Did you know I used to be an Irish step dancer?
That, fueled by David’s Irish background, is what led to our choice of Ireland for our next vacation. Dave and I also wanted an outdoor vacation, full of scenic landscape and far-out places.
And, landscape there was – lots of it. Green pastures, sheep, cows (so many cows), and goats roaming the far hillsides. The views seemed endless; from mountains, to hills, to valleys, to ocean views, you could get every view you’d need.
We started the trip in Dublin, picking up our rental car. Of course, me being me, I just figured it would be equipped with GPS. Think again, Jordan. Time to pull out the ol’ map.
Thankfully, we navigated the new lanes, followed the paper route and, of course, asked the locals when we were in desperate need of help.
From Dublin, we drove to Kinsale, Cork in southern Ireland. It’s a small port town just south of the city Cork. We walked about the town center and visited some local shops – like Koko’s Chocolate!
We checked in with our Airbnb host, Gillian, who was all about the environment, showing us how we should compost through our stay.
There were four different bins we were to put our food in — cooked food, raw food, plastics and paper, and (unfortunate) general waste that didn’t fit any of those requirements.
Our room was an “Olde Cow Stall” that was converted into a living area. It was an absolutely beautiful space full of natural light and a wonderfully cozy bed.
Our first night out we had a Kinsale Pale Ale and fish and chips, caught locally. It was incredibly tasty.
We also visited a fort while we were in Kinsale called Charles Fort. It’s open now as one of the surviving 17th century star-shaped forts that was in use until 1922.
From Kinsale, we drove to a little town called Lahinch, near the city of Doolin on the west coast.
We chose the Lahinch because of it’s proximity to the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most visited natural landscape.
The history of the Cliffs started about 320 million years ago, when weather in that area was much warmer, with the cliffs situated at the head of a large river. The river’s end brought sand and mud to the mouth, eventually creating what we know today as the Cliffs of Moher. The name comes from a ruined fort “Mothar” which was demolished and made to be a signal tower during the Napoleonic wars.
The path along the cliffs are quite terrifying. After a certain point, the Visitor Centre ends it’s path and goes straight into a self-guided path.
It turns from a paved path to a dirt path, just along the edge of the cliff, with no barriers or nets just-in-case. It’s truly untouched, but dangerous, as there have been accidents from slipping.
As you may assume from the photos below, Dave had no fear. Look at him go!
From our path along the cliffs, we headed back to Dublin. We stopped in for a cup of coffee and wifi to find our way to our Airbnb and to get ready for a cultural heritage tour of Dublin.
I would be remiss to mention that Guinness tastes wonderful. Foamy and rich, it tastes like you might as well be sipping on a glass of cold chocolate milk.
Speaking of chocolate, we also found a “Chocolate Cafe” named Butler’s, which we had to take a photo with because it’s David’s namesake, Butler.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was also magical.
Ireland was beautiful and full of significant history. It’s ever-changing landscape and political unrest was interesting to learn about.
If headed to Ireland any time soon, I encourage you to rent a car to travel. By car, you can truly get the feel of the land, even though it can be terrifying to the seasoned American driver.
Try all the beers, eat all the fish, and pack wool socks.