Crossing That Big Blue Ocean!
We did it, we finally did it! In March of 2016, Ty and I crossed the Atlantic ocean on an AirFrance Boeing 777 and began the anniversary trip of our dreams in Ireland!
After 30+ hours of traveling, involving drive times, 4 flights, and an 8 hour layover at the Charles De Gaulle airport, we arrived safely in Dublin at 5:30 in the afternoon with smiles, that felt permanently attached, on our faces.
Since we booked our all inclusive trip with Great Value Vacations, the first thing we did, with a little direction from airport security, was grab our rental car at Dan Dooley Car Rental (which was included) and a WiFi-hub. Once all the paperwork was signed we were off to find the Aspect Hotel Kilkenny in Kilkenny, Ireland, which was an hour and a half from the Dublin Airport. That evening on the way, Ty showed off his driving skills as he flawlessly navigated his way through the unfamiliar roads and towns, getting us to Kilkenny with no hiccups at all, despite it being his first experience driving on the left side of the road. Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly by the staff. We were asked if we needed directions anywhere and informed they had a restaurant in the hotel where we could have dinner (which was perfect since we were exhausted at this point), so we opted to dine at the hotel that night and we had the our first authentic Irish meal; we chose the Traditional Cottage Pie, it was perfectly seasoned and by far the best Cottage Pie we have ever had. The next morning we woke to howling winds and feelings of eagerness, it was time to head to Co. Cork! After breakfast, we packed our bags and headed towards our B&B number one, but first… Kilkenny Castle!
Kilkenny has been remodeled on the inside and is lovely, there are plaques with some local history and a plethora of artwork. The castle is definitely worth a visit.
After a lengthy visit at the Kilkenny Castle we headed for Co. Cork. Once we arrived at our destination we were greeted by our host Janet and had a relaxing night in, playing board games and drinking tea at Pineforest B&B, we got a hot shower and cuddled up under a big soft blanket and slept the fatigue away. The next morning Janet made us a made-to-order Irish breakfast that was to die for! Next on our list Blarney Castle.
Blarney Castle felt like home for us, we could have stayed all day…
…but unfortunately, we were pressed for time. Off to the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
The Folk Park was a delight…
We had lunch in the Folk Park at Mac’s Pub. We highly recommend eating here. The seating is a bit awkward but the food was fantastic.
A short walk after lunch ended our time at Bunratty Castle. The Bunratty Castle and Folk Park was full of history and had a unique charm. We look forward to taking the kids when we go back in January 2018.
We arrived in a small town called Doolin in Co.Clare around 4:00 in the afternoon, since the weather was supposed to be bad the next morning we decided to go see the Cliffs of Moher. We unpacked and took a twenty minute break to freshen up at our 2nd B&B. It was short ten minute drive to Cliffs and boy, was it worth it!
If you ever in Doolin, do not forget to stop by McGann’s Pub for good beer, great food and live music!
From our B&B in Doolin, Doonagore Farmhouse, there were some beautiful views and Pat Sweeney (co-host of Donnagore Farmhouse) does a Doolin Cliff Walk tour every morning. We decided to look around for a bit before heading out to our next destination. The pictures below are a few of the sites surrounding Doonagore Farmhouse, including Doonagore Castle.
As we were leaving Doolin we spotted two backpackers from Germany, that needed a lift. Since we had a free day, we picked them up and took a small detour to Galway to drop them off at a hostile on our way to Athlone.
In Athlone we were excited to see all the colorful buildings!
Our 3rd B&B
Inney Bay B&B:
In the video I am telling our kids about Inney Bay, about five minutes after we arrived the sun came out, so we took a walk.
This is the part of the trip we hit a roadblock so to speak, Unfortunately, due to some ailments, exploring had to be put on hold. Our hosts at Inney Bay, Paul and Deidre, had already made us a fire and greeted us with warm tea and biscuits, however, they took their hospitality the extra mile when they helped us order take out for dinner because we were unable to go out that night; they provided us with plates and utensils allowing us to unwind and relax for the evening. Thanks to Paul and Deidre we felt much better the next morning and were ready to explore Kildare.
Our fourth B&B was a sheep farm called Eaglehill B&B. Our hosts Patrick and Julie were friendly and open people. Despite their busy lives, they made sure to make us feel at home. Making friendly conversation while walking us around the farm, ensuring we had a warm fire to sit by and plenty of tea and biscuits to enjoy, this B&B was one of the most hospitable and welcoming we came across. The next morning Julie made sure we had plenty to eat and graciously wished us well as we left. It was time to make our way back to Dublin.
There was no way we could leave Dublin without visiting the Guinness Storehouse. It did not disappoint either, with loads of information in an interactive tour, a tasting experience, and a free Guinness included with admission, where you get to chose to learn to pour the perfect pint or enjoy your Guinness in the Gravity Bar with a 360 view overlooking the city, this place is a must, if you enjoy great beer, during your visit in Dublin! One thing to remember though, it is a popular place to visit so it stays crowded and can become overwhelming, especially if you have small children.
It is certain, Ireland is a land filled with mystery, magic and history; A place overflowing with music, dancing, pubs and castles, one is engulfed in a warm and friendly atmosphere, despite the at times bitter winds. Oh yes, from the grand landscapes to the powerful seaside views, Ireland is a place of majestic beauty and ever-present history. Irish culture is one we look forward to visiting again.
Until next time…