Traveling to Ireland? Need some ideas?
After 86 days in Ireland….here are my top 10 experiences.
1. Driving the Wild Atlantic Way – BY FAR my most memorable days in Ireland!!! The Wild Atlantic Way is a 1,600 mile route along Ireland’s southern and western coasts. For weeks we were going to plan out our route… but in the end we just hit the road and decided to wing it (my planned method of traveling). We traveled from Cork and ended just below Galway (We spent 4 days exploring). The road itself is varied and exciting. It cuts through villages but also takes you into into the quiet countryside filled with rolling green hills full of sheep and cows. When in Ireland this is a MUST MUST MUST! Even if you can’t do the whole thing (which we didn’t) spend at least a day or two and you are sure to get an eye-full of beautiful Ireland!
2. The Rock of Cashel – “A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral” — Take a gander around the grounds then wander down the hill to Hore Abbey…. now you deserve a drink so head into town and enjoy a pint of Bulmer’s cider!
3. Kissing the Blarney Stone – An obvious choice. I had a superstitious moment and touched my lips to it and I’m still alive (I did see a guy wipe it down with a rag every so often). So why kiss it? Kissing the stone has come to signify the gift of sparkling eloquence and good luck.
4. Wandering around Dublin – Dublin is an easy city to explore in a day or two. Have a pint and listen to some traditional music in Temple Bar, explore Trinity College’s grounds, walk across the pedestrian bridges and pretty much walk, walk, walk. I had been in Dublin in 2007 to run the marathon so this time around it was nice to not have aching legs!
5. Attending a Rubgy match -I was lucky enough to get invited to a Munster rugby match in Thomand Park in Limerick. It wasn’t until we were on our way that I was told the tickets were on opposite sides of the stadium and we wouldn’t be together. As a result, I was sitting there not having a CLUE what was going on. One amazing thing though is the stadium gets eerily quiet when the kicker is going to kick a goal. You would never even get close to that level of silence in an Eagles stadium! I swear it was like everyone was holding their breath (thousands of people!).
6. Exploring the coast near Cobh/Cork and picking up sea glass – My sea glass addiction follows me wherever I go. I picked up loads!! There are many nooks and cranny’s along the Cork coastline to explore. It’s great to take a drive around and find different beaches. My favorites were: Marlouge woods , Cuskinny and Crosshaven
7. The Cliffs of Moher – A point of interest along the Wild Atlantic Way, the cliffs are a MUST SEE! There are barriers but many people climb over to take a better pic (myself included). Just be SUPER careful because people slip and fall (or jump in some cases) to their death (a morbid face that of course I had to Google).
8.Cable Car to Dursey Island – Another point of interest along The Wild Atlantic Way. It is Ireland’s only cable car and dangles high above the Atlantic Ocean. Due to cold weather we just took the 10 minute across and back. The inside of the car is wooden planks/metal and the sliding door has a simple hook latch to keep it shut. Safety first (or not!).
9. The Gap of Dunloe – It is narrow mountain pass between Macgillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain in County Kerry, Ireland (close to Killarney). It is about 11 km from north to south and an incredible freaking thing to walk or drive. Given the rainy weather, we drove through it at 8:30am on Halloween and were the ONLY people on the road! Tons of waterfalls, creeks, plants, and scenery to take in 🙂
10. Kissing an Irish lad – Saving the best for last 🙂 I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful and charming Irish guy a few weeks into my stay. We spent every weekend exploring, cooking, and laughing together. And yes… I made him watch P.S. I Love You with me! And yes… he has an Irish accent. I can’t thank him enough for indulging me in my sea glass addiction (and showing me the best spots).