this bird can sing.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ireland 2014, Part Three

We woke up on September 21st planning to eat breakfast at our hotel, but we learned that they offered a continental breakfast for a higher price than we were willing to pay. Instead we walked down the street to an O'Briens and had bagel sandwiches for less money.

After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel and checked out. We caught the Air Coach back to the airport to pick up our rental car. Our car was pretty banged up, and as we later discovered, had only one working headlight. So we took our sad car and headed northwest toward County Donegal.

The plan was to go to Newgrange on the way up there. We stopped and learned that all of the tours were booked for a couple hours. While I was really hoping to do the tour, we had a long drive in front of us, so we opted to just check out the Visitors Center and walk around a bit instead. There was some nice scenery outside, and we even caught a glimpse of Newgrange.

There were some people canoeing down this river. It was a lovely day outside and it was such a nice place to walk around.

See Newgrange in the center?
Before heading out, we signed up for a sweepstakes to win tickets to be present in Newgrange on the winter solstice. I don't think we won. 

We continued northwest until reaching Monaghan. We stopped here and walked around in search of lunch. The big GAA final between Donegal and Kerry (my family's two counties of origin) was on, so everyone was pretty preoccupied with that. The only real restaurant we found was a pricier looking place with big meals. Instead we popped into a Chinese takeaway and ordered szechuan chicken. We took our lunch outside and sat on some steps to eat. It was spicy!

We stopped into Tesco before moving on, and bought some snacks. We also picked up an umbrella. We couldn't find our mini umbrella when we were leaving our house, so we thought we'd just pick one up when we arrived. However, the weather was so warm and beautiful all week in England that we hadn't had need of one until the rainy deluge the night we arrived in Ireland.

Moving on with our biscuits and Tayto, we continued on northwest. We discovered at some point that our route to Donegal took us through Northern Ireland. We were somewhat surprised that there was no border check, and it was somewhat difficult to even tell where the border was on either side. We drove up through County Tyrone and attempted to stop at a Visitors Center when we saw a sign for one, but we couldn't actually find it. We parked nonetheless and looked around a bit in Omagh. (I later read that this was the location of a deadly car bombing during the Troubles).

After walking around for a bit, we continued on toward Letterkenny. This was around the time we discovered that only one headlight worked, so we were hoping to get in before dark if possible.

We arrived in Letterkenny and found Gallagher's Hotel. The guys worked on parking the car while Karen and I checked into our rooms. We walked out into the night to find dinner. Donegal had lost the GAA final earlier in the afternoon, but we saw a lot of people still wearing their gear. There were also green and gold Donegal flags and banners hanging everywhere.

We found a place called Brewery Bar and Restaurant with a selection of craft beers. I couldn't pass up the salt & chili squid as an appetizer (squid is one of my favorite foods) so we split the Guinness beef pie for our main dish.

It was a nice low key dinner, which we enjoyed after the hustle and bustle of Dublin. We headed back to the hotel bar for a nightcap before bed. We looked up ideas for what to do the next day over our drinks.

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