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OUR IRELAND GOLF TRIP - August, 2018   

Here are the links to the courses we played.  Rates are from websites or personal experience

 

 

 

             Portmarnock. Click here.

                   €225 includes lunch. Caddie fees €80 double bag

               I'm glad we started here.  Got a tast of bump & run, and it has wide fairways.

 

 

Old Head. Click here.

       €275           €80  Caddie fee for double bag

          I think it's the most spectacular course I've seen.

 

 

  Lahinch. Click Here.

  €210          €80 per double bag

  One of the greats - leave your ego home

 

  Hogs Head. Click Here.

  Reportedly €250          Caddie fees €100 for double bag

 One of the founders is a Michigan Grad

 

  Tralee. Click Here.

   €210. €350 married couple.           Caddie €80 double bag

  This is a picture of our caddie chasing balls (not my shot) on par 3.

 

  Ballybunion. Click Here.

   €210 Caddies            €85 per double bag

  Great Course to finish our Ireland Trip

Too bad they went through a drought that burned out their fairways

 

 

 

 

                                          

 

                                       

 

                                        

 

 MY IRELAND LOG

Thursday/Friday (8/24/2018) - Off to Dublin

 

We had a great flight from Detroit to Dublin. Got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The International counter was empty, the bags were not oversized, the security line was very short, nothing to complain about. We settled for sushi which was more expensive but not so good as our Ann Arbor Godaiko.

 

We had purchased extra leg room on our flight to Amsterdam, and that was really nice.  No longer can we expect to get exit rows due to Delta status.

 

There were no customs in Amsterdam, so we went downstairs to our gate and had coffee and people watched.

 

Customs in Dublin were minor - no bag questions. Pete and Sarah had to name the golf courses we were going to be playing. We decided to take a shuttle to the Dublin hotel from the airport. We had been advised that taxis would be $30 and tip, and the shuttle $7 each. It wound up that Sarah & Pete paid $50 for their taxi - not knowing how much of that was for minor sight-seeing trips made by the taxi driver. Sheri did a good job with a limited street map getting us to the hotel.

 

The others, coming in Sunday will probably have a problem with traffic due to security of the Pope’s weekend visit to Dublin and surroundings.

 

Dinner last night was at the Hairy Lemon, not the Thirsty Turtle Sarah intended for us to go to. The meals were good - Irish stew, lamb shanks, and others you would associate with Ireland. These followed, of course, Guinness for all, and preceded whiskey-topped bread pudding.

 

We strained staying awake watching NCIS, news, some reports about the Pope’s coming, making it to 9:00. I had leg cramps off and on but managed to sleep in to 7:00 so I should be mostly over the jet-lag by now. We are off to the breakfast portion of the B&B at the 4-star Brooks Hotel which has only one small working elevator.

 

 

 

Saturday - 8/25 - Unguided Tour of Dublin and Literary Pub Crawl

 

I was a little concerned yesterday our golf bags we are renting were not delivered. Checked my emails and found I’d specified an arrival for tomorrow.

 

Hairy Lemon - they would not split the bill for two credit cards. Sarah paid and I’ll get the next one. Also were not able to get server to take picture of us with our first Guinesses. I took one with my Iphone but it’s too dark. I need a waterproof camera with a good flash.

 

Great hot water in this place, but I’ll have to get used to the instant coffee again, like Australia. If really necessary I can go to the Starbucks next door to the hotel.

 

Breakfast was great. Not so many cold meats as I remember from a London trip, but plenty of fruits, some cheeses, cereals, and breads. Real coffee. Ordered scrambled eggs with salmon, and were pleasantly surprised that they arrived separated.

 

Today - off to find a walking tour of Dublin.

 

We did our own unguided tour of Dublin today, as the Historical Tour we wanted to do was closed, what else? - because of the security of the Pope. The bellman here at the hotel said there were to be 700,000 people as opposed to the million plus for John Paul. So we went on walking. Abbey Protestant Church, Parnell Square, nothing spectacular but the weather was great and some OK people watching. Had fois gras for lunch. Sheri had eggs Benedict. It was a brief brunch menu. We already had stopped for a Guinness so getting full wasn’t a problem. Friendly Irish people is an understatement, as almost every time Sarah & Sheri got out their street maps someone asked if we were lost, ready to give instructions. As in Paris, there are not street signs on posts, but on the building corners, and are wearing away. They are in both Gaelic and English. The Gaelic characters wear better.

 

The Historical Tour was to have been met outside Trinity College. We walked into the courtyard of the college. I was surprised at the cleanliness of the facades of the building - much different from buildings on the street with the buildup of carbons.

 

James Joyce museum was closed (Pope security), but there was a statue for a picture opp. Phil did a poor job with Pete and Sarah - no heads. (The historical tour was cancelled).

 

This afternoon we are to a literary Pub Crawl. Not sure what to expect.

 

Our golf clubs have been delivered.

 

The Pub Crawl was a lot of fun - probably five actors throughout the three hours of hearing about James Joyce and others. Seems no Irish writer didn’t have a drinking problem, and the old bars we visited were their hangouts.

 

Most of the restaurants quit serving food at 10:00, but one directed us back to a tapas place where we got filled with five or six pass arounds. Good thing I decided to not bring a sports coat, as nobody wears one. The tapas restaurant did split the bill. One can choose whether to charge in euros or dollars. I think the better way is to charge euros and let the bank convert the currency, which is at a rate lower than the service at the establishments.

 

 

Sunday - 8/26/18 - Musical Pub  Crawl

 

There is a lot of WIFI around, as many establishments and restaurants have it for free. We turn it on occasionally for checking emails and texts, but not for surfing other than at the hotel.

 

Tried a fish for breakfast but won’t have it again as it’s a plain whitefish, though it was prepared well. Sheri tried the oatmeal, without the advertised whiskey, and seemed to like it. I’m liking the idea of cucumbers with breakfast.

 

Went to see an Artifact exhibit at the museum but were two hours early and didn’t want to wait. Walked a large garden park then did an hour tour with a student guide at Trinity College. She was very sympathetic to the architects through the years who had problem getting paid by various administrations. A Book of Kell’s exhibit had too long a line to wait.

 

Back to hotel to rest up for this evenings Musical Pub Crawl.

 

I’ve been taking pictures with my Iphone. Sometimes I wish I had a camera, but having just tossed a $400 Panasonic which got sick and couldn’t be repaired (it wasn’t waterproof) I decided not to bring any. Sort of wish I’d bought a compact waterproof as the Iphone zoom isn’t what I’d like. No bother, though, since Sheri doesn’t have to worry about my lagging behind shooting everything in sight.

 

Sheri just looked at her Ireland tour book and yesterday’s restaurant for fois gras is listed. Not sure where we are going before our next crawl (musical this time). Sounding like it might be Italian.

 

Well that turned out differently from expected. We had noted two restaurant choices and found them to be not the establishments we expected, nor what we wanted. Found anther one that did look OK so had fish & chips and shepherd’s pie. After we ordered, a soccer match started and was in minute 35 before the food arrived. Each dish was like the restaurant looked - OK.

 

On the way back I mentioned we needed some healthy snack for later - like nuts.

We went into an arcade of small shops and there it was - a small concession selling nuts.

