|Two leprechauns do the Isle in Style|
what we did:
Landed in Shannon.
Here’s what we learned:
Shannon vs. Dublin
B&B Recommendation: The Cottage Inn. It’s this small, blue building that shows up on many a postcard of Kinsale. It’s a couple small blocks away from the water (we parked in the public parking lot right in front of the grocery store) and run by the people who also operate the gourmet restaurant downstairs. We had a room on the second floor on the front of the building (I’d request it if I were you – we only got it because it was fucking JANUARY when we were there) that had two double beds with duvets, a fireplace and a view above the window boxes right down to the windy little street. The restaurant was incredible and even the breakfasts were outstanding. I think we paid 17 punts each.
the street is the Admiral – it’s great. Tons of live music.
The Mad Monk is on the corner and they have great food and an awesome staff
that let all of us stay in the pub long after it was closed. Around
the corner is the Seanachi which is huge, has lots of little rooms and
fireplaces and great food. Colm, the owner, is lovely too.
Kinsale’s like the Paris of Ireland when it comes to food. There’s
something for everyone and it usually comes at a high price tag.
But the pub grub is the best I’ve ever had. If you’re on a budget,
stick with that. We were never disappointed.
B&B Recommendation: The Wander Inn. It’s on the main street. A cute red building with its own great restaurant downstairs. We had warm chicken and mushroom baguettes for lunch and monkfish in a cream sauce for dinner. Tres excellent. The bedroom was nice too – more like a hotel. It had just been rehabbed before we got there, so everything was new and clean and fresh and they had the best goddamn shower and bathroom that we encountered anywhere.
restaurant downstairs – great. The pub downstairs – divey and therefore
hilariously great. There’s a pub just up the hill from the Woolen
Mills store on the corner. Head up the hill past the little shops
and restaurants and take a right in front of the bookstore and it’s this
pub that’s part of a hotel, I think. Dark, gloomy and great music
some nights. We watched an Irish soap opera and drank too many Guinness.
It was deader than a doornail when we were there. All but a couple of restaurants are closed and the ones that are open are pretty dim. The pubs are open but fairly empty. We stayed in this fairly lame B&B that had its own restaurant (which wasn’t open until April) across from a pub where we spent 95% of our time. When we arrived at the B&B, there was something, shall we say LEFT BEHIND by the previous guests due to the faulty toilet. Not only would they not give us a different room, but the plumber wasn’t going to show up for four hours or something. We had a nice early dinner in the hotel up the street. Great apple crumble, lemme tell you. And then we walked around so I could get cold medicine (bad one) and then had a couple pints at the famous music pub down by the water (can’t remember the name right now). The “music” consisted of some drunk sitting at the bar singing to the bartender, equally drunk and plucking on a banjo. We left immediately. We retired to the pub where I drank Club Orange and lamented my weak Irish genes.
The next day we attempted to bribe a local farmer to lend us his horses for a ride along the beach to no avail. So we settled for a drive around the Beara Penninsula and a trip to the Gallarus Oratory. Remember when I said it was dead? Well, that was before we took a drive in the fog on a single laned mountain with crashing waves below. Gallarus just freaked us out. Beach was pretty, though. We ate at some pub around the corner from the other one. Sandwiches. Discovered the Irish cure-all for colds that night: Hot Whiskey. Never felt better. Of course, until the following day when my liver woke me up by poking me in the eyeball and shouting “YOU DRUNKEN EEJIT.”
B&B Recommendation: Not where we stayed, that’s for sure. There’s a nicer one up the street that my parents and I stayed in when we last visited. It’s got a Gaelic name – An Soapa I think. Very nice.
hotel was nice. Good soup. The pub across, An Droichad Beag,
I think, the street was great. Low-ceilinged with good music and
a nice fire. Megan even almost got lucky with a sixty year old fisherman.
That didn’t stop us from getting completely hammered of course.
The B&B was purpose-built and absolutely terrible. Nice owners. Tons of guests, including an American couple dressed in furs and gold jewelry that we kept trying to avoid by pretending not to speak English. They were hideous. And, seeing as there was only one choice for dinner (the famous lobster place was closed) – namely the pub across the street – we kept running into them. We just nodded our heads and spoke gibberish to each other. Dinner was good (how can you fuck up mushroom soup anyway?) but I wasn’t feeling well and getting cranky and there was a sum total of three people in the pub, all of whom knew each other and had no interest in talking to us. There wasn’t a radio or a TV in site and Megan and I had long grown tired of talking to each other. It was bitch time. We got the hell out of there and began the long (and not entirely unterrifying) walk toward the other pub which was, according to the B&B owner, “just a skip away”. Riiiiiiight. After entertaining images of American Werewolves in Ireland we nearly BOLTED into the first pub we came upon. Good choice, too. Stayed there until 3 am. Not pretty. But met hilarious people (including Paddy the Hippie and a German guitarist) and sang folk songs all night.
B&B Recommendation: Our place is perfect if you like pink frills and over-solicitious owners. If not, I can’t help ya. It was pitch black when we were there and I couldn’t tell you thing one about the “town” which vaguely resembled A BUILDING.
Obviously the place we ended up. Small and dark and fun. Great
food too. I even accidentally left my notebook behind (with my journal)
and went by the next day and they had kept it for me behind the counter.
The drive to Roundstone was an enormous challenge. Truly. We went through Galway and stopped (Megan was an absolute GENIUS behind the wheel) to shop around and get some lunch. Can’t remember the place we ate. Sort of like an Irish Dennys. Lots of shops and pubs but very collegey. We got completely lost on the way to Roundstone and missed our turn TWICE winding up at opposite ends of the Connemara each time. And there was NO ONE around. Very fun. Finally wound up in Roundstone around 6 pm after calling the owner and apologizing for being late.
I have a feeling
that Roundstone’s much more fun in the warmer months. The people
were lovely, the town’s adorable and it’s all right on the water.
There’s tons of pubs and a couple hotels – none of which were open.
There were like TWO open – one whose exterior they used to shoot Matchmaker.
We stayed in a B&B that was really crappy but the owner was really
nice. AND it was the genealogy researchers office in the movie.
At least, the exterior was. Also, there was a music/craft center
down the lane so we stopped there on our last day and picked up tons of
crap we didn’t need, including a tin whistle and bodhran for me, which
to this day I have not learned to play.
And that was about it.
I can dig up my journal and get you the exact names of B&B’s and pubs. I think I did most of my trip research on goireland.com and travel-ireland.com. I found all the B&B’s online at townandcountryhomes.com I think. Not sure. I’ll find out for ya.
Hope this is helpful,
dude! Have fun!