From the friendly locals, to the fresh seafood, and all of the picturesque landscapes, Ireland completely exceeded all expectations. I had pretty high expectations to begin with, so that’s saying something. This post will only cover the first week of the trip because I have tonss of pictures that I want to share!
Now, a lot of people have asked me why we chose Ireland. At first I couldn’t remember exactly why, I just knew that for the past few years, Ireland was always at the very top of our travel bucket list. Then I remembered that one of the first times Nick visited California while we were still dating long-distance, we went to a bar in Union Square called Johnny Foley’s Irish House. We had so much fun and spent half the time talking to the Irish bartenders about what Ireland is like. Well,they inceptioned us pretty darn well because Ireland stuck with us ever since.
We booked our vacation through Great Value Vacations and it was such a smooth process from start to finish. The package included two 5-star hotels, a rental car, and round trip flights from New York to Ireland all under $1200 per person. The hotels were beautiful, the rental car was new, and the flights were easy. The package also included admissions to 7 of the main attractions in Ireland. The only issue (and it’s not even that big of an issue) was that the hotels were pretty rural. But we knew going into the trip that we would be doing a lot of driving anyway, so it didn’t matter much to us.
When it came to the sites and figuring out what we wanted to see and do, we did a TON of research. TripAdvisor, forums, polls amongst our friends, you name it, we did it. We’re not the type to have a set itinerary for our trips, but the research was helpful because we knew exactly what we wanted to see and what we were okay with not seeing in the week. I didn’t want to waste any time while we were there figuring out what to do that day. If you’re unfamiliar with Ireland and planning on visiting, I highly recommend you spend some time with Google Maps because things are really spread apart! It’s almost as if you were to visit California and trying to tackle everything in the bay area and southern California in the same week. Definitely doable, but be prepared for a whole lot of scenic driving.
Here’s how we outlined the trip:
- Day 1: Killarney National Park and Muckross House
- Day 2: Ring of Kerry
- Day 3: Spa day! And pubs, pubs, pubs 🙂
- Day 4: Blarney Castle and City of Cork
- Day 5: Bunratty Castle and Cliffs of Moher
- Day 6: Dublin and St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Now for the pictures! A huge thank you to my parents for my amazing new camera!
DAY 1: Killarney National Park and Muckross House
We drove through the cutest little towns from the airport on our way to our hotel in Killarney. I loved how colorful and unique each shop and restaurant was! That’s how all towns should be.
Right across the street from the colorful shops was this adorable little neighborhood. Like a house straight out of a story book!
We finally arrived at the Muckross Park Hotel. It was truly a 5-star experience and I highly recommend you stay here if you are planning on visiting Killarney National Park. The service was great, and the spa was beautiful inside! When we arrived at the hotel, we decided to take a tour of the park via horse carriage. Our horse’s name was Gypsy!
We ventured into the park and to Muckross House. It was built in 1843, and has 125 rooms and over 365 windows. Arthur Guinness (yes, that Guinness) used to rent out the house to wealthy groups who hunted in the park. Amazing architecture and filled with history.
The Muckross House gardens were located right behind the property and overlooked Muckross Lake.
We continued through the park and came across Torc Waterfall. It sits at the base of Torc Mountain, and if you drive there it’s a quick 5-minute uphill walk from the parking lot. Worth the incline!
After our tour we settled into the hotel and went to the lounge for afternoon tea. We became obsessed with Irish Breakfast Tea, and Nick just bought a box here so he can drink it at work 🙂
The town of Killarney was filled with colorful little shops and pubs on narrow streets like this one. We had so much fun listening to Irish music in the pubs and drinking pints of Guinness and Carlsberg.
Obligatory pint of Guinness! Tasted like watered down soy sauce to me, but Nick liked it 🙂
DAY 2: Ring of Kerry Tour
We woke up to pouring rain and thick fog so we decided to tackle the Ring of Kerry Tour. It took us around 7 hours to complete, but the views were amazing! The Ring of Kerry is a mystical Celtic tourist trail through some of the best scenery in Ireland. The route starts and ends in Killarney, Co Kerry and covers over 170km of stunning scenery around the Iveragh Peninsula.
My favorite part of the tour was the view from Ladies View. The name apparently stems from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit. It was amazing! We saw miles and miles of Muckross Lake and the lush greenery surrounding it.
This tree reminded me of Lord of the Rings so I had to take a picture 🙂
This was just part 1 of the trip, so stay tuned for part 2!