Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

Hello, fellow sesh folk!
I’ll be heading to Ireland for my first time in about a week, and was wondering if anyone had any tips about sessions, pubs, set dancing, places to eat and sleep, etc. Plans are still tentative, but my girlfriend and I will be renting a car out of Dublin, and heading through Laois to Cork for a night. From there we’ll head onward to Killarney, and around the Ring of Kerry, then camp out in Dingle for two nights. Next we plan to head up through Tralee through Listowell and Limerick, ditch the car at the Shannon airport and take a bus to Ennis. From there I want to visit Miltown, Ennistymon, Lisdoonvarna, the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, Kilfenora, and Burren on the way to Galway, But my girlfriend wants to stay a night on Aran Islands. We will stay the last few nights in Galway before catching a train back to Dublin.

What do you think of that?
Is that too many places to go in 12 days?
Will it be easy to get around west Clare without a car? Are people willing to give rides, should we take a bus, walk, or hire a cab?
Is it possible to just pitch a tent somewhere along the road, or on someones farm for the night?
Are local pub regulars tolerant of slightly-above-intermediate dancers jumping in for a few sets? Even if we’ll probably be slightly wet and muddy Americans?
If I play well enough and impress someone at a session, do you think they might be willing to put us up for the night?

Any and all comments are incredibly welcome.
Thanks!

Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

First, the disclaimer: I’m not Irish, but I’ve travelled through a few of the areas you hope to see during the last couple of years. Take my impressions for what they’re worth; your results may vary.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to see everything in a few days. You won’t. Plan on going back; you’ll want to, anyway. If you really want to make musical connections, spend some time and get to know people.
You’ll want to visit Tommy O’Sullivan’s Courthouse pub in Dingle. He hosts a session on Monday nights and made me feel quite welcome last time I was there. O’Flaherty’s is great, too.
O’Connor’s in Doolin is a treat, but the town is pretty quiet. Ennistymon and Lisdoonvarna are near enough to the Cliffs, and might offer more to do and more people to meet.
In Galway, don’t miss Tig Coili. Tunes every night, there. Kinlay House is a cheap, clean place to crash and it’s close by.
Even at this point in the tourist season, pubs are PACKED. Dance at your own risk.
By the way, we travelled everywhere on Buseireann, but many of the towns on the west coast are close enough to cab, or even hike between if you’re sturdy and not afraid of getting rained on.
Have a ball!

Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

I’m afraid that you’ll never do all you want to in only twelve days, which is effectively only ten because you’ll have to spend the first and last days getting from and to Dublin.

Some tips.

1) Bring a mobile telephone and arrange for roaming or purchase an Irish sim card on arrival.

2) Check with your rental car company to make sure that it will be covering any motorway toll charges as, unless you intend to visit central Dublin, you will be travelling along the M50 to get to the M7 and then onwards to Cork. If you are not covered for the charges, then visit this site to learn how you can pay. http://www.eflow.ie/about/drivinginireland/BEF.MGCO.REC.4858/#rental_car

3) Don’t forget to drive on the left and always expect journeys to take longer than you’ve planned.

4) Do the Ring of Kerry in a clockwise direction, starting from Kenmare. That way you’ll be heading in the opposite direction to the phalanx of tour buses which operate around the Ring from Killarney. You’ll also have the sea on your left and far better views from the road. There’s a decent campsite in Cahirciveen - http://www.wavecrestcamping.com/index.php.

5) Give Killarney a miss because (unless you intend to visit the Muckros Estate), you’ll be wasting time driving inland when you could be heading from Killorglin to the Dingle peninsula.

6) For camping on the peninsula see here - http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/accom5.html. In the areas you’re planning to visit during your trip you won’t be very popular if you camp by the side of the road and, unfortunately, kindly farmers who allow camping on their land are now few and far between. Stick to the regular campsites or hostels which allow camping.

7) Do you have to take your car to Shannon so soon? There’s a handy ferry from Tarbert in North Kerry to Killimer in West Clare which would cut several hours from your (journey. http://www.shannonferries.com/).

