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BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)

ponytrax 23 Aug 01 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,Paudie 23 Aug 01 - 01:06 AM
Liz the Squeak 23 Aug 01 - 02:03 AM
GUEST 23 Aug 01 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,maryrrf (cookie's gone!) 23 Aug 01 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Aug 01 - 10:03 AM
GUEST 23 Aug 01 - 10:46 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 23 Aug 01 - 03:09 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 01 - 11:54 PM
ponytrax 24 Aug 01 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,Paudie 24 Aug 01 - 08:52 AM
GUEST 24 Aug 01 - 09:21 AM
GUEST 24 Aug 01 - 10:38 AM
Martina Ryan 24 Aug 01 - 11:49 AM
Jim Dixon 24 Aug 01 - 12:26 PM
GUEST 24 Aug 01 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,janey 24 Aug 01 - 01:15 PM
GUEST 24 Aug 01 - 01:41 PM
Brigie 25 Aug 01 - 02:54 AM

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Subject: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: ponytrax
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 12:19 AM

Can any of you give us good advice or places to go? Here's the deal:

The good news: My sister-in-law & niece (age 17+) had booked a horseback riding trip to Ireland. The bad news: s-i-l just broke her arm, so trip was threatened with cancellation. The good news: I have time & money, so niece & I are going instead.

My musical abilities are that I am the Good Listener; my niece sings & plays guitar.

My niece and I are from New York & California respectively; but we've both travelled enough that...I'm not sure what I am trying to say. Well, we'd rather eat the local food, and be with the local people, than be feel like we were at home. Does that make sense?

This is what I think the plan is where we'll be in the evenings:

August 31--Dublin September 1--Dublin September 2--Dublin Mon. Sept. 3--Poulapphuca, Blessington, Co. Wicklow Tues. Sept. 4--ditto Wed. Sept. 5--Kilraneleahg Country Sports, Saunders Grove Lodge, Tuckmill, Baltinglass Thurs. Sept. 6--Derrybawn House, Rathdrum Fri. Sept. 7--either Glendalough or Laragh Sat. Sept. 8----either Glendalough or Laragh

Thank you all!

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: GUEST,Paudie
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 01:06 AM

Ponytrax, I think you mean that you don't want to be cocooned in a tourist bus or a guided tour and Ireland is possibly one of the best places to throw off these shackles because its small and nowhere is very far from anywhere else. So hire a car, drive wherever the mood takes you and ask local people but try not to patronise them. If you find the roads different to those of USA, remember if you prefer freeways go to LA, if you love sunshine on tap go to Spain, if rainy,drizzling days get you down remember that's what pubs are for. Remember above all, Ireland is home to about 5 million people (North and South combined), they are not all in the tourism business and can sometimes get a bit weary of what are to them the same old remarks about how 'quaint' everything is. Give people a chance to get to know you a little before you look for instant connections. Look for the meanings and the reasons for those things that appear strange to you, thats how you find the essence of a nation. Enjoy your trip ponytrex.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 02:03 AM

Local food - boiled bacon & cabbage... yummy, as long as they use the best bits of the bacon, watch out for the fatty bits!

Local drink - isn't always Guinness - beleive it or not, the Irish drink more beer and lager than the black stuff. Watch out for the local brews of real ale, very creamy and smooth, the lager is usually sharp, cold and refreshing.

If anyone offers you potcheen - be very VERY careful. Brendan Behan said it was like swallowing a torchlight procession. Having said that, I had some that was delightfully smooth, like a cross between a blended malt and tractor grade vodka.

Have a good time!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 08:35 AM

Dublin is brilliant for music and other wonderful sites. Despite some people's snootiness about the guided bus/walking tours, seasoned travellers know there is no better way to see the highlights of a city economically in terms of both time and money. The Dublin Tourist office in the City Center, smack in the middle of O'Connell Street, is the place to start . If you are going to hire a car to drive out of the city, some of the rental companies will drop off/pick up right at or near the Tourist Office on O'Connell St. The horse drawn carriage rides are lovely in the evening if you have nice weather.

Because you'll be there for such a limited time, and in such a limited geographic region, you might want to limit your out of Dublin excursions to a trip to Newgrange in Co. Meath. This is one of the most fabulous sites in Ireland--an archaelogical treasure older than the pyramids. Bus tours leave from O'Connell St. too, and you can spend either half or whole days. In case you don't know what Newgrange is, it is an underground burial chamber with it's altar stone aligned to sunrise on the midwinter solstice. It is actually one of three related sites in the Co Meath area, the others being Knowth and Dowth.

If you are taking a trip related to horses, Co. Kildare, also just outside Dublin, is horse central. Easy enough to find good tourist information about it.

