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Cork to the airport - Home Time - Sunday
   at 22:38 on Sun 19th July 2009
Day 7 (Sunday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 10.7km
Average speed: 53km/h
Diesel used: 0.8l

As you can see from the on board computer stats, we pretty much drove straight from the hotel to Cork airport on Sunday morning. We had never returned hire cars before and since both cars had defects when we collected them, we anticipated arguements about deposits. Thankfully though, everything went smoothly and we had plenty of time at the airport to consume our left over supply of cans of drink before heading through security and waiting for our flight home.

All in all, Ireland is a absolutely beautiful country. I was surprised that even Northern Ireland is picturesque as for some reason I had the preconception that it was a bit dull and bland. I wasn't sure what to expect about driving for 7 days around a country, but the entire trip has been full of great experiences and amazing views. One fact I'm especially pleased about is that I've seen and climbed over the Giant's Causeway.

Despite seeing the bits I had researched before flying out, Ireland has provided so much more than I expected. Not just in scenery, but in the friendliness of everyone we spoke to and in the quality of the food we've been served and how lovely Guinness is!

A long while back, for our 'D' city, we had visions of doing our pub crawl between hotel bars in Dubai and when the plan changed I was initially a bit upset. I felt that Dublin and Ireland might be a bit of a let down in comparison, but now I've completed changed that opinion.

Road tripping around Ireland has been fantastic and I'm very pleased we decided to do it. Driving hundreds of kilometers, staying in different places each night is a refreshing way to spend a holiday. Whilst it's not as relaxing as a week at the beach reading books and drinking local beers, our road trip has been really exciting and I'm thoroughly happy to have done it.

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Limerick to Cork - The High Road - Saturday
   at 22:26 on Sun 19th July 2009
Day 6 (Saturday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 317.0km
Average speed: 55km/h
Diesel used: 14.9l

On our return from the pub on Friday night, we drunkenly spoke to the night porter. After getting his head around why we wanted to go from Limerick to Cork detouring via the South West coast, he advised us in a thick Irish accent that we shouldn't miss the area around Kenmare and Glengarriff.

So after nomming our breakfast, we headed out on the long journey to Killarney. Possibly the most stunning road in Ireland starts in Killarney and heads south. First the road is fairly tame as it climbs gently towards Torc Mountain with amazing views over Lock Leane. The stunning views continue through the mountains of Killarney National Park. As you drive down to and through Kinmare and continue south along the N71, you climb back up into the Caha Mountains. The road twists and turns with incredible views up the mountains on the left and down to the valleys on the right. With sheer rock faces next to the road (as Gus knows full well) and trees growing up and over the car, it is a delightful and beautiful road to travel along.

Along the N71 is an absolutely breathtaking place called Lady's View. We parked the cars to stop and take a look and walking on to a rock outcrop, it was impossible to stifle saying "wow". The unspoilt beautiful mountainous countryside in every direction was just incredible. It's the sort of special view that you really need to see, the type that photos just don't capture properly.

As we left the coastal area and headed up to Cork, we completely failed to seek out the West Cork Model Village Railway which our road maps enticed us to find. There was simply no mention of it on any signposts in Clonakilty. It wasn't too dissapointing however, we had another icrecream before arriving in to Cork instead.

The staff at the our hotel recommended us two places to visit in town. The first served the cheapest pints of our entire trip, weighing in at an acceptable €2.90! After a couple of drinks, with hunger in our bellys we walked around the corner to Clancy's, which had been correctly advised to serve great food.

After eating, we took a silly 10 minute walk trying to find a pub with the best girls. Cork is, afterall, another student city. Our hopeless search ended up with us back in Clancy's, which we are all really thankful for. We stumbled upon live music from a band called The Frequency who were covering a multitude of brilliant songs rather incredibly well.

Out on the dancefloor were a group of scantilly dressed girls on a hen night which kept smiles on our faces. The lucky bride-to-be even had a random sailor join her on the dance floor, take most of his clothes off, pour baby oil all over his body and danced seductively with her!

