Ireland May 2006 "The Derelict Cottage"
Tony has been talking about retiring to Ireland for several
years now, but he has recently gotten serious enough to start looking for property.His requirements are fairly simple.He wants a house with an ocean view near a town
with several pubs and restaurants that is convenient to the Shannon airport.While I love to visit Ireland, I am not
yet convinced that I want to live there, but I agreed to consider it if he can find just
the right property at just the right price.He
searched the real estate listings and found a piece of property listed as a Derelict
Cottage with spectacular sea views.It
was extremely well priced so we thought it might be worth a trip over to take a look.We couldnt leave until Friday since we had to
attend Les Luau for Leukemia and Lymphoma at Limerick http://www.lesnelson.com/ on Thursday, so we knew
flying standby would be tough.Surprisingly,
both the Dublin and Shannon flights seemed to have available seats.Since the Shannon flight was configured as an
all coach airplane (ick), we decided to take our chances on the Dublin flight.When we left the house, the Dublin flight
still showed 36 empty seats so we felt fairly confident we would get on.By the time we arrived at the employee service
center at the airport, the flight was showing negative availability!Being compulsively early, we thought we had time to
make the Shannon flight if we ran out to gate T1.No luck. The sign over the gate showed, Flight Dispatched.Tony wanted to go home without trying for the Dublin
flight, but I was optimistic that there might be some reserved seats that would be
released later.We went to the gate and
waited.Trading on some
insider-information (thank goodness for a PDA with internet capability), we
found out before we were called to the counter that we had been cleared in coach seats
that were not together.Not wishing to seem
ungrateful, but also not wishing to travel in coach on a full aircraft, we told the gate
agents that something had come up and we would not be able to travel.(I know, I know; were spoiled.)We left the airport and went to our favorite pizza
place, Bellas.When we got home, we put
a movie in the DVD player and pretended we were in business class seats.
The next morning, we discussed what we would do with our now-free
weekend.We thought about taking a Jeep ride
up to the North Georgia mountains, but then it occurred to us that we might still be
able to make the Ireland trip. Since
we were going to spend Saturday driving from Dublin to Shannon anyway, we
decided that if we flew directly to Shannon, we really wouldnt miss too much of
our trip.While checking the Shannon
flight, we noticed that last nights Dublin flight had actually left an
hour late, completely full with no non-revs on board.Tonights Shannon flight had lots of seats available, so even though it
was an all-coach aircraft, we would have plenty of room.The plane is actually a domestic 767-400 ER still configured with a
First Class section, so there was a chance we would get to sit up front even though the
service would be coach service.We were
cleared in 4E and 4F over an hour before flight time, so there was no suspense.The First Class seats are only slightly larger than
those in the coach section, but the real advantage is that each one has an in-seat video
unit.Since we had recently seen the May
movies on our Tortola trip, we were glad to have a different distraction.Cocktails were available for purchase along with a
complimentary pack of peanuts prior to the meal service.Tony and I sampled one of each of the available entrees and were pleasantly
surprised.The pasta entrée was a little
skimpy on the portion size, but was a flavorful stuffed tortelloni.The chicken entrée had an oriental flair.It was a larger portion, very moist and tender,
accompanied by rice and carrots.Both meals
came with cheese and crackers, a roll, a salad and a brownie.Following dinner and a nap, we awoke to find a
breakfast box on the armrest.The warm bagel,
cream cheese, banana and orange juice didnt interest either of us.
Sunday morning around we landed, cleared
immigration, and headed for the rental car counter (Thrifty).This time we remembered to bring a letter from our
credit card company showing our coverage in Ireland, so we did not get the usual
run around about declining full coverage on the car.We
jumped in our little Fiat Panda (possibly the same one we had in January), programmed
Jill the GPS for Ballyheige and were on our way.From looking at the map, we had estimated the drive
to be about 45 minutes or an hour, but it turned out to be closer to 2 hours.Today it was raining and a bit cold.Locating the Derelict Cottage in
Glenderry, just outside of Ballyheige, was no problem.It was exactly as described.The
view was spectacular and the cottage was most certainly derelict.
The back door was open so we were able to look around
It was a four room house which in itself was not a problem, but none
of the four rooms was a bathroom or a kitchen.There
was a structure out back that may have, at one time, been the kitchen and bath.
We decided that it would be too much of a project for us to make this
livable (Tony: I am still torn about this.We
can do it.We cant do it. We can do it).
Leaving the derelict, we drove further out to Kerry Head
at the end of the peninsula.On the way, we
saw a beautiful ¾ acre lot for sale.We made
a note of the real estate company and then drove back to Ballyheige where we found Jimmy
Brownes Pub.Since we had skipped
breakfast, we were ready for some of that delicious Irish soup, but we were just a little
too early.We sipped a Harp and tried to dry
out while we waited.
Soon our vegetable soup and brown bread arrived!
Remembering our earlier trips, and thinking about how early it gets
dark, we got out our maps and decided on Tralee as our destination for the evening.We found a parking spot in front of Sean Ogs
pub and noticed the Accommodations sign.Tony
went inside to check and came back with a key.30
each per night for Bed and Breakfast was in our price range.
The room had a heater that we could control very unusual in a
B&B in Ireland.Usually, there
is a furnace with a knob, but no matter which way you turn it, it has no effect.The heat comes on when the proprietor is ready.We turned on the heat and took a short nap before
setting out to explore the town.
We saw a number of real-estate companies with properties posted in
the window and found the lot that we had seen near Kerry Head was listed at only
35,000!A steal for ocean front
property!We enjoyed dinner at Kirbys
Brogue Inn and then went back to our room for dessert of kindereggs and red wine.
