Posts Tagged With: rental car

Every king needs a castle and every castle needs a backpacker.

There are over 30,000 castles and ruins that cover the beautiful country of Ireland. Some small and quaint, others massive and grand. Many are tour sites that take you throughout the rooms and several allow for self guided roaming. Some you can host weddings in and it’s becoming more common to stay overnight (even in the self-claimed haunted ones!). Once Hayden heard that it was possible to sleep in a castle, there was no discussion. This went directly on the “must-do” list. You can imagine how the price ranges quite a bit and I’m sure you can also imagine what this did to my “backpacking mind”. I’m used to sharing meals in order to save on waste and hitch hiking to avoid costly cab rides and now… now my travel partner wants to stay in a castle!? Thankfully it’s true. Without him, I would not experience some of the things we’ve done and for that I’m grateful. 

After much research, we narrowed it down to the gorgeous Kinnitty Castle Hotel located at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Offaly. The price was right considering we got a 4 course dinner, full breakfast, an over night stay and a complementary bottle of sparkling wine all for less than your average New York city accommodation.

How do you get to this wonderful palace? You can take a bus to the edge of the city and then catch a cab into the villge where the castle sits.  Or there’s our choice, rent a car and stop wherever and whenever you want to! 

 
Hayden and I teamed up as driver and navigator. I gave clear instructions as he focused on keeping us on the left side of the road (opposite to America). Success! We stopped a few places a long the way like this  adorable fresh fruit stand. I think it’s a great idea to support local businesses that are driven to provide a quality product! I went for some blackberries. Delicious.

 
After a 3 hour drive leaving Dublin, we finally arrived to our accommodation made of gothic architecture in the middle of this open green pasture.  From the road it looks like the setting from a fairytale, including the horses that greeted me when I jumped out for a photo!

   

   
We made it! Judging from my face, I’m not excited at all.

        
 Like several of my recent posts, photos have been speaking for themselves. Lets just look around!  

   

   
     
 
My personal favorite was this court yard. It’s primarily used for wedding receptions but we used it as a breath of fresh air with some great photo opportunities.  

    
   
Our room made me feel like an old fashion princess… Well, excluding the available running hot water, electric fan, alarm clock and television mounted on the wall.  So, ignore those things and it’s like we were really back in the 1800’s! 

     
 
After we checked in and snooped around, it was time for our 4 course dinner.  (Way beyond my typical dining). On the menu were options like steak, fish, pasta and a few other quality dishes. All of them of course topped with some type of fancy nut-crusted, herb infused sauce to make it more appealing. Each table was served a platter of grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes along side a bread basket. Dessert gave a list from sorbet’s to cheesecake and delicate chocolates. 

 

The morning began with an Irish breakfast that consisted of several options. People love variety so you can imagine how well suited it was to find porridge, fruit, natural yogurt, meat, cheese, a variety of breads, granola, cereal, eggs cooked to your style, sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, juice, milk, coffee and tea.

 
Saying goodbye to our room was yet another bitter-sweet.  Who would want to leave a castle? Maybe two backpackers ready to see a different county! Farewell Kinnity Castle, it’s time for a new adventure. 

We were in no hurry to get back to Dublin, so we decided to check out several of the villages along the way.  Here are some snap shots from the road! 

    
   
The last bed and breakfast we stayed in was a home called Heatherview ran by Maura and Jim.  We were there in order to rest and freshin up over night before our early morning flight and it was perfect! A sweet spot, welcoming hosts and a tasty breakfast sent us on our way. Thanks Jim for your “special ingredient” in my Irish porridge! 

  

Backpack on, rental car returned and tickets in hand… Scotland, here we come!  
   

Would you rather spend a year living 200 years in the past or the future?

Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Biggest little island of Tobago

I’m excited to announce a mini trip as Ryan and I took a ferry to Tobago (the smaller island of the two that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago). He’s never been there either, so that alone is thrilling. Although I love to be shown the ropes by a local or even be the tour guide myself, it’s always refreshing to explore new ground with fresh eyes!

Ferry time! We were warned of the journey as it’s been nicknamed “The vomit comit” due to the rocking of the boat and the guests who get sea-sick. Assuming this was an exaggeration, we booked our tickets and joined the ride. Instead of telling you about the puke filled sinks in the washroom or the sound of the poor woman next me reaching into her guts and aggressively dry-heaving for 2 hours, I’ll stick to a few photos and the mention of a new friend, Eric. His kind eyes caught mine as I was on my tipy-toes scouting out the cafe in hunt for a snack. A big smile and quick chat lead to an exchange of information and the possibility to connect again. We’ll see!

  

Snack? Ryan went with an order of a ham sandwich and got a pile of pork next to a bun.  Whatever works. I snagged an apple and paired it with my hidden bag of seeds. 

 

Arrival! First things first, get a set of wheels. Thankfully Ryan was keen on the idea of driving since:

A. They drive on the left side of the road.

B. Driving in Trinidad and Tobago is an adventure in itself! For those of you who’ve been to Mexico, T&T drivers make south of the border look like a merry-go-round!

C. Our rental car was straight from Japan. As if all of the above wasn’t tricky enough… what are “carwings” and should I be nervous?

 Since we had a car and a minute to pass, we thought we’d check off one thing from the “must do list” for Tobago. We dove right into a popular spot which is known for it’s curried crab and dumplings. Store Bay is a popular beach due to it’s white sand, umbrella covered chairs and the many options of food, drinks and sweet treats. I can understand why tourist and locals alike come to take in the afternoon sun!

       
Unfortunately when we arrived, most of the food stalls were closed or hadn’t received their products yet. Still with plenty of options, Ryan went with Conch and dumpling and I got excited over shark, callaloo and salad. Little did I know that it was deep fried shark, a few pieces of lettuce with a brick of macaroni pie. Oh well, learning as I go! 

   
With no specific order, here’s a photo tour from the passengers seat as we made our way through various parts of the island!

    
   

   
    
   

     
   

I’ll leave you with this amazing shot taken by Ryan. 

  
Next on the list….

 

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