Kylemore Abbey - Co. Galway
I had read reviews giving this attraction as high as 4.5 stars out of 5. I was driving the Wild Atlantic Way between Westport and Galway and this seemed an obligated stop which I deem a total tourist trap. Seen form the outside: 5 stars for me. Going in: nope.
The building and its location on a lake are a superb view but that's it. Only worth a stop to see it from the outside. "Abbey" is the keyword. Currently a nunnery but certainly nothing like one would expect. It was first built as a manor, later purchased by the religious order, and the visit to the interior is limited to three rooms furnished and decorated as of the mid 1800. Not much for a hefty admission fee of 13 Euro per head, especially when comparing to typical generic tickets throughout Ireland of 5 to 8 Euro.
Unique Suggestions: Walk or take the shuttle bus to the Walled Victorian Gardens which are within the property about half a mile from the main building. Not impressive though.
Fun Alternatives: View it from the road, not from the parking lot. Very picturesque.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
Full of Blarney
Probably the most blatant tourist trap is Blarney Castle, in Blarney, outside Cork City. You pay to get on the grounds and though the grounds are nice, and the castle is picturesque, what they want you to do is climb a narrow stone staircase up inside the square tower, line up and bend over backwards to "kiss the blarney stone" and buy a photo of yourself doing it. Pah! I had no intentions of doing that, I had wanted to take a photo but wasn't willing to pay the entrance fee to the grounds so i walked around the area and took this photo over a wall. I think it's actually quite a good picture and enough to say i was in Blarney!
Unique Suggestions: Avoid the castle malarkey. The town is nice, with some attractive shops. I found an interesting cemetery near the center of town as well. The Blarney Woolen Mill complex is actually a very good place to get your Irish sourvenirs, including woolen goods, Aran sweaters, Waterford and other crystal, China and other miscellaneous things. As much as it is a tourist shopping store, the prices are actually decent and there is a wide variety of goods under the one roof. for instanc, we were at the Waterford factory and crystal prices here matched or beat the factory. The cafeteria serves ok food but there are probably some nice pubs and cafes in the town as well.
Fun Alternatives: There are hundreds of castles and castle ruins all over Ireland far better for photos and exploration. Some are set up with medieval banquets for the tour groups. I might avoid these though you may enjoy it. We did go during the tour and the entertainment was nice and the food tasty (mind you, you are supposed to eat with your fingers as they did in medieval times but the wine is free flowing)
You have to go, though
Unique Suggestions: Blarney Castle is a great landmark in the southern part of Ireland. Apparently Blarney Castle is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because the Irish are making a fortune with the story of the Blarney Stone and the fact that people will play to kiss a piece of a wall. Admisson is 8 euro and includes a photo of you kissing the stone. In defense of the Irish, the castle does sit in a beautiful park. Some of the other castles charge 2-4 euro to get in, so Blarney considerably more expensive, but if you don't go, your friends will never let you live it down. A huge tourist trap, but a must see. The castle is in good shape and provides great views from the top.
Guinness Storehouse/Brewery Tour
I absolutely love Guinness.........but please skip the overpriced and underwhelming brewery tour. The tour is like a museum you just walk through to get to the top which is the Gravity Bar. The view from the Gravity Bar is not to be missed. However, if you are really a die-hrad Guinness lover than just visit any pub in Dublin and you won't be disappointed.
Unique Suggestions: I'd recommend a visit but only to visit the gift shop and then take the elevator up to the Gravity Bar. Both of these are free (except for the price of the Guinness while at the bar) while the tour costs about 14 Euros. Save the 14 Euros for the pints at the Gravity Bar as the tour is a waste of money.
Fun Alternatives: Visit so you can say you've been there but don't take the tour.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
- Beer Tasting
Any store featuring...
Any store featuring leprachauns and shamrock on cheap souveniers made in other countries. Instead check out the beautifil products made in Ireland - crystal, woolens and sweaters, linens, pottery, china, books - hand made products of great artistry and usefulness.
