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Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route, Ireland’s West Coast

Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route, Ireland’s West Coast

Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

The Wild Atlantic Way is a designated section of the West coast of Ireland. It’s tagline is that you can ‘Explore 9 counties along this unforgettable coastal touring route to enjoy breathtaking scenery and exceptional experiences.’ I first traveled this part of Ireland around 1984, when we drove from Waterford, through Cork, Kerry, Clare and into Galway before heading home east via Dublin. I remember areas like Scull, Garnish Island, the Tarbert Ferry and the amazing Cliffs of Moher. This post outlines a decent Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route which takes in some of the key areas and sights in the area. This is also a driving route which I have recently done myself in November 2017.

This Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route will bring you from Kenmare to Doolin (or vice versa). The drive , according to Google Maps would take you around 6h 15 minutes but in reality with Irish roads it will be more than that. Don’t forget you will want to stop off and see these places. With this in mind, I suggest stopping overnight somewhere of your choosing along the way. You are quite close to Adare and also Limerick if you feel like venturing off-route momentarily for hotels.

Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route from Doolin – Top 10 places to see

I’m going to presume that you are starting in Doolin, Co. Clare and driving south. If you are starting my Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route in Kerry then just reverse these instructions and start in Kenmare. The Top 10 places to see and do will be outlined below as headings, working from Doolin south.

The Cliffs of Moher

I first saw the cliffs of moher when I was 10 and I can recall a big field where everyone parked and a basic café with a castle nearby. Things have really changed. Now the cliffs of moher has a proper car park and a full experiential interpretive centre. If you have the time you should walk a section of the cliff top route. It is breathtaking. There is a charge for parking here.

Cliffs of Moher, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Spanish Point

This is a very scenic area, often overlooked. It is on the way between the two endpoints on this journey and great as a stopping off point to stretch the legs and enjoy the view of the wild Atlantic. We stopped at a local hotel, got tea and used that as a base / car park to wander the local routes for an hour or so.

The Bridges of Ross, Near Spanish Point, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Kilkee

This was a new one on me. I only discovered it in 2017. There are cliffs near the golf course with parking nearby and it is worth parking and taking a walk down to the sea shore. You get a great view of the sea and cliffs from here. Following on from here you can, if you wish, go straight on and visit Loop Head and the Bridges of Ross.

Kilkee, Co. Clare, Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

The Tarbert Ferry

This ferry will bring you across the River Shannon at one of the widest points. The Journey takes around 25 minutes and gives you great views of the river and the surrounding countryside. The Tarbert Ferry is a paid for service and costs around €19 per car. There is a 10% discount if you buy the Tarbert Ferry ticket online.

Tarbert Ferry Crossing, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Ballybunion

Ballybunion is a beautiful coastal town and seaside resort in County Kerry, Ireland. It’s 15 km off-route from the town of Listowel. If you are a golfer, bring your clubs as there is a very good links course here.

Tralee

I was here many times in the 80s and it is most famous for the Rose of Tralee festival which takes place every August. The town goes into really party mode for this event. Note, if you intend getting a hotel in Tralee during the festival it is best to book ahead as availability can be tight and prices can be out of the ordinary.

Blennerville Windmill, Tralee, Co. Kerry, on the Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route

Dingle

This town is famous for one very special visitor and that is Fungi and dolphin. If you have the time you might take a boat trip and you could get to see him as he leaps from the water. I was there in 1992 and we went on a wetsuit swum where you could meet the dolphin but it was so cold that we ended up going in as far as our knees. Apparently he was feet in front of me but I couldn’t see him. Anyway it’s a lovely town and worth seeing.

Inch

The key feature of Inch is Inch Beach. This is an impressive three mile stretch of sandy beach, ideal for bathing, surfing and many other water sports.

Killarney National Park & the Ring of Kerry

The area around Killarney National Park and the Killarney Lakes is some of Ireland’s most iconic and spectacular scenery. There is also the Ring of Kerry which, if you have time, you could also do as it forms a looped drive. Most hotels in the area have maps of the various areas you can visit on the Ring of Kerry.

A Sheep from Ireland

Kenmare

This is a lovely little town with many areas around to walk and explore. If you are staying here for any length of time I recommend eating at the restaurant No. 35. This restaurant sources local ingredient and creates dishes which are homely in taste but with an unusual twist. I eat here every time I visit Kenmare.

