Flew Aer Lingus from JFK (New York) into Shannon
, Ireland. I went through the lines at customs and got my first stamp in my new passport! Everyone is extremely friendly. The ATM even allows for you to withdraw Euro, so I didn't have to pay an extra fee at the currency exchange center. Next task - tackle the road. I walked down to Hertz, and was given a 4-door silver Nissan. I need to remember to drive on the left side of the road. So weird! As I'm pulling out, the car is not moving. Parking break. Of course. I was already having difficulties driving in a foreign country without even moving an inch! I proceeded to attempt following the directions I printed from home on google maps, but I couldn't even find the first roundabout! Yes, they name their roundabouts like streets.
And each spoke is considered an "exit" (example: take the 3rd exit at the Shannnbridge roundabout.) I went in one big circle, still lost, and then saw a sign for Shannon airport. So I did what any American driver would do. I drove right back into Hertz and got the GPS addition. That thing is truly amazing - I'm officially a believer! No way would I have made it out of Shannon..
Driving is going well, better than I had expected. The green hills are gorgeous and so much more stunning than how I remembered them in pictures. The sun is fighting to shine through the clouds during my 2 1/2 hour drive to Dingle. Only when I approached the peninsula, did the clouds take over and cover up the light. I was really impressed with the roads of the highway - no pot holes, just 2 smooth lanes.
However, when I was going from one major highway to another, I had to drive through a few minor roads in the local towns. These were definitely more narrow than in the States, and I came close to hitting a few parked cars with my side-view mirror! When I first entered Dingle peninsula, my surroundings were quite barren. Only green grass, cows, horses and goats. Golf carts would have a tight squeeze passing each other on these very narrow roads. I rented a nice room on Main Street at Barr Na Sraide Inn. Breakfast was not served after 10am here, and I missed the cutoff by 15 minutes. So I took a stroll down the road to the Goat Street Cafe. Real cute. And they make one great cup of coffee! After chatting with my waitress for a bit, I decided to head back to the Inn and nap for an hour.
Typical street signs in Dingle
The time difference was already taking its toll on me.
At about noon, I walked down to Green Street on my way to the Bay. So many quaint cafes, handmade jewelry shops, and galleries. Dingle Bay is beautiful. The Aquarium is right there in town, along with a line of lively pubs that have live music every night from 9:30pm til close. There are a good amount of fishing boats and sailboats, as well as kayak rentals. A great place to sit on one of the many sidewalk benches and enjoy lunch. I walked up, down, and sideways around town - browsing shops and taking pictures. One very cool thing about this town is the Gaelic presence. Every sign reads in their native tongue. Another interesting note: I didn't see any street signs. Rather I saw signs to attractions (i.e. supermarkets, B&B's, bookstores.) Another note: if driving, make sure your B&B has a separate lot for parking so you don't have to worry about meter parking on the street. After my excursion to Dingle Bay, I decided to plan my route around the Ring of Kerry
for tomorrow morning. I debated with myself in going out at night for the local pub music, but I was still on New York time and it was 2:30am in "my world" so I decided to get some rest and go out in the evening of Day 2, when I would have more to offer the local pub scene.
Dingle Hotels & Accommodations review
Central location, clean & comfortable
Central location on Main Street. Very reasonably priced. Includes breakfast and private parking lot for drivers (very important in Dingle!) Clean and … read entire review