TRAVEL with pat and lew

organizing our two weeks in Ireland

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 2, 2007

     

Pat and I have both been to Ireland before (Pat three times), so we’re using this occasion to explore different parts of the country and other aspects of Dublin.

We plan trips to Wexford (where our new Collioure friends Valerie and Lorcan have a home) and to Cork. We will also re-visit Pat’s family in Westport, County Mayo.

But first we must go to Avoca, the real-life home of the BBC television series Ballykissangel, which became a sort of cult event for Pat and me, and many of our friends, several years ago in New York.

If you like things Irish, and you’ve never seen the show, the DVDs for several seasons are available on amazon.com. It’ll be a great treat. We decide to train to Arklow, from which we’ll either bike or take a cab the seven miles to Avoca.

Bike? What were we thinking?

I spread out my maps and schedules, and we select our travel dates, interspersing one or more days in Dublin between each out-of-town trip. This is the luxury of having two weeks, which is a major benefit of our home exchange approach to travel. We can accomplish a lot without the constant running about that is often so exhausting on a shorter trip.

We prefer trains to driving wherever practical, and from Dublin, we’re linked by excellent train service to just about anywhere in Ireland. The next day, we go to th etrain station and purchase tickets to Wexford (18 euros), Cork (59 euros) and Galway (40 euros), and Arklow (20 euros). There’s some kind of deal which we don’t quite understand, but the ticket clerk says we got a bargain by purchasing all the tickets at the same time.

At the Dublin Tourist Office, we reserve a car in Galway for the several hours drive to Westport. We could have taken the train directly to Westport, but we’ll want the car in Westport so we can drive out to Pat’s family’s country homes.

We also need a room for our one night in Westport, and the Tourist Bureau reservations clerk checks his computer and quickly identifies a vacancy at a B&B. He makes the call, confirms that the room is still available, and then asks, in a perfect, charming, so Irish way, “Might I take that room off your hands?” We smile at a delightful travel moment.

Now we can fill in the Dublin days from a growing list of interesting options, including several days to do what we like best, which is to just walk around the city and enjoy the sights and the people we always meet.

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