 

Musical pub crawl. Guitar player and violinist playing sessions, not traditionally listened to commercial songs. Three different pubs, but only one beer for me having learned last night one isn’t required to drink at all. More impressive bar last night charged 5.50 euros for a pint of Guinness. Tonight’s was 6.5. Change from a 10 euro bill came in three different sized coins.

 

 

Monday - 8/27/18 - golf at Portmarnock

 

Don’t order two scrambled eggs at the Brooks Hotel in Dublin, as each is the size of an unmelted snow cone, and on top of the buffet of meats, cheeses, fruits, croissants (yeh chocolate chip croissants) it’s just too much.

 

We arrived way early at Portmonock Golf Club, one of the oldest in Ireland, and really had an all around good experience. Nobody can complain of an introduction to Irish golf that includes three starting downwind holes with wide fairways. Sunday’s round in Ann Arbor had been a disaster (like I must have been using borrowed clubs and playing off a hangover) and apprehension ruled the run-up to playing here. No worries other than the short game is much different from what we are used to. So once again I hit the ball well but couldn’t score.

 

We found out afterwords that our travel agent, Swing, had arranged food vouches for us for such an amount that the price of all our food was covered. An after-golf Guinness (free because our team won) hit the spot with my steak sandwich. Sheri’s fish and chips looked really good, and the pomme frites in Ireland are always tasty.  (After writing this, I found that Portmarnock's fees include lunch)

 

Old age is setting in. I spent twenty minutes looking for my sunglasses, as I knew I’d worn them in the van. Not in my golf bag, the van or my backpack. Why? The were on my head under my rain hat. My putter cover from my rented clubs didn’t make it past the first tee. After lunch/dinner there I told a friend I was going to the pro shop to find if anyone had turned it in and he said he’d seen one on a counter somewhere, remembered which counter and the object still was there - mine.

 

Disappointment of the day is that the travel people do not store our golf clubs on the van due to liability reasons, so the clubs have to be taken in to the hotel after playing and schlepped back up when we move. We thought we were through having to be bothered with the process.

 

Some are going to a pub recommended by last night’s musicians. Having had more beer nights than I’m used to we are staying in.

 

 

 

Tuesday 8/28/2018 - Kilmainham Gaol and Rock of Caseal

 

No problem getting eight sets of golf clubs and luggage into the van. We’re off the the Kilmainham Gaol at the recommendation of a couple caddies, Florida friend (thanks Doug), and our driver. Not having a reservation, we are taking our chance on getting in - if we can get parking. Other opportunities are available on our way to Cork.

 

We did get to see the jail, for which only three admissions were available after our group. As seniors our 7 euro admission saved 2 euros each for the one hour guided tour. We obviously didn’t get the real feel for the starkness as the temperature was in the mid-60s, but I can feel for the prisoners in winter with the stone walls and floors the bedding for which would have been straw. The guide said some people committed crimes to get put into the jail, where at least they wold be fed. He’s a romantic.

 

We are on an hour & a half ride to Cork. The drive is like U.S. Interstates except for driving on the opposite sides of the road. Looks like Kentucky with all the hills. The leather seats are very comfortable, with three of the twelve facing backward with tables between. I hear talk of watching grandchildren, walking shoes, and book clubs.

 

Connor suggested on our way to Cork we stop at the Rock of Caseal for an hour of sightseeing and a serve yourself lunch. Chicken breast doesn’t usually sound good to me, but theirs looked tasty and was, along with a couple boiled potatoes and some mashed potatoes to go with my broccoli veggies and black bread. Most of the others had Irish stew which was pretty good. One of the other choices would have been shepherd’s pie.

 

Up the hill we went to the Rock cathedral. It was a beautiful sight on a high point of land. We paid to see a rebuilt portion - a chapel - but were a bit dispoiinted because there was a lot of emphasis on maintaining its moisture content (for preservation) and little on the reconstruction of it. The grounds were a cemetery with centuries of families in each area. Conner pointed out how the clerics had removed a good portion of the roof from the old part of the church in order to save on property taxes.

 

Con pointed out some Irish towers along the route which were beacons or lookout towers, and that the Vikings often used the beacons to locate monks during their visits.

 

this would have been a good golfing day - weather wise.

 

Con is doing a great job for us. Tom just asked (we are in the van) if we could get an earlier tee time tomorrow. Yesterday took five hours to play and with our 2:42 tee time tomorrow we wouldn’t be eating until about 8:00, making for a long day. Con said he’d check when we landed, when in fact he called the course while still in route.

 

We’ve arrived at Hayfield Manor, a five star hotel. Our bellman in Dublin says it is over the top, and so far we’re happy with our spacious rooms. Nice to look out over a courtyard and not a Starbuck’s. We’ve already made dinner reservations here in the casual dining area.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 8/29/2018. Kinsale and Old Head

 

The food at the hotel’s restaurant was excellent but our server didn’t like me. After I pointed out my beer order was wrong she corrected it but my steak arrived a few minutes after the others’ meals and the catchup I asked for (again fries) didn’t arrive until I was about done. The dessert almost made me forget it, though, it was so good. (How does one pronounce desserts when spelled backwards?)

 

Clear outside today but 50 degrees at 7:30. The high is to be in the mid 60s through next Wednesday (our last full day), but no rain is showing in the graphics. I’ll settle for that as I’ve brought proper clothing, but left my knit cap at home intentionally - maybe a mistake. Golf gloves are on the table here in the room. (Turns out the gloves and knit cap would have been used, but I’ve golfed in worse).

 

I can’t remember the last time I saw a honeycomb on a breakfast table. The one here was the size of a small sheet cake. The breakfast portion of B&B is starting to be too much of a habit. Not usually hungry in the morning, I’m making up for it on this trip; easy to do with the golden egg yokes, ‘bacon’ with the lightly burned edges, and endless coffee. This morning I draw the line at another chocolate croissant, mostly because I was too full.

 

With the late tee time at Old Head we are going for a stroll at 9:00am. Having made a quick trip outside, it’s decided that a light jacket will do just fine. Food talk is for a large lunch to make up for supper’s being so late due to the afternoon tee time. I don’t like to golf with a full stomach, so this is going to be difficult but not impossible.

 

18 holes seeing the water is advertised. Here’s hoping.

 

10:45pm. 17 holes, as told by the starter. This was just a great all-around golfing experience. I’ve played prettier courses, but nothing so dramatic or spectacular as Old Head. From the time we arrived until leaving after dinner everyone was smiling. If one knew where to hit the ball it was a very fair golf course. I disagreed with my caddy’s direction on one hole but went with it and wish I hadn’t. It was a case of being doubtful and tensing up on a tee shot that got me in trouble. Regardless - the starter was right that the first hole was not the prettiest. Bottom line - you have to go there to believe it.    The young caddies, college age, were a lot of fun and knew the game better than our guys yesterday.

 

We had stopped in Kinsale on the way there for a couple hours, which was a good way to walk off that large breakfast. Typical commercial waterside town, we stuck with just strolling the streets, dropping in to a couple clothing shops, and grabbing a cappuccino. The stores didn’t impress me with their made in either Vietnam or Cambodia labels, but Sheri was able to find a nice pullover.

