The Irish Adventure: Day 2

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to be updating my blog regularly so our family and friends can keep up with us.  You’re more than welcome to join in the festivities!

Today we left Kilkenny and headed west to Killarney.  What should have been a roughly 3 hour trip turned into an odyssey that spanned most of the morning and early afternoon.  These roundabouts (circles!) are killing me.  I’m still in awe that the Irish car rental agencies just let Americans rent cars and go for broke.

While the country roads are gorgeous and the scenery sublime, the roads are narrow and often edged with rock walls.  Add a few giant trucks hurtling at us at over 100km per hour and you can see why I’m not really acclimating.  I much prefer the big motorways–there is a lovely median separating our little clown car from the opposing traffic.

We had to stop for gas today and that was an adventure.  Ant skipped off to the men’s room and left me to figure out if our car was diesel or not.  I asked this Irish looking guy–cable knit sweater, Celtic bracelet, snow white hair, ruddy complexion–for some help and he asked me where I was from.  In an apologetic tone, I explained we were from New Jersey, one of two states in America that doesn’t allow self-serve gasoline.  He smiled and told me he was from Maine.  (Nice one, Nat.)

Our hotel in Killarney is cozy, and we are walking distance to town.  Ant availed himself to one of the armchairs upon arrival.

The drawing room at our hotel--Ant decided to sit for a spell.

We spent the remainder of the day and early evening wandering around the quaint streets of Killarney.  Tourism is a big industry here and it’s easy to see why.

Ant blends right in with the locals--they were all greeting him like he was a long-lost relative.

Tomorrow we’re getting back in the car to do a driving tour of one of the peninsulas–we haven’t decided which one yet–but it promises to be a fun day!  We have dinner reservations at this restaurant in town and are really looking forward to having some Boxty (an Irish potato dish).

We're going to dine at the stone building with the red flowers.

I’ve been dying to check out an Irish grocery store and we managed to do just that in the waning hours of the afternoon.  We ended up buying a cartful of candy and biscuits to bring home.

We loved the store, and I even got a grocery cart.  Nerd alert!

Until my next posting, I shall leave you with another charming photo of the picturesque town of Killarney, Ireland in County Kerry.

C'mon! Does it get any cuter? I think not.

25 Comments

  • At 2011.10.14 15:03, toothybooks said:

    i’m loving these posts! keep em coming. i completely forgot that new jersey doesn’t allow self serve gas pumping. (why is that?) i have a classmate that went to undergrad in new jersey and she told me it was like a cultural shock when she went over there and people were pumping gas for her. glad to see that you’re having so much fun over there! stay safe on the road! 🙂

    • At 2011.10.15 04:10, Natalie said:

      i’m not sure why nj doesn’t allow self-serve but when it’s freezing or raining, i’m happy there are lovely employees to pump my gas. i’ve pumped my own gas on road trips but was afraid that my little rental was diesel or something. also, you don’t select a fuel grade or anything and you pay after you pump. a bit weird but all part of the adventure.

    • At 2011.10.14 16:52, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      Those roundabouts killed us too! Carl scared the pee out of me going through them. We actually met an Irishman who told us an American ran into him head on because he was driving on the wrong side of the road.
      bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog post ..Author event and giveaway: Lisa Patton

      • At 2011.10.15 04:08, Natalie said:

        kathy, i can truly see how it could happen. as long as there’s a car in front of me (and i can follow it), i’m fine. i guess that’s not too reassuring for the local drivers here…

      • At 2011.10.14 16:55, rhapsodyinbooks said:

        It’s so fun going to Ireland with you! I love the posts also!
        rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog post ..Review of “Divergent” by Veronica Roth

        • At 2011.10.15 04:07, Natalie said:

          thanks! i feel like i’m tormenting my blogger friends with all this stuff but my family and friends are checking in (but not leaving comments except for mom). it’s gorgeous here and we are already planning our return trip.

        • At 2011.10.14 17:01, Carol said:

          I told you to stay out of the car!!!! Beautiful photos. XOXO

          • At 2011.10.15 04:06, Natalie said:

            oh, stop! you know i love to live dangerously. vroom, vroom! our little suzuki makes my car look like a tank.

          • At 2011.10.14 20:33, Jac @ For Love And Books said:

            Your trip is looking fabulous!! I tried to comment yesterday, but my computer was being silly! I am so jealous, and thus? Living vicariously through your blog! You are capturing so me BEAUTIFUL photos!
            Jac @ For Love And Books´s last blog post ..And the Winner Is…

            • At 2011.10.15 04:05, Natalie said:

              thanks so much, jac! we’re having a swell time and can’t wait to see what today brings. we’re heading to dingle and it’s supposed to be charm central! first we’re going to have an irish breakfast but will be steering clear of anything with ‘pudding’ in the name. (black and white pudding have blood or entrails or something heinous in them.) i played it safe with cereal, toast, and fruit yesterday.

