If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that we LOVE to travel. We love to travel with our girls (I still need to do a blog post about our AMAZING April European roadtrip with the girls through Austria, Slovenia and Italy), but I also love to travel without them. And every September I thank goodness for my in-laws who take our kids for close to two weeks so that Victor and I can relax, recharge and go traveling as a couple.
Finding a destination for this year’s trip was not easy; I know it totally sounds like bragging but we’ve been to a LOT of places – Victor jokes that we ran out of countries to visit. My top contenders for this trip were Cuba, Ireland, Colombia and the Canadian Rockies. Cuba, although technically open for visits, is still very difficult to get into so that quickly fell our the list. Having been to a number of Central American countries Victor was not convinced about going to Colombia and I wanted something more exotic than the Canadian Rockies. And so many of my friends speak very highly about Ireland; so the decision was made – Ireland it was! So we started to plan a visit and decided that since we were going to be in Ireland we might as well see another ‘land’ and visit Scotland! Scotland will get its own blog post because this one is dedicated to Ireland.
We had five nights to spend in each country and quickly realized that it was not enough to see what Ireland had to offer – so we just have to go back:) We’ve got a lot of feedback from our friends and decided on covering the south/west part of the country.
Our first day was spent exploring Dublin, with its colorful buildings, cobble stone streets and the coolest library I’ve ever seen!
We rented a car in Dublin and from there headed to Kinsale, stopping by the castle of Cashel on the way. The scenery there was what I imagined Ireland would be like – green rolling hills, ruins of castles and lots and lots of sheep.
We stopped over for lunch in Cork and there our lovely waiter recommended that we go check out the town of Cobe, which supposedly was very picturesque. And we are glad we did because it was stunning – a beautiful cathedral set on top of a hill overlooking a bay!
Our stop for the night was a super cute B&B in an adorable and a very colorful town of Kinsale. But the time we got there I was tired of carrying my big camera so I’ve got no real camera pictures to proove how great it was – you just gotta take my word for it:) In Kinsale we had one of many spectacular meals we enjoyed on this trip – a dinner at Bastion. We almost did not get in (who knew that they would be booked solid on a Wednesday night!) but the stars aligned and we did eat there – and it was spectacular. I had one of the most amazing dishes of the whole trip there – cabbage and bacon (they had me at bacon!) with a 65 (or was it 55) degree egg and a smoked potato mouse foam, which (as the waitress told us in a very excited manner) was served by the chef himself! The whole dinner was great so if you ever find yourself in Kinsale run to Bastion and thank me later!
Our next stop for the night was a cute town on Dingle and at breakfast we were trying to decide whether we should drive through the Ring of Kerry (supposedly one of the most spectacular drives in the world) or through a less touristy and smaller Dingle peninsula. I even enlisted help of Facebook asking friends for their recommendations. There were pros and cons of each but in the end, the decision was made for the Dingle Peninsula – after people at the table next ours at breakfast mentioned many many many tour buses all over Ring of Kerry.
The drive to and around Dingle Peninsula was lovely – on the way there we came across this cool ruined manor – there were no signs about it anywhere in the vicinity so we just took credit for ‘discovering’ it:)
Next Stop was Inch beach which was super windy and rainy but absolutely spectacular!
And then there was a prehistoric Donbeg Fort – not much left from the fort itself but the scenery was stunning!
After checking into a B&B in Dingle and barely making it to their afternoon tea/chocolate cake festivities (who can resist a chocolate cake? Not me!) – we headed out to dinner. Apparently (I think I read it somewhere) Dingle is known to the be culinary capital of Ireland and, according to TripAdvisor, Idas Restaurant is the best restaurant in Dingle so naturally we had to go there. And of course once we were there we had to get a 9 course tasting menu. One dish had three different types of sea weed leaves, another one had some roots and berries that the chef himself collected from an edge of some cliff and more like that- the dinner was truly amazing and one of many spectacular meals we had on this trip.
The next day we said good bye to our B&B (admiring cool views of low tide from our windows) and headed to Cliffs of Moher.
I am not a fan of heights (and that’s putting it mildly) so it was a pretty intense experience for me. I ended up walking along the cliffs on the inner path – not able to see much except the ocean in the background, but that suited me just fine! I did breathe out a sign of relief when we were done!
And the next day it rained, which suited us just fine because I think every vacation needs to have a rainy day to just relax and not rush. We did venture out to Bunratty Castle and folk park which was VERY well done. Their fairy garden was one of my favorite signs of the whole trip – and I did not even have our girls with me:)
And then we explored a cute town of Essin and had the only pub meal of the whole trip!
We also listened to an Irish ‘session’ which I knew we had to do otherwise a good friend of mine Jaye would disown me as a friend:)
And the next morning we drove to Shannon airport, returned our car and boarded a plane to Scotland, which will get its own blog post. So check back soon to see our Scottish Highland adventures!