Just a note regarding driving these roads, if you go off road, i.e. down to a remove viewing point etc, you might find that the roads are not the best maintained. Some of the roads have bad potholes and soft margins so make sure you have decent tyres on the car and you know that your vehicle can make it on the terrain required. It’s worth ensuring your insurance covers for emergency callouts and things like windscreen protection. If you are looking for good insurance and a comparison of policies the Chill Insurance website has a good tool which might help you.

I hope you have enjoyed my Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route along Ireland’s West Coast. It is a route I have done many times in different directions. I love stopping at the smaller towns as well as visiting abandoned areas of the coast. Next up, I might try write a post for driving routes on Ireland’s Ancient East.

Map

I hope you enjoy your journey on this Wild Atlantic Way Driving Route.
You can Follow the various accounts Wild Atlantic Way Tweets and Social Media posts
with the hashtag #WILDATLANTICWAY

Dog Friendly Hotels along Englands South Coast

Dog Friendly Hotels along Englands South Coast

If you own a dog then you will understand that traveling with a dog can have its own challenges. The main one being can I find dog friendly hotels in that area which is actually a dog friendly hotel and not just dog tolerant hotel (which we had experience of on the Isle of Wight).

My Experience of Dog Friendly Hotels in the UK

Having recently been together UK with a dog, it seems the UK is far ahead of Ireland in this respect. Bars and Restaurants are very dog friendly, and you can bring your dog inside, unlike Ireland where you have to sit outside in the cold. 

Hotels were just as accommodating. Searching on Booking.com allowed you to select a ‘Pets Welcome’ option. This showed all hotels who allowed pets inside. Next, if you read the reviews you can isolate hotels were past reviews mention excellent dog friendly experiences at that hotel. 

This blog post outlines some of the best dog friendly hotels along the south coast of the UK. 

The Clock House B&B, Marnhull, Dorset

When looking for Dog Friendly Hotels in Dorset via Booking.com I came across a B&B called the Clock House which had one of the highest satisfaction ratings I had seen. Many of which were from dog owners. 

Seeing testimonials and reviews like this is very reassuring – so we booked the Clock House B&B by phone and it was amazing. The B&B is located in Marnhull in Dorset located on the River Stour 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the small town of Sturminster Newton. There are Lovely surroundings in Marnhull with lots of walks, ideal if like me you like photography!

It is the most wonderful B&B I have ever been in. More like a hotel than B&B. 

When we arrived we had an Amazing welcome and we were treated to Tea on the terrace. We were then shown to our beautifully appointed room which had doors to the terrace and garden area. This was ideal for the dog friendly nature, as when nature calls you just have to open the doors of your patio for your pooch and you don’t disturb any other guests. The room also had a Fantastic shower and bathroom with great products and fluffy towels. You are guaranteed the best ever sleep here. The beds are so comfortable!

Breakfast at the clock House is an experience, just continental breakfast but it was more than enough for us. Plenty of fresh fruit, muesli, toast and lovely boiled eggs – the perfect setup for a perfect day exploring Dorset. The service is 10/10.

The Clock House is an amazing property with amazing staff. It is a very dog friendly hotel!
Thanks to Chris, Mella and Julie and of course the canine watchdogs Ben and Tizzy for a Wonderful and memorable stay. 

Oscars Lodge Hotel, Torquay, Devon

Clock House B&B Marnhull – Booking Information

Address: Burton Street, Marnhull, DT10 1PH, United Kingdom

Booking Link- Click Here

The Clock House B&B, Dog Friendly Hotel, Marnhull, UK
The Clock House B&B, Dog Friendly Hotel Room, Marnhull, UK
The Clock House B&B, Dog Friendly Hotel Reception
Tea Coffee Facilities

Oscars Lodge Hotel, Torquay, Devon

When researching Dog Friendly Hotels to stay in Torquay in Devon, we came across one particular hotel which seemed to have a wow factor when it came to dog friendliness. Again, great reviews on Booking.com in regards to dog friendliness so Oscars Lodge B&B was the one we booked. 

It ticked all the boxes we were looking for: a good value, dog friendly hotel in a good location in Torquay with free parking, what more could you want. The location was only 10 minutes walk from the promenade at Torquay.

On arrival we were greeted by Amy and Richard, the young couple who run Oscars Lodge. They were so friendly and also so kind to our 15 year old Springer Frieda. On arrival there was chocolates on the bed for us and a doggie treat for Frieda (which she quickly became accustomed to)…. such a nice touch. 