            • At 2011.10.14 21:18, Jenners said:

              I visited Killarney when I was in Ireland … it was very charming. As I said before, you are staying in much nicer places than I did!!! The roads don’t get any better though!
              Jenners´s last blog post ..Writer’s Workshop: Never, Ever EVER Ask Your Spouse…

              • At 2011.10.15 04:02, Natalie said:

                jenners, you’re not supposed to tell me that the roads don’t improve! driving here is beyond harrowing and i’m dreading getting in the car today to head for dingle. argh. i won’t be able to enjoy the scenic drive because i’ll be too busy trying not to get us into a smashup.

                • At 2011.10.18 03:59, Natalie said:

                  i’m learning that the roads aren’t really getting much wider or less nerve wracking. we’re turning in the car on wednesday and i can’t say i’ll be sorry to see the little guy go. we’re going to do lots of walking and cabbing in dublin. yay!

                • At 2011.10.15 12:52, Steph said:

                  One of my favorite things about traveling abroad is visiting grocery stores and checking out all the different products they have there! I especially like how in the UK they have so many weird potato chip (or crisps, as they call them) flavors! And the chocolate really is divine. Cadbury spanks Hershey’s everyday of the week! 😀

                  Also, I’m loving your “quaint Irish village” shots. So cute! I feel a tad bad now that when I visited Ireland, I only did the big ticket places (namely Dublin and Belfast).
                  Steph´s last blog post ..Surprise!*

                  • At 2011.10.15 17:00, Dishy poo said:

                    Visiting foreign grocery stores could be an entire vacation to me. My favorite thing ever!

                    As for the harrowing roads, the rental agencies really should supply American drivers with bright yellow warning signs, a la baby on board. Or maybe pizza hut car toppers. Or something! Scary stuff, be safe!

                    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment. 🙂

                    Ps: thanks so much for the bday wishes!
                    Dishy poo´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday to MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

                    • At 2011.10.18 03:53, Natalie said:

                      okay, yesterday ant found a UK snack called DEMON SNACKS and bought the entire stock. typical. they are raspberry jelly filled snack cakes. the people at the centra grocery store thought we were insane.

                      • At 2011.10.18 18:31, Dishy said:

                        I’d hate to see your bags on the way home!

                    • At 2011.10.16 01:20, Colleen said:

                      My cousin got married in Killarney last summer – it is such a charming town. There is some beautiful scenery down in Kerry. We drove through Conor’s Pass in the mountains – the scenery was breathtaking but so were the hairpin turns right on the edge of the road – I thought I would lose my life which subtracted a bit from the scenery!

                      If you have a chance, go to Dunloe – some excellent scenery without the death defying driving!
                      Colleen´s last blog post ..Review: An Accidental Mother by Katherine Anne Kindred

                      • At 2011.10.18 03:55, Natalie said:

                        i’m about done with death-defying and hair-raising driving adventures. yesterday we wound our way along the coast and it was so scary! we both were feeling queasy by the time we made it back to the highway. i’m adding dunloe to our 2012 itinerary–yes, my husband’s already started one.

                      • At 2011.10.16 12:55, Cathy said:

                        I love, love, love these posts. Keep ’em comin’!
                        Cathy´s last blog post ..A Little Bit About Me

                        • At 2011.10.17 10:51, Meg said:

                          Ahhh — such fun! That drawing room is amazing. And too funny about the grocery store . . . I love going in “normal,” non-touristy places like that to really see how the locals live. When I visited a friend in London years back, I made sure to stop in a regular market and admired all the unusual products and pricing information. I can see in the photo above that the prices are strange! Do they use the euro?! Totally did not remember that . . .
                          Meg´s last blog post ..A moment of illumination

                          • At 2011.10.18 03:57, Natalie said:

                            yep, it’s euros over here and we’re sure spending a ton of them. food and gasoline are our biggest expenses (aside from lodging, which we pre-paid). we had dinner the other night–a burger for me, fish and chips for ant with 2 pints and 2 sodas–for 44 euro (about $60). it’s vacation, what can i say?

                          • At 2011.10.18 08:36, Mary said:

                            Too funny, I actually ate at Gaby’s. I was traveling with my parents and aunt & uncle. My cousin was getting married in a small town near Longford so we went a week before the wedding and stayed a week after. Toured (what seemed like) the entire country and had a blast. Gaby’s is memorable because my Dad wanted a Manhattan and this was the first place who made a proper one. I even snapped a pic of my dad and the bartender. Great time – even better memories.

                            I’m loving your posts about your trip. My husband and I hope to get back soon.
                            Mary´s last blog post ..Guest Post: Jodi Thomas – The Comforts Of Home

                            • At 2011.10.18 23:55, stacybuckeye said:

                              Ireland is on my bucket list and you are convincing me that it was a great choice. Love that Ant blends in with the locals. Jason always considers our overseas trips a success if this happens 🙂
                              stacybuckeye´s last blog post ..First Quiz

                              • At 2011.10.19 17:02, Amy said:

                                Oh my, driving is a nightmare in Ireland! You take your life in your hands!
                                Your photos of Killarney are wonderful. I cannot imagine living in such a quaint, beautiful town. Ant does blend in quite well, that’s pretty funny that he’s greeted like he’s a resident!
                                Amy´s last blog post ..Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life by James Martin, SJ

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