Our Visit to Ireland August 2017
Rob J, Sally, Alice and I took our Sevens to South West Ireland for an enjoyable holiday. Here are some of the details of the best places to sleep, eat and blat. Hopefully it might be useful to others...
We took Irish Ferries from Pembroke to Rosslare. We then drove 25 minutes to Kilmore Quay and stayed at the Quay House B&B. Kilmore Quay is a very pretty fishing harbour. The B&B did a good breakfast, offered friendly service and was perfectly fine. There is plenty of space for parking. We ate that evening at the Silver Fox, which is within walking distance of the B&B. The food is good, although perhaps a little expensive. Other options (like fish and chips) are available.
The next day we then drove on to Killarney and stayed in the excellent Old Weir Lodge. This is a very comfortable place to stay, with large well furnished rooms, and offers a very good breakfast. Stay here! The B&B is within walking distance of the town and there is discrete parking around the back.
Particular highlights of Killarney were:
Quinlans Sea food bar – we loved this (great crab claws!).
Killarney Brewery – 200 yards from the Old Weir Lodge (good real ales and pizza – we liked the stout).
Cronins – pretty good food here.
There is a pub across the road and along from the Old Weir Lodge – it was OK but you could do better.
We stayed in Killarney for 4 nights and went for excellent blats around the surrounding area.
The book ‘Back Roads of Ireland’ gives excellent driving routes and the recommendations for food and bars seem reliable. We enjoyed driving Ballaghbeama Gap (below), Molls Gap, Tim Healy Pass, Valentia Island, Pass of Caherconree, Connor Pass – all worth going over (and many more).
If you do the Ring of Kerry (best clockwise – to avoid the trail of tour buses), then a great place for lunch is O’Neills The Point. You can watch the ferry shuttle back and forth as you have your meal. Also look out for Skellig Michael – the island used in Star Wars, The Force Awakens.
The roads are narrow and there is some traffic, and so overtaking can be ‘sporting’. Some of the roads are also rough. Both our cars grounded out a few times – we have lowered floors. If your car is very low then you should consider doing something to protect it.
We then moved onto Galway and stayed in the Nest Boutique Hostel. This is clean, chic and very friendly. However, it is not posh. If you are not a fan of youth hostels, then this is perhaps not for you. However, we quite liked it, and it is near the centre. Parking is limited, but they kindly reserved a space for us. The Sevens caused a huge reaction wherever we went – they aren’t common in Ireland.
The best food of our trip was Kai in Galway (within walking distance of the Nest). This is certainly worth a visit. We had an excellent lunch and evening meal.
South West Ireland is an excellent destination for a driving holiday. The roads can be rough and bumpy and you need to keep your wits about you. The food is excellent, and the scenery is wonderful, less so the weather. Petrol stations are frequent (you won’t need a jerry can). There was a lot of interest in our cars, but we had no problems with security.
We hope that this is useful!