Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Ireland: Munster + Dublin

Shannon to Killarney


We flew into Shannon airport, where we were met by our Australian friends Steven and Yan, who had already picked up a hire car.

Steven had done most of the logistics — booking hotels and the car — so this was a really cushy trip for me, since I usually do all of that.
Strangely, we had to go through immigration on the way into Ireland and our passports were stamped, but there was no immigration or passport control on the return trip, either at Dublin or Heathrow (where there's a special "UK and Ireland" departure/arrival area that seems to lack any customs or border agency presence at all).
We started off going along the south shore of the Shannon estuary, but when we realised how slow that would be — single lane roads with passing places — we headed south to rejoin the larger N21.

We stopped for dinner in Abbeyfeale, which seemed a fairly mundane little town. This was probably the worst meal of the trip, but was still perfectly decent — my fish and chips was better than any I've managed to find in Oxford.

We were staying in a guesthouse just north of Killarney, run by an owner-manager who illustrated the Irish "gift of the gab": on arrival she gave us a useful and extensive infodump on where to go and what to see. (We also touched on the traumas of the Irish economy and overbuilding, and she mentioned that bookings were down and that she was happy to be able to pay the bills. The rather attractive guesthouse looked custom-built and I hope she didn't owe too much for it.)

In the countryside there were immense numbers of new houses (built in the last ten years), many of which didn't appear to be occupied. And in the cities there were a lot of commercial and retail properties with To Let signs and more that didn't have those but were unoccupied. Otherwise there weren't obvious signs of the financial crisis and the Irish property crash.

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