Beginning March 29th, Ireland instituted a ban
against smoking in pubs, restaurants and closed public places; wiping out an Irish
tradition and probably making Ireland the first country in the world to ban smoking
nationally. This, we had to see for ourselves! So we planned our first
non-winter-time trip to Ireland.
The Captain had predicted after our late departure that we would make up some time and land at (scheduled ). We landed at but there was some confusion over deplaning due to that medical problem. The crew had asked the passengers to wait on the plane for medical personnel to board the aircraft. We finally got off of the plane around , after no medical personnel showed up, and hurried through customs to the bus desk. We bought our tickets (24Euro for two to Doolin with a connection in Ennis) and rushed to the bus stop.
Fortunately, the Irish bus system (and ferry system see below) does not run with the precision of say, the German or Swiss train system. The bus left about 20 minutes late and now we worried about our connection in Ennis, but had no problem.
We got to the pier shortly after and bought our tickets for the ferry (64 Euro
for two to Inishmore). After purchasing the tickets, the ferry
folks told us that the ferry would stop in Inisheer & stay
until , arriving in Inishmore
at . We werent expecting the long layover
so we reconsidered our plans and decided to spend the night in Doolin
and just do a day trip to Inishmore the next day. The ferry
folks thought this was a good idea since it was very windy that day and the seas were
After studying the Bord Failte B&B guide (Bord Failte is a quality-assurance association that ensures quality and standards among their members. Bord Failte B&Bs must advertise and honor their rates, cleanliness, etc), we decided on Dalys B&B just up the hill from OConners. We spotted the No Vacancy sign as we were approaching and turned back toward Lane Lodge that we had passed on our way up the hill. It wasnt Bord Failte but advertised rooms ensuite so we decided to take a chance.
Mrs. Teresa Shannon, the proprietress, showed us a very clean room with a tiny bathroom that looked sufficient for our needs. We got settled in and walked up to McDermotts pub about a mile from our B&B. We made friends with a donkey on the way.
We enjoyed two more pints of Harp while we
played a rousing game of rummy. Not wishing to miss any of the culture, we strolled over
to McGanns for a couple of more pints of Harp and then
back to McDermotts for dinner of chicken salad sandwiches & chips. After
stopping by the store for our nightly candy fix, we made our final stop of the night at
OConners. A final glass of Guinness and some Irish Mist were the perfect
accompaniment for our candy. Since it was our first night we made it an early one and were
in bed by . The wind howled outside our window all
It got really hot in the cabin and the fellow whose job it was to dole out the seasickness bags got really busy (that fact that there was a fellow whose SOLE duty was to hand out seasickness bags should be a hint). Almost all of the teenage tourists deposited their breakfasts in the bags very loudly (and sometimes proudly, holding up the plastic bag for show and tell) - making it difficult not to join in.
After about 40 minutes, the boat made its
first stop at the smallest
We intended to follow the walking path out to the holy well of St. Enda, but we took a wrong turn and walked out a dead end road to the coast. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous; rock walls as far as the eye could see.
When we realized our mistake, we thought we could just cut across the pastures to get back on track. After climbing four or five of the rock walls, each getting (or seeming) progressively higher, we decided to turn back and retrace our steps.
Thankfully we had the GPS with us because all of the rock walls were starting to look alike. We made our way back into town and stopped at OFlatharta Inisheer Hotel & Pub for a refreshing Harp. We had about an hour before the ferry so we hiked to some of the closer sights. We almost overlooked the Cill Ghobnait, a small 9th century church.
The Cnoc Raithni was a bronze age tumulus (mound) dating from 2000BC.
Teampall Chaomhain was a really neat 10th century church located in a graveyard.
In total, we walked about 12.7k (7.9 miles) on
We stopped by our B&B to freshen up and then went to OConners for a couple of pints and some brown bread. We made friends with a kitty on our way to McGann's.
McGanns was hopping as the crowds started to gather for the musicians. Smoking patrons often left their drinks to hold their tables while they went outside to smoke.
We had a couple of pints there, but decided to stop into McDermotts again for dinner. Tony had Chicken Gougons (apparently Irish for Chicken Fingers) & BJ had a ham, cheese, onion and tomato toast (toasted sandwich). We picked up some more candy and stopped into OConners for a night cap of Guinness for BJ and Tullamore Dew for Tony while musicians were getting cranked up there as well.
We left the windows open again, but this time
there were no howling winds. Up at , we went downstairs at , but there was no sign of Mrs. Shannon. We
made as much noise as we could, but by she still had not appeared with our full
Irish breakfast (perhaps she enjoyed a bit of craic at McGanns?). Since we had a long walk ahead of us we decided we
couldnt wait any longer. We finished our packing, left money on our bed and headed
outside. It was very warm so we stopped on the steps to take off the raincoats we decided
we wouldnt need. It was about this time that Mrs. Shannon must have awakened because
she attempted to raise the shade a bit, but it must have slipped out of her hand leaving
her rather exposed in front of the window!
We made several stream crossings along the way.
One old house made a nice home for one of the largest bunnies we had ever seen.
At one point, the path went very close to the edge of a cliff and we stood for a long time watching the sea gulls rise up and hang in front of us.
We came upon a herd of cows in the middle of the path. We considered walking through them, but as we approached, we saw that one was a bull (indicated by the ring in his nose).
Instead, we decided wed climb over a nearby fence. There were actually three fences to climb two electric wires on either side of a barbed wire fence. BJ got shocked several times but Tony managed somehow to hop all three fences without touching them. There were also horses in the pastures but they didnt offer to come close.
We soon reached the highway and it was a short walk to the Cliffs of Moher. Wed never seen the cliffs on a sunny day, so we decided to snap a few shots.
After a bathroom break it was back to highway
478. We had already decided to skirt the Cliffs part of the
We picked up the
We were starting to get pretty tired when we
saw the umbrellas outside of
We had a lovely dinner of fried plaice with
chips at the Sugan Chair then decided to stop at A. Healy for
our night cap. We were the only patrons, so we had a lovely visit with the elderly
proprietress. We learned a lot about the recent election and the platforms of the
candidates. She also told us a bit about the new non-smoking law. She was one of the few
people we encountered who were pleased with the law.
We had a Harp outside at Paddy Brogans
and then a Carlsberg at Paudie Macs Bar and Restaurant.
We had a lively conversation with Frank Leyhe, a farmer from
the area. He wasnt very happy about the smoking law. He made us guess his age
we both secretly thought he was in his early 80s but Tony wisely guessed 68
turned out he was 72! Dinner tonight was at Cruises; Bella Vista pizza, Vegetable
Soup and a Ham, Cheese, Onion & Tomato toast.