Back in August 2018, I finally had the chance to visit one of the countries at the top of my Bucket List. Okay, so that’s a little too casual, when I say “one of the countries” all nonchalantly, I mean the number one country I have ever wanted to visit in my entire life. Being from Virginia Beach, I never wanted for anything. I was lucky enough to come from an area that had country, colonial, beach, and hills within an hour radius. I honestly never had an itch to carpe diem and say “see ya!” to my hometown! While I itched to grow up and spread my wings a little, I’m fortunate that my hometown was/is a great one. That being said, traveling the world wasn’t something super high on my priority list. As you can imagine, actually living in another country had never, ever crossed my mind. But the universe had other plans in store for me and my boo, didn’t it?
Anyway, back to Ireland. While the wanderlust hadn’t set in until we moved here, I always, ALWAYS wanted to visit Ireland. According to my mom, our “people” hail from County Cork (my very British father-in-law likes to roll his eyes and say in his posh accent that everyone thinks they’re Irish and from County Cork) and my grandma was almost 100% Irish. Do we definitively know if that’s true? No. Have I ever taken a DNA test? Nerp. But let me live my life and keep thinking this ghostly white skin and affinity for all things green is because I essentially have leprechaun blood running through my veins, okay?!
So as you can imagine, getting a chance to visit the place my family holds dear was pretty cool. It was honestly everything I could’ve hoped it would be. Honestly! The Irish people are SO welcoming, the weather was everything I imagined, and the landscape is so picturesque. Would 10/10 recommend. My husband and I both agree that this was probably one of our most favorite trips we’ve been on (but he hasn’t been to Scotland…yet!)
We only had 4 days from the time we left Germany to when we had to get home, so we knew the best way to fit everything in, we’d have to road trip. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, guys! We’ve (Nathan) driven all over the world and we felt pretty good about being able to handle it. We survived and it’s totally doable, but I’m gonna say this – driving in Ireland is not for the faint of heart!!! Not only are you probably having to drive a manual on the opposite side of the road (for us Americans), but some roads in Ireland felt like they were made for golf carts. I kid you not there was one point where Nathan and I literally had to ask Jesus to take the wheel because there was a massive hill with stone walls inches away from our car, no way to see what was coming next, and no way to stop if something did make it our way. We honked the horn a lot. Other than a few instances that made us stress sweat like crazy, driving made getting to everything so easy! Again, not for the faint of heart! Side note: rental cars are insanely expensive, even for manual, so brace yourself for the sticker shock and mandatory rental car insurance required by Irish laws (whatever credit card insurance you have is not valid).
Here’s our map:
We spent the night in Dublin, Shannon, Killarney, and Dublin. I wish we would’ve maybe stopped in Cork and Waterford and I wish we would’ve spent more time in Dingle and Kilkenny and skipped Cashel. We ended up having to go back to the Cliffs the second day because on the first day they weren’t visible at all. Not even a little bit. I would highly recommend calling the visitor’s center beforehand to see if the Cliffs are visible before you make the trek up to see them because there is no way of knowing on your own until you get super close to them. That’s what we did the second day and I was happy to hear that they were about “50% visible”, which was good enough for me! Last tip, you must try Murphy’s Sea Salt ice cream. It’s a game changer! We had ice cream sometimes twice a day and I have no regrets.
Day one: Dublin, Tullamore, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, Shannon
Day two: Shannon, Cliffs of Moher (again), Dingle, Killarney
Day three: Killarney
Day four: Killarney, Cashel, Kilkenny, Dublin
I hope you enjoy our photos and feel free to comment or email with any questions!
All images are Fuji 400h 35mm film scanned by The Find Lab
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