One Step Closer

Well, actually a couple of steps.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been slowly firming up the itinerary for my 2013 Ireland trip. I’ve got all my accommodation booked, and most of the tours for Belfast, Doolin, and Dublin. I’m waiting on some answers before booking my Kilkenny tours, mainly to do with how one gets to Dunmore Cave from Kilkenny.

Killarney is a bit harder. I’m very torn. I’ve got two full days in Killarney, and three things I’d like to do. Each of the three things I want to do takes a day, so one of them has to fall by the wayside. Yes, I know I can shift things around, even now that I’ve booked my accommodations, but there are reasons for this timing1.

So, the three things are:

  • Tour the Gap of Dunloe. This is an interesting trip, where you take a bus around through the Kerry Mountains, get out and either walk or ride23 – pony or pony cart – up through the gap, and then taking a boat down through the Lakes of Killarney to Ross Castle and then busing back to Killarney.
  • Tour the Dingle Peninsula. This is a day trip, similar to the Ring of Kerry trip I went on last time, but around the Dingle Peninsula. Lots of rugged coastline, interesting archaeology, seeing Dingle Harbour, and cool stuff like that.
  • Boat trip out to Skellig Michael. This is what I had planned to do last time, when I stayed in Portmagee, but weather prevented the trip. Now, Killarney Taxi runs a service down to Portmagee to take people to the boats and bring them back again. It’s a little pricey, but not ridiculous considering the distance and the convenience. But everything is dependent on whether or not the boats are running.

If I decide that I really want to see the Skelligs4, I’ll be leaving things kind of up in the air, as I try and book a place on the first day and leave the second day clear in case the boats aren’t running. That means that I may be scrambling to get a spot on one of the other tours on the day I don’t take the Skellig trip. Possibly both days, if there’s no Skellig trip on either day.

I’m trying to decide if I can live with that and, if so, which of the other tours I’d take on the off day. That means no booking stuff in Killarney just yet.

I talked to some friends of my parents over the Christmas break. They used to live in Ireland, they gave me some good pointers of things to look for. I’ve found that a number of them – including the Avoca Handweavers – are covered in some of my day tours. Others, like the Lisdoonvarna fair, are at the wrong time of year, but I’ll at least be in the nearby area.

Last bit I wanted to mention: I was having some trouble settling on accommodation in Kilkenny. I had planned to stay at Butler House, which is the dower house to Kilkenny Castle, and right next door to it. But the more I looked at it, the more I was put off by the price. Eventually, I decided to check out some other B&Bs in Kilkenny. The first three I tried had no rooms for the days I was going to be in Kilkenny. My friend Chris5 said, essentially, that I’d be a fool not to splurge a little bit on Butler House, considering that it might be a long time before I went back to Ireland. I caved in and booked at Butler House, and am looking forward to staying there.

We’re in the home stretch as far as planning goes. I’m starting to look at my luggage, now, to see if I can reduce what I bring with me and have to lug around. I’ve got some plans.

  1. Mainly, I want to be able to spend my birthday evening in a pub in Doolin listening to music, and don’t want to steal time from Kilkenny and Dublin. []
  2. I’m planning on riding, myself. []
  3. Not, you’ll notice, riding myself. Commas matter. []
  4. And I do want to see them. []
  5. “I’m good at spending Rick’s money.” []

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