Ireland, known as the green island is a tourist destination that boasts of nature, cliffs, peace and tranquility from the bustling capital of Dublin to the most remote villages where you can enjoy fish and lobsters, with Celtic music. A trip to Ireland is a journey of the senses between high cliffs, raging sea, castles, and legends. Her green landscapes, nature, the deep blue sea, its fantastic food, it's fabulous beer from Murphy, Guinness and the wonderful sky, capable of changing colors all the time, I really entered the heart.
Our trip to Ireland began as we landed in what all define the Emerald Isle, and I have renamed my Middle Earth! I had the desire to visit Ireland for a while. In addition to the landscapes, culture, and traditions, Ireland is also the home of my favorite band, the U2! So we decided to organize the trip.
PLANNING THE TRIP TO IRELAND
Our journey last nine days. We plan it in large part with help of the Lonely Planet guide and the official Ireland tourism website to find the most famous places to visit with relevant and useful information.
To reach Ireland we found a flight at a good price. We went in mid-July, taking advantage of the fact that in summer the days have many more hours of light, and the climate is undoubtedly more favorable. Apart from a couple of days of overcast skies and drizzle, we traveled with the sun.
I found one of the best Bed and Breakfast in my life in Ireland. The b&b have been our reference points for the whole trip, which were delicious, clean and with good and plentiful breakfasts. If you want to visit Ireland they are a good and economical solution to stay.
The first we found in the city of Dublin, thanks to a quick search on the internet, where we booked the first two nights! Today in Dublin there are hundreds of hotels and B&B at reasonable prices. Just do a quick search on the various portals!
Among the most beautiful, I remember the one in Spiddal in County Galway straight out of a postcard, that was so typically Irish. Also, the breakfast tables were decorated with beautiful fuchsia flowers, which we discovered later to be the typical flowers of Connemara. Spiddal was a great base to visit Connemara and the Aran Islands.
At Tralee, however, in the county of Kerry, we chose s small but very nice B&B, well placed to visit the Dingle, the Ring of Kerry and Killarney Park. It had a delightful winter garden where we take a nightcap before going to sleep after a long day of traveling.
THE DISCOVERY OF IRELAND BY CAR
To travel to Ireland we decided to rent a car, not yet booked from home, but we chose to evaluate, after arriving in Dublin. I do not remember the name but I remember that the car rental price was not exorbitant, and it was less than what we would have spent by booking online. Anyway, if you do not want to run risks or even just to get an idea of the rental price, just do a quick search on the internet. Driving through Ireland was fun and quite easy, even for the signs, usually in two languages, English and Gaelic.
9 DAYS IN IRELAND: WHAT I SAW
Having only 9 days available we could not think of visiting all of Ireland. We then decided to take a ride in the south of the country, making Dublin as a starting point and destination.
Day 1 - We arrive in Dublin in the evening. We have dinner and take our first tour of the discovery of the Temple Bar.
Day 2 - Dublin called as Baile Átha Cliath in Gaelic, welcomes us immediately with its atmosphere on a human scale, with its quaint pubs and with great beers, primarily the famous Guinness, with its unmissable visit to the factory. I recommend a pit stop at one of the inevitable whiskey distilleries and a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, the factory making homonymous beer where is set up a very interesting interactive museum dedicated precisely to the production of this drink.
An unforgettable experience is to savor a freshly pulled pint, sitting comfortably in the charming sky-bar from plexiglass windows where you can enjoy a charming and unique 360 ° view of the city. We then visit the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland.
Grafton Street reflects very well the spirit of the city with the young and at the same time eager to preserve their traditions. It's a pedestrian street frequented by many street artists that lead to the Trinity College. Founded at the end of 1500 by Queen Elizabeth I, within the Trinity Gardens is an installation donated by Arnaldo Pomodoro, the sphere inside the sphere. Famous mostly because there is preserved the Book of Kells, the most elaborate of the island illuminated manuscripts, Trinity is a real institution.
In this city, the main churches are surrounded by green meadows that bring out the gray stone. In the case of St. Patrick's Cathedral a fountain in the center of the garden symbolizes the place where the saint baptized Christians. Inside there is a door which put an end to a bloody feud between families giving to that origin would bet my arm.
In Christ Church Cathedral it is interesting to see the change between old and new organ. Instead, you will see in the basement, including robes and silver plates, a curious frame containing a mummified cat and a mouse. This cat is said to have the merit of having caught a mouse hiding in the pipes of the organ other than Sylvester the cat!
Dublin Castle is a monster of Frankenstein architecture that is the witness of different historical periods and remains only an original tower in which there is the museum of the Irish police, a church in Gothic style, with free admission and Eighteenth-century apartments, visited with a guided tour. He did not let the appearance of the typical medieval castle, but even Dublin has the appearance of typical European capitals.