As it was our last night and because our hotel, The Ambassador, was up a very large hill, we treated ourselves to a taxi home.

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Avoca to Limerick - It's a Long Way - Friday
   at 21:51 on Sun 19th July 2009
Day 5 (Friday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 289.0km
Average speed: 54km/h
Diesel used: 13.5l

Waking up in Avoca, we realised we'd not had out photo taken outside Fitzgeralds, so after another lovely breakfast, we drove the short distance into the village and posed as best we could.

From Avoca we drove along the main roads directly to Tramore, a few kilometers south of Waterford. Tramore is a lovely little town. The sandy beach was littered with nice flat stones so we picked a few up and skimmed them on to the mill pond Celtic Sea. After almost dislocating me shoulder throwing a massive rock into the water, we stopped and had toasted sandwiches for lunch sat on the promenade.

Unfortunately, due to Richard flying home early, we didn't have much time until we had to head inland to Waterford airport. The terminal building is tiny! It has two checkin desks, two air-side gates, one cafe and about enough space left to squeeze a tiny security check area.

Most amusing was the method which Waterford advertise their arrivals and departures on their single monitor display. Rather than using some proprietary airport software, their arrivals and departure board system is a two slide Powerpoint presentation. Whilst we were ponding the lack of detail on Richard's flight, the monitor came out of the presentation, we watched someone edit all the details and then start the presentation again!

After leaving Richard we got back on the main roads and headed north west to Tipperary. As we came in to the town we stopped for the "Welcome to Tipperary" sign to pose for photos. Amusingly, the sign had a comment saying "You've come a long way". No kidding! We'd driven 1458.1km to be precise.

We stopped briefly in the town to grab an icecream. The shops in Ireland that sell icecreams all have big 50:1 scale models of an icecream cone outside so they are easy to spot! Just one of the wonderful things about the country.

Our day ended in Limerick where once again we ate at the pub recommended by hotel reception. Dolans, which was a little out of the city center, served us some wonderful grub and because I'd switched to lager managed to get a little tipsy along with Gus and Andrew. After walking back to the hotel shouting "Fellatio", we ended up rearranging furniture and throwing toilet roll around.

Don't ask.

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Galway to Avoca - Cross Country - Thursday
   at 09:25 on Sun 19th July 2009
Day 4 (Thursday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 402.4km
Average speed: 58km/h
Diesel used: 18.7l

We woke up and had the smallest breakfast of the holiday so far, just microwaved sausage, bacon and beans. After that we had a quick trip in to Galway town to pick up some screen wash for the cars, a cable to listen to music in the cars and a card game called Zombie Flux. We failed on all three counts. Regardless, with a banana and a bottle of water, we headed out south west in to County Clare.

Out first stop was in Doolin where there's apparently an impressive 25m stalactite. Unfortunately our day was restricted by a tight schedule and we couldn't wait 45 minutes for the hour long tour. Instead we headed off 10 minutes down the coast to the Cliffs of Moher.

The cliffs at Moher are really quite tall! The visitor centre is built in to the hills which leaves a gorgeous panoramic view over the cliffs and back across the hills towards the Barren. If you've been dragged to any impressive cliff by parents or friends before, Moher is more of the same really. But that doesn't stop it being an impressive example of how cliffs should be formed.
Thankfully the weather was again being friendly and we got some sunny photos.

At this point in the journey we set off on the most boring stretch of driving. From the west coast near Ennis, through Limerick and all the way on 'A' roads and motorway to the Wicklow Moutains.

Unfortunately as we headed towards and up in to the Wicklow National Park, the rain got heavier and heavier until the views were mostly spoilt. Despite the cold rain and strong winds, we still stopped at the marked view points to take photos, much as you'd expect of the English. The photos and views certainly won't be as impressive as the mountains we drove through yesterday in County Galway, but in the Sun I imagine they're quite impressive.

