The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris
Ennis and Dublin,
The trip started a bit
hectically. One of our travelers was planning to fly from Tampa to Atlanta to connect with the flight to Dublin. That turned out to be a no-go. He stood by for 3 flights and never got close to getting a seat. We made a quick change of plans and sent him to New York's
LaGuardia airport. One of the Atlanta travelers flew to LaGuardia to meet him so they could cab over to JFK and catch the JFK-Dublin flight together.
They got there on time and we headed to the van and started our journey (in the rain) to Ennis. We decided to make a stop in Roscrea for some lunch. The first place we stopped wasn't serving lunch so we looked around and found The White House which served us a traditional lunch including Irish stew, vegetable soup and brown bread next to a warm peat fire.
The bartender let a couple of the guys pour their own pints of Guinness!
We got to the Temple Gate hotel at check-in time. We were very pleased with our rooms.
We decided to allow anyone who wanted to catch a quick nap while the rest of us met at Preacher's Pub just off of the lobby. Preacher's Pub is probably one of the nicest pubs we've visited in Ireland. It is beautiful with all of its wood and stone.
When we were all assembled, we headed out to find some good "craic", an Irish term for fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation. We found it at Ciarans where we shared a few glasses of wine and played some cards.
After craic, it was time for dinner. We had a nice dinner at Brogans. We weren't terribly hungry so we split some things and were very pleased with our meal.
We finished the evening back at Preacher's Pub. We slept fairly well thanks to the iPad White Noise application!
It was windy and cold at the cliffs but the view was breathtaking.
Based on this sign, we wondered if this is a place where people routinely come to commit suicide. Later research revealed that this is, in fact, the reason for the sign which was placed here by the Clare County Council.
Just as we were leaving the cliffs, it started to drizzle so we counted our blessings that the rain waited for us to leave. We stopped for lunch at Vaughans Anchor Inn in Liscannor. Fish and Chips and Shepherd's Pie were house specialties. BJ was seated next to the fireplace and finally had to move for fear that her synthetic pants would melt!
The next stop was to be Doolin, but we decided to drive on out to the coast to let the group see where the ferry goes out to the Aran Islands.
After a few pictures, we went back into Doolin where some of the group shopped for souvenirs while the rest of us enjoyed a pint at Gus O'Connor's Pub.
We made one more stop in Doolin at McGann's Pub where we warmed by the fire and had some more good craic!
Back in Ennis, we enjoyed a glass of wine at O'Halloran's Music Bar. Friday night was not the night for music though.
Dinner was at the Rowan Tree across the river from our hotel in an area where Tony and BJ hadn't been. We enjoyed a nice dinner but the
ambient noise made it difficult to have a conversation.
Saturday, we met a little later to give anyone who wanted to, the opportunity to try a Full Irish Breakfast. Most of us took the opportunity to sleep though. We met in the lobby so our distinguished driver could take us to Bunratty Castle.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day at the castle! Very unusual for November in Ireland.
We wished we had gone to the Cliffs of Moher today instead of yesterday. Tony and BJ, having been to Bunratty several times elected to skip the tour and wait for the others at Durty Nelly's. We sat next to another lady who had also dropped her companion off to see the castle.
After Bunratty, we decided to swing by for a quick look at the Dromoland Castle hotel where we had stayed back in 1992. It hadn't changed much and although it was beautiful, it was still a little too quiet and reserved for our crowd.
We headed back to Ennis to go to a fair that had been recommended. The fair was at a hotel about a mile from town and was filled with local craftsmen. On the way, we passed by some of the sights of Ennis.
After a couple of hours at the fair (and the nearby pub), we headed back into town for dinner on the top floor of Knox's bistro.
Sunday, it was time to head back to Dublin. When we checked out of the hotel, we were surprised to find that our bill had been settled to our credit card in US Dollars instead of Euros. This seems to be a new policy that we need to watch out for. We were told that we needed to specify when we checked in whether we wanted our charges in Euros or Dollars. We would prefer Euros because our credit card company does not charge a conversion fee and the hotel charged us 3.5%.
After getting settled into the Temple Bar hotel, we set out to take a tour of the Jameson's Brewery. It was a scenic walk along the river.
One of our travelers was taking some college courses so we had been able to use his college ID to get a discount at several attractions, but the rest of us had to pay the adult price. At Jameson's, the cashier gave us all the student discount. He jokingly apologized profusely that he had hit the wrong button. We promised not to tell his boss about the mistake.
The Jameson's tour was interesting and at the end, we were all treated to a sample of the product. Two of our group was chosen to do a taste test between Jameson's, Jack Daniel's and Johnnie Walker.
After leaving the distillery, as we were walking back across the bridge, we found a clue as to what might be underneath the bridge.
Dinner was at the Porterhouse Brewing Company. We were glad we had decided to eat there before we got back to the touristy Temple Bar area where we were accosted by barkers touting their restaurants.
The bar/restaurant scene around Temple Bar was very crowded. We were able to get a table at the Old Storehouse for some beverages, but the wait staff warned us that if we weren't eating we would have to relinquish our table to diners when they needed it.
Thankfully they didn't need it before we had a couple of rounds and listened to some music.
Our last stop for the evening was at The Oliver St. John Gogarty. We were having a great time, enjoying some drinks and a platter of oysters.
When we got up to leave, we realized that a purse was missing from one of our group. We made our way to the police station and filed a report. Thankfully her passport was safely in her suitcase back at the hotel and all that was lost was a few Euros and some credit cards, but the event put a damper on the evening.
We made it a fairly early evening since some of us would be traveling the next day. BJ would be heading to Spain (see National Lampoon's European Family Vacation write-up) and three of the group would be heading home, leaving three for another day in Ireland.
remaining three took a tour of the Guinness Brewery the next day and did some
shopping. Since BJ took the camera with her, there is no incriminating