We then visit the meadows of the central park of St Stephen's Green, Dublin Castle, and the Clarence Hotel. In the maze of narrow cobbled streets of Temple Bar in search of the Wall of Fame, the famous eponymous pub is ideal to spend pleasant evenings in a cosmopolitan atmosphere, over delicious meals, great beer, and great live music.
Dublin was so full of nightlife but not only. To the north of the River Liffey which we cross the Ha'penny Bridge, O'Connell Street is rich in historic and commercial centers. We recognize it immediately to the futuristic spire, or the Monument of Light, an elegant steel spire. About halfway, deep in thought and dreamy grub air, the statue of James Joyce, who did research in the city and its inhabitants in Dubliners and Ulysses.
It was pleasant to walk in its center but, as always, we prefer open spaces and landscapes where nature reigns supreme.
Another interesting visit is the Old Jameson Distillery, also included in the Dublin Pass, a trip back in time, that involves all the senses of smell, to begin with. But for us, the best is always out of town.
Day 3 - We take the car and depart to the city of Galway with a visit to Connemara. Connemara is one of the most fascinating places with narrow, winding streets, bordered by the typical dry stone walls and look that you miss out on the views of many colors with castles, churches, and ruins of a majestic past seem to peep at each new curve. Some leave us literally speechless. Others made us dream with mansions of yesteryear in which to spend the night. The prices of this castle, despite appearances, is not preposterous, if you are traveling out of season.
They are still lots of the locations throughout Ireland, where waking up with a view like that in front of the windows with unspoiled nature and endless views. The roads most beautiful that give the most intense emotions are always those along the ocean. The steep streets, cliffs, islands in the distance, many birds in the early morning and a light that continuously varies for great shots.
Even some crazy daredevils come out early in the morning if there are the right conditions! Hours and hours admiring their evolutions. The south of the island is all to be enjoyed! Here lobsters and crabs are offered at every corner, at absolutely affordable prices. The mussels, with a thousand farms like this, are not far behind.
The Cliff of Moher is definitely the most visited place of the whole Ireland. Especially if you travel out of season, you must visit it early morning to avoid the hordes of tourists who flock to this place undermining the atmosphere. After the stone tower that stands like a beacon we get to the cliffs in the midst of a nature that gives the best show of themselves, without the presence of virtually no tourists.
The wind was very strong and the foam produced by the waves down there was actually raised up here. Our tour on the road in Ireland continues among beautiful marinas where the wild shooting always wins.
The headlights of which the coast is dotted are many, of all shapes and sizes. Celtic crosses, churches, and cemeteries are part of Ireland. A few shots later, they remain in the heart after so long away. If you like the story does not even miss the Dolmen. Do you know what these are? The peat bogs which yields peat that is burned in stoves. The characteristic pungent odor assails us, on the coldest days, when we enter in pubs or restaurants and soaks clothes and hair.
Up here there are no trees, and you can not burn the wood and this ancient method to warm up is still very popular, although it is not the ultimate in convenience for our noses maybe a little too delicate. Northern Ireland's most extreme reserve many discoveries. At ports where fishing in the North Sea is more developed, the seals swim placid looking for "comfortable" fish and the most rugged coastline, sunrise, and sunset, take on unique colors.
About sunset, even the Giants trail is an attraction to be reached strictly at sunset. The people here are unfortunately always too much! Even out of season and in all weather conditions. You cannot skip this place! Make a note for the next trip!
The Foreland area is one of the best places to spot lots of seals in a unique natural setting. But for us it's time to head to Belfast, which has experienced in recent years an architectural rebirth.
Day 4 - We have an excursion to Aran Island with the opportunity to visit the largest island, Inishmore, with the fantastic Dun Aengus, the fort overlooking the sea. To visit the island we rented bikes and it was a real slog!
Day 5 - We depart for the city of Tralee and visit the beautiful peninsula of Dingle with dinner in the homonymous capital, Dingle.
Day 6 - The day was dedicated to the Ring of Kerry that we have come entirely. We have lunch at Valentia Island in a rustic inn overlooking the cliffs and where I ate one of the velvety chocolate cakes. We visit the fabulous Killarney Park and here I thought that JRR Tolkien had visited places like this to imagine the Middle-earth. We see the sunset from the Castle of Killarney with an evening walk to the center of Kerry.
Day 7 - We depart for the former capital of Normandy, Kilkenny because it is home to a famous beer and visit the Japanese Gardens and Bono's house and stop in Dun Laoghaire for the night with an evening in the most genuine Irish pub I've ever seen. But it is also home to a beautiful cathedral and an equally impressive castle.
