Locked Down

The planning board is complete.

Okay. Locked down is kind of an overstatement. I’m still waiting to hear back on a couple of things, and there’s at least one tour I’d like to get on that I can’t book yet. But still. Things are about as close to being locked down as they can be.

So, the picture is my planning board. I put one of these together for every big trip. A card for each day, colour-coded to indicate what city I am based in that day. It’s a good way to visualize the entire span of time, and it helps me get to grips with where I’ll be when.

I also use the itinerary page I build on this blog1, but that helps me keep track of details and links. The board helps me visualize and structure the trip, and the itinerary helps me organize the information about all the activities. Using the two tools in concert helps me make sure I haven’t missed anything2.


I’ve fleshed out the stuff I want to be doing during my stay in Dublin. Some of it3 are revisiting things I’ve seen before, but usually with a different tour. Some of it has changed – for example, it looks like the hop-on-hop-off bus tour that I love so much in Dublin has added another route that takes in more of the northern part of the city. And the Newgrange, Monasterboice, and Hill of Tara tour I’ve got booked was canceled on my last trip.

I’ve scheduled myself less completely than I have on previous trips. I have more confidence on this, my third Irish adventure, in my ability to find interesting things to do. And I feel less pressure to see everything. And I’ve found that just bumming around Ireland with no pressing plans for a day is kind of awesome.

Also, I’m getting old4, and maybe the lighter schedule will be easier on me.

Less than two months. Can hardly wait.

  1. Which is also as complete as it’s probably gonna get. []
  2. Not foolproof. For the UK trip, I somehow managed to miss booking a hotel the first night in London and the last night in Edinburgh. Nothing is foolproof. But you can believe I’ve been double-checking dates for accommodations this trip. []
  3. As with several things in other cities. []
  4. Okay, I’m already old. I’m getting older. I’ll be turning 50 on this trip. []

Disaster Averted. Mostly, Anyway.

So, this morning, as every morning, I sit down to check my e-mail while my brain boots up. There was an e-mail from my London hotel, saying they look forward to welcoming me. I was reading through it, thinking, “Only a few more days! Looks like the weather will be fairly nice. Any interesting links to things nearby? Hey, are those dates wrong?”

Sure enough, the e-mail said that I was booked for five nights starting on Sunday night. I had wanted to be booked for five nights starting on Saturday night. I pulled out my previous confirmation1, and found that I had indeed booked five nights starting on Sunday. Obviously, because I had the dumb.

I called the hotel, and they were helpful, but were booked solid on Saturday. Also, because I wanted the lowest rate on the room, I had booked a no-cancellation, no-change reservation, so I was stuck with the extra night. But they gave me some info about another hotel that was2 farther away and3 more expensive, but had rooms available. I’m booked in there for the first night.

It’s not ideal, but at least I found out before arriving. It’ll change the very loose plans I had for my arrival day, and eat up some time on the next day, but nothing too bad. I regret the extra cost, but I’ll get over it.

And I spent an extra half-hour this morning making sure all the rest of my hotel dates are correct.4

  1. I print out all the confirmations and store them so that I can carry them with me as proof of booking and payment, etc. []
  2. Significantly. []
  3. Slightly. []
  4. They are. []

Tapping My Foot Impatiently

Okay, so I thought I was all done with booking stuff for the trip. Then I found out that York is hosting an international Shakespeare festival while I’m there, so I went to take a look at what was playing. I was very pleased to find that there’s a performance of King Lear while I’m in the city1, and I nabbed a ticket for that.

I was really hoping that there would be something fun playing at Stratford-Upon-Avon that I could see, but I’m in the area at a time when there’s nothing that interests me2. I may even skip taking the train out there from Oxford to see the place; it’s going to depend on how I’m feeling and what there I still have left to see in Oxford on the day I have free. We’ll see.