Sean Ogs advertised live music, so we decided to have a night
cap in the bar downstairs.The small room was
elbow to elbow.We edged our way to the bar to
order and then found a quiet place near the door.I
overheard two ladies speaking with an American accent so I struck up a conversation.Ruth and MaryAnn were sisters who were taking the
trip to Ireland that they had been planning for 10 years.They had booked a B&B in Tralee, but when
they arrived, there was a closed sign on the door.They
phoned the proprietor and learned that the place had been flooded, so arrangements had
been made for Ruth and MaryAnn to stay at Sean Ogs.We exchanged stories about our travels.Ruth
runs a B&B back home in Carrollton, Kentuckyhttp://www.bbonline.com/ky/highland/ so
she was interested to see how the Irish do it.It
had been a long day for us, so we decided to hit the hay.Our room was extremely warm and the bed very welcoming.Oh, and by the way, in May, the sun comes up around
, and it doesn't get dark until almost ,
so there is no need for us to start looking at lunch for a place to bed down for the
The next morning, we had breakfast (Full Irish, of course) with our
new friends MaryAnn and Ruth.
We decided to stop in at the real estate office to inquire about the
lot before leaving town.The agent said that
the lot was being sold, As Is which she explained meant that it would be
difficult if not impossible to get a permit from the planning commission to build.She said that only a local might have a chance to
develop it, but even a couple of locals had been turned down already.(Tony: Remind me to tell you my thoughts on
real estate marketing in Ireland.Derelict.
As is.Whatever happened to
fixer upper or has potential??)
From the map, it looked like there was a ferry across the ShannonRiver from Tarbert to Killimer.http://www.shannonferries.com/ This was perfect
since we wanted to explore the Loop Head peninsula, which is on the Shannon
side of the river.We arrived at Tarbert
a few minutes before the ferry would depart.
The cost was a little steep 15 one way or 25 round
trip but the ride was nice.It was a
sunny day but the wind made the 20 minute trip a bit chilly.
We landed and started driving along the coast toward Loop Head,
occasionally stopping to look at some new construction along the way and make notes about
the real estate companies. By the way, we think we
have the maps figured out. A yellow road is paved with grass growing in the middle
and a grey road is unpaved with grass growing in the middle.
We targeted Carrigaholt for lunch.It was a picturesque little fishing village with 4 restaurants and 5 pubs.We picked Keanes, but were redirected to the
Long Dock http://www.thelongdock.com/ when they
learned we were in search of food.
I had the wonderful fish chowder and Tony had the vegetable soup
while we warmed ourselves next to their welcoming fire.
We continued our drive along the coast to Loop Head before reversing
We took a left at a fork to continue the loop on the north side of
the peninsula.On this road, we noticed a very
cold looking man with his thumb out, so we gave him a ride to Cross Village (If
youll remember, we have accepted rides before, after hearing how hitch hiking was
safe in Ireland.We thought wed pay back
a little to Karma).Further up the coast, we
climbed a big hill with spectacular views back across to the ShannonRiver.
There was a house for sale at the top, so we made a note about it. Continuing along the coast, we were awarded with more
At the bottom of the hill, we turned back toward Kilkee where we
stopped into Hickies pub for a pint and to plan the rest of our afternoon.
As usual, we wanted to find a place to stay close to the airport.Of course, our first thought was Ennis where we had
stayed on several other visits, but decided to go on to Newmarket-On-Fergus to
see what it had in store for us.In N-O-F we
spotted the Hunters Lodge and went inside.
The proprietor said they had rooms available and the price was
reasonable (35 per person without breakfast).We
told him we had an early flight the next morning and would be away probably before he got
up.He corrected us, telling us that he
probably wouldnt have gone to bed by then, This is Ireland, after
all!After dropping our bags in the
room, we set out to explore the town.We were
very pleased to find that it is a cute little village with a number of pubs and
restaurants.We enjoyed a walk through a quiet
little park and took a peek at the sports field where a few kids were practicing hurling.A pre-dinner beverage was in order at
ONeills pub, across the street from our room.
The lady behind the bar cheerfully served us our pints and then
shortly after brought us the guest book and the house specialty.
While I was taking photos of the cute little drinks, one of the gents
at the bar instructed me, Youre supposed to drink it, not take its
picture!So we obliged.
It wasnt until we flipped through the guest book and saw the
other entries that we realized we were drinking an Irish Flag.The lady just wagged her finger when I asked what
was in it, but I think it was Crème de Menthe, Baileys Irish Crème and
Butterscotch Schnapps.Since it stays light
much later in Ireland in the Spring, it is hard to keep up with the time.We had to hurry to finish our beers to make it back
to the Hunters Lodge for dinner.Last
orders had to be placed by !The fare was Fish & Chips for me and Chicken Gougons for Tony.Were not sure what part of the chicken a
gougon is, but it was delicious.Dessert was
again, Kindereggs, and then it was time for bed.
The next morning, we woke up around .Since we were only a few miles from the airport,
there was no need to rush.We turned in the
car, took the shuttle to the terminal and checked in for the flight.We were cleared in seats 3A & 3B, bulkhead
seats.The meal was again, pasta or chicken.Penne pasta with vegetables and Italian chicken
with rice and vegetables.After lunch, I
strolled to the back of the plane and found a vacant 3-across that was perfect for a nap.I returned to my seat just in time for the
afternoon snack of 4 cheese pizza.
We landed at and were home,
unpacked and seated on the sofa by , with Tony searching
for more Irish real-estate opportunities.
Stay tuned.I have a feeling this story is
not over yet!