Talking about the carrot that I dangle in front of Himself, of traveling back to the Celitsh Isles, has conjured up all sorts of wonderful and wondrous memories.
I am a big fan of the, yeah it's just a bench outside a convenience store in a small blue collar town, but it's a bench outside a convenience store in a small blue collar town in [insert name of foreign place here] ! ! ! ! ! style of travel.
I've never enjoyed any other cheese sandwich one one hundredth as much as the chunk of stilton I jammed into a potato farl from a Safeway in Fort William, Scotland.
There was never a donut or brownie tasted one millionth as fine as the caramel square from the Bewley's I spied, purchased and ate while waiting at a bus stop near the Rock of Cashel.
A use book store in Carlisle, England? one of the top ten shopping expeditions of my life!
We didn't and won't do much in the way of organized tours or touristy things.
Cahir Castle is of much more interest than Bunratty.
BUT.... if you find yourself anywhere near the center of Ireland, you'd be a fool not to go to Clonmacnoise, if for no other reason than to learn yet another contradictory pronunciation of the the dang place, and the best way I can imagine is with Paddy as your guide. Lonely Planet suggests him, but we just lucked into him, (this is years ago, so delighted he's still active,) on advice from the most gracious of hosts at a B & B.
Off season, so it was just the two of us in Paddy's minivan, and it was a highlight of an already pretty elevated experience, he is fascinating and charming and passionately knowledgeable about his country's history.
Don't have plans, just go wherever and do whatever he suggests - you will not be sorry.