I am so excited to finally share our complete Ireland itinerary! Get ready to dive in, because this is a long one… A whole week of living the Irish culture, drinking lots of Guiness and Irish coffee, and seeing the most beautiful views in the whole world! Ireland is so special to me, my family, and now Taylor as well. We spent about a year planning our trip to Ireland, the meaning of the trip was to celebrate my college graduation but it turned into so much more than I could have ever asked for or imagined!
Day 1: Dublin, Ireland
We flew into Dublin after a 10 hour flight, Taylor slept about five hours and I slept about zero, ha. Thank the Lord for Delta’s movie screens and our Amazon neck pillows. After shuttling across the airport to pick up our car from Hertz, we arrived to find that our car was the size of a smart car, so we upgraded to an SUV because our luggage would not even fit in the tiny one. Spend the extra money for am SUV, trust me! I was so nervous about the driving that I made myself nauseous, Taylor immediately proved me wrong and drove like a pro. Opposite steering wheel side and opposite side of the road did not phase him after a few minutes of adjusting to it. We stayed one night in Dublin, at the Academy Plaza, it was so nice! The Plaza was super close to downtown and in walking distance to tons of restaurants. We did not have time to see much in Dublin, and left the next morning to head to County Cork, Ireland. Next time I definitely want to see a little more of Dublin, although it is commercialized, there are still some great tourist spots to visit. Also, Irish coffee is one of the best things I have ever tasted.
Day 2: County Cork, Ireland
On day two we drove about three hours south-west of Dublin to County Cork, where we first stopped in Cork City to go sight seeing. Cork City is close to the water with lots to do and see. We toured Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral and it was beautiful. We walked around The English Market, which was filled with tons of fresh meats and vegetables, the fish made me turn green, but the experience was cool. Locals have been shopping at the market since 1788, it has changed and been rebuilt a few times since then! We left Cork City and headed to see Blarney Castle, only about twenty minutes outside of Cork’s City Center. Blarney Castle is one of my favorite spots in Ireland, the castle is completely open for touring and climbing to the top. My grandfather climbed to the top and kissed the Blarney Stone over 10 years ago, after almost chickening out from what I hear, but then he even bought the picture of him kissing it! I kissed the stone and Taylor took some photos, don’t worry, they sanitize the stone often. We walked around the grounds, which are breathtaking, and took some of the best pictures. We spent the night in Kinsale, County Cork. Kinsale is a cute little seaside town, with tiny roads, lol. We stayed in The White House, B&B. It was a charming Bed and Breakfast with a delicious restaurant downstairs. We had dinner in the restaurant downstairs from the B&B. I tried fresh muscles that were DELISH and some local wine. The drive out of Kinsale that next morning was a little rough… the roads were super curvy and tiny, I ended up getting car sick an hour out of our drive, so Taylor pulled over into someone’s driveway and I puked my guts up in the pouring rain. I will never forget that, ha! When I was done being sick, I looked up and a little Irish man was standing in his front window watching me, poor guy. It was raining, so I don’t think he was worried about his driveway as much as he was me, by the look on his face! I would probably spend the night in Cork City next time we go to County Cork, although, Kinsale is very authentic and a must see when visiting Co Cork!
Day 3: Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
On day three we headed to Killarney, which ended up being my absolute favorite city in Ireland. There is SO much to do in Killarney, we stayed two nights, next time I want to stay a week there. Our hotel in Killarney was absolutely amazing. We stayed at The Fairview Hotel and it could not have been better. James, the manager, is our bestie for life and recommends the most amazing restaurants. He is fun to hang out with too, if you ever get the chance to visit, tell James we sent you! We can’t wait to go back and visit him. The room looked over the busy and colorful street, had a jacuzzi tub, and the best hospitality and staff. We visited Ross Castle when we got settled in, there is a giant lake surrounding the castle, carriage rides, and boat tours as well. We ate at Cronin’s Restaurant our first night in Killarney, recommended by James of course.
