Cross-Country Road Trip #1

Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
Trip End Oct 26, 2009

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Where I stayed
Trildoon House, Doolin

Flag of Ireland  , County Westmeath,
Saturday, October 17, 2009

On Saturday, we went for a brief shopping trip with Kevin to the supermarket called SuperValu, which is very close to his house.  Kevin and Anna asked if we could drop Kevin off in his home town of Athlone (central Ireland) on our way to Doolin. 

We got a rental car (Opal Corsa) from Naas, a town near Sallins.  The man at the rental car agency was very nice and threw in a few free extras for us.  It turned out to be great having Kevin with us for the drive to Athlone--not only for the extra company, but to have his advice for our first experiences driving in Ireland!  We actually got the hang of it more quickly than expected, despite driving on the left-hand side of the road, shifting on the left, monitoring speed limits in kilometers per hour, and interpreting the often strange road signs. 

We spent some time at Kevin's parents' house in Athlone, which was pretty quaint.  We met his sister, 2-week old niece, and his aunt, Carmel.  They were all very friendly--Carmel even offered to let us stay with her the next time we are in Ireland!  We also had tea and homemade blueberry muffins there.  The new baby, who turned 2-weeks old that day, is named Niemh (an Irish name, pronounced like "Eve," but with an "N" at the beginning).  She and Ilya bonded well, and she fell asleep while he was holding her.

We went with Carmel and Kevin for a walk nearby the house.  We walked through a gorgeous golf course (Kevin says golf is so popular in Ireland because they can literally just mow the lawn and have an unbelievable course) and down by a lake called Lough Ree.  It was beautiful scenery.  Just before we left Athlone, we briefly met Kevin's mom.

We then drove to Doolin, a tiny town on the west coast of Ireland (south of Galway).  We had more beautiful scenery on the drive, but it got dark before we reached Doolin.  The roads were very narrow and curvy, and some were pretty poorly paved.  They are not lit, either, since they are just country roads on the way to Doolin.  When we arrived in Doolin, we had a little bit of trouble finding the Bed & Breakfast that we'd booked.  We asked a couple of people outside of pubs--we told them we were looking for Trildoon House B & B, but everyone said they don't know the B & Bs by name, and wanted to know the names of the owners! 

We eventually found the Trildoon House, which is on a hill overlooking the main town of Doolin.  Doolin is world famous for traditional Irish music, so after we checked in, we headed down to O'Connor's Pub (the most famous & highly recommended pub for traditional Irish music sessions).  We had a front-row seat for the music session (which is performed in a pub booth).  The decor in O'Connor's was quite rustic (as it is in most of the pubs we've seen)--the tables were all fashioned out of antique sewing machines.  After O'Connor's, we headed back to the Trildoon House for a good night's sleep.
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irene dunne on

Hey the pics of Niamh and Ilya..Very cute. She's a blogger already at only 3 weeks old!!! Wow she's AWESOME:)
Hope you guys had a great trip. Lovely to meet you and sure if ever you're passing again pop in for another cup of tea, slice of cake, or a ham sandwich!!! you know where we live now.
Love the photos. Take care XXXX

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