I can't recommend much in the way of "local" food in Ireland, as most of it is bloody awful. But Dublin has some nice ethnic restaurants and good quality eateries. Get a good guide book. If you are vegetarian, there is a vegetarian guide to Ireland called "The Bridgestone Vegetarian Gude to Ireland" by John & Sally McKenna. I usually don't eat Irish food in restaurants unless it is vegetarian, seafood, or a pretty pricey place with excellent ingredients. I often eat ethnic in Dublin. But be sure to make a trip to Bewley's just off St. Stephen's Green. The coffee, tea, and sweets are divine, and it is a real Dublin experience. It is right in the middle of the shopping district on Grafton Street. Also, the Winding Stair Bookshop and Cafe (the cafe is one floor up) is on the City Centre side of the Ha'penny Bridge, which crosses the river from the Arch (Temple Bar district). It is a divine little place with good food, mellow music, a non-smoking floor (with a smoking floor another floor up), and an unbeatable view of the river. Make this a nice "respite" stop for lunch or tea. It isn't open at night.

As to music, pick up the "In Dublin" guide, which will list all the sessions and what's on. One of the best places to look for sessions is Hughes' (behind the Four Courts). Trad Irish music (and other great music) can often be heard at various times at Whelan's, Mother Redcaps, and the Harcourt Hotel. There is also the book called something like "The Irish Traditional Music Guide" by Fintan Vallely, who is a musician who knows. Essential if you have a serious interest in the music.

Dublin is a fantastic city--too bad you'll only be there so short a time! Enjoy!

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: GUEST,maryrrf (cookie's gone!)
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 09:41 AM

Two things - yes be very careful about poteen but if it's offered then do try it. Just take it slow! And the Dublin bus tours are a very good idea and a good value. There's one line that takes you around to the different places in Dublin. They make stops every 15 minutes and you can hop any tour bus on that line, so you can stay at a site for as long as you want. They also have pretty interesting commentary and the drivers usually sing some songs! It's very good if you only have a limited time to spend there.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 10:03 AM

My travel tips, based on experience:

1. Have good, cushioned shoes 2. Don't wear beat-up, saggy clothes with advertising on them. 3. Cut your finger and toe-nails before you go. 4. Be aware of your body. Especially, don't get constipated or sunburned. Neither one is a joke. 5. If needed, get some toy cars, draw some big road layouts, and practice driving them on the other side of the road. Do you really know how to get into a roundabout? 6. If you can't get to sleep because of jet lag, drink one beer near bedtime. 7. If you want traditonal music, ask hotel keepers and servers or the tourist office. 8. Don't use a purse 9. PUt one set of underwear in your carry-on, in case your suitcase is delayed. 10. Take a couple diahrrea (sp) pills.



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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 10:46 AM

Sorry Leeneia, but I have to question a couple of your points, most of which are quite sensible.

First, I don't think sunburn is a real danger in Dublin.

Second, in my extensive travels in Ireland in recent years, pub owners and B & B owners in rural areas are good sources of information about their areas, but local tourist offices are usually good too. Yes, rural pub and B & B owners know where there are local sessions, but are also likely to steer you to the ones of the people/pubs they like (or are related to), which won't necessarily be the best music, but often can be.

As to traditional music in Dublin, the hotel keepers and the tourist offices usually aren't knowledgeable about the music at all, and will most likely steer you to the really dreadful "tourist sessions"--not what you are looking for if you are trying to get a real sense of the trad music life in Dublin.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 03:09 PM

If you do nothing else in Dublin, visit Kilmainham gaol.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 01 - 11:54 PM

I second the recommendation of Kilmainham Gaol. A pub crawl in the Temple Bar area would be my next priority.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: ponytrax
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 03:27 AM

Oh thank you all.

Well the time in Dublin and the itinerary as outlined are given (we're actually riding horses all day every day we're not in Dublin, not in a bus or whatever), what I was hoping for was "Oh, you are going to xyz village, the ABC pub there has brilliant music the other pub in the village they just drink and smoke and glower"--casting one's net upon the waters you know. You never know in a setting like Mudcat who is from where or who has been where or who knows where.

As to food, I've been poor and I've been an alpinist, so beans and rice, with rice and beans for variation, a can of tomatoes for a thrill, 25 days straight, is old hat to me, so boiled cabbage & bacon might even be a change. On the whole (except for recently) you don't go to English-speaking rural areas for culinary thrills.

(I'd druther boiled cabbage and bacon than what you get in "good" restaurants in the non-urban South of the US, for example.....sad but true. Makes England of the 50s look absolutely Epicurean.)

As to driving--my solution to driving in "wrong side o the road" countries is to demand a stick-shift--the oddness of shifting with my left hand keeps my brain on target, and remembering where the traffic is. My English friend when she is here keeps a prickly bracelet thing on her right hand, when she's driving, for the same reason.

Roundabouts are a piece of cake, maybe because I ride in a high-speed, precision equestrian drill team where I have to be aware & match speed left & right to other moving bodies--some with unreliable steering and brakes! (oh the thrill of riding in a quadrille with a stallion & a mare in heat.............)

But if you haven't done it before, GUEST,leeenia's driving suggestions are good.

I've printed out the specific recommendations above, but have a question--

"If you do nothing else in Dublin, visit Kilmainham gaol"--from Fionn & Jim Dixon both.

Please forgive my ignorance and also lighten it--educate me, (and Naomi aged 17)-- Why?

