ok, i hope you save this post for travel tips because i SERIOUSLY recommend going to ireland. we both had never been and loved so much about it. the beautiful scenery, the people were so kind, the food and cocktails were great, the pubs were fun, and going in early november was perfect! we decided to pack a ton in and drive around a lot of the country so we could experience as much as possible in 4 days (which might have been extreme but i am still happy we did it because we saw so much)
we got to fly first class on aer lingus which was a real treat! it was fun to start our Ireland experience as soon as we got on the plane in san francisco. all of the staff was really friendly and we were able to curl up in our seats and watch movies and drink wine and really relax before hitting the ground running. they’re a global partner with alaska air which means you can use your alaska miles to book a flight to ireland! they served us scones and tea and delicious food, it really was a fun flying experience, i’d recommend it!
a lot of people told me dublin feels really touristy. i8217;m sure there are parts that do, but overall i loved the vibe there. it might have been because we went in the off season so it wasn8217;t quite as crowded. but the streets were decorated for christmas, and there were tons of little shops and restaurants to pop into. i will just call out our favorites in each stop so you can write them down. we were also pleasantly surprised at the quality of food you get for the price in ireland!
we loved our dinner at the winding stair. excellent wine, cozy atmosphere with a view, and delicious food!
the blind pig speakeasy. does it get old when a bookshelf flies open when you press a picture? not really. we spent our last night in this cave drinking cocktails and listening to live music by candlelight.
we tried out two different hotels, the dean and the dylan. the dean hotel is a boutique hotel and has a very ace hotel vibe, it8217;s hip with cool decor and a great rooftop bar. it is also in a great location but the only downside is that it8217;s very loud at night. the dylan was comfortable and in a quieter neighborhood but maybe not as 8220;cool8221; as the dean. but we slept like babies there
on our second day (a little jetlagged) we made ourselves wake up early and hit the road. now remember we were driving on the other side of the road for us so we were pretty nervous beforehand, but it was all okay!
a few driving tips: rent an automatic SMALL car. the highways are super easy to drive on but the smaller streets get very very narrow and you do not want an SUV. i was putting in my side mirror sometimes because the brush would hit the side of the car on some of the roads. we just made sure to speak out loud a lot to get used to it, driving on the LEFT! joanie drove and i navigated and both people need to stay really aware. there are a lot of roundabouts which we aren8217;t as used to in the U.S. but they overall it is totally doable! once you are on a highway (motorway) you are in the clear and that is 2/3 of the drive.
as far as our driving route, this is what we did because we really only had 4 full days. it was a lot of driving but luckily the scenery is beautiful and it was fun. we downloaded some podcasts and books and just relaxed most of the time.
i wish we had one more day and we would have added galway (a lot of people told us to go there but we ran out of time) and maybe kinsale too. i think we probably did the max in our monday-friday span of time but you could squeeze in one more with an extra day. you could also explore northern ireland if you had a longer trip too!
after about a 3 hour drive from dublin, we stopped in a little town called doolin. very small with some cute cottages and only a few pubs. we had a guinness (loved it in irelnd!!) chowder, and fish and chips by the fire at gus o8217;connors and we were pretty happy. next door is that adorable pink house with the thatched roof!
harry potter and the princess bride were filmed here! they are a magical sight to see. with the fog it feels quite mysterious and almost spooky. i heard this gets pretty crowded during busy months but we just parked at the visitor center across the street, paid 8 euro each and walked across to the cliffs. we did it all in like 30 mins because it started to rain but people walk these for hours. i would say to set aside 30 mins to an hour minimum for this so you can soak it in. if it was a nice day you could spend awhile here.
well this was quittteeeee the experience. we drove up at night as the castle torches sparkled and a man with a top hat smiled and directed us in. we walked inside the castle and you feel all warm inside. almost like a kid again! excited to see what is around the next corner. everything feels authentic and full of charm. it almost feels like you are in a movie! again, we went in the off season so we got a nice room for 300 euros and that included an epic breakfast buffet. i know it gets more expensive than that but honestly for a special anniversary or something it is such a worthwhile stay. the friendliest staff, the best dinner we had on the trip, the comfiest beds, a cool bar with interesting cocktails, and you are in a freaking castle!
we almost skipped this stop because we got kinda jetlagged and tired of driving8230;but got a coffee and pushed through. so happy we did (and everyone on instagram told us we had to) it8217;s a very colorful fisherman town on the coast with adorable cheese shops, bakeries, a truck with fish and chips, and fresh seafood in every other restaurant. i think it8217;s the perfect half day trip! try a coffee at bean in dingle, the little cheese shop, fish and chips by the water at a takeaway truck, ice cream at murphys, and just walk around and find a pub you like!
that night we drove to our hotel, the sheen falls lodge outside of killarney. if we had more time we would have explored the national park or the town of killarney but there is only so much time in a day. we were told to choose dingle over killarney by the majority of people we asked.
as for the hotel, it8217;s definitely nice. we had a delicious dinner (get the bacon burger). it8217;s pretty old school, traditional with some modern touches. the rooms were really large and the property sits next to this cool little waterfall overlooking the water. it sort of feels like you are in the movie the shining and it very well might be haunted, but we kinda liked that. we recommend it here, but only if you can get it for a good price. some things could have been better, but we might have just been exhausted!
on our last day we drove back to dublin before our flight the next morning. we stopped in this secret garden like b&b, ballyvolane house, that looked super cute to stay in if you explore the town of cork. and lunch at hanna8217;s fermoy with gourmet cafeteria style food and a cozy stop in before you hit the highway back to dublin!
a big thank you to alaska air for asking me to be one of their worldwide wonderers! it was such a treat and i feel so lucky to have gotten to explore this gorgeous part of the world. i definitely left feeling inspired by the warmth and kindness of the Irish people.
Original source: http://www.designlovefest.com/2018/11/ireland-travel-guide/