Back on the Road – its time to embrace that Staycation! Update….

 

We’re just back from 6 nights in County Kerry so here are a few observations for those of you thinking of heading off over the next few weeks:

 

Accommodation

We stayed in two Bed and Breakfast establishments which had differing approaches to the pandemic.   The first one (in Kenmare) has reduced the number of rooms available and the dining room has been laid out with social distancing in mind.  Breakfast is to order and all food and beverages are brought directly from the kitchen.

The second B and B (in Dingle) reopened all rooms.  They tried to coordinate breakfast times by phoning people in advance etc. but found that too many people were gathering in the dining area at the same time.  Solution?…. they did away with breakfast altogether!!!  Not as drastic a measure as it sounds – there are lots of breakfast options close by and they knocked €20 per night off the bill.

General word about accommodation is that people are opting for hotels or self catering house rentals instead of B and B’s.  There are more visitors choosing half or full board in the hotels rather than going out to restaurants.  Presumably that’s the logic behind the self catering options also.

RV Parks and camp sites look very full.

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Restaurants and Pubs

We had booked 6 restaurants in advance and were very glad we’d done so – bearing in mind our trip coincided with the bank holiday weekend.   There were definitely no ‘walk-ins’ at the more popular spots in Kenmare and Dingle – (not even for the following night in some cases).

Staff everywhere wore masks and there was a lot of spraying and cleaning going on.

As we were usually one of the last orders of the night ( we booked for 8.30pm) we were never asked to leave after 90 minutes but the restaurants were closing up anyway so we didn’t really linger after our meals.

On the Saturday night,  we ate in a pub in Kenmare.   It was unbelievable how many people came in trying to just get a drink (Pubs are only allowed to open if they serve food).   Many seemed to be locals – assuming that the rules didn’t apply to them.   Everyone awaiting a table was directed to a ‘waiting room’ where we were given a menu and asked in advance for our order – clever solution…. I could have sat there all night watching the scene as the poor barman,  assigned to the chore,  had to explain again and again that ‘no – the 4 of you can’t order drinks if one of you orders a salad’.   And in case you are tut tutting about the youth of today,  the worst offenders were the silver brigade who were definitely chancing their arm with the ‘ ah, you’re not throwing us out are you.’   Wisely,  the barman involved was a senior staff member, and was well able for it all.

Businesses are becoming creative in Dingle and in a few cases,  restaurants and next door pubs have combined to share facilities…. e.g….. This might be a small enough restaurant using the beer garden space of the pub.   The restaurant supplies the food – mostly outdoors,  and the pub supplies all the booze.  Works quite well.  We heard of one pub that has brought a chip van or something similar into its beer garden but didn’t come across it on our travels.

Coffee shops and ice cream parlours are busy.  The fish ‘n’ chip vans in Dingle are doing a great trade!

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Ceol agus Craic!

Not a bit of it!   Both Kenmare and Dingle were dead by 10.00pm each night.  There was word on one of the nights in Kenmare that a publican was going to take out his fiddle and play on the street around 10.00pm but it never happened – that’s as exciting as it got!!

Our Dingle B and B catered for a younger crowd and they were definitely drinking in their rooms.   (But it wasn’t a problem – there were no big parties in the house and no noise late at night).   No hens and stags in Dingle which was good news for us!

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General Observations

Kerry tradespeople in general are devastated with how the tourist season is going.

Everyone was delighted to see us and we got great service everywhere we went.

There are very few – if any – tour buses and coaches on the roads.  While there are plenty of domestic visitors,  parking is easy and available everywhere.   Car park signs suggest leaving every second space empty but of course that doesn’t work for long at the most popular sights.

Visitors are wearing masks in shops  and keeping their distance if they have to queue to get inside but, apart from that,  I didn’t feel that they were very mindful of social distancing on streets etc.

DSC_3899(Despite Taylor Swift’s best efforts recently,  there’s no big run on aran knitwear this year!!)

 

Finally!

I’d forgotten how many great pubs there are in Kerry!   Because so many of them are closed (or you can only get a pint with a meal),  you actually get to see and do more than usual because you’re not tempted to stop and dawdle at every bar overlooking some spectacular view!!!

We’d only a few days but I’ve lots to write about so keep an eye out for Kerry posts in the coming weeks….

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16 thoughts on “Back on the Road – its time to embrace that Staycation! Update….

  1. Marie and Tom, so glad you enjoyed Kerry. Thank you for your positivity: ar scath a cheile a mhaireann na ndaoine! Joan.

  2. Marie, greetings from Doolin on this beautiful Summer’s day. I enjoyed your post on staycationing and in particular the various attempts to circumvent the pub laws. We came across a similar event in O Connor’s in Dolin today.
    An elderly gent ordered a few drinks only to be informed he needed to purchase a meal. 10 minutes later the drinks arrived and no sign of any food.🤪
    Regards ,
    Br.

    1. 😅 😂 🤣 – We’ll all go nuts before this is over, watching each other!!!
      Looks like you’re in the best part of the country – we missed the good weather by a week – typical! 😣. Have a great time in Clare. XXXMarie

  3. That last beach shot is terrific. And such lovely skies. Really good information for anyone visiting Kerry (which I won’t be for a while, sadly) and I was really surprised to learn that everything closed up by 10 p.m (so I’m really not so sad that I’m not going as I’m very much a late-night person). My friend in Dublin doesn’t report such changes, maybe he’s saving my dreams.

    1. We got one good day! Most photos won’t have that blue sky!!
      It was so strange to be in the centre of these towns at night – extraordinary times…..

    1. Wow – there’s a challenge! I know we look like a pinprick on a map but there’s so much to see and do! I’m assuming its your first visit? And I’m assuming you’re interests are outdoors and food???
      You could in theory see a lot of the country in 2 weeks but you’ll spend a lot of time in the car.
      If you are ok with that then you could fly to Dublin, stay a day or two and then head to West Cork and up along the West coast – its all stunning. You’ll get great food in West Cork, Dingle, Galway, Westport…
      Try and make it to Donegal in the north west – beautiful. Northern Ireland is very interesting so include Derry and the northern coast around to Belfast and then its just 2 hours back to Dublin airport.

      You could fly into Shannon and just concentrate on the west coast – that would give you more time for outdoor pursuits.
      Have a look at https://www.wildatlanticway.com The Wild Atlantic Way is a fabulous route from Cork to Donegal.

      On the other hand – there’s also ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’ – if you are interested in our history and celtic past, then there are lots of sites particularly on the eastern side of the country.

      If you are travelling post Covid – whenever that will be!! – you’ll love Dingle, Galway and Westport so start with those and see what time you have left. If this is going to be a once off visit to Ireland then include Derry or Belfast.

      Reading back through this I hope I haven’t left you more confused at the end!!!

      XXXMarie

  4. Marie, this is a wonderful summary of what you encountered in your staycation. I had no idea what your experience might be. We were just in your area last September 2019 and it was glorious. You live in such a pretty part of the world.

    Unfortunately, here in the States, things are fairly precarious as hot spots keep popping up across the country and our statistics surge. James and I have embraced your staycation philosophy and we’ve taken a couple of short camping trips close to home and had countless picnics in the county. We feel like our wings have been clipped, but we’re making the most of it. 🙂 Thanks for the continued inspiration. All the best, Terri

    1. Things not going well in Dublin – further restrictions from this weekend. I’m so glad we got out and about when we could…. Like yourselves, we’ve taken to grabbing a picnic if its a good day – just for variety. Sure what can we do……. Stay safe. XXXMarie

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