Monday, August 24, 2015

Ireland in a Few Days: Must Sees and Must Dos

Ireland truly is a magical place. The rolling green hills, old stone walls, and friendly Irish folks are exactly as you've imagined. And even a touch better. It's a land of bangers and mash, thick Irish accents, live music in every pub, and some of the most beautiful places I've ever laid eyes on. One thing's for sure, Ireland completely won me over. If you're planning a trip to Ireland, here are some things you simply can't miss.


Ireland was our first stop on our 16 day tour of Europe, and we found that the quickest, cheapest, and easiest flight over to Europe put us in Dublin. Naturally, I was elated to be squeezing in another country that I had really really wanted to see. After lots of research during the planning process, the top things to do in Dublin didn't disappoint. The city is incredibly old, and has a lot of rich heritage, along with amazing architecture, great food, and some more modern elements. We got to the city dead tired, but forced ourselves to stay awake. After we missed our free walking tour, we found ourselves grateful to be resting our feet on a small "train" tour of the city, complete with commentary from both the train speakers and from the British couple in the row in front of us. 

If you're stopping in Dublin, here are some must sees:
The Ha'penny Bridge. Used to be half a penny to cross.
The Temple Bar Area- Great for Irish food.
St. Stephen's Green Park 
The Brazen Head
Christ Church Cathedral
Guinness Storehouse- Pour your own Guinness for free and see great city views.
Grafton Street Shopping 
You also may want to see the Book of Kell at Trinity College, though we didn't pay to. We were thoroughly impressed with the daily street cleaning in Dublin, as well as by their transportation systems (though we walked everywhere and skipped paying for transportation passes). We took the AirCoach to and from the airport, and would highly recommend it. 

Our hotel. With an amazing (kinda noisy if you're sleeping) outdoor event space. 
No matter where you're entering Ireland, or how long you're staying, a visit to the west coast is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Seriously, we only had about two and a half days in the country, but if we wouldn't have gone to the west side I would have been utterly disappointed. Despite being woken up by a fire alarm in the wee hours of the morning, Dublin was great, but I knew that what I really really wanted to see was the heart of Ireland, complete with green farmlands filled with goats and tiny fishing villages in the middle of the country.

In case you didn't know, it only takes about two hours to drive completely across the entire country. So even if you're in Dublin, like we were, going to the west coast and back in a day is totally doable. And totally worth it. We found an amazing deal online with Paddywagon Tours, and it was probably one of my very favorite things we did on our entire trip. I would highly recommend them: the coach was comfortable and clean with free wifi, our bus driver not only drove but also gave the tour and sang Irish songs, and we got to see the most amazing places for a very reasonable price. (Even though our driver joked about needing passports and had me worried that we'd be deported, he searched the Doolin restaurants for us and didn't leave when we were a few minutes late. So he redeemed himself.) We set off on the Cliffs of Moher Day Trip, and it was seriously incredible. Bring your cameras, because the views are absolutely breathtaking. Don't believe me? Here's proof.

Best Tour EVER
Kinvara: An Irish Fishing Village
Corcomroe Abbey
The Burren: "Mini Cliffs" before lunch at Doolin
Cliffs of Moher 
Bunratty Castle
Bottom line- If you're in Ireland you HAVE to do the following:
  • Drink a pint or eat Shepherd's Pie in Dublin 
  • See a castle
  • Walk the trails and take jaw-dropping photos at the Cliffs of Moher
  • Visit a fishing village
  • See the countryside
  • See the Guinness Storehouse and enjoy the city views
  • Listen to live Irish Music in a Pub
  • Hang out with locals (or at least eavesdrop to admire their accents)
  • Figure out that a "lift" is an elevator
  • Walk the cobblestone streets of Temple Bar
  • Stop and take in the absolute beauty of this amazing country

Have other Ireland places you LOVE? Need help figuring out what you should add to your Ireland itinerary? Let me know by contacting me or message me through the Facebook page. Check out How to Plan (and Survive) an Overseas Trip for more travel help and trips. May the luck o' the Irish be with you!