 

Con had to rush off this evening. The drivers have laws governing their work hours, verified by GPS, and he was running really close due to our having had the dinner at Old Head. Will find out tomorrow if the had to stop on route to his hotel and take a taxi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday - 8/30/2018 - half way through the trip. Tomorrow golf at Tralee

 

Still in Kinsale at the Hayfield Manor, but not for long as we head shortly to Killarney for golf both Friday and Saturday. Old Head was really an up and down course, giving us good exercise. Maybe that’s why we slept in til 8:30 but we were not the only ones, as two of the other couples were at breakfast the same time as we.

 

Packing and unpacking is getting to get old, but the clubs are safely stored in the van so no schlepping for a couple days.

 

It’s four weeks since cataract surgery and not the improvement in vision I had hoped for. One article said be patient and hope that the real improvement will be after the second one is done. There’s not room for complaint, though, as at the least the cataract situation will be gone and my vision is still really good - just not perfect as others have experienced. Having worn glasses over sixty years at the worse it will be no change.

 

Out of Cork at 11:30. Well, 11:35 because Tom allowed his handbag to get into the trunk of the van and with all the support of the screaming people in the back talked Con into stopping in the parking lot to get it. “Aw, Tom” came from Miss Fixit up front (private joke).

 

Con just told us that littering was a serious infraction. People will report culprits who may be subject to 3,000 euro fines.

 

Passing through an area now that reminds me of West Virginia because of the cattle grazing on the sides of hills.

 

Stopped in a little town for soup and sandwich. Soup was a purée vegetable. Had a ham & cheese on garlic bread sandwich. No fries. Lots of sandwich shops, bars, and coffee shops in the town full of students in the school uniforms.

 

Driving through Killarney National Park. Stopped for a photo op. Narrow road. Pigeon Forge before I-40

 

Arrived at International Hotel, Killarney. Quite the adventure with their room numbering system. For some reason golf clubs in fact did not get off the bus. Neither did my sunglasses but they won’t be needed until golf tomorrow. 7:30 breakfast and 7:45 on the bus is going to be a rush, but we will get it done. Con wants us to get to the course in plenty of time to check in and warm up. Weather forecast isn’t good - yet.

 

Bob’s phone broke. Well, it froze up. After ordering food, he went to retrieve the instrument and I read up on how to unfreeze it. When he got back to his table he’d found a ten year old and the phone started working. I get ten points for fixing it - right?

 

Good food again, this time at one of the hotel restaurant. They just can’t seem to mess up fish & chips. Tomorrow they are accommodating us by having their continental breakfast ready for us at 6:45 way ahead of that 7:30 normal start. The tour people had advised us in their letter that such could be done.

 

Just got a note from weather.com that rain was starting soon. Maybe it will dissipate overnight.

 

The hotel is ONLY four stars. I’ll give one reason. The clock doesn’t have a 9-volt battery, or its European equivalent. When you leave the room, taking your key card out of the wall socket the electricity to outlets is nil. The clock stops and charging for electronic appliances stops.

 

 

 

Friday - 8/31/2018 - Not really liking International Hotel of Kilarney

 

My niece’s birthday. I don’t want to say how old she is but 51 years ago I got a message while on KP at Fort Knox that she had been born.

 

The hotel did in fact have a shortened continental breakfast ready for us. They had the essentials (coffee) in place and brought things out piecemeal. Just right.

 

Our scheduled departure was 7:45 but has been moved to 8:00. No problem - an hour’s drive to the golf course and a 9:40 tee time. It works. Weather forecast has dropped today’s rain, but no change in the less than 65 temp. Clouds are breaking to the northwest.

 

Sarah is healthy. She had ridden the back of the bus on the looking down the mountain side during the National Forest. We need to keep her healthy as she’s lthe only one who knows for sure how to work photo sharing. (Post trip note. She still is).

 

Bob’s phone is still working.

 

Sarah said that if you want to change from heat to air conditioning in your room a trip to the desk is necessary. Same people that have foot switch for floor lamp - set into corner. Hard to see and operate in the dark. Overhead lights are very dim. All makes for not such a bright start to the day.

 

Bob slays the drive reminds him of Ireland.

 

Passing by an elementary school, Con explained that once inside the gate the children would speak only Irish, which would benefit them in later life showing their being educated.

 

Tralee was another great golf course, designed by Arnold Palmer. #9 was rebuilt last year for a million dollars but the membership doesn’t like it, fired the golf course architect, and are going to re-do it. I managed to hit into a bunker that aesthetically didn’t belong. Overall, though, it was a great experience.

 

I appreciated our caddie. He was confident enough to change to a longer club on a par three that was a proper change. He got a workout today. There’s a caddie saying I’d heard. “If you bacon on the ball, Lassie couldn’t find it.” Rory used it once with out group.

 

We paid a little more for our caddies today - 120 euros. That was a little more than the guidelines from our tour agency, but well worth it.

 

 

I’m not sure yesterday’s message got out as there was a mail in my outbox this morning (Sunday)

 

 

 

 

Saturday - 9/01/2018 - Golf at Hogs Head - built by a Wolverine

 

Found out what happens when you leave your Do Not Disturb sign on the door all day. You don’t get coffee replenished, even if it’s instant. Secondarily you don’t get your bed made for you. We recycle towels, so that isn’t a problem.

 

The hotel’s accommodating us with the early continental breakfast is good for me - less temptations to chow down. The fruit cocktail is pretty good, and with a scone and some yoghurt I am full.

 

The restaurant last night was Flesk’s, recommended by Con. Our assigned room was really noisy until the table over from us was given their bread basket. The food was really good - mussels for me with an entre of lamb chops. The servers removed the dishes timely, meaning I was able to not finish the French fries.

 

This is getting serious. No turndown at the International Hotel. Translated - no chocolate. Pete went to check on it and was told they couldn’t provide it last night but it would be delivered this morning. TripAdvisor will hear of this.

 

Con has his mandatory two day holiday from us. Charlie is giving us a history of the meaning of Gaelic football and the peace in the country after the 1916 Rebellion. The game tomorrow Sounds like their Super Bowl. The streets will be empty. Dublin is going for four in a row. Charlie says he was part of the last team to accomplish that. He was the goalkeeper. Shane Lowry’s dad was on the opposing team. Forty years ago tomorrow was the first of the four.

 

Charlie is telling about a walk he had yesterday, where he saw a lady fishing with cardboard and line.

 

During the IRA uprising ammunition was brought into Tralee and hidden in buried coffins, to be picked up when needed.

 

Making changes to text on a bus moving Rural Ireland is difficult. With my OCD, I’ll be thinking of them on the golf course (not).

 

Hogshead is a really nice American-owned golf destination. Guys vs gals, the match ended in a tie on this Trent Jones course.

 

 

 

 

Sunday. 9/02/2018 - Muckross Castle and Dingle

 

Can’t figure how to turn on the towel warmer. Life is tough. Socks will just have to dry themselves. Michigan lost to Norte Dame. Not surprising as under Jim Harbaugh they don’t have a good record against ranked teams. The rope is getting shorter.

 

Sightseeing today - not sure where. Weather forecast shows rain. Yesterday was fantastic - I even took off my jacket, and my sweater almost came off. Tom didn’t look out of place in his golf shorts.

