Shannon is where we flew into for our motor car excursion around southern Ireland. We headed up to the Cliffs and swung across from there doing a big loop through Dublin, Cork, Ring of Kerry and back to Shannon. A most enjoyable experience which I will elaborate on as I build my pages.
Be Prepared to Stop!
Most of the roads in rural areas are single track with occasional turnouts. And, since the roads are almost always lined on both sides by rock walls, be prepared to stop where there is room for the oncoming vehicle to pass. MANY times the oncoming vehicle will be the biggest tractor you've ever seen! Since the locals are familiar with the location of the turnouts, they may move over before you see an opportunity. If so, accept their courtesy and move on quickly. If you are traveling in the evening near milking time, you may also have to stop for a "traffic jam". There's no way around, so plan ahead to just relax and enjoy the slower pace of life!
You're Going to Be Cool and Wet!
When traveling within Europe, extra charges generally apply to anything more than a 20lb (9kg) carry on bag. Check with your airline! Baggage prepurchased online may be much cheaper than at the time of check-in. There's no secret to why Ireland is the "Emerald Isle". The DRIEST year on record, 1887, received 14inches (356.6mm) of rain, which is about average for the western half of the United States. The WETTEST year, 1960, received over 13feet (3964.9mm)! With mean daily temperatures between 37F (2.7c) in January, and 67F (19.4c) in July, and less than 5 hours of sunshine per day (summer mean), the odds are you're gong to be cool and damp. MUST: waterproof outerwear, layers, and waterproof or water tolerant footwear. Common OTC (over the counter) medicines such as expectorants and antiflatulants available in the US seem to be non-existent. You may want to take some with you, but be sure they are in their original package and clearly labeled! Your most stunnng photo opps are probably in the most remote areas, bring LOTS of batteries, media cards, and/or film. Common supplies are available in most towns, but you're likely to spend a lot of your time OUT OF TOWN!
At the airport
Now this is a little left field - but trust me on this one.
When arriving or leaving Shannon airport from one of it's collection of eight. Yes , count them -eight gates, you pass through a kind of link corridor.
This is the place to find a truely appauling piece of art. It commemorates the visit of JFK to Ireland in 1983, just a few short months before that fateful day in Dallas, Texas.
It's clearly him, but that's about the best thing you can say about at.
On the opposite wall is a gallery (perhaps a rogues gallery) of famous visitors to the airport. It's mainly heads of state, with a good number of US presidents who have made the journey to visit Ireland (never in a desperate attempt to grab a few votes from the Irish community in America , of course)
Others pictures include Boris Yeltsin, who famously remained on board his plane whilst at Shannon airport. He was due to meet the Irish head of state - but remained 'tired and emotional' (i.e pi**ed) in seat 1b. If you catch the light just right (and I'm not making this up) Boris' picture looks like he is transformed into a vampire with a couple of fangs. It works, believe me.
Pop into Lahinch!
This is a small resort, with a top golf course. Its desperately trying to become a surf town but it retains its charm. You can visit it when you visit the cliffs of Moher about 5 miles away. The place is full of history and has some great pubs on the sea front and a great beach. Well worth a stop! See the plaque on the pub wall commerating when a ww2 bomber had to force land on the beach. I felt very relaxed here and was amazed to hear of the conflicts between the British here.
Avoid the main street chippy its rubbish!