A quick update from Ireland

What can you do and see with three weeks, a rented car, a  glorious/glovebox map, three guide books, and no set itinerary or plan?  We’re two weeks into our three week trip and we’ve travelled about 1400 km so far.  We have visited castles and forts, burial sites, ancient monuments, beautiful gardens.  The scenery has ranged from spectacular to mundane.  We’ve done some amazing hikes, and met some interesting people.

While we’ve been on the road, we haven’t had much free time to blog or go through the hundreds of photos Chris is accumulating so I thought I’d just give a brief update of what we’ve been doing, with the promise to share more details and photos later once we slow down again.

We began our trip in Dublin.  After arriving very late we stayed overnight at an airport hotel and then headed north in the morning.  We didn’t travel very far that first day as there was lots to see within a 100 km radius of Dublin – a medieval castle, cathedral and abbey ruins, ancient burial passage tombs to mention just a few.  From there we headed to Belfast where we met up with our friend Andrew who we met on our Antarctica Cruise last February.  We got a big dose of Irish hospitality as Andrew toured us around Belfast, organized a day of hiking in the Mourne Mountains along with his friend Susan, and generously treated us to everything.

We continued up the coast following the coastal route and hitting all the tourist hot spots like the Giants Causeway and Bushmills Distillery – the oldest distillery in the world, in operation continuously since 1608.  We bypassed Londonderry completely and scooted over to County Donegal where we meandered through the coastal backroads for a couple of days, enjoying several really good hikes that offered amazing views from 600m high cliffs.

Rain hit us hard as we made our way through the stunning Connemara region and in fact the weather brought us to a grinding halt for a couple of days.  There was nothing to do but surrender to it in the comforts of a cosy B&B in Westport.  A couple of nights on the Aran Islands in our favourite B&B thus far gave us a real sense of the people and the harsh conditions they must deal with to survive.

Our friends in Galway were unavailable by the time we reached that area so we decided to keep going and landed in the small town of Doolin which is reputed to be a music mecca in the area.  We did it justice the night we were there, checking out the music and drink in each pub in town.  After the rugged, natural scenery of the north, we debated whether or not to stop at the Cliffs of Moher which is now a tourist attraction, complete with entrance fee and bus loads of tour groups, two things we have avoided quite well so far.  We’re glad we decided to visit as we were really impressed with the Visitor Center…oh, and the cliffs are pretty amazing too.

This brings us to our current location, Dingle on the Dingle Peninsula.  We’ll spend another day here and then make our way east through the Ring of Kerry, Cork and area, and then up the coast to Dublin from where we fly back to London next Tuesday.  So that’s our trip in a nutshell.  Sorry there’s no photos quite yet, but they’ll be coming later, I promise.


Category: Europe, Ireland
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3 Responses
  1. Kathy says:

    Hi Christina,
    Happy to hear that you are enjoying Ireland. When Fred and I visited, we took a bus tour, so just saw the tourist hotspots. We would love to do what you and Chris are doing – travelling by car throughout the island. One of the things that struck me was the variety of scenery contained within such a small area – barren rock, forest, cliffs and almost tropical (palm trees in the gardens). Looking forward to the pictures and details! Keep well.

  2. Neil & Michelle says:

    Bonjour les amis!
    We are finally all caught up on your travels and are thrilled at how well things are going for you. Your descriptions and photos of Paris, London and Italy brought back some very nice memories for us and I am particularly envious as I prepare to head back to school (going in today as a matter of fact and this message is a little part of my procrastination!).
    Bonne route,
    Neil and Michelle

  3. Marc says:

    Yahoo! Bring on the whiskey and the pot o’gold! Hope you have a grand old time! Can’t wait for the pictures!

    Take care