Day 8 - Back in Dublin, We visit the Hanover Quay Studios and the foundations of the U2 Tower, a project that was abandoned a few years later because of the too high cost. In the afternoon we do some shopping at the center of Dublin. Before leaving, however, a trip to Dublinia, the city's historical museum is a must. With the Dublin Pass, you can skip the payment queue, and immediately enter the museum.
If you want to discover a bit of the medieval city you cannot fail to visit Dublinia. The Vikings founded Dublin in 841 and their economy was based on silver and slaves, as well as on piracy. After being defeated around 1000, they were integrated to the Irish people, converting to Christianity. Later then the Anglo-Norman Strongbow, in 1170, began the decline of this community of traders. Dublinia does just tell us the history of the town from then on for the next 500 years.
It is built on different levels, one that most attracts is the ground floor, where we see life-size scenes of everyday life, from the primitive hut of the Middle Ages. The visit is also strongly recommended for children with many interactive activities and the possibility of having even the certificate of Dublinia Mayor made with paper, charcoal, and mold in relief. Exiting the museum it is linked to the visit of the cathedral, located in the same complex and is included in the Dublin Pass.
Day 9 - After spending the last hours around Dublin we depart for home.
Every country I've visited left me wonderful memories and desire to come back to have a chance to know it better. Ireland even more than others!
It is no secret that this country is one of a few in the world where the landscape has affected extraordinarily in literature, music and the character of the population. For everyone who begins to think of Ireland is immediately seized by images of endless expanses of green, rolling hills, rugged coastline, and the changing skies. Ireland fact offers an incredible variety of landscapes, national parks, forest parks and numerous nature reserves, constituting one of the rooms most pristine in Europe.
And if you have no idea where to start, the advice is to start with a visit to the Burren National Park, a rocky region swept by Atlantic winds, the Galway coast. This is a fantastic completely paved plateau of limestone, in which, under the immense vault of the sky, land, and sea come together in a dizzying breadth, where it is not uncommon to be overwhelmed by a sense of arcane sacredness. Burren is also a natural paradise that is tinged in spring of multi-colored flowering and ephemeral of beautiful flowers including beautiful orchids, an exceptional variety of Mediterranean, Arctic and alpine plants.
It's also a refuge for rare birds and butterflies, as well as many mammals, including martens, badgers, foxes and even stoats, while seals and otters inhabit some beaches. From an archaeological point of view, Burren is a mecca. Once the area was in fact inhabited by populations that have left us more than 2500 sites of historical interest, including the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen, also known as Portal Tomb, a real Irish icon.
And if you want to trek there are plenty of trails such as the Burren Way, a journey of 35 km north of Ballyvaughan and Liscannor, reaching the village of Doolin, before continuing to the famous Cliffs of Moher. The coastal village of Doolin is known as traditional Irish music center and is an excellent base for excursions in the surrounding area. There are hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts, pubs, and restaurants.
From the port, there are excursions by boat to the scenic Cliffs of Moher and the ferries to the Aran Islands, whose unaltered beauty fascinates every visitor. But there are other charming villages in which to stop, as Kilfenora inland and Ballyvaughan in the north.
If you are lovers of cinema do not miss the opportunity to visit the tour that starts from Belfast city center before heading off to the south, at a time of Quoile Pond, near Downpatrick, setting used as a funeral pier for House Tully. From here the tour continues to the beautiful, eighteenth-century, Castle Ward Estate, the main location in the pilot series and in most of the filming of the first season.
The Castle Ward estate is scenically provided in two different times: its historic courtyard appeared as the courtyard of Winterfell, while the larger part was used for the Whispering Wood. Key scenes filmed at Castle Ward include episodes on camp Robb Stark's, the Battle of Baelor and Brienne facing Stark. After a lunch break in Downpatrick, burial place of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, continue to Tollymore Forest, at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, where were shot the very first scenes of the Thrones.
The final leg of the tour, before returning to Belfast, is at Inch Abbey, on the banks of the River Quoile. Dating from the twelfth century, the historic site was used as a location of the Twin Towers of the Riverlands. Once in Belfast you will be able to visit the Paint Hall Studios, the largest indoor film studios in the world, in which were filmed most of the interior of the "Throne".
Finally, if you have the desire to enjoy a bit of sea life, do not forget that Ireland also offers this possibility. For here is the famous Wild Atlantic Way that looks out on the wild Atlantic Ocean and is one of the most popular places for surfing enthusiasts.
Cooking shows give us a taste for good things. But behind the elaborate pastries and impeccable tarts, it is in simplicity that rests the pleasure. Let's revisit a classic altogether. The pastry makes its big comeback, and everyone wants its share of the cake.
Indeed, in some parts of the world, the craze for pastry has never faded. In some parts of the world, long walks end with a full butter bread and a large cup of tea. In some areas of the world, smoked salmon should be enjoyed with freshly baked bread and a lemon fillet.