The room was beautifully decorated with a Chanel / Breakfast at Tiffany’s style. The bed was so comfortable and a good nights sleep was guaranteed. The WiFi was perfect and this is something which some major hotels can’t get right. Tea and coffee facilities were available and in plentiful supply. 

Amy and Richard could not do enough for us. It was the perfect stay.
This is another dog friendly hotel we really look forward to returning as soon as we can. 

Hotel Booking Information

Address: 56 Belgrave Road, Torquay, TQ2 5HY, United Kingdom

Booking Link

Oscars Lodge Room Torquay - Dog Friendly Hotel in the UK

The Royal Hotel, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Dog Friendly Hotels are probably best run by owners who have dogs. The Royal hotel is run by a lovely man called Eddie and a greyhound called Boris is also on reception to welcome guests. The hotel is situated in a quiet area of the town and is on the sea front only minutes from the pier. This location is ideal for walking your dog, however during the summer the beach is not dog friendly.

The rooms at the Royal are really well appointed and very comfortable. The bathrooms are clean with excellent showers. Breakfast at the Royal is simple but so good. Eddie has homemade muesli, yogurt and a coffee which will get you started for the day. The only thing to be aware of is that the parking in Eastbourne is ticketed. The Royal Hotel provides you with a ticket for the day / duration of your stay… All you need to do is find a car park space.

It is an extremely dog friendly hotel. We were told that there are many regulars who always book the same rooms because their dogs really like that hotel room.

If you want to enjoy this area of East Sussex with your dog, then a stay at the Royal is highly recommended!

Note, If you are booking, book on the hotels official website for the best rates. Probably best to give Eddie a call and check the availability. 

Hotel Booking Information

Address: The Royal Hotel, 8-9 Marine Parade, Eastbourne BN21 3DX, UK

Booking Link

The Royal Hotel Eastbourne, Dog Friendly Hotel Room
The Royal Hotel Eastbourne, Dog Friendly Hotel

Locations of these 3 Dog Friendly Hotels along the south coast of the UK

Oscars Lodge Torquay

Oscars Lodge Torquay

Clock House B&B Marnhull, UK

Clock House B&B Marnhull, UK

The Royal Hotel, Eastbourne, UK

The Royal Hotel, Eastbourne, UK

 

 

This website is not responsible for 3rd party websites linked from this page. Information was correct at time of publication of this blog post “Dog Friendly Hotels along Englands South Coast”.

Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear Movie Review

Christopher Robin & Pooh Bear Movie Review

I think everyone grew up with the cuddly character of Pooh Bear. This Pudgy looking bear loved honey, hated heffalumps and had spelling as good as lol cats. Over the past few years there have been a few movies about Pooh Bear , the most recent being Goodbye Christopher Robin.  This new movie is the only one which I have actually gone to see in the cinema. I can tell you that at the 8pm showing at the Odeon, Christopher Robin had 100% of the audience over the age of 18.

The basic storyline is that Christopher Robin has grown up, been to the war and is now working in a briefcase company. He has forgotten all about his time in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh Bear and his friends.The start of the film brings you on a whistle-stop tour of the memories he and Pooh Bear have. This shows everything from his tea parties in the woods to him leaving for school and later the war, finally ending up in a high profile yet soul crushing job.

He promises his family that he would go to the countryside this weekend but Christopher’s manager insists he work. His family are not pleased and go alone, Christopher Robin is left to contemplate the conflict between family and work. During a moment of stress in the local park he utters the words ‘what to do, what to do’ and then hears ‘what to do indeed’ from Pooh Bear, voiced by the excellent Jim Cummings. Christopher cannot believe this is real and from here he has to accept that Pooh has come back, ultimately to save him.

Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor and his wife Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) are not seeing eye to eye over his time spent at work. His daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) is not seeing her father much these days and both of these relationships are in the balance. His wife has said she cannot remember the last time he smiled and his dealings with his daughter are very matter-a-fact.

Pooh Bear causes a bit of havoc in Christopher house as he try climbing shelves and steps in lots of honey. The comedic values in the film are very well balanced with the somber and serious discussions of work-life balance, a topic valid in todays society.

There are some fantastic scenes in this movie, I’m not going to spoil them, but they are very nicely done indeed. It really is a feel good movie, probably one of the best I have seen. The Movie Reviewer Mark Kermode says, if you laugh 6 times during a movie, it is a comedy. I can tell you I laughed 6 times in the first 15 minutes of this movie and a lot more after that.

