In late August/early September of 2018, Alex and I took our first trip abroad together to Ireland! Both of us had a great time driving through most of the southern part of Ireland, and we fit A LOT into a small amount of time, so much I’m making two posts about Ireland! Welcome to Part One. As I typed this, I realized that a lot of what we did was pubs, but honestly? That might be one of the best things about Ireland. The different pubs and the connections you can make there. So I’ve highlighted them in the descriptions of the cities below!
We flew into Shannon and drove around the southern parts of Ireland in a roundabout way to get up to Dublin. This post gives you our top five favorite cities and towns we visited on our whirlwind of a trip:
#1 - Dingle
This was by far and away our favorite place on the trip. Dingle is a small beach town on the dingle peninsula. All the buildings are colorful and it’s a pretty magical place to walk through and experience. On the way in, I had us drive the scenic route so we could stop at Conor’s Pass for views of the Dingle Peninsula. When we stopped, Alex got out his drone to take some video and happened to find a hidden lake that we would have never seen just over a ridge! It was cool to discover a little hidden thing, that we would have never found if we hadn’t taken our time.
I think one thing that really stuck out to us was how eclectic the town was, from bars and restaurants to the buildings and the people. I loved it. We stayed at a BnB about a half mile outside of town and walked into town for dinner and drinks, which turned into a night to remember! We stopped in at NellieFred’s, which was a personal favorite, complete with a bike hanging on the wall, Minnesota and Florida license plates, and a large mural of Darth Vader with a Guinness. The newest three Star Wars movies filmed in and around Dingle, so Star Wars was a theme throughout town. After dinner and wine at a Chinese restaurant (the only place in town with a kitchen open past 9pm) and a few brewery stops (including a drunk woman at Dick Mack’s Pub telling us we were a cute couple and to keep travelling and having fun together) we ended the night at An Droichead Beag, a bar with a back patio that was “fenced” by colorful doors. That whole night is burned into my memory forever.
We also did things during the day too, like fish and chips from Sheehy's! Since we didn’t have time to drive all of the Ring of Kerry on this trip, we did the shorter, but not less gorgeous Slea Head Drive around the Dingle peninsula, the details of which will be in the next post. If you have one takeaway from this blog post, so yourself a favor when you’re in Ireland and GO TO DINGLE!
#2 - Galway
This was one of the places where we wished we could have spent more time! We were only here for a night, but it was a fun one. We walked along the water, then up and down Quay Street for dinner, drinks and ambiance! My favorite bar was Taylor's Bar and Beer Garden, I’m a sucker for great outdoor spaces, which is what this place offers. On the way there, we stopped for lunch in Lahinch, a small surfing beach town that was recommended to us by Alex’s dad. This highlighted one of my favorite things about our drives. The little towns, all the small windy roads, just getting to see a small piece of local life is what I love about travel. Galway was great, and is for sure on the list of places that need a return visit.
#3 - Dublin
This was definitely the most “big city” feeling we got on our trip. There’s a ton to do here and we tried a lot of it, including some late nights out at the pubs in the temple bar area and a visit to the “oldest pub in Ireland”, The Brazen Head, which was my favorite. I will say, the actual Temple Bar was pretty overrated, but being in the area with so much energy was fun. And obviously nights out should end with pizza, which we found on both nights! Speaking of food, we had an amazing dinner at Gallagher’s Boxty House, which also has in house microbrews to try!
We visited Teeling Distillery and Guinness Brewery, both of which we’d highly recommend. Never had a Guinness I liked more. We also explored Trinity College Library to see the Book of Kells, to which Alex kindly let me drag him. You’ll get more of the details about all those activities in the next post!
#4 - Cobh
While we both agreed we disliked Cork (or at least the parts that we saw) we fully enjoyed our short stay in Cobh. It’s pronounced ‘cove’ and this island port town was the last stop that the Titanic took before leaving for it’s journey and that fact is recognized throughout the city. This was my most enjoyable run that I took on trip and the fog that rolled in at night was eerily gorgeous.
#5 - Limerick
We were only in Limerick for a few hours, but having the canal go through the city made for some great lunch and walking views! Alex even found a sports store owner to talk to about what business was like in their differing countries. We had a drink and lunch in the sun at Katie Daly’s, which claims to be the oldest pub in Limerick. It’s old school, right next to the castle, and we loved it.
All in all, we loved driving through Ireland and experiencing many different cities. At times we were a bit rushed, but now we have a list of places that will need a second visit!
Don’t worry, we didn’t spend all the time in the car, or at pubs! My next post will go into our activities in more detail.
Thanks for reading, cheers!