8) You won’t be able to visit the places you want to see in Clare as readily as you might imagine without your own transport. The only bus services are provided by Bus Éireann (http://www.buseireann.ie/inner.php?id=247#Clare - check routes 333, 337 and 423) or Clare Accessible Transport (http://www.catconnects.ie/ - have a look at routes listed under ‘North’. Alternatively (and this is the only way you’re going to access The Burren without a car or take a coach tour), you can hire bikes in Doolin.

9) From Doolin it’s also possible to take a ferry to any one of the Aran Islands (http://www.doolinferries.com/index.php/sailing-times/ or http://www.doolin2aranferries.com/schedule.html).

10) Arm yourself with a decent guidebook, such as ‘The Rough Guide to Ireland’ (and definitely not the Fodor or Rick Steves). Also, make sure you download the brochures from these hostel associations. http://www.hostels-ireland.com/IHH_brochure.pdf and http://independenthostelsireland.com/IndependentHostelsGuide2013.pdf

11) Don’t just leap into a dance in a pub. Ask the bar staff and the musicians first if it’s OK for you to do so.

12) ‘If I play well enough and impress someone at a session, do you think they might be willing to put us up for the night?’

In your wildest dreams, baby!

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Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

Maybe I’m young and naive, but I’ve had people sleep on my couch after meeting them at a session. So it is possible (at least if you’re in Cork and you meet me at a session).

Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

Thanks everybody! This all really helpful.

Scutcher-
I’ll spare you the boring adjustments, but most helpful was the Doolin tip. We’re gonna scrap the Burren altogether and take the bus from Ennis to Doolin, rent bikes, then do a looping tour to see the cliffs, Liscannor, Ennistymon, Kilfenora, and Lisdoonvarna, before heading back to Doolin. That’s the kinda thing we like do over here anyway, and we’re no strangers to cycling in the rain, so I think it’ll all work out nicely. The next day we’ll catch a ferry to Inis Oirr, which is the only thing the lady really wanted to do anyway.

Big S-
Is that an invitation? We’ll be in Cork on a Saturday. Are there any good sessions that you know of? Maybe we’ll see you there!

Oh, and bottomless pints on me if your were serious about your hospitable notions ;)

Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

It does seem a lot to try to fit in but will give you a good whistle stop taster, when you’re in Galway i endorse an earlier recommendation to stay at Kinlay house it’s a well run cheap Hostel right beside Eyre Sq in the centre of town. unsure what nights you’ll be in Galway city but if you’re there Thursday night try Rabbits on Foster street there’s a great session here, and on Saturday night upstairs in The Crane (Sea Rd) is brilliant and they won’t mind you dancing but it’s always good manners to ask the session leader or bar staff for permission both sessions start around 9.30, there’s always good session in Tis Coli’s and across the street in Taaffes.

Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

10) Arm yourself with a decent guidebook, such as ‘The Rough Guide to Ireland’ ‘The Rough Guide to Ireland’ (and definitely not the Fodor or Rick Steves). Also, make sure you download the brochures from these hostel associations. http://www.hostels-ireland.com/IHH_brochure.pdf and http://independenthostelsireland.com/IndependentHostelsGuide2013.pdf
Scutcher, is Geoff Wallis."The Rough Guide to Ireland" by Paul Gray and Geoff Wallis, Scutcher appears to be advising you to buy a book that he has a financial interest in, "The Rough Guide to Ireland" is a reasonable guide, however you should be aware, that Scutchers advice is not totally impartial, the Lonely Planet is also a reasonable guide book, my impartial advice is look at all the guides to Ireland.

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Re: Tips for a Travelling Sessioner and Dancers in Co. Kerry, Clare, and Galway.

It occurs too me that the original poster suffers from the American syndrome of (a) planning everything to the last detail without enough knowledge and (b) not having sufficient holiday time to do everything, the latter being a general problem for people in the US.
There was good advice from above re not trying to dash around so much in order to try and see everything at once, but if holiday time is precious it’s hard to avoid this.