Leaving the mountains and heading to our B&B in Avoca, the rain stopped and the sun came out. After checking in, we headed down to the pub called Fitzgeralds, as recommened by Bernie our B&B host. The pub will be recognised by most people as the pub from the BBC programme Ballykisangel. After eating a lovely meal there and a few Guinness to wash it down, the rain had caught up with us as we walked back to bed.

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Sligo to Galway - Everything is Pretty - Wednesday
   at 00:51 on Thu 16th July 2009
Day 3 (Wednesday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 255.7km
Average speed: 52km/h
Diesel used: 12.0l

It's Wednesday which is a perfect day for a scenic drive from Sligo to Galway. The A road route directly south between the two towns takes about 2 hours, but we had other ideas.

After breakfast, we headed out to see the views around Strandhill and back via a set of really really old burial sites. One of the tombs had even been reconstructed within a replica cairn. An exciting 10 minute walk took us via lots of different rock tombs. We had plain rocks, rock circles, rocks in cairns and even balancing rocks. They weren't that exciting.

Taking the coastal roads west of Sligo, we stopped briefly in Inishcrone to take shoes and socks off and paddle in the sea. It felt great to know we'd finally found a sandy beach on our holiday! The beach is lovely but there was a distinct lack of bikini wearing young women.

Nevertheless, we drove on towards Ballina where we grabbed a bite to eat. After refulling our bellies, we journeyed on beside Lough Conn, through Castlebar and south to Lough Mask. At this point the views became quite stunning. Looking up from the side of these lakes to the surrounding mountains made for an incredible sight. As we crossed out of County Mayo in to County Galway, we rose up on to one of the mountains and were quite awestruck with the scenery. If you ever find yourself holding a road map and having some spare time in West Ireland, get yourself on to some of the tiny roads in the mountains and you won't be dissapointed!

Getting back to the major roads and considering it was now late in the day we headed in to Galway itself. What's becoming a well accomplished routine, we checked in, asked for a recommendation for pub dinner and headed out for some food. After we'd eaten we met up with Martin, another Internety person we know. It was lovely to meet up with someone new and after a few quick fire questions about Ireland and a pint, he had to head off to work.

Whilst exploring the pub opportunities in Galway we realised we're visiting during Art Week, some random arts festival. There were a group of German "artists" who'd created a set of three crazy vehicles. One freewheeling, powered by a massive fan, with accompanying flamethrower. The second, a huge modern version of something like a penny farthing. The third was a crazy engine driven car with an arm chair and a driver wearing a flaming hat. It's really going to just be easier to see the photos once I upload them.

Galway, being a student city, is full of really gorgeous girls. I mean really. ;) Today has been an epic day of attractive scenery all round. So far throughout the trip, if I wanted to come back for pretty mountains, a pretty city and very pretty girls, it would be Galway. We've already promised Martin that we'll be back for a proper night out, and I have no intention of breaking that promise.

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Day 2 (Tuesday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 269.9km
Average speed: 56km/h
Diesel used: 13.3l

We woke up to some lovely weather on Tuesday, perfect for the touristy day we had planned. After another lovely cooked breakfast, in the Glenluce Lodge, we packed the cars and headed out along the Causeway Coastal Route.

Our first port of call was the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. After a 1km pleasant walk along some beautiful cliffs, you get to a rope bridge 30m high stretched between the main land and a small outcrop. The little island was used as a fishing spot to catch migrating salmon as they passed along the coast.

Unfortunately the hotels so far haven't allowed me to upload phoots but when I manage to, you'll see just how gorgeous the area is. The sea is crystal clear and the cliffs are really impressive. I even did the adrenaline-rush thing by laying down and sticking my head out over the cliffs to see the sheer drop at one point. The rope brige itself is exciting, it certainly swings and the view down to the sea below is almost dizzy. Despite that, it's made of huge steel ropes so it feels quite safe.

