We have returned and we had a great trip. The itinerary you arranged as well as the rental car and the Tep wireless worked out quite well.
We all agree that Clifden and Galway City were the highlights of the trip. The B&B in Clifden, White Heather House, was in a great location. The proprietor, Gerard King, was a delight and helpful. Very good breakfasts. A lot of French, Germans, and other nationalities in town on hiking and bike treks. A vibrant town with great food and trad music in many locations starting at 6:30 pm. I got to visit my uncle and cousins in Aillebrack (near Ballyconneely). A good visit.
We all loved the The Park House Hotel. The outside is not all that appealing. (Had a little bit of difficulty finding where to pull the car in to unload.) But inside it is wonderful to sit in the lobby and watch the comings and goings. The staff was wonderful. When we arrived, they quickly took our car and luggage. We went to the registration desk. The front desk associate was very funny and delightful. He said to my wife, Jane, that she looked like she could use a cup of tea. She said yes. So he told us to take a seat across from the reservation desk , and before you knew it the staff was delivering tea, coffee, and biscuits. The two rooms were high quality and comfortable. Wonderful breakfasts. I can see why it is your favorite hotel in GC. By any measurement, a great hotel. We all loved the Quay Street Kitchen restaurant and Garavan's Bar (Irish coffee...yum).
Dingle was charming. Great food as well. The B&B, Devane's, was wonderful and we would recommend it to anyone. Kevin and Geraldine were delightful and they made a wonderful breakfast. The place was spotless. The Slea Head drive was nice, but, we all thought the "savage beauty" of Connemara was more appealing and compelling.
Killarney was OK, although we really enjoyed Muckross House, the farms and Torc Falls. They were beautiful and interesting. Randles Hotel was just OK. It is an odd hotel in many ways. First, there is no obvious place to pull a vehicle into to register and unload. When we arrived, I pulled up a driveway to a small parking area. Trying to turn around was a challenge. A guy ran out of the hotel and told me I couldn't park there. I told him I just wanted to register and unload. Well, after a somewhat awkward conversation, we got the car unloaded and I parked the van in the covered parking...barely; low ceiling, tall van. The inside of the hotel was odd; a lot of stairways and one elevator that was often out of service. There was furniture stored in the hallways. In my kids room, the hot and cold faucets in the bathroom were "the opposite" and the shower only had one setting...hot. Lighting in the rooms was poor. Not enough lights and low wattage bulbs. On the positive side, the beds were really comfortable and the breakfasts were really good.
Dromoland Castle was fun to stay at for one night. It definitely had all the "bells and whistles." But, what I realize now is that the hotel and its grounds are isolated from the "real Ireland." I'm glad I got the "castle stay" out of my system; I'd rather stay in a nice town in a B&B or small hotel, eat at a local place, and visit a pub.
Hertz was great for the car rental. I got the super CDW and was glad I did because I had one minor mishap when I backed up into some brush and hit a wall. Result: small dent in bumper. When I returned the car, I pointed out the dent to the Hertz attendant. No worries, though. Sign and go. I got the GPS but never used it because we used the Tep Wireless for directions. I had no problem driving on the left and handling the rotaries. It was a challenge, though, driving a van on some narrow roads and sharing the roads with large trucks and buses. Boy, some of those buses are HUGE; they take up more than half the road and there is only half a road to begin with!
The Tep Wireless worked very well. I'd say that we had about 85% connectivity. In some remote areas it would cut out, but we found our way around.
Thanks for helping arrange a wonderful vacation. You are a professional and I would recommend your services to anyone. If I were you, I'd market myself on the internet as someone who can arrange personal itineraries. When I was seeking out someone like you, I only found a few people who help individuals with personal travel arrangements to Ireland and none in the Boston area...until I found you. You really are personable and do an excellent job. Moreover, you are an excellent writer and I found it very easy to communicate with you.
I hope my trip report wasn't too wordy.
Patrick O (August 2017)
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