Airplane food and we’re in Ireland!

I like to think I’m a little bit of a foodie – we don’t eat fast food (unless Bill is near a Carl’s Junior) and actively look for places highly rated on Yelp, try to eat only fresh foods at home, not prepared (mostly do).

But I actually like airline food for the most part. Maybe it’s the novelty of eating on the plane and having all those little containers. It also has gotten better than years ago. So first food pictures – dinner – a shrimp and veggie salad, pretzel bread, fruit, brownie and breakfast “snack” – croissant, yogurt, cheese.

After the long flight to Paris – I love Paris – we got on a City Jet flight to Dublin. We were hoping our set of three seats would have one empty but the plane was completely full. And by full I mean packed in like sardines. Shoulder to shoulder and knees (even my short leg) just fit in. But I was so tired, I slept most of the way.

We loved that our City Jet plane was named “Skellig Michael”, a place we hoped to visit.

When you are only 5’4″ and have no legroom…

The pilot had a great Irish brogue and as we left Paris said “sure and it’s a beautiful sunny day in Dublin”. Ok, he didn’t say “sure, and”. But on getting close to landing I was wondering about the Irish definition of “sunny”. 

But it turned out to be lovely. Picking up the car was a riot – all these Americans, including us, slowly edging out of the parking lot, trying to get used to driving on the right side of the car, left side of the road!

 

First Stop

Landed in Dublin, drove an hour maybe, stopped in a town to use restroom and get a snack and look what was the first thing we found!

It was too early for them to be open and we still had driving to do so we settled for a picture.

Bill, who wanted to prove he wasn’t a food snob got his first Irish food here. Cookies and a mocha from a machine.

What it’s like off the toll road.

Finally arrived at our home in Galway.

Galway pubs and restaurants – Day 1

After unpacking a bit, we got in Text contact the my niece Sarah who lived in Galway for a semester of college and took her with us virtually on our first night in the old town Galway area, AKA, the Latin Quarter. Not sure if it was good nostalgia for her or just made her sad not to be there.

Our first restaurant and we loved it! Wonderful meat pies with mash and peas and the best cabbage I’ve ever had. And the decor! Pictures do not do it justice. Only holds 14 people, we were lucky to walk in when one table was open.

Sarah’s comment “that place is awesome” (it is)

So we followed the advice of James Joyce

So off out into the now misty (ok, it was raining a bit) night. Not late because we were a little tired. Such a cute area, we loved just walking all around.

Started working on deserving this tshirt

By visiting Quays Bar

Sarah’s comment – “I spent so much time at that bar”.

So back to our lovely little 3 bedroom apartment – quick, hop on a plane and join us!

 

Driving to the cliffs

So not much is open for breakfast before 10AM but we found the coffee shop Costa (chain a lot like Starbucks) was open by 8 so went there so we could get an early start.

First day breakfast was crumpets and Nutella. They were actually pretty good!

So, on to learning was driving on narrow Irish roads is like. And it was a little nerve-wracking. Turns out there were quite a few tour busses going our way so staying behind one let them run interference for us.

We mostly wanted to get to the Cliffs while it was less crowded and hopefully not raining or foggy. So no stops along the way.

Traveling out of Galway we came to a unique rocky area called The Burren, which comes from the Gaelic for “stony place”. It’s a very unique rock structure and in areas looks like a barren moonscape but is actually home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Despite its somewhat inhospitable look as a place to farm or live, evidence shows man has lived here since the Stone Age.

Pretty church

After a winding climb we were rewarded with a beautiful view.

And a little music. The girl playing accordion was really good!

Lots of sheep in Ireland (actually at this point we had no idea how many!)

More of the pretty view

An area with more trees

and this!

 

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs rise up from 400 to 700 feet above the Atlantic and extend for 5 miles. Their very dramatic scenery was used as the “Cliffs of Insanity” in The Princess Bride as well as being in several other movies including a Harry Potter movie.

The visitors center is built underground to not block the view or take away from its beauty.

Bear with me, I have 28 picture and that’s about as far as I could pare it down from about 150 on two cameras and an iPhone. The longer we stayed, the better the weather got so we kept snapping.

There were a lot of people but far less than they have in the summer months. We did hike to the top of one side and part way up to the tower on the other. So without further ado, The Cliffs, as we captured them.

Look at how tiny the people are on top of the cliff to get a better idea of the size of this cliff! Yes, they are those little dots up there…

Cliffs of Moher overflow

The post was getting too big – here are some more. I couldn’t stop taking pictures and I couldn’t eliminate them all, so pretty there!

Piper playing Irish music

This older man was questioning the workers about the stone working methods while the older woman waited. Notice I said older to not sound like I think I’m young…

And back along the Wild Atlantic Way

Driving back from Cliffs of Moher we stayed along the coast and were rewarded with some great scenery and meeting some interesting people and great food and just missed by a few days seeing a favorite singer of ours.

First we stopped at a little restaurant near Doolin, Stone Cutters Kitchen. True to what we’ve seen so far, it is a very cute place with great food. Seafood chowder was very good with several types of seafood, bread was excellent and butter so rich and creamy I thought it was cheese at first. But the best was, to our surprise, the beef in the burger. All cows here are grass fed on the lush grass and it’s like a different food than our beef at home!

Beef burger and (the ever present) mash

Seafood chowder and Irish soda bread. The butter was so rich I thought at first it was cheese.

People rock climbing

And right around the corner but out of sight this was waiting

More rocky burren, moon-like landscape and Fanore beach.

I deleted so many pictures but this is getting too long. Next post will be old ruins, new friends from NZ and Kinvara.

Old ruins and new friends

You don’t have to drive far to see amazing old ruins of times gone by.  An old house almost entirely reclaimed by nature.

Tower house castle – there are said to be over 30,000 castles and castle ruins in Ireland

Old graveyard and chapel

We met Sue and Rob and talked for over an hour, much of it about their fantastic nomadic lifestyle and exchanged emails to hopefully keep in touch

 

 

Kinvara

And finally to Kinvara and Mary Green’s pub where John Prine sometimes is in town (he owns a house here) and plays music with the locals. Mary said we only missed him by a couple of days.

We also paid for a pint of Guinness for Nick Lethert’s friend from here and left a note for next time he is in. Then went to eat next door at the Gentian Cafe

Ceviche and avocado

Lamb shank – excellent food. We had not expected to be so blown away by the food here in Ireland!

The castle near Kinvara – Castle Dungmaire

Kinvara from the castle

More pub tours and views of Galway

Irish beers for when you are a little tired of Guinness

At Front Door Bar…

where we met Liam and were maneuvered into a political conversation – on the US election which a lot of people seem to want to hear about.

Liam let us take a picture if I promised not to vote for Trump

The Kings Head Bar – named for the English follower of Cromwell who took over as mayor of Galway and took over this house after the defeat by the English and was said to have been the one who behesded King Charles I, this the name. The building is over 800 years old and still has an old medieval fireplace

Tig Coili Bar. And a Jameson

And wonderful music

And that was it for tonight’s bar tour

A few shots from early, uncrowded morning – could this town be more picturesque?