After an icecream to cool off from the walk, we drove on to the Giants Causeway. Created by slowly cooling lava, the hexagonal columns that make up the Causeway create a brilliant playground for climbing all over. Some of the stacks are at least about 50m high and all the other rock formations make the place look stunning. I'm really glad I finally got to visit and unlike some major tourist destinations, it wasn't a let down at all. Again, I've got some brilliant photos which I'll upload at the first opportunity.

Unfortunately Andrej still isn't feeling well so we weren't able to make great progress driving during the day. Adjusting our route slightly to make sure we got to Sligo before nightfall, we headed towards the border. Unsuccessfully attempting to find the end of the A2 road to get a photo for Andrew, we found ourselves in the town of Muff, just inside Ireland. Topping up our tanks with the cheap fuel there, we took the major roads the rest of the way to Sligo and checked in at 20:30.

After another brilliant recommendation by the B&B owner to eat at a restaraunt called Fiddlers, we ended up visiting a couple of nice pubs. The first had nice Irish music being played live and the other had pints for €3.00! We've still not had a late night session on the Guinness because we're all so tired by the end of these long days travelling.

This was all yesterday though and I'm a little sunburnt from being outside in the shiny weather so I'm going to go and have a shower, moisturise and then head downstairs for breakfast. Our B&B owner says he'll show us some great places to stop at on our way down to Galway today.

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Day 1 (Monday) Driving Statistics
Distance travelled: 285.0km
Average speed: 65km/h
Diesel used: 13.9l

My opinion of Dublin remains fairly unchanged. It's very similar to England but it's definitely continental. Our second day in the city was fun. After a hearty breakfast at the Best Western, we headed by bus in to town. Once there we did a spot of shopping (road maps and show in-soles) followed by the start of our Pub Crawl.

I don't think we have photos of all three pubs we drank in, but regardless... 'D' is officially completed. Of course, my thee pints were all Guinness, a drink for which I'm quickly developing a great fondness.

At the end of the three pints I was starting to feel very exhausted and close to collapsing in a heap. We walked all four sides of St Stephens Green stopping briefly where I cut my hand open on a rusty cock (being silly at a metal statue). We took a brief journey on the green Luas line just so we could say we've been on both colours, before heading back to the hotel where I fell straight to sleep.

Today (Monday) has been another long day. We woke up and soon after breakfast, Andrew, Gus, Mark and I headed in to town to collect our two hire cars. Unfortunately at the Europcar branch we found they had added just under €150 of random charges, two of which are Environmental Tax and Location Surcharge. Considering that Budget just gave us the car at the advertised price, we'll be making a complaint when we get back to the UK.

Eventually we got back to the hotel and collected the rest of the gang. Going via Dublin airport to sadly drop Sadie and Matt off for their flight, we continued up the M1 towards Northern Ireland. Andrej has managed to get a nasty stomach bug, so what should have been a 3 hour journey to Ballycastle (where I'm writing this) took about 6 hours. Stopping every 20 minutes, whilst quite frustrating, meant we got to see a few extra villages on the way up.

It was all worth the delayed journey, though. Ballycastle is beautiful. Our B&B is a 3 minute walk from the coast where there's a lovely small marina and a sandy beach. Overlooking it all is a restaraunt called Quay 26 which was recommended by the B&B owner Helen. If you're ever in Ballycastle, make sure you visit Quay 26, the food is excellent quality, the portions are large and the price is fantastic.

We ended the evening in a nice pub, playing a card game based on Monopoly that we'd picked up earlier in the day was great. The only thing missing from the day is my beautiful Irish girl that I've not found yet. Maybe she'll be at the Giant's Causeway which I'm thoroughly excited about for tomorrow.

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Arriving in Dublin
   at 23:18 on Sat 11th July 2009
Waking up at 5am is only ever nice when you're going on holiday. Today has been a very long day and I'm about to head off to bed. Before that though, a few quick words.

