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ANYWHERE on a rural route actually ---- the danger looms in form of wooly things with legs and rather little brains... they attack in groups, blocking roads and sometimes settling in for a good natter baa-baa-baaa and a snooze on the tarmac....and THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO!
3 major road blockers are:
1) SHEEP (wooly things with 4 legs making baa-baa - about knee-high)
2) COWS ( tall fellas with sorta big butts - come in all colours, have horns)
3) HORSES (stubborn a** long 4 legs, hufs and short fur mostly bog-colored)
> see pictures below for proper identification ;)
Unique Suggestions: > DO relax and take deep breaths
> Try not to use abusive language (it'll help ya nothing)
> DO NOT venture out cause you might be nipped in the butt or kicked by the ram (alpha-male of the sheep herd) outch
Fun Alternatives: > Sit still, take out the lunch pack and watch the lovely surroundings
> if ya have some old bread throw it out the window - ideally in a ditch, that might help them get off the road
> take out the rosary - so you could and keep praying, it might help - ah go on!
> Ahhh isn't it a nice day, so it is!!!
Updated Apr 24, 2006
Well this was my third trip to Ireland so it was time to take a dive for the #1 Tourist Trap of all Tourist Traps...Bunratty castle and the Mideval Banquet, the night before our flight out of Shannon. I think ours was tough to take because it was off season and we had a bare-bones crew. The silliness got to me with the performance and I would have much rather preffered to hear more of the lovely voices of the singers . They shuffled us in and out and about like cattle, so if you do not like close crowds....beware. Also, some folk do get a bit rude and rowdy from drunkeness (the meade drink of honey and wine).
Unique Suggestions: I will say it was kinda of fun which I am almost embarrassed to say....but I could have done without this experience. And the cost was not quite worth it. The food was okay but uncomfortable and I know that was supposed to be part of the charm ( we ate with our hands and a knife only).
I did enjoy the decorations and authenticateness of the Tudor Style furnishings.
Fun Alternatives: The Bunratty Folk Park alone was a nice time.....historical and interesting. But leave the Banquet alone, unless there is nothing else to do. I think next time I would take refuge in an out of the way pub with some original local folk.
Updated Jan 1, 2006
Very very often the castle you are going to visit is very expensive and it's completely restored (almost new), so that only walls are original...(except for Donegal castle, there even walls are rebuild!!).
This wouldn't be a problem If you are American and you don't have the possibility of visiting a real old castle...but for Italians, Frenches, Germans or other European people...I mean Europe is full of real ancient villas, castles and manors.
Unique Suggestions: However I found some castles really cute (in Kilkenny for example)...If you want to visit some don't have too much expectations.
Fun Alternatives: I think it should be better if you focus on ruins and bad-conserved castles if you can find some.
Written Jan 12, 2005
Blarney is the ultimate touristy thing in Ireland. It's a must do for any first trip to Ireland, but if (ok, when) I make a second trip, I'll likely avoid it. It was very crowded, and, frankly, I was a little grossed out after kissing the Stone, because everyone else was kissing it too...but that's just me.
I spent the most time in Blarney at the various shops, and there are lots of them. It is the best tourist shopping that I saw in Ireland.
I'm glad I visited Blarney and it's definitely worth doing, but I spent a little too much time there. I wish I'd left a little earlier, and saw more things
Unique Suggestions: What I liked best about Blarney Castle was the views-you can see all over from the top of the castle, and will get great pictures. Plus, I could probably see my grandmother's birthplace somewhere off in the distance!
Written Nov 28, 2004
I would not do the tour of the Guinness Storehouse, at least the self-paced one. Overall the tour is loud and not very interesting.
Unique Suggestions: I would however suggest going to the bar on top of the store and having a pint while you look over the city.
Updated Oct 18, 2004
is worth the trip. If your worried about cost, don't take the vacation/holiday!!! We went up and about the castle-wonderful views. The grounds are fantastic, you can only imagine what it was like centuries ago. we went at Thanksgiving time (USA) and the waits were nonexistant.
Unique Suggestions: Kiss the damn stone, it's worth the experience. I can't believe I was upside down looking straight down 100 feet. I am/was 285 pounds and it sure was spooky.
Fun Alternatives: The whole country--I/we are going back as often and regular as I can. The people are fantastic and the most hospitable in the world. The Castle Hotel downtown has wonderful food and drink.
Written Oct 5, 2004
I definitely don't mean to say that Dublin is a tourist trap, but don't stay there too long if you want to 'do' the entire Island. Two or three days will do to give you a good idea on what the city has to offer. Fun as it is, the Irish countryside is even better!
If you have to go during July/August, you're better off staying outside tourist places such as Killarney and Galway if you have a car. It's cheaper, less crowded and you need to drive anyway as public transport is still quite undeveloped in the West.
Be aware also that Ireland has become quite expensive, but Dublin tops it all in the country, so get your wallet out!
Updated Feb 29, 2004
The Temple Bar Pub in the heart of the Temple Bar district of Dublin caters mostly for tourists. The bar has traditional Irish music and serves Guinness. That's about all there is to this place! Yes it tries very hard to recreate what tourists want, but it fails as there is just no ambience in the place at all. It's noisy and crowded most of the time.
Unique Suggestions: That's not to say it's a bad place, quite the contrary, it may be just what you are looking for..But don't expect to be rubbing shoulders with men talking in broad Dublin Accents, you will more than likely hear the sound of an American, or German accent next to you.
Fun Alternatives: Look a little further away from the city centre if you want to find a true to life Irish pub.
Updated Oct 2, 2003
After seeing a number of castles this was just one more on the list. The kissing the stone part was all touristy but fun for those who participated. It could be missed. While the castle was interesting - I'm sure there are other more impressive ones to find.
Unique Suggestions: The best part of the stop was the Blarney Woolen Mills store. Great selection of all things Irish. Kind of a one stop Ireland buying spot. Get it all over with at once. Looked like good quality and prices seemed fair.
Fun Alternatives: If you're traveling in the area (to or from Kerry) it's an OK stop if you want to get your Irish shopping done. I'm not a shopper - I just wanted to get it over with and this put everything Irish under one roof. Skip the castle and do the Woolen Mill if shopping is on your agenda.
Updated Jul 26, 2003
The town of Killarney is a major tourist center as it's usually the base for touring around the scenic Ring of Kerry, a drive round the Kerry peninsula which is also a bit of a tourist trap in that in the summer, the traffic around the ring is just one tour bus after the next. Killarney is just to mundane for me, all hotels and tourist shops.
Unique Suggestions: There is a nice big natural park there but ther's also the jaunting cars, carts and horses that take the tourists around it as well. We did go on one as we had been in the bus all day round the Ring of Kerry and it was nice to get the fresh air but, well, it's not anything to write home about.
Fun Alternatives: We stayed in Tralee which isn't that far from the Ring of Kerry on the northern entrance, crossing the Shannon on a car ferry and then driving up into the mountains.
A nicer and less bussed route is the Dingle peninsula, just north of the Ring of Kerry, equally spectactular coastal scenes.
Written Jun 5, 2003
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