Last year, I started doing “snapshot” posts from our travels with a summary of superlatives and sidebars. It’s a fun way to me to reflect back on specific moments, so to continue that tradition here is my Ireland and Northern Ireland snapshot!
I’m not a huge fan of crowds. Is anyone, really? But I feel like I have an especially hard time with big groups of noisy people in certain places. So when we went to our first stop on the Ring of Kerry, the Torc Waterfall, and found it completely void of another human being, my heart swelled in that moment of absolute serenity. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t like being with people or sharing an experience with others, but there is a time and a place, and too often a rowdy group of people has ruined the vibe for me. That didn’t happen here, and I loved absorbing every sound of the forest and watching the gentle flow of the waterfall. That, and the Ring of Kerry day in general was one of our favorites.
I also loved all of our interactions with locals. Everyone in Ireland was heart-warmingly welcoming and friendly, and I just soaked it up.
Ireland didn’t have a standout worst moment, but there was an afternoon in Dublin when I got a little cranky (it happens). Chris and I were riding the hop-on-hop-off bus and we accidentally hopped off at an unplanned stop where we ended up wandering pretty far from the bus route. Normally that would have been completely fine and even fun, but it started to rain. A lot. And my feet started to hurt. A lot. And I lost my bus ticket and had to buy a new one. Then, when we went to the Guinness Storehouse, I lost Chris’s new Jameson umbrella. (He was perfectly nice about it and assured me it wasn’t a big deal, but I felt bad.) We ended up taking an overpriced carriage ride to our next stop because we left the Storehouse after the bus stopped running, and we didn’t notice that taxi cabs were around the corner from the expensive horse buggies. Ugh. So it was just the culmination of several little things that added up to one bad mood for a couple of hours. It doesn’t blemish my feelings about Dublin at all though; we still had an amazing time despite my crankypants attitude and an inclination to lose stuff that day.
Irish stew, brown soda bread, shepherd’s pie – I loved almost every single thing we ate in Ireland. As I expected, I discovered I’m not a fan of black pudding, but everything else was delicious. A millionaire bar from The Good Room Cafe in Adare and a scone from Skelligs Chocolate in County Kerry both earned the best food spot in a two-way tie. Neither one was a meal, but I couldn’t stop thinking about both of them so I think they belong in this category.
Something We Learned
Chris loves whisky (no ‘e’), and our tours at the Irish Whiskey Museum and the Old Jameson Distillery gave us a good introduction to the history and arduous process of making his favorite spirit.
We’re Thankful We Packed
Light. We each brought a carry-on suitcase and a backpack only, so we didn’t have to check any luggage. It was also helpful not to have a giant suitcase to lug up the many stairs at all of the B&Bs where we stayed each night. I’ll follow up with more details about what I packed for two weeks after I finish my Scotland posts (since it was the same trip).
We Didn’t Need To Bring
Our PacSafe came in handy on our last trip to Vieques, but we didn’t need it on this trip and didn’t end up using it once.
I regret that we couldn’t stay longer! And I regret losing Chris’s umbrella since it seems I can’t order a replacement for him – Jameson doesn’t ship to the U.S. so I’m not sure how to get my hands on one. Sigh! What I don’t regret is spreading our trip out over so much ground. Many resources recommended against it, but I love the combination of areas that we saw and we had a fabulous week.
Reasons To Go Back
My list of reasons to return to the Emerald Isle is constantly growing! There are so many parts of the country that we missed and would love to see on a future trip: Cork, Dingle, Skellig Michael, The Burren, the Arran Islands, Wicklow Mountains National Park, and on and on and on. We saw so much, but would love to see a whole lot more.
Chris’s favorite photo is of Hore Abbey in County Tipperary, as seen from a walking path behind the Rock of Cashel.
And my favorite image is this simple one of a brightly colored building adorned with flower baskets. The cheery color and the flowers remind me of so many small towns we visited in Ireland.
I had a hard time deciding on a favorite image though, because there were so many great photo opportunities throughout the country. I had a blast (a quiet blast) taking pictures in the Long Room at Trinity College, and of course it was fun capturing images of the iconic Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway. So can we consider these images very close runners-up?!