Day 4: Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
Our second day in Killarney was nothing short of amazing. We visited the Muckross House (hello beautiful) and hiked six miles around Muckross Lake. I forgot my hiking boots, so I will definitely be taking those next time. Muckross lake has the most breathtaking views, and there is a tea cottage across the lake, half way through the hike. Killarney is the best city to walk around, visit local pubs, buy all the Irish goodies, and eat Irish coffee ice cream. We spent a few hours just walking around, hopping into pubs, and hanging out with the locals. For dinner, James recommended Bricin Restaurant. In walking distance from our hotel, the restaurant was a little fancy and so delicious. Let’s talk about the food in Ireland! Prepare to eat tons of seafood, fish and chips, and lots of potatoes of course. The country serves potatoes on everything, and I mean everything! I ordered a side salad and their version of croutons were tiny potato wedges, if that tells you anything! I did eat my first authentic fish and chips meal, a few times actually. One of the most amazing things about restaurants in Ireland is that everything is fresh and from local farms. I was so sad to leave Killarney, we can’t wait to go back and stay at The Fairview again.
Day 5: County Clare, Ireland
On day five, we made it to Doolin after crossing with our car on a ferry. Doolin is a little authentic seaside village just ten minutes away from the Cliffs of Moher. The weather was rainy so we decided to see Doolin to let the weather ease up before visiting the Cliffs. Doolin turned out to be one of my favorite spots in Ireland, the people were so nice, welcoming, and truly live out the Irish culture. There are only a few shops in Doolin, which mostly carried Irish wool sweaters, and one restaurant where we ate lunch. The Doonagore Castle is off the road on the drive in and out of Doolin going towards the Cliffs, so we parked the car and walked to the castle. This was THE most beautiful view I have ever seen, it was breathtaking. The roads in Doolin are very very small, we even had to stop and wait on a farmer to herd his cows down the road but it was entertaining for sure. Taylor was a champ at driving, so I eventually stopped worrying completely! I only got car sick once…. and if you know me, you know that is shocking. We left Doolin after the sun started to peep through the clouds and headed back to the Cliffs of Moher. It was only 8 euro per person and tickets are 24 hours. There are two sides for tourists at the Cliffs that you can walk on, one is a bit safer than the other and holds O’Briens Tower. We went there first to take a few pictures, the other side of the Cliffs is where the speechless views are. There is a concrete walkway on both sides of the Cliffs, and it eventually ends where you can walk literally out on to the Cliffs. There are many danger signs up throughout the grass and dirt areas on the free range parts of the Cliffs, but many people lose their lives each year there. It gets super windy so I would never get too close to the edge. We did take the time to walk the entire Cliff as far as we could go, and it was so worth it. We met another young couple that was from Los Angeles and took turns taking pictures of each other, I think we took a hundred pictures at the Cliffs. It was so amazing and looked 3D, not even real. Taylor said I kept taking pictures of the same thing, but it was so pretty that I did not want to miss an inch, ha! Of course I came home with the best photos and all. The Welcome Center at the Cliffs of Moher is probably the most amazing Welcome Center I have ever seen. Most of it was underground, they had café’s and coffee shops through the center, a huge gift shop for all of us souvenir junkies, and a path of facts and photos of the history of the Cliffs. We spent some time in the Welcome Center and then headed to Bunratty to spend the night at a Bed and Breakfast. Taylor did so amazing driving during the day, but driving at night was a little scary because there are basically no street lights.
Day 6: County Galway, Ireland
We spent the night in Bunratty on day five at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast that the sweetest family owned. On the morning of day six we visited Bunratty Castle before heading to County Galway. Bunratty Castle is a must see in Ireland. The grounds are beautiful with live animals walking about. The Castle is available to tour completely to the top, and there are even little cottages on the grounds that hold classes that teach pottery and serve tea. We made our way to the roof of the castle and stood just looking out at the landscape, it was breathtaking! We left Bunratty and headed to Galway City. Galway is definitely a college town with more of a younger crowd. We explored downtown, ate at a local café, shopped a little, and then traveled to our next town.
