Construction in Killarney, Part 2

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Today we met with the town engineer in Killarney, and he gave us a bit of good news and bad news. The bad news is that the “set down area” proposed for outside our shop (map here) will now be a loading zone, so we will have lorries parked just outside our front door most of the time.

The good news is that it would seem like we will be able to have a couple of tables outside once the construction is done (before next March, we hope!). So if customers don’t mind the lorries, they will be able to enjoy an ice cream or coffee at a street-side table…

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Construction in Killarney

Construction in Killarney It’s not so nice outside our shop in Killarney at the moment, as they are digging up the street. The idea is to make Main Street more pedestrian-friendly by widening the sidewalks and reducing the traffic down to one lane, one way.  

View of Construction

So, for the next 6 months or so, we will be trading in a construction zone. We can only hope that work will be completed as promised in March.

Although it would seem that Main Street will look well after the project is done, it’s a question whether further pedestrianization of towns is a good thing.

On the one hand, it’s great to put in benches and have wide sidewalks. On the other hand, the more you restrict traffic into a town, the more likely it is that people will find it too difficult to come in and do their shopping on the outskirts. It’s already a bit of a chore to navigate into the centre, and parking is limited and expensive.

Tralee is a case study, and it wouldn’t inspire confidence. Streets have been completely pedestrianised, the square redone and blocked from traffic, which looks nice and is pleasant for strolling and shopping.

The problem is that fewer people seem to be coming into the Tralee centre for the pleasure. It’s just simpler to go to Manor West Shopping Centre, outside of town, which is easy to get to and has plenty of free parking…

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Return of The Scone

Scone with Jam and Cream Back in 2000, when we first opened the ice cream shop in Dingle, we served scones. Within a short amount time, however, we discontinued them.

The reason was that we were having trouble making people understand that we were a high-quality, gourmet ice cream cafe, since that concept didn’t exist in Dingle. Back then, we found that serving scones was a negative positioning statement – it was what cheap cafes offered along with thin coffee and white bread ham sandwiches.

SconesTimes have changed, however, and we have always felt that a good scone, served with cream and jam, however, is a tasty treat.

So they are back for a trial run in the Killarney shop only, baked fresh every morning, and when we sell out – that’s it for the day.

So far it seems to be working well, and it does give people another option, especially early, when they might not yet be in the mood of cake or ice cream…

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Staff Party

Staff We’re all a bit tired in the world of ice cream after our end-of-season staff party, which we held in Killarney last night.

Staff 2I won’t embarrass everyone with lots of photos, but here are three. My apologies to the many people not included…

It’s an amazing thing in this business how the team shrinks and swells depending on the time of year.

Staff3It’s shrinking now, for sure. Quite a few are heading back to college (and best of luck to them), others will stay on, and we will have half the number within a few weeks.

That is why it’s good to get the whole team together for one last bash…

Thanks a million, everyone!

Harleys in Killarney

Harley Guy2 Killarney is the midst of the 15th Annual HOG (Harley-Davidson Owner’s Group) Rally, and anyone interested in such things and immune to the roaring of motorcycle engines should rush over.

Many Harleys

10-15,000 bikes and riders from all over the world have converged on the town, and it’s quite a sight. Killarney is positively heaving with Harley-Davidsons.

For anyone who feels like they need the ultimate accessory to join in with the festivities, they could pay a quick visit to the Irish dealer on the way down, but would have to be willing to part with some serious cash.

Contrary to stereotypes, the bikers we met in Killarney were quite lovely, and the town had a nice mood, even though the noise was something ferocious.

Murphys Harley

A great number of them turned up in Dingle as well, and they even found some time to eat some ice cream!

Harley Guy3

Harley Guy 4

Harley couple

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Eating Ethnic in Killarney

There are many people who think that there is difficult to eat out well in Killarney. For the most part, I agree, perhaps because there has been little incentive for restaurants to change or improve. There are just a handful of places that I know of that are good value and interesting.

Lunch at the Park Hotel bar is an old standby and definitely recommended, and besides that it’s worth looking at some of the ethnic entries into the restaurant market. One of the benefits to the New Ireland with its immigration is the proliferation of ethnic cuisine.

Chinese RestaurantThe best of the Chinese is the rather tragically named Jungle Bell that is hidden away in the Inisfallen Centre off Main Street. It’s quite a bargain and a good find for those who don’t want to spend a fortune.

Just opposite and up the stairs is an excellent Thai restaurant, Genting Thai. I’m regularly in there for the phad thai.

If you feel like cooking ethnic at home, also in the Inisfallen Centre is an Asian and African market that’s definitely worth a look.

The best of the Indian restaurants is the very popular Bombay Palace on College Street, and you couldn’t go to wrong eating there.

There certainly are other places to eat, and I’ll come back to this later. It’s definitely worth doing your research!

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Plans for Killarney

There are new plans posted for re-doing Main Street in the offices of the Killarney Urban District Council, although strangely enough the plans on their website only are as recent as 1995.

Killarney PlanBasically, the idea is to turn Main Street (the home of our Killarney Shop) into a one way system with a wider sidewalk. Unfortunately for us, the wider sidewalk is on the opposite side to our shop, and in front of us they had placed a set-down area and actually narrowed the sidewalk. We lodged a letter of complaint, and it now seems from the new plan the sidewalk in front of us will at least retain its present state (about 4 metres).

They seem to be trying to give the centre of Killarney a more European feel, and we’ve been pressing hard for outdoor seating, which we feel would be in keeping with that idea. However, there is little movement for the moment. The noises coming from them suggest they are worried about setting a precedent, but the odd thing about that is there is outdoor seating elsewhere in town.

(They also planned on starting to dig up Main Street before the tourist season, and thank heavens they have pushed that back to September.)

We’ll have to see what develops, and we will keep pushing…

Although their website is very out of date and not very helpful, the same cannot be said of their parent – Kerry County Council. I couldn’t find their plans there either, but they are hip enough to have webcams in both Tralee and Killarney. If the placement was slightly closer to our shop, we could really keep an eye on things!

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Milltown Market and Petrol Heads

Milltown market2

For anyone travelling between Killarney and Milltown MarketDingle, I highly recommend a stop in Milltown to visit the market there. Set in one of the prettiest buildings of any Irish market, it is certainly worth a browse, especially on a Saturday, when there are rows of organic farmers, bakers, etc. selling their wares. With a good range of natural products, organic and biodynamic wines, food, and gardening and farming supplies, it makes a very pleasant break to the drive. At the very least you will come away with some snacks, and if you have a green thumb and room in your car, you might come away with all sorts of treats for your garden.

You will find it in the old church on the right as you come into Milltown, down from the school and opposite the petrol station.

The opening hours are Tues-Fri 2-5 and Saturday 10-2.

road closed

Meanwhile, unless you’re car mad, avoid Dingle each year during the rally, which is this weekend. Dingle town is at a standstill today and the roar of cars echo around the peninsula.

rallyAt times like these I get that parallel universe feeling as the whole town is taken over by an entirely different crowd of people than the usual visitors. Besides the racers there are spectators, hawkers of all sorts of racing merchandise, chipper vans just for the event, etc.

The roads are closed to the West, and even Dingle town is virtually impassable as boy racers rev their engines and creep along the streets looking to impress. Confused tourists wander around shell-shocked, a free day on their hands after being told they can’t visit sites or tour around the place.

At least this event is not marred by the violence that seems to accompany the Killarney rally, and I guess it is a wonderful thrill for people who live for their cars…

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