Catch your breath in Ireland

Exploring Ireland

If you haven’t stopped in your tracks, had your breath catch in your chest or just said, “WOW!” lately, then you might be due for a trip to Ireland.

After just returning from a four-day trip to the beautiful emerald isle, I keep wondering what took me so long to visit here.

Our trip began in Dublin with a day of tours and shopping. You can walk the length of the city in about 35 minutes, so we didn’t bother with trains or buses. Dublin was great! Everyone was very kind and helpful. If you even looked lost, it would be the norm for a local to approach you and ask if you need directions.

Exploring Ireland

The first of three rainy days passed quickly, but we found our refuge in great shops restaurants and pubs. The food was wonderful but not diet-friendly in the slightest. The prices could be pretty steep, so if you intend to indulge, be prepared to pay. An average meal was around 15-20 Euro and the average pint of beer was about 5.50 Euro.

In fact, most things were pricy. An hour parking on the streets of Dublin was more than two Euro, but I would recommend you pay extra because we ended up with a clamp on our tire which cost us an additional 80 Euro. Don’t let this happen to you!

While that was a bit of a damper, we were still excited for our country road trip driving on the opposite side of the street!

A trip to the Irish countryside felt much like stepping into the 1800s. Castle ruins scattered the land, all the fields looked untouched by people, only grazed upon by the cows, horses and sheep. The grass looked to be a mixture of many different textures, colors and heights. Each plot of land was surrounded by a waist-high, hand-built rock wall. The rock walls, too, were partially covered in moss and vines as the untamed beauty of the greenery continues to claim the land.

Exploring Ireland

The drive was incredible! Everywhere I looked, I found myself pointing out hills or horses or making comments about the landscape. Luckily for me, we had plenty of road to cover.

We traveled to the quant city of Kilkenny on our way to the Blarney Castle. It was all family shops, restaurants and pubs. The smells were enough to fill you. I partook in an especially amazing shepherd’s pie, filled with ground beef, gravy, mushrooms and peas, topped with mashed potatoes.

Exploring Ireland

I needed a nap after the meal for the next leg of the journey, but just a couple hours later, we found ourselves at the Blarney Castle. There we toured the grounds and beautiful gardens before making our way to the top to kiss the Blarney Stone in hopes to be bestowed with the gift of eloquence.

The stone was on the top level of the castle and in order to reach it, you had to lie on your back and lean far over the edge in order to place your lips on the much-kissed stone. A couple gentlemen by the stone helped us through the processes for no charge other than tips. I am frightened of heights but it turned out fine. Just don’t look down until you’re safely on your feet.

Exploring Ireland

Following the castle, we made our way to Cork where we stayed for the night. We were a bit tired from the day of travel so we chose to not brave the crowds of drunken soccer fans watching a finals game, so we were home early. If you decide to go out, dress up. I don’t know why, but everyone seemed to be wearing their Saturday night best.

Sunday breakfast was held at the Blackrock Castle in Cork pictured below.

Exploring Ireland

Sunday was the highlight of the trip where we made our way to the Cliffs of Moher. We were most excited about this part of the adventure, but the ride there was my favorite part! The country roads were narrow and scenic. I would suggest renting a very small car like we did.

The parking and entrance to the cliffs cost a very reasonable six Euro each and was worth every cent! The views around it in Clare County were the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. You could smell the fresh air of the country and the sea. The walk to the cliffs wasn’t too difficult, but the views could move you. I ventured to the cliff’s edge where I looked down more than 700 feet to the Atlantic coast below.

Exploring Ireland

If I could suggest anything to anyone looking to travel to Ireland, I would say to spend a full day in this area. It was gorgeous, just look at the photo above! The best photo times are said to be around sunrise and sunset, but there is much to do in the meantime for country leisure people such as myself including horseback riding, a golf course and outdoor restaurants. I spotted many bed and breakfasts as well.

This was my favorite vacation yet. I hope you find yourself in Ireland soon!

Exploring Ireland

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