When my petite family went to Ireland in 2011 we didn’t really know what to expect, it was our first trip overseas and we were so excited. We had planned out our self driving tour of Ireland – two weeks to cover the entire country, even though our travel agent really advised us not to move so quickly. Little did we know that what he said would mean something else when we returned. It was not about seeing everything, it was about being in the moment and being able to take the time to get acquainted with this remarkable place. In retrospect it was perfect for us to get a small sampling of so many different areas, because in all honestly, once we saw the lovely fields and all of the green we were sold. We were greedy and took all that we could get of this amazing place.
Top Five in Ireland
I couldn’t commit to finding just five attractions that I liked the best so we are going with places…here goes…
In Dublin, we did all of the touristy things, we got a pass to ride the hop on hop off, best deal, when we did take a cab – the asshole, not an Irishman took us on a long journey through the city, when we were essentially a handful of blocks away. Boo! I think my top three of Dublin would be 1. Kilmainham Gaol; 2. Long Room @ Trinity College; 3. Jameson Distillery Tour – I was an official taster. Awesome! My Hubby’s top three were 1. walking the streets over the bridges of the River Liffey (although there were some super sketchy people as the sun went down – I am a bit of a wuss though) 2. Jameson Distillery – he wasn’t a taster 😦 3. Trinity College seeing the amazing long room. You could spend a ton of time in Dublin and still not see everything.
In Wiklow, oh my goodness, when you think of Ireland and see the green fields and the lochs with the misty mountains in your mind, I am pretty sure you’re dreaming of Wicklow. After leaving the grit of Dublin it was our first “country” experience and it did not disappoint. Go to Glendalough! Seriously, go, right now, I think I might have even cried I was so overwhelmed with the immense beauty of it all. The pictures cannot capture it all. The old monastic settlements just standing there for you to walk through, there is a loch to go and stand and look at the gorgeous beauty of it all. In fact it is so lovely that tons of movies have been filmed in Wicklow – Braveheart, PS I love you, Becoming Jane, there is a whole website about doing film drives in Wicklow. Had I known this before hand the hubs and the petite and I would have been reenacting FREEDOM!!!
Cobh and Cork, so if you happen to be one of the 35 million people in the US who claim Irish heritage odds are your people last touched the shores of Ireland in Cobh pronounced “cove”. Before we left I had done a ton of genealogical work about my Irish ancestry, I even have relatives still in Ireland (stay tuned), so it was an important stop for me to see what my great grandpoarents last saw. It is a gorgeous little town. On to Cork, see how I really have six favorites, but I put two together…sneaky…Cork is awesome, I loved it there, made my hubby go shopping with me at this totally fun store Oasis, the open air market was awesome – we picked up goodies to eat on the road so much fun.
County Kerry, I would move here in a millisecond, seriously, I would pack up the petites and go to Kerry, more specifically Portmagee felt like home. My family is from Portmagee, has lived in the same parcel of land for hundreds of years, and some still live there, we had the opportunity to randomly meet them, but that’s another post. Kerry is like Wicklow in the sense that it feels like the purest form of Ireland. I was so nervous and excited to roll into Cahersiveen and then into Portmagee, for me it was all about where my people had come from and how even generations ago impacts who I am today. What made Portmagee so amazing was the PEOPLE! What amazing people, seriously, you felt like you were meeting old friends. People say that kind of thing all the time, and I had previously thought yeah right, strangers aren’t that friendly – no in Ireland they are – okay maybe just much more so in Kerry.
Clifden, I used to have this calendar, you know how you buy a calendar of places you’d rather be then where you are, well I ripped out a month and saved it like 10 years ago and it was Clifden. The place looks like a postcard. We splurged here and took our 16 month old out to a fancy dinner, haha, she was so good, previously she would fuss a bit because she wanted “real food” – as in not boiled veggies. We stayed at this B&B that was our favorite in all of Ireland, Ardmore House. As I write this I am thinking of the place we stayed the night before, the B&B house dog was so cute and the petite wanted to see it, she also wanted to see the cows (working dairy farm – should have known better) and the dog jumped all over me and covered me in shit. I mean I smelled, well, I smelled like cow shit. Sorry I digress. Okay, back to Clifden, some of my favorite pictures from Ireland and memories are from this lovely place. Behind the B&B were cliffs, what? Cliffs in Clifden – say what? So I laid down in the grass by the cliffs and it was just this completely serene moment I will never forget. And my hubby actually captured the moment, how sweet is that?
Ireland is all everyone says it is, so amazing, we miss it, it is a place where I felt like I was at home, in fact after chatting with a local historian in Portmagee about my family he looked at me and said, well dear, the next time you come, you’ll be home. Until then…