Our flight over from Birmingham was a bit of a failure with an hour delay and Aer Lingus losing the bag that Gus and I are sharing. After Gus made and received a few texts and phone calls, we finally received the bag soon before 11pm. We're all sorted now though and can clean our teeth before bed!

To get from the airport to the hotel, we purchased day tickets that covered us for all Dublin buses and tram (Luas) services for €7.50. We have completed rinced the ticket getting great value for money. We've been up and down the red line a few times and used a fair few busses to get around.

First impressions are that Dublin is a really clean city. It has a suprising likeness with England but it's definitely foreign, highlited by the fact that beer is sold in Euros and buying a round for friends requires a small mortgage.

I've been on the Guinness for the first time in my life today and it's great. I was quite surprised when I had my first pint at how enjoyable it was, the last time I tried stout, I found it really awful. Mushroom was pleased that the first pub we went to was O'Donoghue's where The Dubliners started out and in our true nature we've visited a number of other establishments today.

Despite a busy day, I feel almost like we've just been settling in, we didn't really do any sight seeing other than a brief walk past the Millenium Needle. Tomorrow we'll have a full day to walk around, and properly experience the city, which will be great. Of course, we're also going to do our duty and perform our 'D' pub crawl - I can see my special tshirt from here!

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by Mum & Dad at 17:25 on 12th Jul 2009
Sounds like you're all off to a good start! Glad you finally got the bag! Guiness tastes very different in Ireland... much better than here!
Don't forget the photos!!!

ARound The World in Dublin
   at 15:51 on Wed 8th July 2009

This weekend, along with 7 friends, I'm off to Dublin for the forth year of our 26 year pub crawl. Having now visited Amsterdam, Benidorm and Cairo, Ireland plays host to 'D', taking Andrew, Richard and myself more than 15% through the alphabet.

Joining us this year are Sadie, Matt, Mark, Gus and Andrej. Unfortunately Sadie and Matt are only able to join us for the weekend in Dublin, but the remaining six of us are road tripping around Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Our route takes us north out of Dublin, through Belfast, to the Giants Causeway. From there we head west out of NI and south along the coast to Sligo. Next stop sees us travel on to Galway and then west across Ireland, through the Wicklow Mountains National Park and on in to Wicklow. A short journey down the coastal roads will bring us to Waterford where Richard flys home alone. The final five travel north west to Limerick, taking the "short way" to Tipperary. Finally our last jaunt takes us South to Cork, from where we fly home.

In total, we'll be driving about 800 miles, visiting what we hope are some nice B&Bs, gorgeous countryside, lovely dancing girls and a few pints of Guinness.

I'm really quite excited about this trip. Road tripping has always appealed to me and the idea that we're essentially going with the flow and just experiencing whatever we come across is great.

Whilst we travel round Ireland, I hope to update here regularly with what we're doing and what we're seeing. Wifi availability pending, I'll be annotating the posts with a few photos.

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by Mushroom at 02:06 on 09th Jul 2009

Topped to the Edge
   at 19:38 on Mon 23rd February 2009
I just bought a pepperoni pizza, selecing a product based purely on the box advertising. Plastered across the front of this Chicago Town pizza in bright green and white letters was the phrase "TOPPED TO THE EDGE".

Imagine then, my dissapointment when I got home, pre-heated my oven and eventually unboxed my tea to discover this:

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by EvilRich at 12:47 on 24th Feb 2009
No.... say it can't be so? Has Kloopy finally started to update this blog?

by MissSpoons at 12:43 on 23rd Mar 2009
HAHAHA ok just seen this post - thats hilarious - serious false advertising!!
Think you should send this picture to them and ask for a refund ;)

by Rey at 01:49 on 28th Apr 2009

by Matt at 15:38 on 08th Jul 2009
Apparently not :P Not since then. But who knows, there may be a flurry of posts shortly.

And yes, contacting them would have been good... probably a little late now. They're still on sale in Netto though, perhaps I should check them out again.