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A WEEK IN IRELAND

If in doubt – visit Ireland. It’s phenomenal. I don’t think there was ever someone left disappointed after visiting this country, and I am here to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you either. Last May I visited for the first time and to keep it short, it’s a magical land full of green hills, cliffs, castles & history.

In total I’ve spent a week wandering Ireland and here’s my recommendation for an itinerary if you plan to spend the same amount of time:

Day 1 and 2 – Dubin

Day 3 – Connemara & Galway

Day 4 – Cliffs of Moher, Aran islands & Limmerick

Day 5 –  Burren, Dingle & Killarney

Day 6 – Ring of Kerry, Skellig Michael & Killarney

Day 7 – Blarney castle, Cork & Kilkenny

In case you have less time available, I would definitely recommend visiting Dublin, Connemara and Dingle and/or Ring of Kerry. Many of you will have difficultly choosing between Dingle and Ring of Kerry but you won’t be disappointed by either of choices. If you have a full day go to Ring of Kerry and if you’re time limited go to Dingle.

There’ll be a post coming up soon on tips & trick for visiting Dublin, so let’s focus on what’s to see in Ireland after that. After first two days in Dublin, hopefully you didn’t left all your money in one of its many pubs, and you’d have just enough to rent a car as that’s the simples way to get around over there. Cars are easiest to rent from the airport and generally you can get them quite cheap.

Day 3: Connemara & Galway

Take the highway to get to Galway as that’s the fastest way, although not the prettiest you won’t miss much. Once there, go straight to Connemara and use the ‘Connemara Loop’ driving route (you’ll easily find guides online). Don’t miss:

  • Recess – just make a stop and enjoy amazing scenery
  • Inagh valley is probably the most beautiful part of the route!
  • Kylemore Abbey is a castle turned into school with beautiful gardens worth visiting
  • Renvyle is home to spectacular beaches in particular the ‘white strand’, a long stretch of white sand with stunning views across the Atlantic ocean

Galway is a pretty small town, a stroll in the morning is enough to see everything you need. In case you’re interested into a useful souvenir, stop by O’Maille shop, trust me, you won’t regret it!I’ve gotten myself my first Irish souvenir there, you can see it on the photos below.

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Day 4 – Cliffs of Moher, Aran islands, & Doolin

One and a half hour drive away from Galway you’ll find Cliffs of Moher, probably the most famous place to visit in Ireland. I am strongly recommending to take one of the boat tours starting from Doolin to see the cliffs (15-20€/person), it takes one hour and it’s spectacular!

From Doolin you can also visit the Aran islands,  a group of three islands: Inis Mor (Inishmore), Inis Meain (Inishmaan), and Inis Oirr (Inisheer) and here you will find the traditional Irish way of life. The biggest, Inishmore is the most popular one but Inishmaan offers the real insight into traditional Irish culture. (Tip: in case you missed to get yourself something at O’Maille shop in Galway, now is your chance to try with another Irish souvenir, Aran island are famous for their wool products and trust me, you’ll need those to fight that nasty Irish wind!)

Doolin  is a traditional music capital of Ireland. Have a dinner either at Gus O’Connors, McDermott’s or McGann’s pub and enjoy the sound of its amazing music heritage.

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Day 5 – Burren, Dingle & Killarney

After spending the night at Doolin, and hopefully not having too many beers, start the day early and head east to Burren –  a karst landscape that will make you feel you’ve traveled all the way up to the moon. Don’t miss Neolithic Poulnabrone portal tomb. An hour at Burren should be enough to give you just enough of that extraterrestrial feeling and then you should make your way to Dingle peninsula. Take the ‘Slea head’ driving route, in clockwise direction (!) and simply enjoy the view. If the weather is warm enough go for bike tour! Don’t miss:

  • Conor Pass
  • Inch beach
  • try out Murphy’s Ice Cream on Strand Street in Dingle

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Day 6 – Ring of Kerry, Skellig Michael & Killarney

The Ring of Kerry driving route goes counter-clockwise (!), the route is easily found online. Don’t miss:

  • Gap of Dunloe
  • Rossbeigh beach
  • Portmagee will be your port to go to Skellig Michael, a rock island with a remarkably well preserved sixth century monastic settlement on the top (unfortunately the wind was too strong for me to go and visit this one)
  • Killarney National Park,  Ladies view & Torc waterfall
  • Muckross house

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Day 7 – Blarney castle & Cork

After Dublin, Cork was definitely my favourite town on our route. There’s a very special atmosphere surrounding the second biggest city in Ireland. There’s definitely a lot to see in Cork and around. Don’t miss Blackrock castle! Blarney Castle sits just outside Cork and is a home to the famous Blarney Stone.  Visitors flock to see the Stone which is said to bestow eloquence on all those who kiss it. I’ve done my deed and I swear it works! ;-)

In case you have an early flight the next day from Dublin, after Cork drive to Kilkenny and spend the night there. If in Kilkenny and you love to dance, have a drink at 67 bar at Langton hotel and let yourself be surprised. It will definitely be a great last night in Ireland ;-)

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