This isn't a tourist trp...
This isn't a tourist trp unless you get too closer to the edge on a windy day!!!!Has anyone ever visited Ireland without a trip to the Cliffs of Moher?? Every tour includes these magnificient cliffs, and its easy to see why!
Yes, those are people standing at the edge of the cliff in the lower left of the picture!
Temple Bar --- no bar, no temple ;)
see > nightlife :)
or go to: www.temple-bar.ie/
Unique Suggestions: .. to make this bearable there is only one thing to do - join in with a guinness and a jig... or stay home ;)
Fun Alternatives: ... soggy fish' n chips from "Barrys" around the corner.. :PRelated to:
- Beer Tasting
The story with the Blarney stone is that if you kiss it you'll "gain the privilege of telling lies for seven years".
After kissing it you can even pay a few euro to get a signed certificate that you kissed it :-).
Unique Suggestions: Don't kiss the stone! There are stories that local teenagers take a leak on it and laugh when see all the tourists kiss it..
Carrick-a-rede rope bridge....
Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Ok, you can get a nice view from there, but there are nice views everywhere in Ireland and there's a steep parking fee of 3 pounds. If you're short on time or money, you can easily skip it.
If you are at Killarney don't...
If you are at Killarney don't stay in or just outside of town,but try to find a B+B or hotel in the surroundings.This town is victim of it's own succes,and is crowded of bustourist,which stay at big hotels just outside town.Because of these tourists everything is more expensive than in other parts of the country.Don't worry,if you hike in the N.P. you are almost alone, and between real hikers.
You know, that saddest part of...
You know, that saddest part of my visit was in them old Druid Ruins. Ropes and lines distorted the once ancient and sacred place to look like a museum exhibit. Too many people. Also, the Blarney Stone, I've been told is peed on by the locals... I've been told.
Bunratty Castle Banquet
People dressed up in medieval clothing wine and dine you as you sit along long banquet hall tables. The food was barely palatable. The worse part though was that the performers looked like they'd rather be anywhere else but there. Painful for all...
Unique Suggestions: Admire the castle itself. It was built by the O'Brien's of Thomond in the 15th century.
As you go through the entrance look up for the Murder Hole, where boiling water or pitch was poured onto the heads of attackers. (or tourists who don't tip well)
Bunratty Castle is 16 kms from Limerick City.
Fun Alternatives: While the rest of your group is getting tortured at the castle, steal away to the great pub next door called Durty Nelly's!Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
In all honestly, a trip to...
In all honestly, a trip to 'Kiss the Blarney Stone' can be a real let-down, especially for a senior or one who is disabled. We found this to be a difficult venture, not knowing we had to climb a winding cement stairs for over one hundred feet, almost straight up! Also, coming down is just as difficult -- not impossible, obviously, but difficult enough. Believe me, we looked around the shops rather than climb it the second tour we took. Finally, beware of tour companies who advertise washroom facilities onboard. We found, on both trips, we were told 'the bus was new and they couldn't be used except in AN EXTREME EMERGENCY. I felt, in all honesty, the driver didn't want to pull into a 'dump station' to have them cleaned and flushed. I agree, there were plenty of 'rest' stops, but I also felt we paid for the convenience of a toilet onboard if we saw fit/felt the urge!!
Blarney Castle is definitely...
Blarney Castle is definitely the epitomy of the tourist trap. The castle itself is quite beautiful and worth the entrance fee. However, don't buy their picture of you kissing the stone. Just ask someone nearby to take a picture.
Important. There are tourist...
Important. There are tourist traps!!!!
Please, please, please don't buy those hideous Leprechaun jumpers, hats, scarfs etc. Don't buy those awful T-Shirts with 'I Love Ireland' etc either.
As a matter of fact try and stear clear of anything in green as you'll end up scratching you head wondering why you bought such hideous touristy clothes in Ireland when you get home.
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