 

One of Hogshead’s developers is from University of Michigan, and the block M flag was flying high there.

 

I’m liking this hotel less & less, thinking back how very friendly the Brooks Hotel staff was and how not very friendly the International Hotel staff is. Strictly business.

 

Can you believe it - the electrical outlet in the bathroom is for only shavers. I’ve taken a picture of the faceplate stating that, and there’s only the one outlet. Still cant figure how to turn back on the towel warmer. Will leave a note for the cleaner person.

 

Sunday is a no golf day so we are doing different things. While Tom went to church the rest of us went to Muckross Castle and got a tour explaining its history. Of note was Queen Victoria’s visit, a two day affair for which the residents were given a six year notice. The owners did much refurbishing for her, Prince Albert, four of their children,and an entourage of one hundred. Sixty five rooms are in the manor. The land was donated, eleven thousand acres, to start the National Park.

 

Susie tasked me with finding out the workings of Panorama on the Iphone. Did. Call me dr. Frankenstein (think about it) as she’s really into using the feature.

 

On our way to Dingle. Bob, Sheri & I. Others are doing different things in Killarney, which seems to have rut its novelty. Raining presently.

 

Killarney golf club. Taking a slight detour to drive through it. Lots of ladies right now - maybe the men are off to watch the aforementioned football match. The green is coming back now, after two months of drought which is mentioned wherever we go.

 

Telephone stands now are being used to house defibrillators.

 

 

We just passed a road speed check, the kind that tells you our fast you are traveling. It did not like our speed so flashed the speed in red numerals. When Charlie slowed to the proper speed it changed to a green happy face.

 

Charlie made two stops on the way. One was to look down on a beach area that often is used for horse racing. There were surfers out. The other stop was to look out at a hilly area that was divided into farms for sheep. The house fuel is generally kerosene, the tanks for which have to be stored in sheds due to the salty ocean water.

 

Dingle is a small, charming seaside town with rows of bars. Charlie had us go to a supermart to get sandwiches made to order and they were pretty good. They were out of pulled pork so I had a southern fried chicken sandwich on brown baguette. Also had some potato chips which were not plain as I’d hoped (but didn’t bother to read the label).

 

Rained all the way back. After his football career was over Charlie coached junior ball, so was interested in that national championship, held the same day as the bog one which was won by the Dublin team.

 

Remember ER from the 1990s? We spent the evening watching its reruns. The sandwiches from Dingle were filling enough that we didn’t have to go out to dinner. Each of us is congested and I have a persistent cough, probably the result of airplane germs though the little buggers took their time manifesting themselves. At commercial breaks we are packing. Switching to NCIS reruns, sucking on lozenges, drinking instant stuff.

 

Tomorrow we have a two and a half hour trip to our next location, reportedly including a ferry ride.

 

 

 

Monday. 9/3/18- Labor Day - golf at legendary Lahinch

 

Sarah’s International Hotel story. First night, remember, no chocolate. Pete kept leaving 3 euros for the maid but they wouldn’t take them. Still no chocolate (none for us either). After the third night they left a note for the maid to take the money. When they got back the coins were gone, replaced by two chocolates. Another Sarah venture. They went to a chocolate store. Sarah wanted two pieces of chocolate and Pete wanted a praline. Sarah talked Pete into getting two pralines. Back at the room only the pralines were in the bag.

 

Leo at the International provided the best service, offering roadie coffees, getting us eggs before hours, and chatting frequently. He’d been to the U.S. from Poland a few times, at least one of which was to work at a Hooters in Charlotte.

 

We were the last on the ferry. Con had his doubts due to our being held up on the road by a hay wagon, and got cheers from the cast for dashing past it.

 

The ferry actually had WIFI but no news as it’s still 4:00am at home.

 

We played Lahinch, a course built in the 1880s by Old Tom Morris, a golf legend. Very rustic, hilly, and demanding. Use some muscles o the side of hills that hadn’t been used for a long time.

 

From there we went to Dromoland Castle (hotel), which is over the top. It has working towel warmers and reception guests from the GM which included chocolates and a bag of trail mix. The dinner cost more that others we had and wan’t any better than in-town restaurants. The room is about 25 x 25 with a very large bathroom with big tub, shower, and dual sinks. There is a small golf course (at least I think it’s small) on the grounds, the size of which I haven’t researched.

 

 

 

TUESDAY - 9/4/18 - OUR LAST DAY OF GOLF

 

Gotta hit an ATM for caddie fees and for Con. Also could use a pharmacy. I’ve found that the dentist toothpaste samples don’t last two weeks. Also could use some more lozenges and some antihistamines.

 

We play Ballybunion today, which is s destination for most golfers to Ireland. It is reportedly really brown due to the drought.

 

Cannot make the coffee maker work. I’ve used this kind in two different places and it isn’t working as I think it should. Breakfast isn’t too far off, though. Expecting a lot from this place.

 

It was delicious. As with the other of our B&Bs there is a buffet of yoghurts, cereals, oatmeal, cheeses, fruits, meats, croissants. Then we order made to order eggs, fish, and most other breakfast foods.

 

A maid was in the hallway when we got back from breakfast and at the first had the same problem with the coffee maker. After a couple attempts we got one pod to stay where it belonged and now all I ave to do is hit the switch in the morning for at least one cup.

 

The staff at Dromoland is much nicer than International, which is going to get a not so friendly review from me.

 

Ballybunion wound up being disappointing because there was no fairway grass - due to the two month drought. The grass just hasn’t grown back. It’s beautiful facility and layout. We’d ordered caddies at all six course and it was the only course they didn’t have enough caddies. We wound up using pull carts and two caddies joined our groups after finishing rounds. They added a lot to our experience.

 

We had Con get us a table at a local pub on the way back. The bill probably was half what we would have paid at the hotel. I ordered the special - roast lamb, and vegetable soup. Very filling. The lamb covered the whole plate. I think it was only our second real Irish pub. Con had never been there, but also enjoyed it.

 

It’s now 11:30am in the castle, a half hour before checkout and a couple hours until Con picks us up to go to Dublin for our last night. Up early tomorrow. Airport guidelines are to get there 3 hours prior to flight, and we depart 9:00am

 

 

 

Wednesday. 9/5/2018 - back to Dublin

 

Still at the castle. We were walking the walled garden when it started to sprinkle. We went to the hotel lobby and two other of the couples showed up. I’d had our suitcases picked up to be stored for a couple hours and the porter pointed out I’d left my sack of medicines on the bed.

 

Golf balls - I brought two dozen not knowing for sure the terrain, how wild my shores might be, and really not knowing he ability of the caddies to find balls in the weeds. I’m taking twenty-one back.

 

We are on a 3 hour divided road journey to Dublin, right now in a tunnel under the River Shannon.

 

This is for Tom. Con said we had another nice castle to stay at in the northern part of Dublin, near Portmarnock. I asked why the agency would have chosen that rather than something closer to the airport and he said it was probably because the ones at the airport were more business like, commercial. When I said they probably factored in how discerning I was Bob slinked his head around his seat and gave me the “you’ve got to be kidding” look. LOL by everyone.

 

Sheri had bought wet weather golf gloves specifically for this trip, and I had purchased a new rain suit. I wore the pants once for warmth but they really weren’t needed. She hasn’t seen the gloves since we got here. Also hasn’t seen her earplugs which she thinks may still be on one of the planes coming over.

