SLAINTE! (slawn-che) ….shout the Irish to cheers their beer and wish good Health to one another!
This positive attitude and outlook never ends as you wander around the appropriately named Emerald Isles.
Not to go into it too much, but at the beginning of our relationship there was a lot of travel involved to see each other, and with Philadelphia and London being the book ends, Ireland made for a great novel in the middle to explore the pages together. We gave ourselves 5 days, a rented a car and the Irish attitude of joyful exploring.
Ireland has an abundance to offer outside of Dublin, but with that said lets not mess around, you’re going to start your Irish festivities right in the capital and you’d find it hard to start anywhere else. There is a positive aura in the air around the streets of Dublin, and dare you dream you get there on a sunny day that aura is on overdrive. We were just so lucky that dream came true.
A standard Purposely Wandering Day one, the hotel was nothing to write home about, but allowed a space to throw our bags down, quick stretch and let the exploration begin. Arriving early on a Sunday, you will find your dream to head to the nearest pub for the inaugural Guinness to settle into Dublin life at 11.30 will not be. An extremely Catholic country, there will be no drinking on a Sunday before midday.
Meandering next to the River Liffey and taking the wrong turn finding yourself on the cobblestone streets will take up a wonderful day one (Of course there is no such thing as a wrong turn in Dublin). Again, if the sun is shining be prepared for no more than walking 100ft before the next local tells you “It’s normally not like this, you’re lucky to have such great weather” which we did not take for granted. Don’t forget to find your way to any one of the wood beamed, brick building pubs of Dublin. A classic Irish Stew will always go down well. (generally referred in Ireland as… “Stew”).
Here at Purposely Wandering, we are the number one advocate for the greatest city addition that is, The Free Walking Tour! Dublin was no exception. The idea of a local guide taking you on a tour of their favourite city, showing you the top sights and explaining the history, all with the hope that the tour(ists) will tip them at the end. Absolute Heaven! We can strongly suggest the Dublin Free Walking Tour . A wonderful mixture of History, Fun Facts and that classic Irish Charm and humor. You can meet them at 11am every day at the big needle (you’ll know what that is).
Walking from the famous Trinity College where some of the greatest minds have attended (Spoiler: Draco Malfoy before Hogwarts) to the world-famous Temple Bar. By day it is a charming, quaint neighborhood full of, you guessed it, bars and restaurants. By Night it turns into a bachelor/bachelorette play ground, all in good spirits. A great bar with live music and a variety of beers is The Porterhouse , well worth checking out. Don’t forget to check of Fish and Chips on your food tour of Dublin.
Before we headed off on our road trip to Cork, there was time for one last attraction. I am sure 99% of guides and other Dublin visitors will rave about the Guinness Factory, we took a different avenue and visited the Kilmainham Gaol. A wonderfully informative view of a former prison which housed many of the revolutionaries and the war of independence.
Leaving Dublin by car can be a stressful experience, small, tight little roads and if driving on the left is not your comfort zone, it can be a quick learning curve. After you have left the city streets of Dublin, and you reach the motorway heading south, the real adventure begins.
Just before reaching Cork, another classic Ireland attraction is Blarney Castle, and the infamous, mystical Blarney Stone. Legend has it one kiss with the Blarney Stone will empower the kisser with “The gift of the Gab”. We however focused on the other aspect of the Blarney Stone and the 100+ lips that kiss it a day. The choice is yours. Either way the grounds are beautiful and is worth stopping off on your way to Cork. The line going into the castle was extremely long so we took the beautiful day to walk around the grounds. We wandered for a few hours through transforming gardens that its easy to forget where you are.
We struck gold with our accommodation in Cork. The Blarney Stone Guesthouse is a charming bed and breakfast that gives you that small Victorian House feel, only a short walk along the river into town. Cork is somewhat of a college town, ready to break out into a party at any moment. It’s good fun and we would highly recommend adding it to your Irish Road trip.
Our luck with weather followed us down South, and as crazy as it seemed we headed towards the coast to see the Beach’s Ireland has to offer. If you get such luck with the sunshine, a Purposely Wandering Must visit is driving down to the tiny, quaint town of Kinsale. Charming, colourful houses and plenty of real authentic local pubs in an Irish tiny town. Delightful.
Following the coast west, you will soon come to the magical, cliff side arena better known as “The Cliffs of Moher”. Make your way to Doolin where you can jump on the Cliffs of Moher Boat Cruises. Our experience was enhanced by again, some unexpected beautiful weather. (The locals continued to let us know as we travelled the Country we were experiencing phenomenal weather, 4 days of sunshine). Sailing along the west coast of Ireland for an hour, enjoying the beautiful cliff side scenery, we’ll let the photos show its beauty.
The final leg of our journey brought us to the western town of Galway. Not enough positive things are spoken about Galway, which is possibly why it has kept its authentic Irish beauty. Cobble streets, filled with live music and a vibrant energy. We only left ourself one day in Galway, but we will back and we would recommend you add an extra day on your trip to Galway.
A short 2 hour car ride from Galway to Dublin airport completes this epic Ireland road trip. It may not be a 5000 mile road trip around Australia (post on that epic adventure to come), but this road trip packs a charming, Guiness fuelled, delightful punch. Ireland finds it extremely easy to exude a welcoming smile, a comforting atmosphere and just a land of pure joy. You will come away from any trip to Ireland feeling warm, fuzzy and a longing for old, wood beamed public houses, and a good hearty SLAINTE!