Anyway, I had some free time today, so I started packing. Actually, I’m almost finished packing. And laying out my travel clothes for when I head to the plane. Yes, I realize that it’s still almost two weeks before I leave, but I wanted to start figuring out what I’m taking and how I’m carrying it, so I started fitting things into bags, and one thing led to another…

My trips to Ireland have really encouraged me to pack light. I carried less on my second trip than I did on my first, and I’m carrying less on this trip than I did on either of the first two. Part of that is that I went from an iPad and laptop electronics loadout to a Surface Pro 3. The Surface does everything that I need a laptop for3 in the convenient form-factor of a tablet. So, only one device. Well, two, counting my iPhone.

I’m also only bringing clothes for about a week, expecting to wash things like socks, underwear, and t-shirts in my hotel sink, and get the more cumbersome items – pants, heavier shirts – washed in laundromats or by hotel laundry services.

Everything packs pretty neatly into my trusty Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 and my new(ish) Tom Bihn Pilot. I say new(ish) for the Pilot because I took it down to GenCon last year, but this is its first big trip. Aside from being a convenient personal item size carry on bag, it’ll make a very nice day pack as I wander the streets and byways of the UK. It’ll easily hold my Surface, my camera, a sweatshirt4, my rain shell, a bottle of water, and a few snacks. And the Surface can stay at the hotel most days, so it’ll have a little extra room for picking things up on my rambles.

And now, I sit, waiting to add the last couple of items to my bags on the day I leave.

Tapping my foot impatiently.

  1. I like King Lear more than I like Romeo and Juliet, which I’m seeing in London at the Globe. What was I really hoping for? The Tempest, or maybe MacbethJulius Caesar would have been good, too, or Much Ado About Nothing. Oh, well. []
  2. A week after I’m gone, the Royal Shakespeare Company puts on Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta. I would love to see that. []
  3. Processing and storing pictures, keeping the blog up to date, etc. []
  4. Well, really a long-sleeved, light-weight merino wool pullover. []

Less Than Four Months

So, it occurred to me earlier this week that there were less than four months left before my trip, and that I had better start finalizing stuff. Over the past several days, I’ve booked a number of tours, made a number of plans, and ordered a rail pass that will let me travel eight days1?

I’ve updated my itinerary page with the details, so check that out if you have any interest. The biggest empty bit is York – I need to do a little more research to see what there is in the area besides the city2 to see. I also need to sort out which of the several ghost tours of London, York, and Edinburgh I want to take. More research.

For those few3 who care about such things, I tried out a new bag for traveling this year – the Tom Bihn Tri-Star, which is a wonderful bag. It’s got great organization, and can hold an immense amount of stuff. But not quite enough for a three-week4 trip. So, I’m sticking with my Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45, which saw me so successfully through Ireland twice. I was impressed enough with the Tri-Star, though, that I will continue to use it for shorter trips, like my summer convention trip, or weekends out at the parents’ farm.

For a day bag, I’m going with another Tom Bihn bag – the Pilot. I’ve paired it with the Tri-Star on other trips, and it’s pretty much perfect for what I want. So, yeah, I am becoming an even bigger devotee of Tom Bihn bags than I have been. Make of that what you will.

  1. Looking at my schedule, I will be traveling exactly eight days, from city to city, with a couple of day trips here and there. Perfect. over the three weeks that I’m there, all across Great Britain, including Scotland. First Class, because why not ((It is a little bit more expensive, but not nearly as much as I expected, and I’ve read from UK folks that first class on the long-ish journeys is really worth it. []
  2. Which is pretty awesome, from all accounts. []
  3. Very few, I’m betting. []
  4. Actually, 24 days. []

It’s Really Happening

Things have been kind of quiet here as I’ve slowly been booking stuff for my trip. Now that I’ve got a significant portion of it fleshed out, I’ve updated the itinerary page, and am writing this post so the few people who follow the blog1 can see where things stand.

Now, on the trip, London and Edinburgh were pretty much no-brainers. I wanted to start with London2, and finish up with Edinburgh, winding my way north over the three weeks of my trip. I had originally intended to take in some stuff in Cornwall, but the research I did showed me that it would be pretty time-consuming and expensive, taking me well out of the way, and leaving me less time for a lot of other things.

