Updated: Apr 5, 2019
Ireland was hands down the most beautiful countries we have visited thus far. It is only half the size of Pennsylvania, but has topography from the entire US. It only took us about 3 and a half hours to drive from one side of the country to the other, but different terrain and views would make you think we went from California to Arizona to Utah and Pennsylvania. Mountains on one side, beaches on the other with lush trees and falling leaves straight ahead. Get ready to get a glimpse of Ireland!
Day one: We arrived at the airport ready to get our rental car and start our adventure. We began our forty minute drive to the city from the airport to stay at our Air BNB. This was the first time we drove in a country that drives on the opposite side of the road. It was nerve racking to say the least. Victor described it as, “learning how to drive again, but you’re going 60 mph down windy roads.” We stayed in Rathmines which is about a mile walk from the city center. Rathmines was a gorgeous little town full of lots of delicious restaurants. We had a few pizzas and pints at Blackbird in Rathmines for dinner. This place was so cool! It had an outside “garden” area where many people were hanging out as well as a pool table and arcade games inside. The bartender gave us tips of places to eat while we were in the city. This was a great way to start our trip.
Day Two: This was the day we explored Dublin city center. We started the day with brunch at “Queen of Tarts” then started our exploration. We got tickets to go on a tour of Dublin Castle (it does not look like a castle). The tour was a great way to start our visit because we learned tons of facts about the country and made us feel more connected to Ireland. We also visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral (I would only go inside if you line it up with a tour, we were in and out in 5 minutes because they did not have a tour for three more hours). We ended our tour day with meeting up with our friends at the Jameson Distillery. How can you go wrong with delicious cocktails and great friends?!
Day Three: Victor and I felt like we had seen all of the city in one day so we took a 40 minute drive to Powerscourt garden and waterfall. This is an amazing day trip or half a day trip. The gardens took about 2 hours to walk through and had a lovely café to dine in the gardens. The waterfall is about a ten minutes’ drive from the gardens, it has a great park and picnic area if you’re traveling with a family or kids and want to pack a picnic lunch. If you want to make your gardens and waterfall excursion an all-day affair there are a few castles along the drive that you can exit and go tour!
Day Four: This was our big driving day! We drove across the country from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher. As we walked up the Cliffs our jaws dropped. We were awestruck by the beauty and majesty of these gorgeous Cliffs. We took time to sit quietly and enjoy the view. After our trip to the Cliffs we drove to Clifden, a little town in Connemara about 40 minutes from Galway. The two and a half hour drive was absolutely breathtaking at every hairpin turn. As we arrived to the little town I thought that we were in the middle of nowhere until we turned down the street we were staying. It was as if we were in a fairy tale with three perfectly manicured streets with quaint restaurants and shops surrounded by the bay. We went to dinner at Darcy’s Twelve and enjoyed a lovely conversation with the waiter. He explained the Food Administration of Ireland has poured a ton of money into local farms so many restaurants use food from local farms. LOVE THIS plus the food was to die for!!!!
Day Five: We had a very relaxed day, we enjoyed a delicious brunch at Upstairs Downstairs Café in Clifden then met our friends at their gorgeous beach house that they were renting and went on an “adventure walk” on the private beach and hills. We ended our day back in Clifden at Lowry’s a local pub that played live Irish music. Surrounded by the local rugby team that had just won a Championship we enjoyed pints, music, and friends.
Day Six: The main reason we went on this amazing trip was to celebrate our friends getting married, and today was wedding day! We had brunch at their house then watched them get married on the beach. They had a gorgeous dinner and reception at the Abbey Glenn Castle complete with live music. The trip was ended by a famous Irish singer serenading our friends.
Ireland was truly an amazing country. Breathtaking at every turn and special that we were able to see so much of the country in such a short amount of time. Ireland should be a definitely must on everyone’s bucket list. Check out our tips for your upcoming trip!
*Tip One: Call your credit card company you will be paying for your rental car on. Most credit card companies have rental car insurance so you don’t have to buy it from the rental agency. Make sure you ask the card company to email you. “proof of coverage” as you will need to show the rental agency. This saved us about $150 dollars.
*Tip Two: If you don’t mind walking or trying public transportation stay a little outside the city. Our stay in Rathmines was about half the price that it was to stay in the city center and it came with free parking.
*Tip Three: If you want to go on tours book them ahead of time because they book up and you may be waiting a few hours if you just walk in.
*Tip Four: Make sure you have the UK Converter. We had a European universal converter thinking that we would be able to use it in Ireland. They have the same converter as the UK which is different than the rest of Europe.
*Tip Five: If you’re going to the Cliffs of Moher grab a bite to eat in one of the towns that you drive through on your way to the Cliffs. The café at the cliff offers food similar to a cafeteria.
*Tip Six: The airport security is very strict in Ireland and London. You have to put all you toiletries in a quart sized plastic bag provided by security and every passenger is only permitted one bag. I had all the toiletries in my bag for both Victor and I. Oooops!
Have any questions or want tips for your upcoming trip?
Let us know!
We loved both Air BNB’s we stayed at and would love to give you their info!