 

We played six courses, Twice the ladies challenged the men and the scores were tied. Susie came out the big winner.

 

 

 

Thursday - 9.6.2018 - Homeward Bound

 

With an 8:55 flight time, Con wanted us to the airport at least two hours ahead. He picked us up at 6:00 for the forty minute ride, which seemed to take less than 25 going through the tunnel to avoid downtown traffic.

 

After three times getting directions to the KLM international desk we found it and again were in a very short line. Although we didn’t buy much Sheri was concerned my stuffing my dirty clothes into her bag (to shift weight) might have put hers over the weight limit (at $60.00 a pop one doesn’t want to be excessive if avoidable). As with the trip over, our bags weighed within a pound of each other and were within limits.

 

Security is a little looser in Dublin, but our guy was a bit touchy about people holding onto their passports when going through the scanner. He threatened the next one who with having to go through again.

 

Past security we went to one of the many food courts. Sarah got a quiche which could have been used to shim the Eiffel Tower. One bite from each her and Pete and it was put aside. Seems it was both cool and not good tasting. Even the busboy who retrieved the tray couldn’t be talked into having it for himself, but he did refuse with a smile.

 

We are departing about twenty minutes late from Dublin.

 

Got to Schipol. Restroom breaks, a document check, and were almost the last ones on. We again got row 10 on the plane, extra room for extra fare. Watched a movie on the flight, and I think it may be the first I’ve ever watched.

 

KLM/Delta busted the corner of Pete’s suitcase and I’m not sure duct tape will fix this one. It looks like a parking lot fender bender, with lots of fibreglass showing.

 

I think this is the last of our experiences for this flight. Sarah had booked an ultra-inexpensive parking lot for the two weeks. I was nervous when the driver kept responding to texts. We didn’t know the protocol. He dropped off people at one parking company, then proceeded to ours. Unlike other companies that ferry customers to the cars, they let us off at the office. No real problem, just different. The exit gate is unmanned and one has to place the ticket into a machine to verify payment and get the gate raised. No ticket. Having booked online Sarah isn’t sure she ever saw a ticket. Calling the emergency number on the machine got no answer so she called the shuttle company and got another number for the parking lot people. Pete finally got through to a lady who initially wanted $20 lost ticket fee, but summarily waived it and raised the gate remotely.

 

We’re home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil

IPad email

 

 

g - much different from buildings on the street with the buildup of carbons.

 

James Joyce museum was closed (Pope security), but there was a statue for a picture opp. Phil did a poor job with Pete and Sarah - no heads. (The historical tour was cancelled).

 

This afternoon we are to a literary Pub Crawl. Not sure what to expect.

 

Our golf clubs have been delivered.

 

The Pub Crawl was a lot of fun - probably five actors throughout the three hours of hearing about James Joyce and others. Seems no Irish writer didn’t have a drinking problem, and the old bars we visited were their hangouts.

 

Most of the restaurants quit serving food at 10:00, but one directed us back to a tapas place where we got filled with five or six pass arounds. Good thing I decided to not bring a sports coat, as nobody wears one. The tapas restaurant did split the bill. One can choose whether to charge in euros or dollars. I think the better way is to charge euros and let the bank convert the currency, which is at a rate lower than the service at the establishments.

 

 

Sunday - 8/26/18

 

There is a lot of WIFI around, as many establishments and restaurants have it for free. We turn it on occasionally for checking emails and texts, but not for surfing other than at the hotel.

 

Tried a fish for breakfast but won’t have it again as it’s a plain whitefish, though it was prepared well. Sheri tried the oatmeal, without the advertised whiskey, and seemed to like it. I’m liking the idea of cucumbers with breakfast.

 

Went to see an Artifact exhibit at the museum but were two hours early and didn’t want to wait. Walked a large garden park then did an hour tour with a student guide at Trinity College. She was very sympathetic to the architects through the years who had problem getting paid by various administrations. A Book of Kell’s exhibit had too long a line to wait.

 

Back to hotel to rest up for this evenings Musical Pub Crawl.

 

I’ve been taking pictures with my Iphone. Sometimes I wish I had a camera, but having just tossed a $400 Panasonic which got sick and couldn’t be repaired (it wasn’t waterproof) I decided not to bring any. Sort of wish I’d bought a compact waterproof as the Iphone zoom isn’t what I’d like. No bother, though, since Sheri doesn’t have to worry about my lagging behind shooting everything in sight.

 

Sheri just looked at her Ireland tour book and yesterday’s restaurant for fois gras is listed. Not sure where we are going before our next crawl (musical this time). Sounding like it might be Italian.

 

Well that turned out differently from expected. We had noted two restaurant choices and found them to be not the establishments we expected, nor what we wanted. Found anther one that did look OK so had fish & chips and shepherd’s pie. After we ordered, a soccer match started and was in minute 35 before the food arrived. Each dish was like the restaurant looked - OK.

 

On the way back I mentioned we needed some healthy snack for later - like nuts.

We went into an arcade of small shops and there it was - a small concession selling nuts.

 

Musical pub crawl. Guitar player and violinist playing sessions, not traditionally listened to commercial songs. Three different pubs, but only one beer for me having learned last night one isn’t required to drink at all. More impressive bar last night charged 5.50 euros for a pint of Guinness. Tonight’s was 6.5. Change from a 10 euro bill came in three different sized coins.

 

 

Monday - 8/27/18

 

Don’t order two scrambled eggs at the Brooks Hotel in Dublin, as each is the size of an unmelted snow cone, and on top of the buffet of meats, cheeses, fruits, croissants (yeh chocolate chip croissants) it’s just too much.

 

We arrived way early at Portmonock Golf Club, one of the oldest in Ireland, and really had an all around good experience. Nobody can complain of an introduction to Irish golf that includes three starting downwind holes with wide fairways. Sunday’s round in Ann Arbor had been a disaster (like I must have been using borrowed clubs and playing off a hangover) and apprehension ruled the run-up to playing here. No worries other than the short game is much different from what we are used to. So once again I hit the ball well but couldn’t score.

 

We found out afterwords that our travel agent, Swing, had arranged food vouches for us for such an amount that the price of all our food was covered. An after-golf Guinness (free because our team won) hit the spot with my steak sandwich. Sheri’s fish and chips looked really good, and the pomme frites in Ireland are always tasty.

 

Old age is setting in. I spent twenty minutes looking for my sunglasses, as I knew I’d worn them in the van. Not in my golf bag, the van or my backpack. Why? The were on my head under my rain hat. My putter cover from my rented clubs didn’t make it past the first tee. After lunch/dinner there I told a friend I was going to the pro shop to find if anyone had turned it in and he said he’d seen one on a counter somewhere, remembered which counter and the object still was there - mine.

 

Disappointment of the day is that the travel people do not store our golf clubs on the van due to liability reasons, so the clubs have to be taken in to the hotel after playing and schlepped back up when we move. We thought we were through having to be bothered with the process.

 

Some are going to a pub recommended by last night’s musicians. Having had more beer nights than I’m used to we are staying in.

