Britain 09 - Day 1
We arrived in Manchester early, 6.30am, sped through immigration (despite being from Australia and New Zealand we were in the "aliens" queue), and managed the pleasant walk from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. Here we needed to find the Aer Arran check in desk for our flight to Ireland. The airport ground staff gave us conflicting directions - up a floor, no down a floor, behind that pillar, no around that corner. We finally found the right place, checked in, only to find that Aer Arran runs a different checked luggage allowance to other airlines. Coming off an international flight our bags weighed around 20kg each. But Aer Arran will only allow 15kg, so we were forced to pay €50 in excess luggage. We didn't have much choice - and they knew it. This despite their policy of allowing 20kg if you are going the other way - from an Aer Arran flight to an international one within 24 hours. (And yes, we had to pay again coming back from Ireland !!!@#$%^&***!)
Arriving at Galway was a refreshing change from the large international airports we had been through - Auckland, Singapore, Manchester). Bags brought to us on a farm tractor, and an immigration desk that they wheeled out for the occasional person not on an EU passport (like us). Visitor's visas were handwritten into our passports (the slowest part of the whole arrival process) and then we were free to find the rental car.
After waiting for the bottle-blonde in the tight faux leopardskin dress with toyboy in tow (or was it businessman with big game trophy? !) to complain about not getting the VW Golf she thought she had booked, "And no!! an upgrade to a larger executive model was not the same", we signed for the car, only to be told it still needed servicing, fuel and cleaning. A quick trip to the local service station fixed these and we were on our way south, around Galway Bay to the south side at Ballyvaughan. We stopped at Kinvara for lunch. Further on we saw our first views of The Burren, then on to the Hylands Burren Hotel.
The Hylands Burren is an old coaching pub in Ballyvaughan.It has been recently refurbished, and we found it a comforable place to stay. It is close to the small boat harbour and views across Galway Bay, but handy enough to the Burren and its attractions. It also has several other pubs and good dining. The Hylands dining room is worth a visit, but so too is the Italian restaurant a few doors away (they are members of the "Irish-Italian cooking school"). But the hidden gem of the dining world is a few minutes drive around the coast road at An Fulacht Fia (See Monday's story).
Last updated: 16/06/2017