Day Six
Clifden to Tralee via the Cliffs

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wanting to avoid the debacle that was the restaurant dining room during breakfast, we put out a ‘room service’ card before going to bed the night before. They promptly brought us our breakfast at 9:00 on Sunday morning, and we were able to eat in the peace and quiet of our hotel room (and not have to deal with the whining kids and other annoying people that were about in the dining room). After eating, we packed up the room and bid Abbeyglenn Castle and Clifden adieu.

Our route today would be a bit convoluted, as we were making a detour to the Cliffs of Moher on our way to Tralee and our final castle, Ballyseede. We drove along the N59, once again stopping to take some pictures of the beautiful Connemara area – and this time, we were even able to get a bunch of pictures of sheep! Bonus! Can’t go to Ireland and come out without at least one picture of a sheep that’s for sure.

We scooted through Galway, and then south towards the Cliffs. Along this route, the N67, we climbed 'Cork Screw Hill' near Ballyvaughnan, which afforded us one of the most beautiful picture points of the entire trip, looking back across the Burren all the way to Galway Bay.

On arriving there, we found quite a few buses – being that this is probably the most popular tourist spot in all of Ireland, I guess we shouldn’t have been to surprised – and with that, way to many annoying tourists from all different countries. We paid the admission fee - €6.00 a person, really? and made our way up the slate and concrete stairs to the various viewing areas of the Cliffs, snapping a few pictures along the way. We made it to the base of O’Briens Castle, but considering it would cost another €2.00 per person to climb to the top, we decided not to. We also walked to the other side, almost along the top of the Cliffs, until we reached a sign that said ‘Don’t climb over this wall’, and there was also a memorial for all of the people that had fallen off of the Cliffs over the years. We heeded both the real warning and the subtle but ironic one as well, but unfortunately many didn’t as there was person after person climbing over the wall and continuing up a well worn dirt path. Not wanting to see anyone fall, we walked back to the souvenir shop and did some shopping (bought Jill a pair of warm socks and a black sheep magnet) before climbing back into the car and continuing our way towards Tralee.

When we left the Cliffs, upon checking the route that the Garmin was taking us, we found that she had us headed directly for a ferry. Being that this was Sunday, and we weren’t sure of the ferry schedule (nor did we have any way of checking it), we re-routed ourselves away from the ferry and took a bit of a longer trip to Tralee. When we were finally able to check on the ferry (after regaining internet service in Tralee) we found that in fact the ferry does run on Sunday’s. Certainly something to remember for future reference, as the ferry creates a straight line/direct route from Tralee to the Shannon area, instead of having to go around and through Limerick.

We arrived at Ballyseede Castle in the late afternoon, and found it to be as elegant as Cabra was. Considering they were both owned by the same parent company, we weren’t surprised by this. Check in went smoothly, although there was a woman and her husband sitting there at the check in desk that were from Philadelphia. As we talked with them, they too had just come from Abbeyglenn the day before and liked it very much – figures. They were also surprised that we didn’t take part in the singing at the bar there, and the woman was almost chastising in the way she talked with us when we told her it just wasn’t our thing. I made a mental note at this point to make sure and avoid this couple at all costs for the rest of our and their stay at Ballyseede.

Our room was very nice, and came complete with a claw tub in one part! We settled into the room, and then went out in search of some food for lunch or dinner or whatever time it was since, once again, our timing and location didn’t warrant stopping somewhere along the way.

Having never been to Tralee before, we were a bit reluctant to just walk in somewhere and hope it was good, so instead we searched out the one person in the castle that probably had some pretty good tips – the bartender! His name was Paul, and he went out of his way to point out good spots on the map for us to eat at, and also the spots where there might be good music if we wanted.

Tralee was fairly easy to navigate, with only one main road leading to the middle of town. It was a bit slow going though, since the Gaelic football game was just letting out as we headed into town, and as we heard on the radio there were upwards of 10,000 people at the match! We easily found a parking spot along Denny Street near the Grand and Imperial hotels, and from there walked over to The Abbey Inn for dinner. This was the one spot that Paul had mentioned as having good food, and it in fact did. We had a nice dinner, and a pint as well – my one and only Guiness in all of Ireland was here at The Abbey Inn – and afterwards went out in search of a couple of the pubs Paul had mentioned for music. The first one was actually directly across the street from where we had dinner, a pub called Sean Og’s, but their music didn’t start until 9:00, and at this point it was barely after 7:00. The second pub, Bailey’s Corner (which used to be on a corner, but it isn’t anymore it’s in the middle of a block, but they still call it Bailey’s Corner) we found to be a bit crowded – with a bunch of rally participants!

As a sidenote, this rally had started the same place we did on Sunday – in Clifden. As we stopped at a gas station there to leave, we saw a bunch of the made up cars (and occupants in costumes) filling up. Along our route on a couple of occasions, we saw the rally folks. Now in Tralee, it appeared as though the ‘rally point’ (pun intended) was the pub we were headed for. There was actually a group of four wearing orange jump suits and black police style hats with letters on their backs that we remembered seeing at the gas station in Clifden earlier in the day, and here they were walking down the street in Tralee!

Realizing this was probably not the nightlife we were in the mood for tonight, we headed back to Ballyseede. There, we had a very nice dessert, along with Irish coffee, in the bar – served up by Paul. Afterwards, it was back to the room. Interestingly enough, we had internet service here, which meant we could hook into the SlingBox at home at watch the Jets game! Woot! Gotta love modern technology!


Sheep along the N59 in Connemara


Along the N59 in Connemara


Along the N59 in Connemara


No trip to Ireland is complete without a picture of a rainbow....


On N67, Cork Screw Hill, Ballyvaughnan - Galway Bay in the distance


The Cliffs of Moher


Beautiful image...with the Cliffs in the background


O'Briens Castle


Jill pointing at O'Briens last erection....


The Aran Islands in the distance


Hillside above the Cliffs


Our awesome room at Ballyseede Castle, Tralee


Complete with claw foot tub


...and his and hers robes!!...


Ballyseede Castle mascot, 'Arthur'

Total Miles Travelled:
187,788 Miles!

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Page Last Updated: October 22, 2010