 

 

 

Tuesday 8/28/2018

 

No problem getting eight sets of golf clubs and luggage into the van. We’re off the the Kilmainham Gaol at the recommendation of a couple caddies, Florida friend (thanks Doug), and our driver. Not having a reservation, we are taking our chance on getting in - if we can get parking. Other opportunities are available on our way to Cork.

 

We did get to see the jail, for which only three admissions were available after our group. As seniors our 7 euro admission saved 2 euros each for the one hour guided tour. We obviously didn’t get the real feel for the starkness as the temperature was in the mid-60s, but I can feel for the prisoners in winter with the stone walls and floors the bedding for which would have been straw. The guide said some people committed crimes to get put into the jail, where at least they wold be fed. He’s a romantic.

 

We are on an hour & a half ride to Cork. The drive is like U.S. Interstates except for driving on the opposite sides of the road. Looks like Kentucky with all the hills. The leather seats are very comfortable, with three of the twelve facing backward with tables between. I hear talk of watching grandchildren, walking shoes, and book clubs.

 

Connor suggested on our way to Cork we stop at the Rock of Caseal for an hour of sightseeing and a serve yourself lunch. Chicken breast doesn’t usually sound good to me, but theirs looked tasty and was, along with a couple boiled potatoes and some mashed potatoes to go with my broccoli veggies and black bread. Most of the others had Irish stew which was pretty good. One of the other choices would have been shepherd’s pie.

 

Up the hill we went to the Rock cathedral. It was a beautiful sight on a high point of land. We paid to see a rebuilt portion - a chapel - but were a bit dispoiinted because there was a lot of emphasis on maintaining its moisture content (for preservation) and little on the reconstruction of it. The grounds were a cemetery with centuries of families in each area. Conner pointed out how the clerics had removed a good portion of the roof from the old part of the church in order to save on property taxes.

 

Con pointed out some Irish towers along the route which were beacons or lookout towers, and that the Vikings often used the beacons to locate monks during their visits.

 

this would have been a good golfing day - weather wise.

 

Con is doing a great job for us. Tom just asked (we are in the van) if we could get an earlier tee time tomorrow. Yesterday took five hours to play and with our 2:42 tee time tomorrow we wouldn’t be eating until about 8:00, making for a long day. Con said he’d check when we landed, when in fact he called the course while still in route.

 

We’ve arrived at Hayfield Manor, a five star hotel. Our bellman in Dublin says it is over the top, and so far we’re happy with our spacious rooms. Nice to look out over a courtyard and not a Starbuck’s. We’ve already made dinner reservations here in the casual dining area.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 8/29/2018. Kinsale and Old Head

 

The food at the hotel’s restaurant was excellent but our server didn’t like me. After I pointed out my beer order was wrong she corrected it but my steak arrived a few minutes after the others’ meals and the catchup I asked for (again fries) didn’t arrive until I was about done. The dessert almost made me forget it, though, it was so good. (How does one pronounce desserts when spelled backwards?)

 

Clear outside today but 50 degrees at 7:30. The high is to be in the mid 60s through next Wednesday (our last full day), but no rain is showing in the graphics. I’ll settle for that as I’ve brought proper clothing, but left my knit cap at home intentionally - maybe a mistake. Golf gloves are on the table here in the room. (Turns out the gloves and knit cap would have been used, but I’ve golfed in worse).

 

I can’t remember the last time I saw a honeycomb on a breakfast table. The one here was the size of a small sheet cake. The breakfast portion of B&B is starting to be too much of a habit. Not usually hungry in the morning, I’m making up for it on this trip; easy to do with the golden egg yokes, ‘bacon’ with the lightly burned edges, and endless coffee. This morning I draw the line at another chocolate croissant, mostly because I was too full.

 

With the late tee time at Old Head we are going for a stroll at 9:00am. Having made a quick trip outside, it’s decided that a light jacket will do just fine. Food talk is for a large lunch to make up for supper’s being so late due to the afternoon tee time. I don’t like to golf with a full stomach, so this is going to be difficult but not impossible.

 

18 holes seeing the water is advertised. Here’s hoping.

 

10:45pm. 17 holes, as told by the starter. This was just a great all-around golfing experience. I’ve played prettier courses, but nothing so dramatic or spectacular as Old Head. From the time we arrived until leaving after dinner everyone was smiling. If one knew where to hit the ball it was a very fair golf course. I disagreed with my caddy’s direction on one hole but went with it and wish I hadn’t. It was a case of being doubtful and tensing up on a tee shot that got me in trouble. Regardless - the starter was right that the first hole was not the prettiest. Bottom line - you have to go there to believe it.    The young caddies, college age, were a lot of fun and knew the game better than our guys yesterday.

 

We had stopped in Kinsale on the way there for a couple hours, which was a good way to walk off that large breakfast. Typical commercial waterside town, we stuck with just strolling the streets, dropping in to a couple clothing shops, and grabbing a cappuccino. The stores didn’t impress me with their made in either Vietnam or Cambodia labels, but Sheri was able to find a nice pullover.

 

Con had to rush off this evening. The drivers have laws governing their work hours, verified by GPS, and he was running really close due to our having had the dinner at Old Head. Will find out tomorrow if the had to stop on route to his hotel and take a taxi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday - 8/30/2018 - half way through the trip. Tomorrow golf at Tralee

 

Still in Kinsale at the Hayfield Manor, but not for long as we head shortly to Killarney for golf both Friday and Saturday. Old Head was really an up and down course, giving us good exercise. Maybe that’s why we slept in til 8:30 but we were not the only ones, as two of the other couples were at breakfast the same time as we.

 

Packing and unpacking is getting to get old, but the clubs are safely stored in the van so no schlepping for a couple days.

 

It’s four weeks since cataract surgery and not the improvement in vision I had hoped for. One article said be patient and hope that the real improvement will be after the second one is done. There’s not room for complaint, though, as at the least the cataract situation will be gone and my vision is still really good - just not perfect as others have experienced. Having worn glasses over sixty years at the worse it will be no change.

 

Out of Cork at 11:30. Well, 11:35 because Tom allowed his handbag to get into the trunk of the van and with all the support of the screaming people in the back talked Con into stopping in the parking lot to get it. “Aw, Tom” came from Miss Fixit up front (private joke).

 

Con just told us that littering was a serious infraction. People will report culprits who may be subject to 3,000 euro fines.

 

Passing through an area now that reminds me of West Virginia because of the cattle grazing on the sides of hills.

 

Stopped in a little town for soup and sandwich. Soup was a purée vegetable. Had a ham & cheese on garlic bread sandwich. No fries. Lots of sandwich shops, bars, and coffee shops in the town full of students in the school uniforms.

 

Driving through Killarney National Park. Stopped for a photo op. Narrow road. Pigeon Forge before I-40

 

Arrived at International Hotel, Killarney. Quite the adventure with their room numbering system. For some reason golf clubs in fact did not get off the bus. Neither did my sunglasses but they won’t be needed until golf tomorrow. 7:30 breakfast and 7:45 on the bus is going to be a rush, but we will get it done. Con wants us to get to the course in plenty of time to check in and warm up. Weather forecast isn’t good - yet.

 

Bob’s phone broke. Well, it froze up. After ordering food, he went to retrieve the instrument and I read up on how to unfreeze it. When he got back to his table he’d found a ten year old and the phone started working. I get ten points for fixing it - right?