The culinary revolution has made the tour of Ireland the tastiest legacy. The collection, for example, has become a popular culinary trend, while Burren Lamb meets the plates from Clare to Canberra. The oysters of Galway and Louth are regularly cited among the most delicious specialties, and the cafes have adopted cappuccino as a distant found cousin.
Good food in Ireland is not only about listening to what is tasty in Ireland, it is that sets the tone. The pastry revolution is a fair return to the roots. The mass production method of bread was developed commercially after the Second World War to produce bread quickly and cheaply. I think that for a while the Irish have been seduced by the abundance of white bread, but we are witnessing a great return of the traditional full bread.
But no matter how much the kitchen gets trendy or how innocent the chefs innovate, a country must always keep room for its classics. In the case of Ireland, this classic is the soda bread. And rightly so. The best bread in Ireland has not become a national institution without reason. When you think about it, this rich carbohydrate and fiber food will satisfy you much longer than a slice of white bread. It is also absolutely delicious.
For the food lovers, you cannot miss a day trip to Cork where there is also the Butter Museum, the capital of Irish cuisine. A trip that includes Burren and Cliffs of Moher is a unique experience, there are many from almost all cities in the west coast. For fans of the genre, in Athlone is the oldest pub in Ireland built in the year 900 and Cork offers a route for its historic pubs!
The Irish know how to enjoy life, even at the table. You must try the seafood (mussels and oysters) and soup (seafood chowder). And most importantly, always try the local beer! Every city (or almost) has one! And at least once during the holiday try the Irish breakfast. A shot of energy! In summary, Ireland is tasty.
Ireland Travel Tips
You have certainly heard of the St. Patrick's Well. The cave is located on the island of Lough Derg, which still is a pilgrimage destination. The St. Patrick's Day Festival is unique and unrepeatable opportunity to live a Dublin crowded and green dressed like clover color and symbol of the island.
A trip to Ireland, especially out of season, is a tour in nature, between lands still wild and pristine reefs where the force of the sea shows all its power. Obviously, my main advice is always the same if you go to Ireland out of season this will save you a lot of money and not find virtually no tourists.
In our several trips to Ireland, always out of season, we have really encountered very few and even the weather, except for some inevitable downpours, I have to say it was definitely on our side, whether it was September or it was February. Always be aware of where you are, as even the rain is part of the trip to Ireland!
There is nothing better in the world than to enjoy in solitude these areas of the sovereign and undisturbed elements of raging nature.
Ireland has many airports, so it depends on the company with which you want to travel and what you're getting.
The trains generally cost more. We used the train for the half-day trip in Cobh because it offered better schedules than the coach. Tickets can also be bought online at a slightly lower price, otherwise, you can do at the station or on board.
Ireland has a good hotel network. The ideal for travelers with backpacker coaches is to find a place to sleep near the station so that the morning of re-starting is more comfortable. Also, the main bus stations are all in the center or very close.
What to see in Ireland: Obviously much depends on personal taste. But in my opinion, Limerick is an almost essential destination for both history buffs and for lovers of literature to see the castle which offers a beautiful interactive museum for children and interesting for adults.
About sports, rugby is a religion. The colors of the rugby team, like football, is the green. You will notice that there are at least twenty small and large televisions which broadcast rugby and football all day, especially weekends.
The most effective way in my view to start your tour of Dublin and to have a clearer view of together is to buy a ticket for Hop on - hop off. What is it about? We find them in various European cities and beyond. They are typical red double-decker buses which provide circular routes allowing the stop near the major city attractions. You can get off the bus, dedicate yourself to visit and take a later to continue the tour. There is also the Viking Splash Tour, an amphibious vehicle with Viking boat form that allows you to explore the city by land and by water.
For the more romantic, I highly recommend the Grand Canal. For more than ten kilometers, you can walk hand in hand with your dream woman or simply can be an opportunity to invite a girl for a walk that intrigues you and who do you think has the sensitivity to be impressed by a similar context.
Another thing is literally imbued this delightful capital literature and history together. Visit the Museum of Writers, near the Garden of Remembrance. You will also find a copy of incredible and original Dracula of Stoker. Another place for fans of the genre, the James Joyce House. Maybe you read something Swift, Joyce, Yeats, Wilde before getting to Dublin, as the locals love foreigners who read their heroes.
But just as a hike in some Irish evocative places, the Giant's Causeway to the north, to the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. I dwell on the latter. Where they shot Excalibur and Braveheart. It's a harsh place, wild, foggy, windy, color dyed as red, brown, dark green. A place to close your eyes for a few moments and let the wind whispers us something about our future. A place that the Irish are very proud. As the rest of Glendalough, which contains an incredible cemetery, with the typical Irish crosses to lord.