Currently,
Kelsie

30 comments:

  1. I've never had a strong desire to see Ireland, but you make it look and sound amazing! I might have to add it to my wishlist for a visit to Europe.

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    1. It's AMAZING Abby. Seriously, I would highly recommend it as a starting point for a Europe trip- and be sure to go to the West side. It's absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

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  2. We spent a week in Ireland and absolutely loved it! We did many of the things that you suggested but need to go back because there's so much more to see! I loved reading your post...it brought back some great memories :-)
    Visiting from Modest Monday

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    1. There is definitely more to see- I'm already dreaming of a return trip couple with Germany and Spain. So much to explore! Thanks for reading- we had a great time and I love looking at the pictures again and again!

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  3. Love it! I agree...the western coast was beautiful! We loved staying in Galway and getting a feel for some of the smaller cities than Dublin too. It's a beautiful country with wonderful people! So glad y'all enjoyed it!

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    1. Thanks Lauren! Yes, the smaller cities were some of my favorite places to see in almost all of the places we explored. They are just so friendly!

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  4. oh man, Ireland is at the TOP of my bucket list! We moved to Finland last year and I can't believe I still haven't made it over there. Now my wanderlust is all stirred up! lol

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    1. It is amazing! Finland looks gorgeous as well! I just have so many places I would love to go- kind of jealous of how close Europeans are to everything else :)

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  5. My favorite are Cliffs of Moher on Ireland. I have to check your tour around Europe and hope you also included Prague and some great natural place in my country - Slovakia :)

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    1. The Cliffs of Moher were absolutely amazing!! I would love to see Prague and Slovakia- we only had so much time :)

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  6. Oh, it looks so beautiful! I always tell my hubby that I don't have any deep need to travel abroad...except that I would like to see Ireland and the Vatican. Your pictures make me want to try harder to get over there!

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    1. It is GORGEOUS! We also saw the Vatican when we spent a week in Italy- I'll have an Italy post coming in the next few weeks :) The pictures of Ireland are my favorites- it's so beautiful and I highly recommend it. You should go!

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  7. One of my Dream Vacations! Haley from http://haleysvintage.com

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    1. Ahhh, Haley, it is so so beautiful! You should go for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Looks beautiful. I cant wait to visit!

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    1. It is absolutely gorgeous, Donny! You should definitely visit!

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  9. Ireland is gorgeous! It looks like you had a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing all of the beautiful pictures~

    I came over on Twinkly Tuesdays, and I'm glad to find your post.

    Hope you have a blessed day~
    Melanie

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    1. It really is SO beautiful. We had a great time and loved taking lots and lots of photos. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

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  10. I love Ireland - I love that bridge as well! :) #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Ireland is AMAZING! The bridge was really fun, and we found a lock on it that had our initials and the year we were married, which is kind of fun :) Thanks for reading!

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  11. Aww what beautiful photos and even better memories made! Such a lovely read! Thanks for sharing! Suz x Beauisblue.com

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    1. Thanks so much! It was a blast, and I love helping others to hopefully have the same experience. Thanks for reading :)

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  12. What a lovely time you must have had! Thanks for sharing it. Now I really, really want to see Ireland. It does look magical.

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    1. It was amazing, Amy! Thanks so much for reading!

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  13. Great post! We went to Ireland for our Honeymoon a couple years ago and seriously can't wait to go back. We fell in love with it! We loved the West Coast too :)

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    1. That's awesome! I also am ready to go back already :) It's better than I even anticipated. Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words.

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  14. what an incredible trip! It looks amazing! Need to go there now! ♥

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    1. It was definitely an amazing experience, and oh so beautiful! You should definitely go there! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  15. What a great guide - I'd love to take a holiday there some time - have yet to go! Looks like you had a lovely time :) Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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    1. Thanks so much! It was seriously so gorgeous- you should definitely check it out!

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