If you have not seen Christopher Robin then please do – you will feel great when leaving the cinema. The trailer is below if you have not seen it.

Feel Good Movie Excellence !

Delicious homemade pizza recipe

Delicious homemade pizza recipe

My delicious Pizza Recipe

If you are looking for a tasty meal or snack to share then you can’t go too far wrong with a homemade pizza. This is my own homemade pizza recipe. It includes a pizza base recipe and a pizza sauce recipe.

I have followed recipes online and from time to time they don’t actually work out. I can guarantee the pizza recipe here does work. I have made it twice and it just improves each time I make it.

There are 4 stages to this pizza recipe. The pizza dough, the pizza topping and the pizza assembly…. and of course actually baking the pizza.

The Pizza dough

(this pizza receipe makes one 12 inch pizza, thin base. If you want thicker or if you want 2 thin pizzas you need to double the quantities.)

You will need the following to make the pizza dough: 

  • 150g flour.
  • 120ml warm water
  • Teaspon of oil
  • Half teaspoon sugar & a bit less same for salt
  • Just over 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
    (If you use quick yeast you may need to play around with the quantities)

Pizza Base method

Mix the warm water (1/3 almost boiling mixed with 2/3 cold) and the yeast and the sugar. Give this a good mix around with a fork for 30 seconds. Leave to rest for 5-10 mins until it looks frothy.

In another bowl sieve the flour and salt and then add a drop of oil as per the ingredients.

Once the yeast mix is ready make a well and pour into. Don’t put all the water in as you might have enough in 110 or 115 ml. Mix together with a fork. When it looks like it is coming together, form a ball and place on a surface with some flour. Now you need to knead and stretch it for 10 mins. Once this pizza dough mix has been kneaded put in an oiled bowl for 45 – 60 minutes covered with a damp clean cloth or cling film.

This should double in size during that time.

Pizza recipe – The topping sauce

This pizza topping sauce is my own recipe. It was developed out of necessity as I had none, but I had tomatoes. If you already have one store bought you can skip this. However the flavour from a home made sauce is phenomenal.

You need the following ingredients:

15-20 cherry tomatoes or 2-3

Large tomatoes

Pinch of salt

Black Pepper

Half clove of crushed garlic (optional)

1 tsp Spinach pesto (optional)

1 tbsp of Rojo sauce (optional)

Cheese

Mushrooms

(Any other toppings eg spinach, sweet corn etc)

Chop the tomatoes as small as you can without being blended mush. They should still have some consistency. Heat a pan on a medium to high heat with a drop of olive oil. Once hot place the tomatoes on the pan with the pinch of salt and some freshly cracked pepper and fry for a few mins. Reduce the heat and add the pesto and Rojo sauce. After 10 mins you should be able to break up the tomatoes further. Once in a sauce consistency place in a bowl and let cool in the fridge.

My Pizza Recipe - The Pizza before it is cooked

Assembling the pizza

Once the pizza base has doubled punch it back and knock out the air. Place on a floured surface and start rolling into a circular shape. Flour a pizza pan and place the dough on it. Leave in a warm place for 10-15 mins.

Heat an oven to 210C (fan) or 230 C (without fan).

Once rested and once the sauce is cooled you can progress. Spread the prepared sauce on the base ensuring to cover all the areas. Now add your toppings.

If the oven is at temperature place the pizza into the oven in the middle. Cook for 9-12 minutes (keep an eye). You should now have a delicious home made pizza. Use a pizza slicer and enjoy.

 

The Result – The cooked Pizza

My Pizza Recipe - The Pizza Cooked and delicious
My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

My Top 3 Pub Hotels in England

England is one of my favourite destinations for a relaxing holiday and it’s only a ferry ride from Ireland. The first time I visited the UK for a long road trip style holiday was for Glastonbury 2013. On that occasion visiting southern Wales, Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon and Cornwall. Since 2013 I have been back 3 times; again with music festivals as the main reason Glastonbury 2015, Glastonbury 2016 and Ramblin’ Man Fair 2017. Normally accommodation is in hotels, mainly 4 star or hotels like Premier Inn. From time to time you get a surprise – a small hotel which surpasses all expectations… I speak of the many Pub Hotels in England which many travellers may overlook.

This blog post outlines my Top 3 Pub Hotels in England … (basically hotels which are situated above pubs)

These are listed my top Pub Hotels in England in no particular order as it depends on your location if you will avail of them. These are my opinions of my stays in these 3 establishments. 

