Dublin was all I had hoped for an so much more, and nor just because of the awesome beer and food we enjoyed. Dublin was super friendly, and I mean everyone we met. In every pub we frequented, usually crowded, it seemed like there was always that Irish guy or gal that would jump up and offer us seats at their table. I actually thought I would be happy to get out of the big city and on to rural Ireland, however, I actually could have stayed a month!
Yep! That was going to be me :), driving on the wrong side of the road
But the plans were in place, and my excitement was growing to rent my vehicle and head to the Southwest countryside of Ireland. Let me first explain about car rentals in Ireland and my final decision. My plans for many months included renting a Ferrari and driving the Autobahn for a few days on this Europe trip. Those plans changed when we found it was better for us to ride the Euro train at that point of the vacation, so the “red firestick” was out. The fact is this was probably a good thing, because for years while living in San Diego, I owned a Porsche, and ended up selling because of all the speeding tickets.
This is what I should have rented!
So, I needed to rent a vehicle in Dublin to drive for three days in the country. I decided to make an advance reservation for a BMW M3 6 speed, because why not? When we arrived at Dublin Airport on our departure day in Dublin, to the car rental, they successfully talked me out of the BMW, and into a Renault SUV. For so many reasons I was happy with this vehicle, brand new, 60 kilometers on it, and it was a 6-speed manual, oh boy. FYI, we used Eurocar Rentals, because the rates were not only good but full insurance fairly cheap. They also didn’t expect the $3000 “deposit: that they did for the Ferrari.
If you think this is easy, try it sometime!
Now you need to understand two things when driving in most European countries, everything is backward. Nor only is the steering wheel on the right side of the car, and you shift with your left hand, but you drive on the left side of the road. They will tell you when you pick up your rental, that after a couple hours, you will drive like a native.
When you pass another driver, and you are sure a collision is imminent!
You will not!
I’m not going to go on about this, other than to say, whenever a car came at me on the right side, I prepared for a collision, and the entire time I drove, for three days, my wife had mini-heart attacks, constantly.
Who knew Vikings were a major part of Irish history?
So off we went onto the major highway to our ultimate destination of Killarney, Ireland. We had a three-day rental in a room above Murphy’s Pub, which is quite famous. On the way, we decided to stop and check out the town of Cork, which everyone said we should if possible.
Cork is a small waterfront town, with quite the history behind it. I had no idea that it was a Viking Settlement hundreds of years ago but quickly learned. There is an excellent Viking Museum in town which of course fascinated me, swords and all.
The Vikings have landed they shouted!
While I was fascinated with the Vikings, Marsha was fascinated with another famous find, the Waterford Crystal Museum/Store. We could have done a guided tour, but opted for a self-guided stroll, without my ever taking out my wallet. How about that?
Wife Marsha just had to drag me around this place 🙂
Of course, we did manage to find, yes, you guessed it, a fine pub, with awesome food and Guinness on tap.
Unbelievable, there is a “Murphy’s Pub” in almost every town in Ireland!
Then we were on our way to Killarney and the object of my immediate dreams, Murphy’s Pub where we were staying. We arrived and after a bit found a place not far from Murphy’s to park in a large parking lot. Now, that lot was full but after driving around in circles for 15 minutes a spot did open. It was Saturday so I just figured everyone was shopping or something. We dragged our bags down the street to Murphy’s and entered the front door, directly into the pub.
After checking in at the bar, a waiter helped us with our bags, up three flights of stairs to our room, The room was actually pretty nice, good comfy bed, nice bathroom, and a view of the back beer garden, which we never used because of all the rain.
Our home for four nights, and soon to be an “Irish Biker Bar”!
We quickly found out why everything was so crowded, there was a multi-country bike rally coming to town that afternoon. We got to watch as hundreds of motorcycles drove into town, and later hung with some leather chaps and chappies in the pubs. Although they were a “rough-looking bunch”, the fact is they were very entertaining and fun. We actually talked U.S. politics and had a great discussion. In fact, I became such good friends with one of the bikers, he paid Marsha and my bar tab!
Yep! Here come the 100’s of bikers, many of which I will be “tippin the pint” with.
The next day we decided to head out for another “exciting drive” on rural roads. After an hour or so of us both gasping and holding our breath, we pulled up in the parking lot of Dingle Distillery in Dingle, Ireland.
Yes, banners advertising I will be spending days with leather biker hicks in bars.
No, it wasn’t a name brand like a Jamison, but rather a startup distillery, actually only about three years old. That being said, did we ever get an education about whiskey and gin! Of course, being in Ireland, they don’t call it Scotch Whisky, just Whisky. This new business struggled at first, not having the funds to get off the ground, and compete with the “big boys”. But, let me tell you how they not only accomplished that in short order, and then some. You can’t sell Scotch until it has aged in the barrel three years and one day. As they needed funds to pay employees and buy equipment, they came up with a novel idea.
They sold “futures”, “Founder’s Barrels”, at $1000 per barrel, and that’s how they came up with the capital to start, with local Dingle investors. After the three years and one day, all investors with their names on the barrels can do whatever they want with the barrels of whiskey.
This was one really cool distillery. We did shots of Dingle Gin!
Now, then there is the already well known and now famous Dingle Gin, after only a year. Gin it seems can be sold after only a year, and these guys produced an awesome and tasty gin. I know because we had a few “tastings”, straight and with a local tonic. As we progressed through Europe, we not only found Dingle Gin in stores but also on Europe airlines and trains. These guys broke the mold and came out swinging. If you love Gin and Tonic, I suggest you keep an eye out for Dingle.
Of course, after sipping Dingle Gin, we needed to find a pub for lunch, and that we did.
Later that evening we dined in, of course, another pub, with our biker friends, and we’re extremely happy we were able to walk back to our room.
The next day it was off for another driving adventure into the countryside, in search of adventure.
Cheers till we maat agaib.
Gary …..the Pirate