I have quite a few real Irish recipes and Irish-American recipes to share with you today so in the interest of space, I’m using links. I’ll include a few yummy photos too, of course!
No caravan and no trip to the Canaries, but we enjoyed an Irish summer vacation this year. We went to West Cork and it was foggy and rainy the entire time! Thank goodness we don’t mind the weather but really wishing I had Welly boots that fit in my purse! I’ll try to write more about the trip in the future but in the meantime, here are a few photos of Baltimore and Cape Clear Island.
Yep, check out that soft gray horizon into which you can gaze for minutes upon minutes. All kidding aside, the crab sandwich I ate on Cape Clear Island was worth the entire trip! Not to mention an amazing meal at Roulf’s in Baltimore. But that’ll be in a real blog post eventually.
An American friend whose family is planning a trip to Ireland asked my advice and here are all the questions and answers that resulted, so I thought I’d share it with you! There is probably someone else out there planning a trip over here to the Emerald Isle and maybe this can help a bit. If it does help you, I’d love to hear from you with a comment. If you think I overlooked something, also comment so future visitors can know what’s what.
Is it easy to visit Dublin or Cork (or both) without a car?
Flying into Dublin, there is are affordable, clean and safe shuttle buses into the city of Dublin. It’s so easy, I wouldn’t even consider a taxi. To explore beyond Dublin, the train may be the best method. The Luas is great for getting around Dublin.
Irish Rail costs about €40 each way for Cork/Dublin routes. Trains are frequent, clean, safe, and have free WiFi. Heuston Station in Dublin has the trains Cork. Tickets are discounted if purchased ahead of time online.
Cork’s train station is called Kent and is walking distance to city centre but there are taxis and the 205 bus too. That bus costs €1.70 per person and runs from the station to the other side of the city, passing most hotels, B&Bs, and such. Taxi drivers must use meters in both cities.
Getting to and around Cork is fairly easy. Here’s a whole blog post about it. If flying into Cork, it costs about €15 to taxi from the airport to city centre. There is also a bus. If you rent a car, be aware of parking options.
What about visiting with a car?
Is West Cork a neighborhood of Cork City? I’ve heard it is beautiful.
West Cork is a region of County Cork west of Cork City. It is the most southwestern area of the Republic and noted for its coastline and cuisine. I recommend West Cork, especially if the weather is good. It is Ireland’s answer to California (without the heat). Beaches, food producers, fields, and very scenic. The pace is just a little slower (much slower than Dublin). We go there at least once a month even if just for lunch and it is very accessible from Cork City and Kenmare/Killarney for a day trip. Though buses do service towns in West Cork like Skibb, this is one area it is nice to have a rental car so you have flexibility to stop wherever you wish.
Do you recommend any particular hotel in Dublin that is central or well-located?
My favorite places to stay in Dublin are The Gibson (hip and located across from the O2) and The Brooks Hotel (classic and well-kept near St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street). But Dublin is a city and, as such, there are many many hotels I’ve never heard of so do some research and ask friends who’ve been there. Porterhouse is a nice spot to get a pint.
Any suggestions for restaurants in Dublin?
If you get the chance and advanced time to make reservations, Chapter One is a VERY nice restaurant (I have yet to get in since reservations are essential and I never plan ahead enough when going to Dublin). Eden is nice too. Dunne & Crecenzi is a sentimental favorite because we dined there on our honeymoon. Avoca on the top floor of their shop at the end of Grafton is delectable. There’s also one on the M7/N7 near Naas.
Where do you recommend we call home while we’re in County Cork?
There are a few places. Depends where you want to be and where you want to explore.
In Cork City Centre, my Dad likes the Imperial Hotel in Cork City Centre. It is central and there are NO hills between that hotel and the city. Clarion is also good but three blocks farther from everything and not in an interesting direction. There are many B&Bs along Western Road near UCC (University College Cork). The Gresham Metropole is supposed to be very nice as well and it’s on MacCurtain. Slight hill heading into town from there unless you exit out the hotel’s lower level which is on the Quay level. There is also River Lee Hotel and Jury’s on Western Road between UCC and city centre.
Outside of Cork City Centre there are options like Ballymaloe House near Cloyne or a selection of boutique hotels and B&Bs in Kinsale. Look for a B&B and odds are they will take good care of you and have a nice breakfast. Though most hotels have lovely breakfasts as well.
What is the name of the new highway connecting Dublin and Cork?
The roads are small but do-able. I did it on our honeymoon and just took it slow in the afternoon on a weekday when it wasn’t too busy. There is a paid parking lot in the centre of town in Kinsale which is central. I recommend going to lunch at Fishy Fishy (I like their monkfish or their chicken green salad) then stroll around the shops.
I highly recommend Electric for tea/coffee, soda/beer, or sandwich/soup lunch. They have WiFi and great natural light. It’s two blocks from the Imperial Hotel on the South Mall. I go there twice a week with my Twitter meetup group and my knitting friends because it has a nice relaxed feel with great light so even on rainy days I feel like I’ve gotten some sunlight. You can have a real restaurant meal upstairs (reservations through Facebook). Grab the tables in the far back on the ground level for a view of the River Lee. They are in the running for Best Scone in Ireland (Goodalls competition).
This is a quick post to share a couple photos from the Cork City St. Patrick’s Festival. In this post, you can peek at one pic of the parade, which I didn’t really see given the crowds since I was with my mother (who cannot stand or walk for very long). There is also a photo from the food fair along Grand Parade and the South Mall Boardwalk (not to be confused with the Lapps Quay Boardwalk). If you want to see more photos from St. Patrick’s Day in Cork, this set has photos from my first (and so far only) two March 17th’s living in Ireland. Hope you had a lovely holiday!
This is a guest post written by my mother, Julie, to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Yesterday, my daughter and her dear husband took me to my first hurling match. In the States, I avoid sports functions – on TV or attending – because I find them boring and usually fall asleep before anything happens.
Hurling is completely different. The kids had told me it was “the fastest game on grass” and it was.