After going back and forth with my wife, we finally decided to take a trip to Ireland in June 2016. Our decision was totally based on some of the lush greenery and beautiful landscapes we saw online. My wife handled all the bookings/reservations, Thank you wifey!!
We ended up with a 6 days/5 nights package of Bed n Breakfast experience, which by the way is the best way to experience the real Ireland. Our package also included 1 night stay Castle turned into a 5 Star hotel and car rental to get around.
Car Rental Tips: Make sure you request an automatic unless you are an expert with a manual stick shift. In our case we went with a manual. The reason I have “an expert” in bold letters because of the narrow roads, hills, and slopes. Highly recommend a working GPS. Most of the car rental companies offer a wifi gadget that comes with a small fee. You can use it to connect your phone for GPS and to call home through VOIP Apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram etc. You can also check with your local carrier to see how much it cost to have access to your data while traveling overseas.
Highly recommend to go to your nearest AAA office to get your International Driving Permit. Requirements: Two original passport pictures (also available at some of the AAA branch offices), a valid U.S. driver’s license, and pay $20 USD permit fee and you’re ready to go!
Don’t forget in Ireland people drive on the left (wrong) side of the road, so be very careful and familiarize your self with the basic street signs.
Our Trip: We landed in Shannon Airport and drove to Kinsale, Cork. Well not exactly, we of course got lost even with our GPS and ended up in Killarney, Kerry. But honestly we didn’t care, we were in awe as we were looking at the views and the landscapes whilst driving. We did find a TESCO’s (Local Grocery Store) on our way to Kinsale to stock up with water, chocolates, crisps (chips), and other mouth watering snacks.
Our room was cozy and beautiful with a view was to die for. It was all so peaceful and serene. We visited the Town Center, where you can find colorful shopfronts, restaurants, and art galleries. This is where we had our first GUINNESS in one of the local pubs. If you want a panoramic view of the old head, just drive up the hill from Town Center and pull over to get a grand view .
Started our first morning with the traditional Irish Breakfast..yummmmy!!! Got back on the road, this time with proper GPS directions to our next stop Clare to see Cliffs of Moher. We drove through small villages and towns, they were all beautiful and picturesque. On the way, we stopped in Galway to shop at the city center and to grab a bite to eat. After covering roughly 200 KM (125 Miles), we reached Clare and stayed in a B&B on top of the cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Our trip to Ireland would be incomplete without visiting the Cliffs of Moher, by far one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. The views were spectacular and a great spot to take plenty of postcard like pictures.
Out next stop was county Mayo, on our way we saw a sign for the waterfalls. Believe me, so glad we made that random turn to see those waterfalls. Once we reached Mayo, we decided to visit the local pub for a drink. As we walked in, we noticed an elderly gentleman sipping on his Jamison (Irish Whisky) and reading his newspaper at the bar. We knew right away this is the local hangout and we have come to the right place. As soon as we ordered our drinks the bartender caught on right away that we were from the USA. Both the bartender and the gentleman started to ask us questions about how is it like living in the USA, since they had never stepped out of Ireland and offered us drinks on the house. We definitely made some friends that night.
Following morning, we were on our way to Donegal. This time we were staying in a Lough Eske Castle turned into a 5 star Hotel. Upon checking in, the front desk lady told us that we were being upgraded to their Garden Suite at no extra cost (talk about the lady luck, Thanks Wifey!). Suite was nothing less than amazing with a cozy fireplace. Drove around the town and found a hidden gem called Blueberry Tearoom for breakfast. Next stop, of course a bar for a pint of Guinness. Started talking to the bartender and he showed us how the bar used to be a bank and took us to the VAULT (still intact), which is now turned into the refrigerated Keg Room.
To sum up our trip, I can only describe it by using the word RANDOM one too many times. We didn’t have a set itinerary. We stopped at random villages to take in all the beautiful landscapes and views. Pulled the car over 5,000000000 times to take pictures. Ate at the random restaurants and enjoyed a pint of Guinness at the local pubs. Took random rights, lefts, U-Turns which made it even more fun and full of surprises. We wouldn’t change a single thing about our trip. The only thing planned was the destination and the B&B’s/Hotels we stayed at. We fell in love with the country and we would definitely visit again to make more memories.
Please visit the Travel section of my webpage and check out more pictures from our Trip to Ireland.
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