Side note: the UK is significantly more expensive than Ireland. Like, 50-100% more expensive, at least for accommodations. I thought things would get cheaper outside of London, but that did not turn out to be the case. I’m paying for as much of the accommodations and tours as I can before the trip, so that I don’t need to worry about that part of the trip ON the trip. It’ll give me time to pay off the expense before the actual trip.

Anyway, the days between London and Edinburgh. I kind of wanted to see Oxford – it’s full of neat history3, amazing architecture, and is centrally located so that I can take a couple of day trips to interesting places like Bletchley Park and Stratford-upon-Avon. Maybe even Blenheim Palace.

A little more research convinced me that the next stage of the journey should be York. Again, a lot of very cool history and architecture4. I don’t have a lot of solid ideas of what I want to see there, yet – I need to do some more research. But I’m convinced that a few days there will be well-spent.

Now, the next stop is a little more problematic. I really want to see Fingal’s Cave, which is off the west coast of Scotland. It’s off the beaten path, and it’ll take me pretty much a whole day to get from York to Oban5. Then, the actual boat tour may not land on Staffa6 if the weather is not co-operative. So, I may be taking two days to go out of my way to see something that I may not, in fact, get to see. Sounds a little like my abortive attempt to see the Skelligs, doesn’t it?

But I really want to try and see Fingal’s Cave, and I’ve got a couple of days to spend. I figure it’s worth a try.

And from Oban, it looks like another full day of travel to bring me to Edinburgh. And from Edinburgh7, I take the train down to spend my last night in a hotel near Heathrow before flying home the next day.

I’ve booked a few tours, etc. already. Here’s what’s officially on the books:

  • The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. This is free, but you need to register in advance to be allowed to see it. I’ve got my certificate of entry, so I’m good!
  • I’m staying in Whitechapel while in London, so of course I need to take a Jack the Ripper tour. I’ve found one that looks pretty good and booked it.
  • I also booked a tour that takes me to Stonehenge, Bath, and Lacock. It’s a bit of a pricey tour, because it gets me8 a private viewing of Stonehenge at sunrise. Inside the inner ring of stones. I’m sure Bath and Lacock are cool and all, but INSIDE STONEHENGE!
  • I found that one of my favourite performers, Derren Brown, has a new show that will be playing in Edinburgh while I’m there. The morning the tickets went on sale, I went online and snagged on in the front centre of the stalls. I’m very excited about this!

There are a number of other things I want to see and do, but haven’t finalized yet9:

  • Avebury. There’s a massive stone circle and a long tomb there. It looks easy enough to get there from London on the train and bus. I should be able to pair it with the next item for a full day trip.
  • Salisbury. Lots of cool history here, including Salisbury Cathedral with it’s Magna Carta.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe. If they’ve got a Shakespearean production on, I pretty much need to get a ticket.
  • Bletchley Park. WWII codebreaking museum! Looks to be an easy day trip out from Oxford. And very, very cool to see.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon. This is all about the Shakespeare, of course. Another easy day trip from Oxford. Maybe I can even combine it with Bletchley Park into one full day.
  • Rosslyn Chapel. Okay. I’m gonna go all conspiracy hipster. I thought Rosslyn Chapel was weird and interesting long before Dan Brown got his mucky fingerprints all over it and Da Vinci Coded it up. So, I’m gonna take the bus out from Edinburgh to see it. Maybe I can even find a tour that will take in the chapel and some other interesting sites in Scotland.
  • The Highlands. I think it’ll be fun to take a bus tour for the day through the Scottish Highlands. Why wouldn’t I? If it stops at Loch Ness, bonus!
  • So. Many. CASTLES! They’re everywhere! And I wanna see them all.
  • Ghost tours. No, I’m not credulous enough to think I’m going to see a ghost10, but you get such cool stories and hidden history on the tours!