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: GUEST,Paudie
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 08:52 AM

ponytrax, think of Kilmainham as a bit like Robbin Island, but like as if Mandela hadn't been so lucky!

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 09:21 AM

I'd second the nominations for Kilmainham. It is the jail where the 1916 Rising executions took place. It is one of the most powerful and moving landmarks in Dublin for both Irish and non-Irish alike.

Also, if you've an appreciation for the literature or architecture, there is the Trinity Library. It feels like a church. When you go there, you get to see the original Book of Kells, Ireland's most famous (and gorgeous) illustrated medieval manuscript.

In light of your statements about food, definitely check out Winding Stair when you are sightseeing in the City Centre.

As to Temple Bar, it's pretty much tourist central. It changed dramatically from the time of my first visit in 1994, to my second in 1997. But there are still a few gems there in terms of hostels, hotels, a few small restaurants and shops. But the pubs at the weekend are full of lager louts from across the water having their Dublin bachelor parties.

Go for more classic pubs, like Hughes', Slattery's, An Beal Bocht, Doheny & Nesbitt, and I think you'll be much happier. Take a taxi home after closing, but remember that EVERYONE in Dublin is waiting for taxis after closing.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 10:38 AM

Oops! I meant to direct you to the Irish Times website, which has some good "overview" tourist information, including some on Kilmainham Gaol.

Go to:

Scroll down to the "Dublin Live" section, and towards the end are the links to the tourist info.

Also, wanted to urge you to take the time to see the most beautiful sculpture commemorating a "military" event which has no militarism about whatsoever...the Children of Lir sculpture found in front of the Irish Writer's Museum, just north of the City Centre (within easy walking distance--Dublin is a walking city). It is based on an Irish myth, where the children were transformed into swans, and then back again. The sculpture is of the children emerging out of the swans, and is a metaphor for liberation of the Irish from the British. One of the most beautiful public sculptures I've ever seen.

Also forgot to mention that Dublin now has a museum dedicated to Irish traditional music. I haven't been to it, but I've heard it is quite informative and fun.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: Martina Ryan
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 11:49 AM

The museum dedicated to traditional music and song is The Ceol Center in Smithfield in Dublin. If you have any interest in Irish music, dance and song in both English and Irish, its really worth a visit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 12:26 PM

As for the Book of Kells, it is truly a treasure, but keep in mind that (1) on any given day, only one page of the book is open for public inspection; (2) it is in a very dimly lit room, the better to preserve it; and (3) there are crowds of people waiting to see it, so you have to stand in line, and then they discourage you from spending more than a few seconds in front of the display case.

Since you have such a limited time in Dublin, I recommend that you skip Trinity Library and instead follow up some of the links on this page.

The images are excellent, larger than life, and you can study them at your leisure.

Here's a bit of info about Kilmainham Gaol. Also, the site called Celtic Camera®: The Ireland Portfolio has some nice pictures.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 12:34 PM

Kilmainham Gaol is also the location used for the jail sequences in the film "In the Name of the Father."

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: GUEST,janey
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 01:15 PM

i reccommend the "literary Pub Crawl" if you are in Dublin. You will find details at the Torist info. i think it is about eight quid but we had a great time; it is a good way to orientate yourself in the city and we used it as a bit of a breather from other more hectic more black nights of drunkeness. basically, two actors take a group of you from pub to pub by foot, doing little snippets from literary irish gems like oscar wilde, brendan behan etc. well funny!

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
Date: 24 Aug 01 - 01:41 PM


Well, there are lines at all the tourist sites in the height of the season. Which is why I always travel in the spring and fall. ;-)

When I visited Trinity Library in late September, I and my Trinity College student I had met on-line were the only ones there. In the middle of the afternoon.

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Subject: RE: BS: Ireland Trip--Unexpected (!!!)
From: Brigie
Date: 25 Aug 01 - 02:54 AM

Ponytrax, You will be leaving US in a couple of days. The area you are going to for your horse riding holiday is mostly County Wicklow.........also known as the Garden of IReland. You will see why when you get there. When we were growing up ( yes I was born and bred in Dublin) we always had to have raingear and sunprotection in our pockets. Why it is laughable to get sunburned in Dublin in beyond me.......never underestimate the East wind of the sea!!!!! I am going home (live in Switzerland now) in October and am bringing a couple of friends with me. One of whom is coming specifically to do horse riding. She wanted to do trail riding, but it seems late in the season. However we are still searching for something.......not too easy. If you are near a place in the wicklow mountains called Glenmalure, go to the only old hotel and have a great pint of Guinness for me. We used to cycle down there on a friday bringing tents and billy cans and camp over the weekend. Great memories. Ignore Dublins Temple Bar. gone are the days of enjoying a walk around that part of the city and straying into a local pub there. It is utter madness with uncontrollable drinking and noise. Even the good old sessions are a huge big show. The only way to find a real session these days is to ask the fellas who sell INDUBLIN magazine......for example the fella outside Bewleys in Grafton St. Have a great time, and enjoy Wicklow. Brigie

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Mudcat time: 18 April 11:41 AM EDT

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