, Co. Kerry 

Siamsa Tíre in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland celebrates Irish culture 
and is home to the National Folk Theatre of Ireland.  
This year they are celebrating their 40th Anniversary.

Overnight Manor West Hotel Tralee

Guided heritage walk of Tralee
Visit Tralee Wetlands
Tralee Bay Wetlands and Nature Reserve is a site of considerable international importance. It covers some 2500 ha (8,000 acres) and stretches from Tralee town westwards to Fenit Harbour and Cloghane, encompassing Tralee Bay, Brandon Bay and the Magharees Peninsula.
Depart for Fenit Harbour for half hour boat ride to Brandon
Visit Brandon & Cloghane, Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry

1pm  Lunch at Brandon Pier followed at 1.45pm by a short walk around Brandon

2.15 Arrive O’Donnells, Cloghane – for a quick intro on the history of Cloghane and Brandon

Tintean Cheoil with local schools kids (could we do a dancing lesson do you think?)

Depart for Annascaul and visit the South Pole Inn.
Annasacaul is the birthplace of famous Antartic explorer Tom Crean (1877-1938).  Crean enlisted in the British Royal Navy at the age of 15.  He was a member of Captain Scott’s race to reach the South Pole lost to Roald Amundsen, and ended in the deaths of Scott and his polar party.  He was also second officer on the Endurance under Ernest Shackelton.  After the ship became trapped in the packed ice and sank, he spent months drifting on the ice and undertook an open boat journey of 800
nautical miles from Elephant Island to South Georgia.  Following his retirement from the navy, Crean returned to Annascaul, where he opened the South Pole Inn.
Overnight and dinner Dingle Skellig Hotel Tel  066 915 0200

Catch and Cook
“Catch a fish” in Dingle Harbour and if something is caught, it is cooked for lunch in “The Boat Yard”.  Contact: Mary O’ Neill 087-672 6100.
If weather does not allow fishing trip, a cover harbour cruise of Dingle

Bay with guide will be organised.

Lunch – The Boat Yard Restaurant & Bar, Strand St, Dingle, Co Kerry. 
Tel: +353 (0) 66 915 0920. 
Slea Head
Slea Head is located at the western tip of the Dingle Peninsula and is easily reachable from the main town Dingle via the winding Slea Head Drive, a 30 kilometres long panoramic road.

Blasket Centre
The Blasket Centre on the mainland in Dún Chaoin on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula is a fascinating heritage centre/museum  honouring the unique community who lived on the remote Blasket Islands until their evacuation in 1953. The Blasket Centre tells the story of island life, subsistence fishing and farming, traditional life including modes of work and transport, home life, housing and           
Gallarus Oratory
“The Church of the Place of the Foreigners” was built between the seventh and eight century and is the best preserved Christian church in Ireland.  Web:

Dinner Out of the Blue Restaurant, Dingle

Overnight Dingle Skellig Hotel. 

Foynes Flying Boat Museum
From 1939-1945, Foynes, County Limerick was the centre of the aviation world.  The famous flying boats were frequent visitors, carrying a diverse range of people, from celebrities to refugees.  The Foynes Museum recalls this era with a comprehensive range of exhibits and graphic illustrations.  You can travel back in time in the authentic 1940s cinema, while watching an award-winning film “Atlantic Conquest” which has been compiled from original footage from the days of the Flying Boats.  Board the recreated full size B314 Flying Boat and experience the luxury of flying at that time.  One of Foyne’s main claims to fame is the invention there of Irish Coffee by chef Joe Sheridan in 1942.  This came about, it is said, in order to alleviate the suffering of cold and wet   passengers.
Dinner and overnight Dublin

Return to Johannesburg via Amsterdam


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