There’s probably other stuff. I’ve got more than six months to keep planning and researching. It’ll flesh out.

But this is a decent start.

  1. Hi, Dad! []
  2. After all, I’m landing at Heathrow. []
  3. Not to mention it’s the site of the Inspector Morse mysteries. []
  4. Detecting a theme? []
  5. Via Glasgow []
  6. The island where the cave is. []
  7. After several days in the city, of course. []
  8. And the small group of other people on the tour. []
  9. To be fair, some of the things don’t need to be finalized in advance. But still. []
  10. I do not believe in ghosts. Want to change my mind? Show me proof. []

It Begins Again…

Trip Advisor has been sending me a lot of e-mail lately, telling me how cheap it is to go to Ireland again. Or to lots of other places. These e-mail temptations always seem to show up while I’m trying to concentrate on work, and not on how much I’d like to be traveling. So, to take some of the sting out of them, I decided it was time to start planning the next trip.

I’m thinking spring/summer of 2015 for this one. That gives me about a year and a half to figure out what I want to do. After some thinking, agonizing, and discussing, I’ve decided that I’m not returning to Ireland this trip1, but to move slightly east and see England and Scotland2.

So, with that decision made, I did what I always do when starting a new project: I hit the bookstore for research material. I was sad to see that For Dummies books seems to have stopped making travel books – those were always a good starting point for research. I’ve tracked down and ordered the latest editions of their books for London, England, and Scotland, and grabbed a few Lonely Planet guides to get me going.

It's a good start, I think.
It’s a good start, I think.

So, that’s the plan. I know that there are a few places that I really want to see:

  • London
  • Oxford
  • Edinburgh
  • Tintagel
  • Stonehenge

I’ll have to figure out what’s practical, and how best to do it.

Here we go again!

  1. Though, as I type this, there’s a slideshow of my Ireland pictures showing on my TV, and I begin to second-guess that decision. I love Ireland so much! []
  2. And maybe Wales. I dunno. We’ll see as the planning progresses. []


Tomorrow is the day!

Which means that today is the day that I finally have to finish up all the stuff I need to finish up before I can get on a plane. I’m almost there.

One of the things I have to get done is a post about my final packing arrangements1 – what bag(s) I’m bringing, and what I’m carrying in them. I started finalizing a packing list a few weeks back and did a test pack where I managed to fit everything I really needed into just my Tom Bihn Aeronaut, which is awesome. There were two minor problems:

  1. It was pretty full.Not a lot of room for bringing back souvenirs and such.
  2. It was about a pound too heavy for the carry-on baggage restrictions.

Now, the extra pound wasn’t such a big deal – odds are it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at the gate unless I looked like I was labouring under a terrible weight. And I had packed an extra bag2 to use as an everyday carry, so I could have slipped my iPad and some other stuff into the second bag at the gate and come in safely under the limit.

But I wasn’t all that happy with the Cafe Bag choice for an everyday carry on this trip. It’s a great bag, but it’s not quite as big as I wanted. I wanted something that would hold my iPad, camera, and a few other things, and the camera just didn’t fit into the Cafe Bag very elegantly. I’d settled on the Cafe Bag because it fit very easily into the Aeronaut with the rest of my stuff.

Most of my other Tom Bihn bags were just a little too large to qualify as a personal item as a second bag. So, I settled on my Red Oxx Gator Carry-On as a second bag. It fits the size requirements neatly, is big enough to carry the stuff I want with me during the day, and small enough that it doesn’t feel like I’m lugging around the world. My one worry is that, while it is water resistant, it is not waterproof. But I think a little common sense will overcome that limitation.

So, with that sorted out, here’s my packing list.


I’ve got most of my clothes in a large Aeronaut packing cube in the main central compartment: two pairs of cargo pants, three merino wool t-shirts, a long-sleeved button shirt, and a sweatshirt. The central pocket also holds my laptop in a sleeve, my Tilley hat and, in the mesh top pocket, my 3-1-1 kit for liquids. That way, I can just unzip the center compartment and pop out the laptop and 3-1-1 kit for airport security.

