02.04.2013 - 02.04.2013
Ireland and the UK
01.04.2013 - 02.04.2013 6 °C
Bit of a long post tonight as catching up on a couple of days. Photos are above for those who want the short version!
Picked up my hire car yesterday morning, and set off for Galway. Not a good start missing my first turn off to get to the motorway, but being proficient at u-turns I was able to make amends with the sat nav and I was on my way. The drive from Dublin was not dissimilar to the drive along the midlands highway (Hobart to Launceston), with lots of farming fields and not much else, with the obvious exception of the quality of the highway and no road works.
Upon arrival at Galway, I had lunch at a funky cafe inside the old customs house by the Spanish gate, a pumpkin & cumin spiced soup with a Irish pale ale, followed by coffee and a berry scone complete with home made blackberry and apple jam.
From, there, I strolled the medieval cobbled stone streets of Galway city which is jammed packed with pubs (shock I know), so stopping off for a pint along the way was necessary.
For dinner I treated myself to a seafood dinner at the seafood bar @ kirwans. An entree of local Galway oysters followed by scallops served with cauliflower purée and a potato, ham hock and black pudding gratin on the side. YUM! From there I had a Pint of Guinness at 'tig coili', claimed to be the home of traditional music in Galway.
On the walk back to the hotel I spotted a whiskey bar, so felt it was necessary I sampled a couple of Irish whiskeys. It was here I met Oliver, a friendly local lad, who did his best to score the guest place on my invite to Julie's wedding, inviting himself on my road trip but regrettably declining as he had to work. I was most upset at this (not). Despite being a lovely fella, poor Oliver was not too bright, convinced Tasmania was a different country to Australia despite having lived in Australia for a year himself. It's only Tasmanians who think of tassie as a different country that you can't leave without a passport (sorry to the Tasmanians reading this!).
Finding this blog to be as much about food and booze as the places ive travelled to, breakfast this mornng was some oatmeal to warm me up before I set off on the next leg of my road trip.
Today was mostly driving, interrupted by some spectacular scenery. First driving through The Burren, up to the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs were stunning, and if you walk up beyond the standard tourist areas, you can literally stand on the edge of the cliffs some 200m above the Atlantic ocean. An unfortunate slip or a particularly strong windgust could be interesting to say the least.
From there it was down towards the Dingle peninsula, via the ferry across the Shannon river. The roads here are crazy narrow and mostly have speed limits of 100km hr, which is almost more like a stretch target than a limit on these roads. Particularly with the frequent tractor that slows you down, because it seems in this area tractors are normal mode of transport between villages.
After locating my accommodation for the evening, at David's mum's mobile home in Castlegregory (thanks Brenda), I hit the road again to explore the Dingle peninsular in full.
This included driving the Conor pass on my way to Dingle town, which was a crazy narrow road around the side of a hill, I believe Ireland's highest mountain crossing. Dingle itself is a really cool fishing village, and would have been great to spend more time in. Instead, I drove the loop around the peninsula from Dingle town, again full of stunning scenery, and what seems like pottery shops at every house.
Back to Castlegregory and I stopped at a local pub Spillanes for a pint and dinner, all locally produced and excellent . The Creans lager brewed in Dingle, an entree of prawns and crab meat in a garlic cream gratin, followed by a lamb shank and veggies. Magic.
Finished the evening watching the sunset over the beach looking back to the peninsula, and retired to my castle for the night.