First off, I just wanted to thank my lovely friend Laura for giving me advice on what cities I should see through Ireland! I ended up being very happy with my final itinerary!
I arrived at my hostel in Dublin around noon and immediately met a group of guys from San Diego. They were headed to Howth, a coastal village that is a 30 minute train ride from Dublin and invited me to come along. It was so fun! The town is famous for its fish and chips so that was our first order of business. Next we decided to hike up to the light house, which was about 7.5 miles roundtrip.
After we returned to Dublin, we went out to dinner around 10:30pm. We didn’t realize that most places stop serving food around 10pm so we ended up at a late night “American Diner” called Eddie Rockets, which was very similar to Johnny Rockets back in the States. After, we went to the famous Temple Bar, which has been open since 1840!
The next day I went on a walking tour of Dublin and learned all about the history between Ireland and England, and Ireland in general. For example when the referendum on gay marriage came up in Ireland, over 100,000 Irish people living abroad flew home to vote. It was one of the biggest weeks for Dublin airport and the referendum passed at 62%.
I met two girls from Wisconsin on the tour who I ended up wandering around Dublin with. We ended up deciding to meet for dinner and go on a pub crawl later that night. Dublin is fantastic at night. On the pub crawl, I met Mehrdad, who is from Berkeley. After talking for a bit, we realized that we are going to be in the same city at the same time about 4 or 5 different times during our trips!
The following day I went to the Irish Whiskey Museum with another fellow Californian from the hostel. The guided tour was fascinating and after we got to taste three different Irish Whiskeys. I’ll admit that I did not like the whiskey, but it was fun to try them.
The next highlight was the Guinness Factory Tour. Despite not enjoying beer all that much, I have to say Guinness has totally dialed in the Guinness Factory experience. From learning about the beer making process, to the marketing and advertising strategy, to learning how to pour your own Guinness, the whole experience was great! The best part, however, was enjoying your hand-poured guinness at the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor, which offers a 360 degree view of Dublin.
The first day was completely rainy so I spent the whole day playing cards in the hostel with fellow travelers and curling up with a good book. In all honesty, it was a perfect day, and it allowed me to rest up for the next day, which included an all day guided tour to the Cliffs of Moher! I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful it is so I am not even going to try; instead I’ll let photographs attempt to do it justice.
In the town of Galway I went to several excellent pubs with awesome live Irish music: Tig Cóilí, The Quays, and the Spanish Arch Hotel, just to name a few. I explored these pubs with Mehrdad, who I met in Dublin, as Galway was one of the cities we overlapped in. Another great find was Gino’s Gelato. I met some amazing girls from Colorado on the tour to the Cliffs of Moher and we immediately bonded over our shared love for Colorado’s nature and The Bachelorette. In fact, I even delayed going to my next city by a few hours so that the three of us could watch the most recent episode together!
Overall I really enjoyed Galway. In fact, it might just be one of my favorite cities yet. It was quaint, yet lively. It was incredibly walkable and easy to get to by bus from Dublin. I wish I had spent more time here and less time in Dublin.
Next stop was Tralee. It’s a small town near the Dingle Peninsula. I only spent 2 nights here, but I managed to do a decent amount. When I arrived at my hostel, I was immediately told I should take a bus to Killarney, which is home to over 25,000 acres and Ireland’s only native herd of red deer. It was stunning and I wish I had been able to spend more time walking around. I was fighting daylight and was only able to walk about 4 miles of the park.
Killarney overall was an adorable town, and I almost wish I had stayed here over Tralee. There were dozens of pubs, shops, and hostels. It was lively, even on a Tuesday night. I finished my time in Killarney with a bite to eat at Tatler Jacks and with an ice cream special from Murphy’s, which is a Irish staple. It was honestly some of the best ice cream I have ever had.
The following day I went to Dingle, a town on the Dingle Peninsula. When I arrived I walked into the tourism office and asked what I should do for the day. Immediately I was asked whether I wanted to go out and see the town’s unofficial mascot. I said “absolutely” and off I went. Can you guess what it was???
That’s right… there is a single dolphin that lives in the Dingle Bay and has lived there for over 30 years. He enjoys eating, sleeping, and smiling for the camera as he swims alongside the boats.
When I got back from the fabulous boat tour of the bay, I strolled along the waterfront and wandered into Danno’s Bar and Restaurant for a relaxing lunch. After picking up a postcard (I get one in every city I go to), I wandered back to the bus stop to go back to Tralee. Because I hadn’t spent much time in Tralee, I went for a 5-mile run around town and their park in the downtown area. There was a lovely rose garden inside the park where I found my new favorite flower.
To finish off my time in Tralee, I went to a pub with a couple from the Netherlands to watch the Italy vs. Ireland game. Ireland had to win the game to advance to the elimination round of Euro Cup, something they have never been able to do before. It was so much fun being in a bar full of total locals watching a great game of soccer (or ahem* football). It turned out to be a nail biter, but the room I think actually exploded when Ireland scored a header goal later in the second half to win the game 1-0. In fact, when I was going to bed later that night around midnight, I could still here cheering and celebrations from my hostel. Definitely one of the cooler experiences I have had since being here!
The next day, I spent about 6 hours on a bus getting to the Dublin airport to get on a flight to Edinburgh. Of course, when I got to the airport my flight got delayed 2 hours so here’s to a full travel day! Left Tralee at 9:00 and arrived in Edinburgh at 22:30 (That’s 10:30pm, but I’ve had to learn to read a 24 hour clock so you should too.) 🙂
Stay tuned for Edinburgh, and whether brexit will happen or not! It has been so lovely to talk about another countries politics for a bit instead of having to explain to every traveler I meet why Trump is still considered to be a legitimate candidate to be president of the United States of America………