Day 6 Continued: Clifden, County Galway, Ireland
After leaving Galway City, we headed to our next destination in County Galway, which was a little town called Clifden. We booked a night in the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Clifden, which was almost out in the middle of nowhere, but so beautiful and the drive through the mountains was absolutely amazing. We planned on staying in that night because the castle holds a royal dinner for its’ guests. Once we were checked in we went down to the bar, got a few drinks and went out to the terrace to relax for a bit. The grounds at the Abbeyglen are stunning, the landscaping is beautiful and they even have helicopter pads. We hung out outside before it started to get dark and Taylor PROPOSED to me! It was a complete dream, check out all of our engagement details on my Engaged Blog Post! After all of the excitement was over, we went into the lobby for a champagne toast. The owner of the Abbeyglen told us a little about it’s history, it truly is amazing! The Castle was owned by a large family, and when the woman of the house was eventually alone, she turned it into a girl’s orphanage. After she died, the bank took over and now it is owned and operated as a hotel by the sweetest man and his family. We love the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel and can’t wait to visit again soon, it was truly one of the best experiences!
Day 7: Donegal Town, County Donegal, Ireland
Donegal was an adorable town with tons of history and things to see. We walked around town, hopped in a few pubs for a drink, and visited the Donegal Castle. We stayed in the Rossmore Estate, owned by the sweetest family. Our room was very private and on the side of the house. The view was GORGEOUS, overlooking a large lake with tons of greenery and acreage. Donegal is surrounded by water, so the wind was insane! At this point in the trip, we just wanted to relax. We ate at a local restaurant, and then went back to Rossmore.
Day 8: Enfield, County Meath, Ireland
When we arrived in Enfield, which was just 30 minutes outside of Dublin, we checked into the nicest estate. We stayed at The Johnstown Estate and it was beyond beautiful. The rooms are luxurious, there are two restaurants inside the estate, a private courtyard, bars, spas, a salon, pools, and gyms. We ate at a local café for lunch in downtown Enfield, and ate at a restaurant at the estate for dinner. By this night, we were exhausted, needed hours of sleep, and had to figure out how to pack all of my souvenirs to fly home safely… lol. Our room at the Johnstown Estate was super comfortable, we spent time walking around the hotel, talking to the staff, exploring the grounds, and I took the longest bubble bath before bed.
Day 9: Dublin Airport
We left early for the airport because checking in and turning in the rental car is a whole process. Turning in the Hertz rental car was super easy, and the airport staff was helpful as well. I will say that the flight to Ireland was much better than the flight home. We flew red-eye on the way there so it was quiet and we were able to get a little rest,
I did not really sleep on the way there but it was peaceful. The flight home was bright, allllll day long, and seemed never ending. By the time we landed in ATL, I was ready to sprint off the plane. The plane food is not the best, but it’s not terrible either. We flew comfort + so we got free drinks at least. The only thing I really do not like is how the plane smells after meals, which no one can really help. The smell just sticks to me or something. Delta movies were a life saver for the long flights, for sure.
That week FLEW by. I truly miss Ireland so much. We plan to visit often in the future, see Northern Ireland, and stay a lot longer in Killarney. Killarney was by far our favorite town and hotel of the trip. It was fun, energetic, adventurous, and we never ran out of things to do. I would 100% recommend honeymooning in Ireland if you are like us and don’t like to sit around all week on vacation! We are more outdoor exploring type of people, so Ireland was the perfect vacation for us! Our Ireland trip would not have been possible without Claire from Love Irish Tours. Her contact is firstname.lastname@example.org! She was so amazing, made the process very easy for us, helped us plan out every detail, and even tweaked our itinerary a few times before our trip to meet our wishes.
“May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.” – An Irish Blessing