“story horse?” (meaning: What’s Up? in America)
It is hard to believe next month will be a year since I’ve been to Europe! Ireland had been on my list for several years, so I was super excited to make this special trip across the pond. A lot of planning went into this because I wanted to see EVERYTHING. I was so worried my husband wouldn’t enjoy being in the car so much, but it was literally the perfect trip, so he enjoyed it. Precise planning was key.
A few posts ago, I wrote about Iceland. We scheduled a stopover in Iceland on the way to Ireland and it was remarkable. A great way to experience another country in a short period of time. Stopovers have become quite popular in the travel industry over the last few years and I highly recommend them to get the most out of your trip.
We flew into Dublin, Ireland and rented a car. We checked into The Trinity City Hotel and walked to the very first O’Neils. It was lovely. Exactly what I would expect from an Irish Pub! My husband doesn’t drink, but believe it or not, there are other things to do and enjoy in Ireland. The pubs have excellent food. I tried my first Guinness at O’Neils and The bartender suggested a “Guiness Black” which adds dark cherry juice and kills the strong taste, so this American could enjoy it. From that point on, I ordered a Guinness Black and felt like a local….
The next day we began our 7 day cross-country road trip. The very BEST way to travel Ireland. The first stop was Waterford. I really wanted to experience staying in a castle and this was a perfect spot. Waterford Castle was breathtaking and the staff was incredible. We stayed for 2 days and never left the property. Spectacular views, amazing food and the staff became friends. (The GM, Miss Bernadette is the owner’s sister. and the family story behind this gorgeous property was beautiful) It was everything and more I had imagined Ireland would be.
Next up was The Blarney Castle. This had been on my bucket list for over a decade. I just wanted to run up and ‘kiss the stone’! The Gardens were gorgeous and we were so lucky to have stunning weather. The leaves were turning and fall was definitely in the air. This was such a happy day for me. Oh! We did kiss the stone and I received the ‘gift of gab’ October is the perfect time to go, because there were no crowds or lines. We felt like the only one on the castle grounds. We pre-purchased tickets on line through the website (linked above).
Killarney was our next stop. We stayed at the Victoria House Hotel, which was situated along The Ring of Kerry and Killarney National Park. This was a super (and adorable) convenient hotel and we were able to drive about 1/2 of The Ring in one day. In addition, we toured the Muckross Abbey and Farm on a horse and carriage. It was outstanding…We got to see more castles, beautiful wildlife and amazing scenery. Torc Falls, Ladies View were a couple of our stops as we drove. The drive itself is stunning. Nightlife in Killarney was typical of Ireland….street musicians, shops and pubs. Courtney’s Pub is the oldest pub in Ireland and still owned by the same family. A MUST visit. The fireplace in the middle out of the bar was so fun. It’s a local favorite, but attracts lots of tourists as well. We also had a wonderful Irish dinner at The Laurels that evening.
The next day, we drove to the West Coast and experienced one of the most surreal views I have ever seen.
The next day, we drove to the West Coast and experienced one of the most surreal views I have ever seen. The Cliffs of Moher was literally a dream. It did not seem like real life. Again, a very light crowd, so we got to see mother nature at its finest. DO NOT miss this. By far, my favorite day of our Irish vacation. Movie fans…scenes from Princess Bride and Harry Potter (and many more) were filmed there! Please take my advice and DRIVE there. Don’t waste your money on a tour. There are so many other stopping points along the way.
Before we headed back to Dublin, we stopped in Galway. I wasn’t very impressed, but at this point, we were so tired. I heard lots of great things about the city, but we stayed at the hotel and had dinner there. Didn’t venture out much.
Back to Dublin for our last day/night in Ireland. Dublin is very overcrowded and busy. Driving is almost impossible, so its quicker to walk. We walked for miles through the city. We checked out Grafton and the City Center. We really enjoyed lunch at The Temple Bar, which is a pretty popular tourist destination. We dined with lots of Americans. They offer 92 sandwiches on the menu. Loved it.
Add Ireland to your bucket list, but take my advice and road trip. We saw so much in 7 days that would’ve take several trips back if we had stayed close to Dublin. 10 days, 2 countries and too many cities to count.
Slan leat, Ireland! It was a dream!
**Avanti Destinations booked everything for us. I use them for clients as well.