10 days in Ireland

The Long Hall at Trinity CollegeKegs at the Brazen HeadGuinness at the Gravity Bar on St. Patrick's DayChrist's ChurchFlowers at CornucopiaFlowersLeftovers from St. Paddy'sTemple Bar

DUBLIN

Aside from our time spent in North Antrim, Dublin is my favorite place in Ireland – the city is full of character and the locals are cheeky and extremely entertaining. We spent four days roaming aimlessly through crowded streets, soaking up the city’s history and filling our bellies with delicious Irish food.

Eat
The Winding Stair - hands down, one of the best meals I’ve ever had. If you visit Dublin and miss this place, you’re a fool.
Cornucopia - hearty, vegetable loaded eats
Bewely’s Café Theatre
Kitchen - Thom and I have made it a priority to have a special date night here each time we visit. The atmosphere is super cozy and the chef is willing to accommodate each and every diet.
Queen of Tarts
Brick Alley Café - cozy up to a table in the back and order a coconut hot chocolate

Drink
The Brazen Head - second oldest pub in the world. Established before the Magna Carta was issued!
The Old Jameson Distillery
Guinness Storehouse - I don’t care if you don’t like Guinness, this place is a must visit. Especially on St. Paddy’s.
M O’Briens
Baggot Street Mile - highly concentrated area of pubs. Thom, my dad, and brother visited a majority of the pubs the night before St. Paddy’s and.. had a damn good time.

Go
The Long Hall + Book of Kells at Trinity College
Grafton Street - we didn’t do much shopping, but the shops are filled with pretty things.
Dublin Castle
George St. Arcade - market filled with a lot of quirky stuff you don’t need.

Sleep
We stay at the Waterloo House any time we’re in Dublin. The breakfast is filling and the house is located a brisk 15 minute walk from the city centre. The rooms are nicely sized, king beds are comfy, and the house has a very cozy feel. I think it’s one of my favorite things about the city.

Dunseverick CastleCarrick-a-Rede Rope BridgeCarrick-a-Rede Rope BridgeThom crossing Carrick-a-RedeBasalt columns at Giant's CausewayDunluce CastleCedric at Dunluce Castle

NORTH ANTRIM

You need at least two nights up in the Bushmills/Ballycastle area if you want adequate time to see everything North Antrim has to offer. Aside from sightseeing, there isn’t much to do – but you’ll likely be so worn out that you won’t have it in you to rage at a pub all night.

Eat
The Smugglers Inn
The Bushmills Inn
Thyme & Co - surprisingly good (for Ireland) coffee

Drink
The Old Bushmills Distillery

Go
The Giant’s Causeway
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Dunluce Castle
Dunseverick Castle - one of my favorite places in the world

Sleep
Craig Cottage never lets us down. Rosemary, the head lady, is an absolute gem and goes above and beyond. During our first trip two years ago, Thom got washed over by a wave at Giant’s Causeway and she washed/dried all of his clothing. And prepared him tea and warm biscuits. She’s the kind of person you want taking care of you while you’re in the North.

Stuff at An PucanCoffee with poppa at Pura VidaFancy wrought iron fenceScones at Griffin's Bakery CafeLatin Quarter, GalwayI spy a handome guy in the windowFloral arrangements on the street

GALWAY

Galway is a coastal city situated on the Western side of the Republic. There isn’t a lot to do as far as sightseeing is concerned, but it’s a great stopover before heading to the Aran Islands. Many of the pubs have live Irish music, and there are a handful of quaint restaurants scattered throughout the city centre.

Eat
Kashmir Indian Restaurant
Kai Café and Restaurant - sources local, organic produce daily
Pura Vida coffee house
Revive Café - best latte I had the entire trip
Griffin’s Bakery Cafe

Drink
An Púcán - live music every night after 9
The Quays

Go
Claddagh
Connemara National Park

Sleep
We stayed at a terrible place during our first visit two years ago, but this time we stayed at the Park House per recommendation of a friend. It was enjoyable, but I think I’ll put a bit more effort into searching for a B&B next time around.

Bunratty Castle & Folk ParkView from the topBeamishFoodieAlley in LimerickMickey Martin's

LIMERICK

I wouldn’t necessarily say Limerick is a must-see, but we stopped over due to the weather being not so great for visiting the Aran Islands. It was nice to have a day with nothing to do, so we wandered the streets and I spent too much money on candy and baking powder and pretty sprinkles.

Eat
The Grove - vegetarian eats; open until they run out of food
Jack Mondays Coffee House
Fitto Cafe – Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. At the corner of Roches/Anne Street.

Drink
Mickey Martin’s - local pub with a great atmosphere and old men who sit outside and blow you kisses as you leave.
Flannery’s Bar

Go
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
King John’s Castle to open summer 2013
Dunnes Grocery Store - I spent a good hour just staring at the pretty packaging and loading up on candies not available in America (crispy M&Ms, dark chocolate KitKat, real Haribo bears, etc).