One of the end compartments holds my socks and underwear in an end pocket packing cube, and the other holds my toiletry Kit with toothbrush, tooth tablets, sink stopper, and clothesline. It also holds my travel towel and my rain jacket.

The slash pocket on one end is for my organizer pouch full of reservation papers and such, and the other is for my phone, keys, wallet, and travel tray.

Fully loaded, the Aeronaut comes in at just under 17 pounds.

Gator Carry-On

The central pocket is for my iPad, camera, and Snake Charmer with all my cords, chargers, adapters, and what not for my electronics. The snap pockets on the front hold my sunglasses, reading glasses, and regular glasses3. The gusseted end pockets hold my travel notebook and pen and a few Clif bars.

And the Gator weighs in at 11 pounds with this load.

What Else?

Well, I’m wearing one set of clothes, including a short-sleeved overshirt, a t-shirt, socks, underwear, cargo pants, and hiking shoes. And I have a really cool fold-up backpack from Sea to Summit. That’s the total of what I’m bringing to get me through a three-week journey all over Ireland. It’s significantly less and significantly lighter than what I carried last time, and that’s a good thing. Not only will it be easier to haul around, it will give me a little extra room to pack a few souvenirs – that was a pretty tight fit last time.


I added one last thing to the itinerary last night – I booked the Evening of Folklore and Storytelling dinner at the Brazen Head4 for the Friday night I’m in Dublin. It looks like fun. And with that, the itinerary is locked.

Which is a good thing, because I leave tomorrow.

And then I’ll finally start having some interesting things to post here.

  1. Some of you may be interested in this – or not – but the folks at Tom Bihn said they’d like to see my packing list and stuff. []
  2. A Tom Bihn Cafe Bag, if you’re curious. []
  3. Of which I generally use only my sunglasses, but I’ve been needing the reading glasses more and more, and the regular glasses might come in handy if I decide to, say, go see the opening of Man of Steel on my last weekend in Dublin. Just sayin’. []
  4. Ostensibly the oldest pub in Dublin. []

Almost Ready

It’s less than a month until I leave for Ireland, and I think I’ve got most of the details of the trip nailed down. Which is good, because, as I said, it’s less than a month until I leave. Did I mention that I have less than a month before I go to Ireland? ‘Cause it’s less than a month!

I’ve updated my itinerary for this trip to reflect the fact that I’ve sorted out what I’m going to be doing. It’s pretty much locked down, now, though that’s less rigid this trip than on the previous one – there are more days where I’ve got some plans, but nothing that I’ve had to book. This gives me a little more freedom to do what I feel like doing, based on weather, how tired I am, and stuff like that.

The big block in completing this portion of the trip was sorting out what I was going to be doing in Killarney. I really wanted a chance to take the boat out to Skellig Michael, but – as I found out last trip – that’s a chancy proposition. Also pretty expensive, what with the taxi ride from Killarney to Portmagee, but that’s the lesser concern. Much as I want to see the Skelligs, I finally decided to play it a little safer; after all, I really wanted to take the tour up through the Gap of Dunloe and to see Dingle and Slea Head, and those were more guaranteed things.

So, that’s what I booked. I’ve decided that, if I want to see the Skelligs, I’m going to have to book a week or so in Portmagee to have a good chance. Maybe rent a car, so I can tour the Kerry countryside on the days I don’t go out in the boats. Guess that means another trip to Ireland. What hardship!

Once that was done, I booked the tours in Killarney, and found a ghost tour I can take one night, as well. Those, coupled with the nice walks in and around the town, should keep me happily occupied for my two full days there. Then it’s on to Kilkenny.

After doing a fair bit of research online and sending about a half-dozen e-mail messages to various places in Kilkenny, I picked out three definite things I want to do there: take a walking tour of the town, head out north of town to Dunmore Cave, and head out south of town to Kells Priory. For the trips out of town, I contacted Kilkenny Taxi, and got some price quotes, which are quite reasonable, so that’s how I’m going to do that.