 

Good food again, this time at one of the hotel restaurant. They just can’t seem to mess up fish & chips. Tomorrow they are accommodating us by having their continental breakfast ready for us at 6:45 way ahead of that 7:30 normal start. The tour people had advised us in their letter that such could be done.

 

Just got a note from weather.com that rain was starting soon. Maybe it will dissipate overnight.

 

The hotel is ONLY four stars. I’ll give one reason. The clock doesn’t have a 9-volt battery, or its European equivalent. When you leave the room, taking your key card out of the wall socket the electricity to outlets is nil. The clock stops and charging for electronic appliances stops.

 

 

 

Friday - 8/31/2018

 

My niece’s birthday. I don’t want to say how old she is but 51 years ago I got a message while on KP at Fort Knox that she had been born.

 

The hotel did in fact have a shortened continental breakfast ready for us. They had the essentials (coffee) in place and brought things out piecemeal. Just right.

 

Our scheduled departure was 7:45 but has been moved to 8:00. No problem - an hour’s drive to the golf course and a 9:40 tee time. It works. Weather forecast has dropped today’s rain, but no change in the less than 65 temp. Clouds are breaking to the northwest.

 

Sarah is healthy. She had ridden the back of the bus on the looking down the mountain side during the National Forest. We need to keep her healthy as she’s lthe only one who knows for sure how to work photo sharing. (Post trip note. She still is).

 

Bob’s phone is still working.

 

Sarah said that if you want to change from heat to air conditioning in your room a trip to the desk is necessary. Same people that have foot switch for floor lamp - set into corner. Hard to see and operate in the dark. Overhead lights are very dim. All makes for not such a bright start to the day.

 

Bob slays the drive reminds him of Ireland.

 

Passing by an elementary school, Con explained that once inside the gate the children would speak only Irish, which would benefit them in later life showing their being educated.

 

Tralee was another great golf course, designed by Arnold Palmer. #9 was rebuilt last year for a million dollars but the membership doesn’t like it, fired the golf course architect, and are going to re-do it. I managed to hit into a bunker that aesthetically didn’t belong. Overall, though, it was a great experience.

 

I appreciated our caddie. He was confident enough to change to a longer club on a par three that was a proper change. He got a workout today. There’s a caddie saying I’d heard. “If you bacon on the ball, Lassie couldn’t find it.” Rory used it once with out group.

 

We paid a little more for our caddies today - 120 euros. That was a little more than the guidelines from our tour agency, but well worth it.

 

 

I’m not sure yesterday’s message got out as there was a mail in my outbox this morning (Sunday)

 

 

 

 

Saturday - 9/01/2018

 

Found out what happens when you leave your Do Not Disturb sign on the door all day. You don’t get coffee replenished, even if it’s instant. Secondarily you don’t get your bed made for you. We recycle towels, so that isn’t a problem.

 

The hotel’s accommodating us with the early continental breakfast is good for me - less temptations to chow down. The fruit cocktail is pretty good, and with a scone and some yoghurt I am full.

 

The restaurant last night was Flesk’s, recommended by Con. Our assigned room was really noisy until the table over from us was given their bread basket. The food was really good - mussels for me with an entre of lamb chops. The servers removed the dishes timely, meaning I was able to not finish the French fries.

 

This is getting serious. No turndown at the International Hotel. Translated - no chocolate. Pete went to check on it and was told they couldn’t provide it last night but it would be delivered this morning. TripAdvisor will hear of this.

 

Con has his mandatory two day holiday from us. Charlie is giving us a history of the meaning of Gaelic football and the peace in the country after the 1916 Rebellion. The game tomorrow Sounds like their Super Bowl. The streets will be empty. Dublin is going for four in a row. Charlie says he was part of the last team to accomplish that. He was the goalkeeper. Shane Lowry’s dad was on the opposing team. Forty years ago tomorrow was the first of the four.

 

Charlie is telling about a walk he had yesterday, where he saw a lady fishing with cardboard and line.

 

During the IRA uprising ammunition was brought into Tralee and hidden in buried coffins, to be picked up when needed.

 

Making changes to text on a bus moving Rural Ireland is difficult. With my OCD, I’ll be thinking of them on the golf course (not).

 

Hogshead is a really nice American-owned golf destination. Guys vs gals, the match ended in a tie on this Trent Jones course.

 

 

 

 

Sunday. 9/02/2018

 

Can’t figure how to turn on the towel warmer. Life is tough. Socks will just have to dry themselves. Michigan lost to Norte Dame. Not surprising as under Jim Harbaugh they don’t have a good record against ranked teams. The rope is getting shorter.

 

Sightseeing today - not sure where. Weather forecast shows rain. Yesterday was fantastic - I even took off my jacket, and my sweater almost came off. Tom didn’t look out of place in his golf shorts.

 

One of Hogshead’s developers is from University of Michigan, and the block M flag was flying high there.

 

I’m liking this hotel less & less, thinking back how very friendly the Brooks Hotel staff was and how not very friendly the International Hotel staff is. Strictly business.

 

Can you believe it - the electrical outlet in the bathroom is for only shavers. I’ve taken a picture of the faceplate stating that, and there’s only the one outlet. Still cant figure how to turn back on the towel warmer. Will leave a note for the cleaner person.

 

Sunday is a no golf day so we are doing different things. While Tom went to church the rest of us went to Muckross Castle and got a tour explaining its history. Of note was Queen Victoria’s visit, a two day affair for which the residents were given a six year notice. The owners did much refurbishing for her, Prince Albert, four of their children,and an entourage of one hundred. Sixty five rooms are in the manor. The land was donated, eleven thousand acres, to start the National Park.

 

Susie tasked me with finding out the workings of Panorama on the Iphone. Did. Call me dr. Frankenstein (think about it) as she’s really into using the feature.

 

On our way to Dingle. Bob, Sheri & I. Others are doing different things in Killarney, which seems to have rut its novelty. Raining presently.

 

Killarney golf club. Taking a slight detour to drive through it. Lots of ladies right now - maybe the men are off to watch the aforementioned football match. The green is coming back now, after two months of drought which is mentioned wherever we go.

 

Telephone stands now are being used to house defibrillators.

 

 

We just passed a road speed check, the kind that tells you our fast you are traveling. It did not like our speed so flashed the speed in red numerals. When Charlie slowed to the proper speed it changed to a green happy face.

 

Charlie made two stops on the way. One was to look down on a beach area that often is used for horse racing. There were surfers out. The other stop was to look out at a hilly area that was divided into farms for sheep. The house fuel is generally kerosene, the tanks for which have to be stored in sheds due to the salty ocean water.

 

Dingle is a small, charming seaside town with rows of bars. Charlie had us go to a supermart to get sandwiches made to order and they were pretty good. They were out of pulled pork so I had a southern fried chicken sandwich on brown baguette. Also had some potato chips which were not plain as I’d hoped (but didn’t bother to read the label).

 

Rained all the way back. After his football career was over Charlie coached junior ball, so was interested in that national championship, held the same day as the bog one which was won by the Dublin team.