The George at Nunney

The George at Nunney is a beautiful 17th century coaching Inn. It is located in the picturesque village of Nunney, near Frome in Somerset. Nunney is a village voted “the prettiest village in England” located near Frome, Somerset. The village has the ruins of Nunney Castle and one of the main establishments in Nunney is The George.

The George was one we found in 2013 and we have been back a few times since. The food is excellent and combined with the cosy rooms and friendly service it is certainly a great place to stay. The lounge, restaurant and 10 bedrooms have all been recently renovated so it has a really contemporary feel. There is also an outdoor area, ideal to enjoy some alfresco eating or drinking should we get a summer. There are plenty of walks around the area so there is always something to do. The breakfasts here are really good and you will leave full, rested and happy.

Website : http://www.thegeorgeatnunney.co.uk

Twitter : @GeorgeNunney

Instagram : @george_nunney

The George at Nunney - Room Photo of one of the many Pub Hotels in England

The White Hart, Somerton

The White Hart in Somerton was a real find. Located in a beautiful village called Somerton it seems like going back in time to a simpler age. Somerton is a small town in the English county of Somerset. It has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages, and the main square with its market cross is one of the main attractions in the town. Located near this square is the White Hart Pub and Hotel.

The White Hart has been trading as a pub since the 16th Century. It was recently renovated in 2013 so it has all the features you would need. The meal we got here at the White Hart was amazing and it remains one of my favourite spots in Somerset. We enjoyed a quinoa chicken dish and a very signature style pasta dish.

The White Hart offers a spacious bar, fantastic food, relaxing dining area and of course eight en-suite rooms. The rooms have really well appointed bathrooms, and you will be guaranteed a great nights sleep. On sunny days there’s also the opportunity to enjoy your food and drink outside in the courtyard and garden.

Another great plus with the White Hart is that it is pet friendly. Dogs are welcome in all rooms at the White Hart, just at an extra charge of £10 per dog.

Website : http://whitehartsomerton.com

Twitter :  @WhiteHartSom  

The White Hart, Somerton, Room Photo of one of the many Pub Hotels in England
The White Hart, Somerton, Food Photo - Chicken Quinoa at one of the Pub Hotels in England which I love

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

The Dog and Bear is located in a small village in Kent called Lenham. It overlooks the picturesque village square and has a wonderful warmth both in the bar and in the staff who work here. We visited here in 2017 and it was a very special spot. We enjoyed the room with the four-poster and it was very comfortable – check out the website for room images. The bathrooms were very big with a very nice bath, ideal for soaking sore bones if you have just walked the nearby Pilgrims Way.

Rooms are furnished to the highest standards but you do get the feeling that it is a historic building. Apparently the Dog and Bear was originally built in 1602 and the hotel was visited by Queen Anne in 1704. If you look closely you can see that a coat of arms to Queen Anne is displayed above the door.

The food here was superb. I recall a fish dish with hints of star anise and also a key-lime pie which was amazing. I could have eaten the meal twice it was so good. Afterwards visit the bar, we enjoyed some pool, darts and meeting the locals including Laura and her lovely dog Rocky.

If is a very special spot at the Dog and Bear and one we hope to visit again.

Website : https://www.dogandbearlenham.co.uk

The Dog and Bear, Lenham - Room Photo - Rooms of Pub Hotels in England

In all three pub hotels mentioned above the room, the food, the staff, the location and the ambience have all combined really well. This results in a stay which is both enjoyable and indeed memorable. Infact, we are re-visiting the George at Nunney again in the coming weeks and who knows this list might be added to in time.

I hope you have enjoyed this list of my Top 3 Pub Hotels in England. If you have any comments about Pub Hotels in England or the ones I have mentioned, please feel free to leave them below. If you like this post, please share it via social media.

 

Map of the 3 Pub Hotels mentioned in this post

The George at Nunney

The George at Nunney

The White Hart, Somerton

The White Hart, Somerton

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

The Dog and Bear, Lenham

 

 

Disclaimer : I have not been compensated in any way for the comments, links or inclusion of any properties mentioned in this post. I visited all 3 hotel pubs in the past 3 years and I felt it was important to share such great hotels with others. The information in this blog post on shanemcdonald.ie is correct at time of publication and I advise researching your stay on other channels such as booking.com and Tripadvisor before making a booking. What suited me, may not suit others. I can guarantee that I was very very happy with all 3 pub hotels mentioned above. If you have any comments regarding Pub Hotels in England please leave them below.