Archive for September 2016 | Monthly archive page

One of the many things I really like about Ireland and specifically a lot of towns on the Wild Atlantic Way,  is that there are so many small and privately owned coffee shops and small restaurants.  Many, if not most, use fair trade coffees and teas and locally sourced produce – lots of home baking!  Of course, some are good and some not so good (or just not so much to my taste).  The ones I like are the cafes with coffee machines (or individual cafetieres are good too), lots of home made cakes, freshly made salads and good quality artisan bread.  I’m not keen on the ‘plastic wrap snacks’ coffee shops where options are restricted to muffins and flapjacks wrapped in plastic with a use by date of sometime in the next 12 months!

Kinsale, the starting point (or end point depending on your direction of travel) of the Wild Atlantic Way is blessed with many great places to drop in for a quick cuppa.  From Poet’s Corner to Lemon Leaf , Nine Market Street, The Pantry and The Old Bank House (and many more).  I’ve enjoyed the tasty treats and lunches in all and have a hard time deciding which one to check out when I’m in town.

All are relaxed, easy going spots with friendly staff and great quality, local food. That’s not to say that other cafes in Kinsale aren’t equally good, but it seems that I am a bit of a creature of habit and at the moment, these are the ones I tend to frequent.

In the evening when many coffee shops close (some do stay open for evening meals) there are so so many choices of excellent eateries in Kinsale from Italian to Indian to Irish and lots in between … not to mention a few amazing wine bars!

Enjoy 🙂

 

Sep 19

Cruising!

Now, this isn’t about the Wild Atlantic Way, but nevertheless, well worth a mention.  I recently spent 4 days on the River Shannon on a cruiser.   What an amazing way to spend holiday time.

The River Shannon is Ireland’s longest river.  It is 360 km/240 miles long and runs from Co Cavan to Co Limerick where it enters the sea. It includes locks, canals and lots of amazing scenery.

We hired the boat from www.rentourboat.ie and the pick-up point was just outside Carrick on Shannon in Co Leitrim. The first thing that we liked was that we picked it up from a gated marina which meant that our car was secure for the duration of our trip.  As we arrived at the boat late in the evening, we spent the first night on the marina which was very well equipped with electricity, showers, toilets, laundry, garbage disposal and recycling.  There is also a bar and restaurant on site.

The next day our adventure began and we set off on our travels.  There is a speed limit on the river of 5 mph, so it took an hour and a have to get back to Carrick on Shannon (a 10 – 15 minute drive in a car).  The first few hours of cruising were for getting used to the idea that everything happened at a slower pace and then that became the norm.  We stayed at many lovely harbours, we ate in the local pubs and enjoyed the unique atmosphere that one only gets from the river. We met Germans, Australians, English and lots of Irish people.

The boat was very comfortable and well equipped.  We had a full size cooker and oven, the beds were comfortable and we were delighted to find that the showers worked well (there were two on board!).  Depending on where we decided to stay for the night, we had access to electricity, water, showers, toilets etc.  Even if we chose not to pull into a serviced quay, we were self-sufficient with hot water, a gas cooker/oven and a 3-way fridge.

While it wasn’t the wonderful Wild Atlantic Way, it is definitely well worth checking out a river holiday if time and funds allow.  It is so relaxing.

We’ll be back and we can’t wait!

Leitrim and Sligo have some of the best scenery on the west coast of Ireland and both counties are passed through on the Wild Atlantic Way.

I’ve always wanted to rent a yurt for a night and finally, in July of this year, I finally got to. We were in Co Leitrim – well Co Mayo really…. but decided to go on to Leitrim to check out the yurts for hire at Tea Pot Lane Glamping.

It was about a 20 minute drive from Sligo town on the road to Letterkenny. We stopped at Yeat’s Tavern for a late lunch/early dinner – it never disappoints. The food is always top knotch.

It was a little tricky to find Teapot Lane Glamping but was a real treat when we got there. There were yurts, a vintage caravan, cabins and a tree house. The facilities were clean. The real surprise was the common area with tables, chairs, comfy chairs, rugs and a really well equipped kitchen.

Our yurt was clean and cosy with fairy lights and a heater. Lots of blankets and was quite spacious. The bed was very comfortable too.

We had a wonderfully social evening chatting to other guests over a glass of wine while munching on snacks.  Some guests had a bonfire and toasted marshmallows around it, while others just relaxed and chatted.  Kids read books and played board games – everyone had a relaxed evening and we all enjoyed it.

All the while, we were just a couple of miles from the coast and the Wild Atlantic Way route.  Definitely a place to check out if glamping tickles your fancy!