New Car Road Trip
corey says…Today was a roadtrip day, but before we began, we had to stop by Shannon Airport to get a new car. The car we had was okay…but it had no power. It struggled to climb up the mountain and passing was really only possible downhill. We’ve been renting for years and never had a car with so little umph.
In the past, Irish Car Rentals’ fleet was composed mostly of the Ford Focus, but it looks like they have several Chevrolet Aveo-something-or-others in this year’s fleet, and I wasn’t happy with the car at all…and it was brand new! The ’06 Kia I had in the first part of the trip was much better.
Fortunately, they gave me no grief about the exchange…they were just apologetic that they didn’t have many cars left. We drove off with Honda Civic. This one was much sportier and had great pick-up and was all-around a superior car.
Then we headed to Kilrush, a very attractive town…although the folks in Nenagh claim it has a bit of a rough reputation that the tourist wouldn’t ever see. I didn’t notice anything of the sort.
We ate at Crotty’s where we ate some very nice sandwiches and lumpy bumpy toffee pudding. Oh, the pudding was delicious…the sandwiches were tasty as well. We were pleased to see basic sandwiches on the menu…at €4 ( $6.30 ) they were a good value considering we weren’t hungry enough for a full meal €10 ( $15.75 )…dessert was also €4 as was an order of chips (fries).
DOLPHIN WATCH FROM THE FERRY
We then headed to Killimer to catch the car ferry from County Clare to County Kerry. Gaeney was thrilled… “I haven’t been on a ferry since the Straights of Mackinac (in Michigan).” I think the ferry system there was replaced by the Mackinac Bridge in the 1950s, so it’s safe to say that she hadn’t been onboard a ferry in quite some time.
We all went to the upper deck where we could see an entire pod (is that what they call them) of dolphins leaping in and out of the water. I had never seen dolphins before, so I was quite taken with the experience. They looked like they were black or dark grey…whereas, I expected them to be silver-grey like Flipper.
There were a lot of them out there, so we had quite a show. The ride set us back €21 ( $33 ), but the free dolphin show and the great views made the trip worthwhile.
After the dolphins were out of sight, I went below to take a few photos. As the ferry traveling in the opposite direction approached, I took some shots and got a spray of salt water across my face when one of the waves splashed over the boat. It was very salty. Fortunately, the ride was still extremely smooth even though the Shannon estuary was choppy and the winds were strong.
When we returned to the car, the windows were spotted with dried salt water. I tried to wipe down my window, but just smeared it around and ended up with a sleeve full of salt.
We then stopped at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. This place is one of my favorites. I’m not sure what the draw is for me, but it is wonderfully nostalgic of the World War II era. The experience was even better going through it with Gaeney and Pat…they reminisced and shared their own stories from that time period.
As we went through the scale model of the “Yankee Clipper” flying boats, Gaeney insisted, “Airplane makers today could learn a lot from the people who made this! Look how much leg room…and did you see the dining room?”
Pat stopped at the cafe and enjoyed some Irish coffee…this is where the concoction of coffee, cream and Irish whiskey was born. I had some peanuts, but spilled half of them on the floor when I was trying to open the bag. Even when we were getting ready to leave, we were all picking peanuts out of our laps and all kinds of other places where they managed to fall.
From the museum, it was up the hill to Knockpatrick Gardens. Unfortunately, our friends Tim and Helen weren’t home, but we still put our €5 in the slot of the door and wandered around the gardens. They actually had a lot more blooming than Lismore Castle Gardens had at the moment. Gaeney and Pat were taken aback by the variety of plants they had…we didn’t even have to tell them that different flowers would begin blooming as the season progressed.
On the way home, we stopped for 99s in Adare where we admired the thatched cottages. At home, Liam built a nice fire, and they enjoyed more reminiscing about their hometown of Ishpeming while I headed into Nenagh to get some computer work done. When I returned a few hours later, they were in the same chairs…only now they were surrounded with various plates, glasses and teacups.