I haven’t actually booked anything, because I don’t really need to for this part of the trip. That means I can decide on the days in question when I want to go where – with the exception that I need to do the walking tour of the town on the Saturday, as it doesn’t run on Sunday. But if weather is rough, then I can head out to Dunmore Cave in the afternoon, or if it’s nice, I can either walk around the town to see the things the tour didn’t cover, or head out south to Kells Priory.

I’m really pretty excited about Kells Priory. It’s open to the public, with no guides or tours or opening or closing times – it’s just a three-acre, twelfth-century ruin that you can wander around. It’s not on a lot of tour itineraries, and there is no convenient buses1 to anywhere near the site, so most of the reviews I read of it featured the line, “We were the only ones there!” Which is awesome.

And after two days in Kilkenny, I hop the train back to Dublin for the last part of my vacation. I’ve got a few day trips booked out of the city, and I plan to make a little more extensive use of the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour than I did last trip, but I’ve left the evenings free, as well as my last two days in the city, so I can finish off the trip in a little more relaxed fashion than previously.

That said, there are a couple of evening things I want to look into in Dublin – there’s a storytelling dinner at The Bronze Head that looks like fun, and I want to try and hit a pub or two that I heard about on the Musical Pub Crawl last year for some music. I also want to revisit Kilmainham Gaol, and take a tour of Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and wander around Phoenix Park for a bit.

And then it’ll be time to come home.

  1. Believe me, I looked! []

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.” []

Doolin Details

This past week, I booked my accommodations for the Doolin portion of my trip. I had originally planned to stay at Nellie Dee’s, which looks like an awesome B&B, but then I found out that McGann’s Pub also rents rooms. Given that one of my objectives  on this trip is to spend more time in the pubs1 to hear more of the live traditional music, and that Doolin is famous for its music pubs2, I decided to book there, instead.

I’ve got four nights in Doolin, with three full days to do stuff in the area. And four full evenings to sit in one of the three pubs and listen to whatever music is going on.

Getting from Belfast to Doolin is going to take all day. Train to Dublin, change stations3, train to Galway, then bus to Doolin. Looking at the schedules, that should get me into Doolin in the early evening of May 31.

So, what to do in Doolin during the day4? Well, I want to take the ferry out to the Aran Islands. Doolin Ferries offers a cruise that gives me four hours on Inisheer and then takes me past the Cliffs of Moher. If I take the noon ferry, it looks like I’ll be heading past the Cliffs around sunset, which would be awesome for some pictures.

I’d also like to see the Doolin Caves, which look to be within walking distance of the town5. Ideally, I’d also like to get on one of the Burren walks run by Burren Wild, though I’ll have to see about arranging a taxi drop-off and pick-up. There’s this taxi service run by the man who used to run McGann’s pub, so I should be able to set something up when I get there.

That’s one day for the trip to the Aran Islands, and one day for the Doolin Cave and either a Burren Wild tour or walking some of the trails near the village6. Day three7 I’m leaving open, either for more exploration of the area, or a day-trip out to Inishmore or a bus trip to the Cliffs of Moher. We’ll have to see how I’m feeling that day. The important bit is that I’ll be in a pub each evening, listening to music.

And that’s stage two of my next Ireland trip. Now to start looking at Killarney and Kilkenny.


  1. Well, you know what I mean. []
  2. That is, after all, one of the reasons I’m spending some time there. []
  3. North-south trains seem to run out of Connolly station, while east-west trains run out of Heuston station. []
  4. Besides alliterate, of course. []
  5. Well, I think it is. Of course, the town of Doolin is pretty widely scattered, so it’s hard to be certain. []
  6. To places like Doonagore Castle, Ballinalacken Castle,  and even the Cliffs of Moher, if I’m feeling stroppy. []
  7. Which also happens to be my birthday. []