Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Very Special Adventure, The Wrap-Up-Part Deux

Our Accommodations

PaddyWagon Tours' main option for accommodations are hostels. Being that we are over 40 + were spending our 10th wedding anniversary in Ireland, hostels didn't seem like the right choice for us. We upgraded to the Deluxe Option, which turned out to be B&B's. All but the last night was really lovely and gave us a great flavor for what to expect when we return. 

Night #1 was in Dublin. I spent a lot of time on TripAdvisor figuring out where we should stay. Knowing that we wouldn't get a lot of sleep on the red-eye from NYC to Dublin, I went with an actual hotel and one farther away from the hustle & bustle of Grafton Street and Temple Bar areas of Dublin. Ranked #42 out of Dublin's 179 hotels, Kilronan House seemed like a good deal. 

We got in way too early to actually check in but were able to drop off our bags and get a map of the city, with hints on what to check out. When we did check in later, our bags had already been taken to our room. 

It wasn't a horrible room; it was clean and tidy but just really small, especially the bathroom. The bathroom was also not in the best of repair - there was a large patch on the ceiling where it was peeling and had water stains. But we slept well and honestly, that was our main concern before boarding a bus for 9 days. 

We also got a better rate than I was expecting, without asking, so that was quite nice. We had a really early start on the tour so weren't able to partake of the breakfast that came with our stay but that's totally fine. The service was fantastic though, I have to say.

Nights #2 & 3 were spent in Killarney at the Rivermere Guesthouse. We had a double room which included one double and one twin bed. The room was pretty spacious and nice. It was about a 10-15 minute walk from the main street in Killarney, so a nice walk to get up the appetite. The bathroom was practically palatial, with an actual full sized tub - a total luxury. Service was really nice too. Spouse & I chatted with the nice young man that watched over the desk at night for a while about politics and such. It was very interesting to get his take on American politics and hear a little more about Poland, where he is from, and Ireland, where he has lived for 8 years. 

Night #4 was spent in Annascaul, after traveling along the Dingle Peninsula, at PaddyWagon's own B&B, which is part of their pub, The Randy Leprechaun.  The B&B smelled brand new and was really quite lovely. Decent sized bathroom too. Breakfast was nice as well. 

We spent most of the evening at The Randy Leprechaun, which was fun. The food wasn't great but fairly inexpensive and they had a great bar + a great jukebox. Later on, there was a DJ with a karaoke machine so there was a LOT of singing and dancing and general rowdiness. And I had my first Irish Car Bomb courtesy of the lovely, Averil from Canada! This isn't Averil in the photo but about sums up what I thought:
This is Simone from Australia. She is really hilarious.
Night #5 was spent in Cork at a B&B called Auburn House, which was a 10-15 walk from the main shopping area of Cork. Another great room honestly, and breakfast but the best was Olive, the proprietor. She was so incredibly lovely. Gave us great advice on where to go and how to get there. Was very concerned that we make enough time for breakfast and seriously, she's wonderful. If we ever return to Cork, we'll stay there for sure. 

Night #6 was in Galway at Four Seasons B&B. On the down side, one of the smallest rooms and baths we stayed in but on the total up side, breakfast. Holy flarking shizznit. Not only was it scrumptious, it was beautiful. Freshly baked homemade scones with freshly prepared cream. More option than just eggs - I had eggs with smoked salmon and Spouse got an omelette. It was heavenly. And our hosts were delightful. Eddie and Helen had a very effortless way of taking care of us. The B&B is again, about 10-15 walk to city center but totally worth it. 
Breakfast prepared by Helen and Eddie at
Four Seasons B&B, Galway - scrumptious!!
Nights #7 & 8 were spent in Derry, in Northern Ireland. We stayed at Aberfolye B&B, which is right on the main drag, but about 10-15 minute walk to main city center. The room was decent, smallish bath (your best bet would be to back in so you can close the door behind you) but we slept well and honestly, that's the biggest part. While wifi was readily available in all of our other accommodations, this one only had reception in the front parlor. 

Night #9 was definitely the low-light of the whole trip. We stayed in an apartment building across from the PaddyWagon hostel. The main room was nice and they did supply us with kitchen items and breakfast foods. Our bedroom had literal mold on the one way. If you didn't see it when you walked in, you smelled it - that musty, cloudy odor you only smell with mold. The room was a decent size and bathroom too but mold - yuck. The best thing I can say about our accommodations here were the keys were super cool. 

Our last two nights were by far the crowning jewel of the trip. Since we didn't know exactly where we would be staying on the tour, I decided to splurge a little and am so glad I did. The Schoolhouse Hotel in Dublin was a perfect respite to recover a bit from the mad dashing about of the tour. 

A wonderfully appointed room, all of which are named for famous Dublin authors, with a lovely bath and super comfy, actual king sized bed. (All of the beds on the trip were doubles while we have a kind size at home). We stayed in the Bram Stoker room which was perfect for us. Enough room to organize everything before we headed home and about a 20 minute walk from Grafton Street/Temple Bar. The Schoolhouse is in the Ballsbridge area of Dublin, which I was told was really a tony area and also home to many of the embassies. We sprung for the advance pay breakfast and it was well-worth it, even if we had to leave too early the second morning to get to the airport (derp). 

The staff was excellent and we spent a bit of time wandering about in the dining room and attached by a small doorway, bar area. I think even to dine there would be lovely. 

It wasn't super cheap - after conversion about $150/night American - but seriously so worth it. 

Part Trois of the Wrap-Up will be photos, I think. Not a lot, but a few from each location. Hopefully this week. We both came back with sniffles and such + we've been the hosts with the most since returning. My ma-in-law and Spouse's Aunt Sandy stayed with us one night this week, and his cousin and his girlfriend from Toledo came down for the weekend. Next weekend, Spouse's Girlfriend is coming in from DC - we are both super excited about that. My friend, Ashley, is lovely and I need some girl time. And girlfriend/boyfriend time. Her flight got canceled a few weeks' ago, when she tried to visit. Spouse was sad. 
This is the face he made when I said
her flight had been canceled.
I was able to get in some cooking this weekend so look for the beginning of more cooking posts. It was really lovely to be bustling about the kitchen a bit too. I really missed it while we were away!

Happy Standard Time folks!!

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