Sleep
The George Boutique Hotel is a favorite. I’m not usually a hotel person but I love the central location of the place, as well as the chic style. There’s a restaurant in the lobby and they have outstanding service. Like, deliver balsamic vinaigrette to your door two minutes after calling reception and asking for it, good service.

Devenish IslandKilronan CastleUntil next year, Ireland

HONORABLE MENTIONS

We didn’t make it to the Aran Islands this time because of the weather, but it’s an absolute must if you plan on visiting Ireland. We went during our first trip and fell in love. Be sure to grab a knit sweater from the Aran Sweater Market and hire bikes to see the Island. We stayed on Inishmore, but if you have four or five days free, hop around to see each of the Islands. Accommodations (on Inishmore) aren’t the greatest, but what do you expect on an island of only 400 people?

The Cliffs of Moher should also be on your list, but like the Aran Islands, we didn’t head that way due to weather. Doolin is a nearby village and you can take the ferry from there to the Aran Islands – but only if weather permits.

If you’re looking to stay in a castle, I highly recommend Kilronan Castle (pictured above). It’s a great place to stop when breaking up the part of your trip from Northern Ireland back to the Republic. Enjoy breakfast and dinner in the restaurant (although dinner costs a pretty penny), and go for a morning run around the grounds – you won’t be disappointed.

We did the Ring of Kerry and the Southern part of the Republic our first go around and weren’t impressed – which likely has something to do with the fact that we were visiting in March, before anything had bloomed. We weren’t fans of Cork so I don’t recommend going there for anything besides kissing (or licking, if you’re Thom) the Blarney Stone.

Random tips:
- Hire a car to get around the country. Tour busses are for sissies.
- Tipping in crispy M&Ms is acceptable when you have no Euros.
- Not tipping at all is also acceptable.
- You will not find soy milk (soya) at a coffee shop in Bushmills.
- Speaking of coffee, Irish coffee is not good. Think of briny truck stop coffee, but worse.
- You’ll be hard pressed to find a B&B/hotel for less than $100 a night.
- You’re looking for the toilet, not the restroom.
- Fuck is word you’ll hear often. Embrace it.
- Meat and potato restaurants are more than willing to accommodate special diets.

More photos can be found here.

  • la domestique March 26, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Oh wow, what a trip! This is so exciting to read because we are moving to Ireland next week! I’m obsessed with libraries, and visiting The Trinity College Library is definitely on my list.

  • Ashley March 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Ummmm, wow. Not only are the photos freaking OUTstanding but what an amazing resource. Chris and I MUST get back to Ireland. When we went for our honeymoon we didn’t do any food research beforehand and didn’t have a fancy phone to look up places before we ate. This is amazing! Thanks, lady! We definitely want to check out the Aran Islands whenever we go next. Love the random tips and good to know about the meat + potato restaurants. Ahhhh, I want to go back so badly!!! Glad you had such a fabulous time with Thom and your family. xo

  • Vijay March 26, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Looks absolutely amazing!

  • Garner March 26, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    thank you for posting these, i’m not going to be traveling for awhile and this is just what i needed to see this morning to perk me up!

  • Chloe Moon March 26, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Wow look at the castles!!! That drawbridge is crazy beautiful!! Ireland is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go! It looks like you had such a great time!! =)

    Ergo – Blog

  • seriouslysassymama.com March 26, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    I have a friend who is from Ireland, and wrote done all the lingo and their meanings. I hope to go one day.

  • Rachel March 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    It makes me happy to find a fellow american that loads up on crispy M&Ms when she’s in a foreign country! I picked up a few (overpriced) packages at the duty free store in the Cancun airport last time I was in Mexico… they didn’t last long, that’s for sure. Every time I see a blue M&M package in the store, my heart skips a beat that it might be crispy… but alas, it’s always the pretzel variety.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  • Jade Sheldon March 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    That’s it, I’m going to Ireland! Thank you for all the insight and recommendations. It really seems like such an amazing and picturesque place…

  • Meg - De quelle planète es-tu? March 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I am going to keep this bookmarked so I can book it back to Ireland. Thanks for the tips lady! And magical pictures, as always. Stoked for you to stroll in Paris <3

  • Emily K. @ Leaf Parade March 26, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Epic! Your little gnome friend is the sweetest — I have one too that goes from place to place with me.
    Can’t wait to see more of your travels!

    -Emily K.

  • Suzanne @RollWithIt March 26, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Great photos! Thank you for posting!!!

  • KL March 26, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    amazing, amazing, amazing photos. i want to go there again!

  • Kelsey from {ps:heart } March 26, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    such awesome photos. and I love all the recommendations! super helpful for someone planning a trip! :)

  • Shanna Mallon March 26, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    I have never wanted to go to Ireland more and this is mostly because of your KILLER photos here. Good gracious. KILLER because they are killing me.

