Mizen Head and Southwest Cork

After the big, wet trip to the Cliffs of Moher, we opted for a somewhat easier drive down to the most southwestern point of Ireland, Mizen Head*. We were rewarded with much brighter skies and stronger winds blowing the clouds around. We had a blast setting destinations into the GPS into our rental car and then ignoring them if something interesting appeared on the horizon. Stopped into Schull for lunch.

Cliffs of Nowhere

Cliffs of Nowhere Yesterday we tried to drive up to the Cliffs of Moher because we heard they are fantastic. The weather was crummy when we left, but we were hoping it would clear up or at least break a little bit while we were visiting the cliffs.

pa064603 Didn’t work out that way. We got soaked and couldn’t see ANYTHING. So we bought some postcards and shipped ’em out. The postcards look nice. After that we stopped in a little town on the way to explore its prominently displayed graveyard on a hill high above the town’s center, which resulted in some spooky photos. But it was very quiet and peaceful up there, which was refreshing after the disappointment of the invisible Cliffs of Moher.

pa064618The GPS device included with our rental car gets big cheers for taking us along some of the cutest roads we’ve seen yet, on our way to the ferry to help us skip past the mouth of the River Shannon (shaving at least an hour off our drive time on the return trip).

Ring of Beara

We arrived in Kenmare in County Kerry yesterday at our lovely B&B and promptly set off on the road along parts of the Ring of Beara.

We saw a lot more sheep than people.

Here are all the photos we took from our little ring around Kerry (with dips into County Cork). Today: we’re braving the rain to head up to the Northwest Coast to explore the Cliffs of Moher.

Greetings from Cork

After three days, we finally gave up on the wireless internet access that is supposed to work from our room. It just doesn’t…but it does from the lobby.

It’s going pretty much as planned. Thursday we wandered around after arriving in the afternoon. Yesterday (Friday) we explored Cobh (a.k.a. Cove, previously known as Queenstown), a major emigration center in past decades. They have a lovely museum on the topic of emigration. Oddly enough, our first excursion in Bremen was to Bremerhaven to explore their emigration museum (a few posts back). Today the weather kinda disappointed us, so we stuck to exploring Cork on foot, with a little light shopping, and a visit to their Butter Museum (no samples!?).

We’ve been making sure to have Bailey’s in our coffee and a glass of Murphy’s with dinner and are enjoying the Irish Breakfast selections (barring the black pudding).

Look out, Ireland — we’re on our way!

Where in the world?Off we go to the bus stop to get to the train take us to another bus to get to our terminal to check in for our flight, at long last, to Ireland. We’ve been meaning to visit Ireland since about 2004 or so, but it’s never worked out before. Here’s our rough itinerary:

  • fly to Cork, check in at the Lancaster Lodge
  • Hang out there and explore — our Frommer’s guide says Cork is the culinary capital of Ireland. We’ll see about that. I’m looking forward to corned beef and shepherd’s pie.
  • Snag a rental car and drive to Kenmare, check in at the Riverville House Kenmare
  • drive around the Ring of Kerry in a clockwise direction
  • drive home and fly back to Munich, fully refreshed, energized, and motivated for my upcoming trip to Romania (surprise — it’s not Iasi!).

Oh, and about the shirt: it was a very odd coincidence that this shirt arrived this morning in the mail before our departure. shirt.woot.com was offering three random shirts for $6.66 each + $5 shipping and I couldn’t resist. I’m calling it a good omen.

I can do it cheaper!!

This seems to be my motto of late – particularly when it comes to travel. Well, I feel like I need to share a new site I found today – agoda.com. Especially since it was my crowing about that Air France deal that sent several people I know to Paris. I’ve been looking for a hotel ever since that post. Through all eleventy-jillion hotels, B&Bs and apartments in Paris.

Normally, vacation apartments are the way to go for us. In Paris, they have a nasty habit of leaving the oven out of holiday rentals – at least in the price category I look at. And if you don’t have a functional kitchen, why bother with a whole apartment? So I chucked that idea. Then I went searching for B&Bs; more like B&Bust. Finally I gave up and started sifting through hotel listings. And got stuck doing so for a good couple of weeks.

I just can’t stay in a fleabag hotel. I’m simply too old for that crap. Last time I went to Paris, it was kind of last-minute and I ended up staying in a dormitory hostel situation. I felt like an idiot and slept with my wallet tucked into my pants. So I figured we had earned a stay in a decent place, but I was only able to find exorbitant or scuzzy – nothing inbetween. Kayak, my aggregator of choice, pointed me toward Agoda with several listings for hotels that I had seen before and coveted but for the prices. We ended up booking a hotel through Agoda right across from the Île de la Cité for about 40% off of the rack rate!

A warning about using Agoda: it’s not as nicely arranged and easily searchable as many of the other sites (Kayak, Hotels.com, Venere, etc.), so I did have to go through a good 10+ pages of results. Hopefully, they will slicken up the site features after the enormous traffic spike you’re all going to cause by running right over there!

But, you know, no obligation or anything…