Hello friends, this post is so special to me because it was the first trip my daughter and I took together on our own. Sarah did most of the planning along with the help of some great friends from Ireland and the result was a rockin itinerary.
Day 1- Dublin; we arrived at 9 am and hit the ground running, my goal was that we would stay in a variety of accommodations to get the feel for Ireland’s hospitality from a small B & B to a Castle. Above is The Dylan a chic boutique hotel located in the old financial district in Dublin. I would highly recommend it, a historic building with a well designed interior in Art Deco fashion, impeccable service and a full Irish breakfast.
Guinness Storehouse; after we checked in the hotel we headed straight to the Guinness Storehouse to see how Guinness is made and learn how to properly pour and drink a Guinness. With your ticket you receive a free Guinness, I recommend walking through a bit and going straight to the pouring school, it requires your ticket and then take your pint up to the top floor to see panoramic views of Dublin, a perfect kick-off to our trip.
Kilmainham; next we headed to Kilmainham Gaol, a massive stone structure built in 1796 that served as a prison. It was very moving to walk through the cold stone halls looking at the cells where some of Ireland’s leaders of the Irish Rebellions were imprisoned. We learned it is one of the most important Irish monuments because of its involvement in the struggle for Irish independence, it was quite a site.
Grafton Street; after we headed to Grafton Street , one of the main shopping streets in Dublin, it runs from Saint Stephen’s Green in the south to College Green in the north where Trintiy College is located. I snapped an image of a charming side street off Grafton above, this is St. Ann’s Church. Then finally sat down at a pub in the Temple Bar Area for a well deserved pint and some traditional Irish music.
Trinity College; yes it is still the same day friends. Walking down Grafton Street brought us directly to College Green where Trinity College/The University of Dublin is located. Founded 1592 it is Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious college, the architecture was breathtaking. Below is the courtyard at Trinity where we enjoyed speaking with some student’s and faculty so much that we missed seeing the Book of Kells because the library had just closed, ugg next time.
Day 2-Blarney; after a well rested night we headed toward County Cork and stopped at Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. Not that either one of us needed to receive “the gift of gab” as legend has it but a friend told me if you already had it then it may reverse it, we ‘ll see. The funny thing is that you are actually suspended over the edge of the castle to kiss the stone (see below) which was a bit of a surprise but fun. I know this may sound touristy but we enjoyed it and the grounds and castle were lovely.
Cork City; we then headed to Cork City and had a phenomenal dinner at Market Lane; exquisite food, chic yet inviting interior, open kitchen and excellent service. If you have time stop by the famous English Market, a covered indoor market founded in 1952 similar to Chelsea Market in NYC, there is something for every taste.
Kerry; After a good walk around Cork City we headed toward our destination for the night and our favorite stay, The Loch Lein Country House pictured below. The Loch Lein is located in Fossa just minutes from Killarney and perfect for touring The Ring of Kerry. It is situated on a lake with fabulous views and the rooms are lovely but what makes The Loch Lein so special are the people that run it. Innkeepers Annette and Paul Corridan and their wonderful staff took care of our every need, made arrangements for our trip the following day and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. I almost forgot to mention their scrumptious full Irish breakfast, don’t miss it if you’re in the area and one night is not nearly long enough, the definition of Irish Hospitality.
Day 3- Portmagee; we traveled the Ring of Kerry to Portmagee a lovely little village pictured below where we departed for ‘Skellig Michael‘, an island off the coast that is a 6th-century monastic settlement, beyond challenging and beyond spectacular to climb. Above is my view driving the Ring of Kerry on the way there, just beautiful.
Skellig Michael; there we met Joe Roddy our captain at the dock and began a journey we will never forget, I love Joe’s webpage here and his description of Skellig Michael. Once there we climbed 700 steps formed out of rocks to reach the summit where 20 foot beehive shape huts still stand, it truly brings you back in time and a sense of peace came over me that I have never felt before. The weather was picture perfect at Skellig Michael for us and the puffins were everywhere, we would both love to return someday.
Stop in soon to see the next three days of our trip, you won’t want to miss our favorite city in Ireland Galway, the smallest yet most endearing of the three Aran Islands Inis Oirr and our final night spent at Dromoland Castle in Shannon.