Ireland: Favorites Edition

In 2011 my family and I went to Ireland for a few weeks, it was one of the most amazing trips we have ever taken.  We literally talk about it all the time and dream about when we will get to go back.  For St. Patrick’s Day this year I wanted to share some of my favorite Irish things.

Favorite Saying

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Favorite Hot Drink because of course Jameson is my favorite cold drink.

Barry's

Barry’s Tea Gold Blend 80 Count 2-pack – delicious tea that is served at tea time all over Ireland.

Favorite Shop

Oasis

Oasis the cutest clothing shop ever, they are all over Ireland, but lucky for you they ship everywhere, most likely to your door!

Favorite Places

Ireland

This is where we went, it was an amazing tour of Ireland.  Read all about our favorite places here.

Favorite Children’s Books

Fiona's LuckKing Puck

Fiona’s Luck |  King Puck

Favorite Crafts

 rainbow-chain-craft-for-kidsThis amazing craft that is so much fun from Crafty Morning.

leprechaun-handprint-craft-545x1024Okay so this is just a snippet of my favorite things, here are some of my other posts all about Ireland.

Best Bookshops Ireland

Erin Go Bragh Trip Planning

Erin Go Bragh Trip Planning

Sláinte,

Erin

 

Erin Go Bragh – Trip Planning

After I posted yesterday I got to thinking about our trip to Ireland, romantically thinking, about how incredibly wonderful it is.  My hubs and I both agree that you can walk out of the airport in Ireland and be good to go.  Meaning, Ireland is a place where you feel safe all the time, you feel welcome all the time, no one ever gets pissy with you – even if you don’t know how to maneuver the roundabouts, are trying to sort out how to drive a stick shift in a parking lot, or accidentally bump someone’s car as you are trying to get the hell out of the busy streets of Dublin.  In my last post I shared my top 5 (okay, really six) places that I loved the most.

Now, I want to share about the planning and prep-work that we did to get ready for our amazing travels.  I hit the local public library and checked out every book they had on Ireland, literally every book.  I have the library fines to prove it.  I watched all of the Rick Steves episodes about Ireland – in the end deciding I am not sure I like Rick and his ambiguous accent.   After religiously pouring through the travel books, I decided, to buy these three books:

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So as you can see I love the DK Eyewitness Travel books, they are very visual which I like, it also gives a little snippet of historical info which I find to be super helpful.  The reason that I would recommend these books above the others, are mainly for the maps, visuals and accuracy of the information in them(as long as you get a recent one).  The back roads book was so helpful in looking at the different ways one could drive around and points of interest along the way – I loved seeing the potential of our trip(this was the book that got me the most fines).  The Dublin Top 10 may not have been necessary, but we had used one of the DK Top 10 books when we traveled to Washington DC and it was so helpful, gave a lot more detail of places to eat and have a pint etc.  Another reason why the DK books worked well for us is that we chose a B&B package where you paid all up front and then got a little travel book of all the B&B’s that qualified.  So we didn’t need a book that would offer places to stay…if you are looking for a travel book that will offer advice about places to stay these are not the books for you.  Books that give advice about where to stay that I really enjoyed are, wait for it: Rick Steve’s Book, they have a lot of staff working to make their guides awesome – and unlike the reruns of his trip to Ireland from what seems like the 80s, seriously, with the backpacks, I can’t handle it –  thankfully the books are up to date.

book5

My personal travel guide

But here’s the real deal, when you’re traveling you have limited space, so you’re not going to bring a library with you that will take up space in your suitcase when you consider how much room you’ll be needing to bring back bottles of Jameson.  At the time, I read a blog that said you should take the books apart and make your own book.  EEK!  As a book lover, taking a book apart is…well it’s not going to happen.  So, I opted to copy the pages that I thought I would need and made my own book (see below), I took notes on places that were of interest to us all in this little composition style notebook.  I personally loved having this as we would pull up to places, I could spout out what I knew about it and write down other notes about the places we went.  I also kept lists of the things we wanted to see, and then marked them off as we saw them.  It was great.  But I am a bit of a nerd, and I loved putting together this special book.  If this is not your thing, the books listed above will be great, if I had to buy just one book, DK Ireland would be my go to guide.  In thinking about it, we have been other places and I have not done anything like this again, I think I did it because I knew how special this trip would be to us, how it was our dream adventure that I would never want to forget.

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The next time you come, you’ll be home.

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, Irelandeven 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, IDSC_0576 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 DSC_0063people 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 DSC_0424specifically 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 DSC_0079ripped 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…