Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Traveling Betty Style: Part II, Dingle

I promise I don't know where the last week went since I last posted.

Me and my fab cousins/bridesmaids/BFFs Erin and Katie. XOXO!

Ok, I guess somewhere in there, there was a little post-wedding family reunion slash party central slash party-like-we're-all-still-college vacay, this time in honor of my younger cousin, Brian, who graduated from Virginia Tech.

The Cousin Clan! Plus Steve. Minus the hubs. And one cousin. Close enough. Let's drink! Congrats, Brian!

So I don't totally fail, right? Family is a good excuse, right? Right?!

Seriously, though, sorry that I fell off the face of the planet. I even had this lovely little post mostly ready to go, too. So, here goes! Time for some more Betty travel time -- this time, to Dingle, Ireland!

For the second part of our first honeymoon week, we drove down to the southwestern corner of Ireland, to the Dingle Peninsula. While we stayed in B&Bs throughout our honeymoon, we switched things up a bit in each place. Our Doolin B&B was very traditional, while our Dingle B&B bordered more on a small hotel-feel. We were one of many rooms, and our room looked right out on the bay.

BB tip: If you are traveling for a special reason, tell the B&B owners at the time of your booking. I made a note with each reservation that it was our honeymoon, and we got special treatment at 3 our the 4 places during our two weeks. In Doolin, a free breakfast, and in Dingle, champagne upon check-in. In the Highlands, we had homemade truffles and liquors in the room each night. That fourth place? It was the B&B in Edinburgh, and they ended up being all function, no frills, so that's ok :) 

Dingle has a lot to do all within a day's drive. One of the easiest, and of course, free, things to do is drive around the Peninsula itself. We chose to drive around the Slea Head Drive, and oh my, how incredibly beautiful! It was a gorgeous day and we got somewhere around a million fantastic pictures. If I lived in this part of the world, I think I would have trouble getting anything done.

BB Tip: Bring some snacks and drinks along with you for your drive, as not all of the towns along the way are very large. The drive is a perfect morning outing, getting you back in time for an early afternoon pint. 

There are something like 30 or 40 pubs in Doolin, from hotels with a pub on the ground floor to the traditional music houses serving up pints and live sessions. We, of course, chose to sample a number of the pubs while we were in town. While pub food is tons of fun, though, we were getting a little tired of it by the end of the week. Thankfully, Brad caught sight of a "takeaway" fish and chips spot that took pub food to a whole new level. Enter, the Best Fish and Chips I Have Ever Eaten.

BB Tip: Dingle Fish Company has no seats and might remind you of a hole in the wall spot from a big U.S. city. But do not ignore this joint just off the bay by the entrance of town. It is worth the standing around and taking out, especially since you can't beat the price. For those of you who know the power of Tain in NYC, you know what I mean. No joke, this was an amazing, amazing meal, and still piping hot when we got back to our B&B to eat it. We split a large portion, and it was more than enough.

I drank more cider in Ireland and Scotland than beer. Bulmer's and Aspall were my favorite!

The other thing we did while in Dingle was tour the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a huge tourist destination, know for amazing ocean views, tiny roads encircling the Peninsula and quaint villages along the way. It's about a 4-5 hour drive around the whole thing. We kind of ruined it for ourselves, having already driven around the Slea Head Drive, but it was a nice tour of another part of Ireland. Plus, the bus driver was totally entertaining, and we got to listen to some fun Irish music along the way. Brad liked it because he didn't have to drive, so he got to actually see the sights, too.

BB Tip: Take a tour bus trip if you are unsure of driving, as the entire Ring of Kerry is FULL of huge tour buses that take up the whole road. It can be really intimidating for local and tourist drivers alike. Know in advance that the tour buses all stop at one main hotel/restaurant for lunch, and also know that the lunch will be horrible, made for the masses and not at all Irish. Bring along a sandwich, or at the very least, a snack :)

Words of wisdom for us newlyweds ... in the bar.
I have a few other posts coming up -- this time, for Scotland! Plus, our wedding photos came in, so you better believe that I will share a few of those along the way, too :)