If you didn’t have an urge to go to Ireland, you will after this post.
To be honest, I wanted to save Ireland for a bit later in our journey together, but I couldn’t resist – especially after disappearing for the last few days. Speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I ‘escaped’ back home and was too busy eating to post. My apologies!
Ireland is at the top of my list of favorite countries, right next to Iceland and Italy. HA! Look at that – I guess I’m a fan of the “I”s.
First things first: stay in Dublin. Better yet, stay at the Maldron Hotel on Cardiff Lane. You want to be on the south side of the River Liffey, rather than the north (“if you smell something iffey, its probably the liffey” – hilarious cab driver). The Maldron is right across from the Convention Centre and is a short walk from the Temple Bar area. If you walk along the water, you can check out the Custom House, then cut into town to visit Trinity College.
From there, keep on walking west to stroll through the unique Temple Bar area, then head a bit south to hit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral. If you are really up for the walk, keep on going until you reach Kilmainham Gaol.
Jennilyn and I arrived at 6am and began our trek through Dublin immediately. By 2pm we had covered all of our must-see’s, and lost only a bit of our sanity along the way. We are a dedicated team. Next up? Rest and relax. Walking through the streets of Dublin is unlike anything I had previously experienced. The streets are packed with people, all having a good time and enjoying life. The Irish are an amazing group of people – kind, helpful and naturally good-hearted. Yes, I love the Irish – I’m sure I’ll marry one one day. Back to the point – go to Merchant’s Arch. During our stroll, we heard live music – Mumford and Sons to be exact – and followed the sounds. We ended up here, sipping our first Guinness (which tastes nothing like it does in America) and Bulmers cider (which is delicious!), and singing along with an picturesque Irish crowd. We ended up with amazing weather (it was actually the warmest weather in ireland in the past 8 years or something), and were able to take our drinks outside and wander through this popular bar street. Fabulous.
Now that you have explored Dublin a bit, rent a car. Don’t be afraid! Well, be slightly afraid if you aren’t the best driver – the opposites get to you a little bit in the beginning. By the end, you don’t even realize you are on the wrong side of the car… or the wrong side of the road. Oh, and for Christ’s sake, please don’t use the GPS… or your phone… your iWhatever. I embrace technology with the best of them BACK HOME, but not in another country. Open your eyes! Embrace nature and the adventure of it all! Get lost a bit – who cares! Que sera sera.
Drive south to the Rock of Cashel. I’d say that its a great stop along your route to the Blarney Castle (which it is), but it is also a must see destination. The ruins of this structure (which they are in the process of repairing) is absolutely stunning. The cathedral still stands and is a very popular tourist area. The cemetery in the back of the cathedral is beyond beautiful, and looking out over the hills is a dream. Don’t forget to look down the hill on both sides – you will see some additional areas to explore. In my opinion, this area is even better, as its not technically part of the “tour” area.
Ahhh, the Blarney Stone. Not to be confused with the famous Molly Malone, but rather the Blarney Stone – kiss the stone to be blessed with the gift of gab. A popular tourist spot, but still worth the trip. Granted, neither Jennilyn or I really needed the gift of gab, but who wouldn’t want to kiss a piece of rock that THOUSANDS of people have kissed!? Okay, not the best selling point, but hanging over backwards to preform this ritual is a great experience – you get to live in a legend! The castle, and its dungeons, are quite awesome also.
We have now come to my favorite portion of this tale… If you go to Ireland, and you DO NOT go to the Cliffs of Moher… don’t talk to me (unless you have plans to return). The cliffs are hands down the most beautiful, spectacular, breathtaking, dramatic, miraculous… okay, I ran out of words, but you get the point… cliffs I have ever seen.
See what I mean? Now, go stand on the edge of one of those cliffs. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I love to go places that put the world in perspective. Once known as “the edge of the world” standing at the edge of one of these cliffs give you a feeling inside that I can’t even describe. If you have a chance in life, please, visit the Cliffs of Moher.
We rented a car for only one day, so we did a straight shot from Dublin to Cashel, from Cashel to Blarney, from Blarney to Liscannor, and from Liscannor to Dublin. To be frank, this was rough. I think we even cried at one point… but it was worth it. If you can, spread it out. Also, make sure you have enough gas (speaking from experience). Regardless, you will have the time of your life.
So, did I sell it? If I didn’t, call me. I certainly will.