 

Remember ER from the 1990s? We spent the evening watching its reruns. The sandwiches from Dingle were filling enough that we didn’t have to go out to dinner. Each of us is congested and I have a persistent cough, probably the result of airplane germs though the little buggers took their time manifesting themselves. At commercial breaks we are packing. Switching to NCIS reruns, sucking on lozenges, drinking instant stuff.

 

Tomorrow we have a two and a half hour trip to our next location, reportedly including a ferry ride.

 

 

 

Monday. 9/3/18- Labor Day

 

Sarah’s International Hotel story. First night, remember, no chocolate. Pete kept leaving 3 euros for the maid but they wouldn’t take them. Still no chocolate (none for us either). After the third night they left a note for the maid to take the money. When they got back the coins were gone, replaced by two chocolates. Another Sarah venture. They went to a chocolate store. Sarah wanted two pieces of chocolate and Pete wanted a praline. Sarah talked Pete into getting two pralines. Back at the room only the pralines were in the bag.

 

Leo at the International provided the best service, offering roadie coffees, getting us eggs before hours, and chatting frequently. He’d been to the U.S. from Poland a few times, at least one of which was to work at a Hooters in Charlotte.

 

We were the last on the ferry. Con had his doubts due to our being held up on the road by a hay wagon, and got cheers from the cast for dashing past it.

 

The ferry actually had WIFI but no news as it’s still 4:00am at home.

 

We played Lahinch, a course built in the 1880s by Old Tom Morris, a golf legend. Very rustic, hilly, and demanding. Use some muscles o the side of hills that hadn’t been used for a long time.

 

From there we went to Dromoland Castle (hotel), which is over the top. It has working towel warmers and reception guests from the GM which included chocolates and a bag of trail mix. The dinner cost more that others we had and wan’t any better than in-town restaurants. The room is about 25 x 25 with a very large bathroom with big tub, shower, and dual sinks. There is a small golf course (at least I think it’s small) on the grounds, the size of which I haven’t researched.

 

 

 

TUESDAY - 9/4/18 - OUR LAST DAY OF GOLF

 

Gotta hit an ATM for caddie fees and for Con. Also could use a pharmacy. I’ve found that the dentist toothpaste samples don’t last two weeks. Also could use some more lozenges and some antihistamines.

 

We play Ballybunion today, which is s destination for most golfers to Ireland. It is reportedly really brown due to the drought.

 

Cannot make the coffee maker work. I’ve used this kind in two different places and it isn’t working as I think it should. Breakfast isn’t too far off, though. Expecting a lot from this place.

 

It was delicious. As with the other of our B&Bs there is a buffet of yoghurts, cereals, oatmeal, cheeses, fruits, meats, croissants. Then we order made to order eggs, fish, and most other breakfast foods.

 

A maid was in the hallway when we got back from breakfast and at the first had the same problem with the coffee maker. After a couple attempts we got one pod to stay where it belonged and now all I ave to do is hit the switch in the morning for at least one cup.

 

The staff at Dromoland is much nicer than International, which is going to get a not so friendly review from me.

 

Ballybunion wound up being disappointing because there was no fairway grass - due to the two month drought. The grass just hasn’t grown back. It’s beautiful facility and layout. We’d ordered caddies at all six course and it was the only course they didn’t have enough caddies. We wound up using pull carts and two caddies joined our groups after finishing rounds. They added a lot to our experience.

 

We had Con get us a table at a local pub on the way back. The bill probably was half what we would have paid at the hotel. I ordered the special - roast lamb, and vegetable soup. Very filling. The lamb covered the whole plate. I think it was only our second real Irish pub. Con had never been there, but also enjoyed it.

 

It’s now 11:30am in the castle, a half hour before checkout and a couple hours until Con picks us up to go to Dublin for our last night. Up early tomorrow. Airport guidelines are to get there 3 hours prior to flight, and we depart 9:00am

 

 

 

Wednesday. 9/5/2018

 

Still at the castle. We were walking the walled garden when it started to sprinkle. We went to the hotel lobby and two other of the couples showed up. I’d had our suitcases picked up to be stored for a couple hours and the porter pointed out I’d left my sack of medicines on the bed.

 

Golf balls - I brought two dozen not knowing for sure the terrain, how wild my shores might be, and really not knowing he ability of the caddies to find balls in the weeds. I’m taking twenty-one back.

 

We are on a 3 hour divided road journey to Dublin, right now in a tunnel under the River Shannon.

 

This is for Tom. Con said we had another nice castle to stay at in the northern part of Dublin, near Portmarnock. I asked why the agency would have chosen that rather than something closer to the airport and he said it was probably because the ones at the airport were more business like, commercial. When I said they probably factored in how discerning I was Bob slinked his head around his seat and gave me the “you’ve got to be kidding” look. LOL by everyone.

 

Sheri had bought wet weather golf gloves specifically for this trip, and I had purchased a new rain suit. I wore the pants once for warmth but they really weren’t needed. She hasn’t seen the gloves since we got here. Also hasn’t seen her earplugs which she thinks may still be on one of the planes coming over.

 

We played six courses, Twice the ladies challenged the men and the scores were tied. Susie came out the big winner.

 

 

 

Thursday - 9.6.2018 - Homeward Bound

 

With an 8:55 flight time, Con wanted us to the airport at least two hours ahead. He picked us up at 6:00 for the forty minute ride, which seemed to take less than 25 going through the tunnel to avoid downtown traffic.

 

After three times getting directions to the KLM international desk we found it and again were in a very short line. Although we didn’t buy much Sheri was concerned my stuffing my dirty clothes into her bag (to shift weight) might have put hers over the weight limit (at $60.00 a pop one doesn’t want to be excessive if avoidable). As with the trip over, our bags weighed within a pound of each other and were within limits.

 

Security is a little looser in Dublin, but our guy was a bit touchy about people holding onto their passports when going through the scanner. He threatened the next one who with having to go through again.

 

Past security we went to one of the many food courts. Sarah got a quiche which could have been used to shim the Eiffel Tower. One bite from each her and Pete and it was put aside. Seems it was both cool and not good tasting. Even the busboy who retrieved the tray couldn’t be talked into having it for himself, but he did refuse with a smile.

 

We are departing about twenty minutes late from Dublin.

 

Got to Schipol. Restroom breaks, a document check, and were almost the last ones on. We again got row 10 on the plane, extra room for extra fare. Watched a movie on the flight, and I think it may be the first I’ve ever watched.

 

KLM/Delta busted the corner of Pete’s suitcase and I’m not sure duct tape will fix this one. It looks like a parking lot fender bender, with lots of fibreglass showing.

 

I think this is the last of our experiences for this flight. Sarah had booked an ultra-inexpensive parking lot for the two weeks. I was nervous when the driver kept responding to texts. We didn’t know the protocol. He dropped off people at one parking company, then proceeded to ours. Unlike other companies that ferry customers to the cars, they let us off at the office. No real problem, just different. The exit gate is unmanned and one has to place the ticket into a machine to verify payment and get the gate raised. No ticket. Having booked online Sarah isn’t sure she ever saw a ticket. Calling the emergency number on the machine got no answer so she called the shuttle company and got another number for the parking lot people. Pete finally got through to a lady who initially wanted $20 lost ticket fee, but summarily waived it and raised the gate remotely.

 

We’re home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil

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