Friday, December 19, 2008

Newry or Dingle?

CNN has a feature on Dingle, County Kerry, today. I didn't know that National Geographic had said it is "the most beautiful place in the world".

It recommends visiting Dingle now, in the winter. It's always good to visit Dingle, but they don't mention to US readers that Ireland has much shorter days in winter than US visitors will be used to. I prefer to visit the Irish West Coast in March at least, when there is more daylight time.

And right now, if you're traveling to Ireland, I think it makes more sense to go Northeast (Armagh, Antrim) than Southwest (Kerry, Cork). Given the relative weakness of the Pound to the Dollar, compared to the Euro/Dollar situation, I'd swap a visit to the Dingle Peninsula for a visit to the Cooley Peninsula. It works out a lot cheaper. In fact, the New York Times profiled Newry yesterday, saying:

The small city lies at the end of the beautiful Carlingford Lough waterway, dominated on one side by the Mournes, mountains that in a famed ballad “sweep down to the sea.” On the other side rise the Cooley Mountains, central to Celtic legends.

That whole Mourne/Carlingford/Cooley ares is a relatively undiscovered part of Ireland. And, right now, it's a cheaper part of Ireland to visit than somewhere like Dingle in Kerry. Newry in particular is a boomtown, given the weakness of the Pound relative to the Euro. It even draws people from Kerry, according to that New York Times article:

Alan Trainor, 49, a Newry local who works in O’Neill’s, a sporting goods store that sells merchandise of the Gaelic Athletic Association, said some of its best-selling jerseys were from counties like Kerry and Cork, far to the south, not those nearby, like Armagh or Tyrone.

“A lady was telling me last week that she bought a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream that was 9.95 euros in Newry,” the equivalent of $14.24, he said. “She showed me a bottle she had bought in Cork, and it was 35 euros. That speaks for itself. She would have a round trip of 400 to 500 miles. It must be worth her while.”

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