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Report 1922: Coasting Through Ireland on Pints of Cider

By Green Dragon from FL, Spring 2011

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Page 3 of 21: Friday, May 13th: No One Takes Swipe Cards Anymore

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At the arrivals area, I called Dan Dooley, and they sent Heather to pick us up in our rental car. Pick up was no problem, and no hidden charges, yay! We drove to the first Boots we saw and picked up those supplies we didn't want to carry over with us, such as shampoo and the like. Well, we tried ... when I went to pay for my items, I gave them my chip and pin (I had obtained a prepaid Travelex chip-and-pin card for our trip). I had misremembered my pin, but I had written a hint on the back ... but the clerk wouldn't let me look, as it was physically in the machine. Therefore, I tried a couple more times, unsuccessfully, and it locked up. And they said they couldn't take non-chip-and-pin cards (and that this was true throughout Europe, which was not correct). So I gave up, went and found a customer service phone, and got my card unlocked (fairly easily). If she had just let me look at the card, all of that could have been avoided, but it is what it is, and no tragedy occurred.

On to Carrickfergus! We explored the castle a bit, and took our first scenic photos of the trip. Both V and I love taking photos, though I sell them more aggressively than V does. We were just arriving as hordes of schoolchildren were leaving, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves. It's a nice, solid old place on the water, with lovely big rocks and nice sea views. We stopped a couple other places along the way north for photos, captivated by the colorful cuts of rugged cliffs, the wide water with ghosts of islands in the distance. At a couple places in the road, the cliff was actually carved out into a tunnel through which the road went, and I think that's when it finally hit me that I was in Ireland again, my soul's home, mo anam bhaile.

Cushendall is a small village on the Antrim Coast, one main street, one small grocery store, and four to five pubs, rather a typical Irish village. There is a river running through, a gratuitous ruin or two, a fairy hill, and a lovely coastal walk.

We found the Riverside B&B , just as our hostess was exiting she came right back when she saw where we were going. The B&B is right on the main road through town, and our hostess showed us to our room a beautifully decorated double room with a black, white and purple tastefully oriental theme. She recommended Joe's (pub down the street) for an afternoon lunch, and off we went. I had the goat cheese salad (a popular pub offering in Ireland) and V tried some Guinness bangers and mash, both were delicious. V had never tried goat's cheese before, but she was hooked when I offered some of mine to try.

We decided to take a walk around town, see what was on offer, and then found a path to Layd Hill lovely path through the woods and to a park, with a small waterfall nearby. It was beginning to get late, so we stopped at the grocery store to get some supplies. V is a Diet Coke addict, and needed to stock up (three to four a day, plus coffee in the morning is a minimum). We got some snacks, including nuts, apples, etc., and what V deemed Apple Crap carbonated apple-flavored diet drink (ick!).

We did a small nap for about a half hour, and then chatted with the host, Pat McKeegan, about the things around the area we can do. He was genuinely helpful, and you could very much tell he loved the interaction with guests, and talking about the local area. He recommended Glenaan, Torr Scenic Road, and Cushendun, as well as music at Joe's in the evenings. Some of it was traditional, some wasn't, but there were several rooms where music was played, so we could take our choice. We had a couple pints, laughed with a couple Australian girls about the 111 Bangable list mentioned earlier, listened to some of the music sessions, and tottered off to a well-deserved night's sleep of the dead.

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