  • london bakes March 27, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    I’ve never actually been to Ireland despite leaving just the other side of a piddly little sea. These jaw-dropping pictures make me realise what an idiot I am.

  • Joy March 27, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Beautiful! Glad you had a good time. I can’t wait to get over there someday.

  • sara forte March 27, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    welcome home, you! what a fabulous list! I really really want to make it to Dublin someday and you paint such a lovely picture of it. Glad to hear you all had such a wonderful time. Didn’t expect anything less. And now you have Europe ahead. Life is fun.

  • The Vegan Cookie Fairy March 27, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    What a great travel diary, thank you for that! I’m making notes for my next trip to Ireland (for which I WILL hire a car–my boyfriend and I sort of relied on busses and his family driving us around but that seriously limited our freedom, and I refuse to ever again pay €30 for a return bus ticket).

    I have noticed that hanging around Irishmen makes me say the F a lot more. And variants of it. Fock, feck, you name it, they say it all the time.

    When you say Irish coffee, do you mean the coffee they sell in Ireland, or an ‘Irish Coffee’, the kind with whiskey and cream? Because the latter is yum. But even better is a hot whiskey.

    • Ashlae March 27, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Haha, I mean the coffee they sell in Ireland. Whiskey makes everything better.. even their awful coffee.

  • Eleanor March 27, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I backpacked the West Coast for 2 weeks in the early 90′s. I agree with you about the Aran Islands…one of my favorite places!
    I loved Doolin, a little town in Clare by the Cliffs of Moher. Quite a magical little spot.

    • Ashlae March 27, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      I can’t believe I forgot about the Cliffs! We went during our first visit (to Doolin, too) and loved the area. Breathtaking scenery – reminded me a lot of the North.

  • Erin Van Genderen March 27, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    I’m thrilled to see your photos of Galway! I lived there for a summer and had the best time exploring the city and the surrounding countryside. Did you ever make it to Salt House? It was my favorite pub, down on the Quays.

    If you’re ever in Ireland again, make sure to take a ferry out to Innishboffin, a secluded little island off the coast of Connemara that is a wonderful refuge, good for long windy walks and contemplation. There isn’t much there — a nice inn, a pub or two, a handful of people and some sheep, but the views are incredible.

  • Shira March 28, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    What a fantastic tour Ashlae – thank you! Your photos are stunning and your post format is so accessible – what a fantastic holiday.

  • vanilla bean blog March 28, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    *gorgeous* photos. What a wonderful trip! I hope to one day make it there… xo

  • Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes March 28, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Wow what an amazing adventure Ash and your photos are absolutely beautiful and capture so much happiness- your Dad must have had the time of his life!

  • Kelsey March 29, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Ashlae Warner > Rick Steves. Nuff said. I quit my job today, let’s PAR-TAY. xoxox

  • Kathryne March 31, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Well! Looks like you guys had a thoroughly good time, I’m glad. I’m determined to go back to Ireland someday (I was feverishly ill and staying in a hostel, totally put a damper on the experience) and when I do, I’m taking this guide with me.

  • V. K. Sinha April 6, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    Car Centre Warrington

  • Rebecca April 6, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Ooooh I love love love Ireland :D And the library from Trinity College is one of my favorites ;)

  • Local Milk April 11, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    Eep! So freaking excited to have found this post. We’re going to Ireland May 6-20 & this is *invaluable* information! Also… I might have to try to pick your brain b/c it looks like you were galavanting in a lot of places we’re planning to. Ah…these photos have me double excited now!

  • Katie @ figgy and sprout April 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    You captured Ireland beautifully, Ashlae! Stunning photos. It looks like everyone had a brilliant time while visiting. I’m an Iowa girl living in southern Ireland. I moved here a year and a half ago after falling in love with an Irishman. As you may have noticed, they are quite the charmers ;)

    PS – You’ll have to let me know next time you come to visit!

  • AlyciaMealy April 16, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Loving your blog!

  • Imen McDonnell May 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    Lovely stuff! x

  • LC May 21, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    I am bookmarking this for when I go to Ireland. Not that I have that planned or anything…. but we’re going someday, and this is FANTASTIC. Thanks for putting this together!

  • Kasey June 1, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Your photos are so, so amazing, and bring back so many great memories! I spent several days in Ireland back in college (hit up Dublin, Galway, and a few small little towns). It was magical…

  • Rincy June 4, 2013 at 7:06 AM

    Eeps! Gorgeous! So happy to have stumbled upon this today, especially since after 12 years in Dublin–I am still very much falling in love with this ol’ city and discovering new little nooks and crannies :)

    Sending you lots of light and happy xx

  • Quills Woollen Market June 27, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    You never made it to Kerry. Next time you come to Ireland come here much better than anywhere else in Ireland but I am a bit biased!!!

  • joan April 19, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Hi there Im Irish living in Spain and have really enjoyed reading about your travels and looking at the great photographsxx

Leave a comment