Sunday, December 18, 2016

Your complete starter guide to visiting Ireland

Time for some craic & top things to do in the Emerald Isle. I recently realized that even though I lived in Ireland for a while and made sure I explore the most of it, I never actually shared travel experience tips in a written form! So now is the time!

Killarney - County Kerry - Ireland

The first couple of questions I ask when someone is visiting Ireland and wants tips:
  1. for how long?
  2. when?
Reason I ask when, is because Ireland's weather is tricky; not just in terms of cold but in terms of wetness and rain. It could get quite annoying, and as it rains most of the time in Ireland (isitraining.com), at least avoid going during very cold times as the combo of cold and wetness is... not fun!

If you're just going for 3-4 days, then you might be able to squeeze two day trips and leave the rest to explore Dublin. However if you're there for a week or more, then rest assured, there's plenty of things for you to do.

Cliffs of Moher - Ireland

Things to do & Places to visit:

  • Jump on the tour wagon. Literally! They're the best, they're well organized and they take you everywhere from the city center. Of course you can rent your own car or take the train or bus; however when you get to smaller cities you will need to rely on the scarce town buses or expensive taxis.
  • Galway day trip
  • Cliffs of Moher day trip
  • Killarney (I recommend you stay the night)
  • Ring of Kerry (I recommend you stay the night)
  • If you're feeling like discovering even a smaller but a beautiful town, head to Waterville, it was Charlie Chaplin's favorite holiday spot. 
  • Connemara + surroundings
  • Glendalough National Park in Wicklow (closer to Dublin but still warrants a day trip). And if you're a Vikings series fan, you will appreciate this as many scenes were shot there :)
  • Belfast (Northern Ireland) - and technically you need a U.K. Visa although there are no borders and unless you commit a crime you will be left alone! I made sure I had a visa on me when I went!
So with those day trips you get multiple stops and it's up to you to organize in a manner that helps you make the best of it.


The Temple bar - Traditional Irish Music


For closer and independent trips

You can take the DART from the city center to Howth, Dub Laoghaire or Dalkey. They're small towns, and have harbors by the sea. I love them. I truly do! I try to visit whenever I go back and have a free afternoon, and in particular I love Dalkey and their Saturday markets. If you travel to Ireland after June, The days are quite long so you can really savor those beautiful sea horizon sunsets. Keep a jacket on you as it's almost always windy and don't be fooled by the sun (if it was shining on that day).

Waterville - Ireland
 
Howth - Ireland

Weather Tip:

- When it rains people tend to carry an umbrella. Rookie mistake, the country is generally windy, so try to wear waterproof jackets with attached hats and good shoes and you're good to go. Your umbrella life span is short, I remember on very windy days I would encounter dead umbrellas in the garbage bins all around.
- When it shines in the morning, keep an eye to the sky as cloud formations in this country are frequent and beautiful and make up for fantastic sunrises



Dun Laoghaire - Ireland

Food:

I mean, if you like pork and stews you're in for a good ride. Fish? Of course, always fresh and very delicious: But one of my favorite things to have in Ireland are soups, they're so good at it you must make sure you indulge yourself!

Table rock formation - Ireland

Drinks:

Unless you're living under a rock, you must know by now that they have Guinness, although I am not a beer person (I've tried countless times but alas!); as for you? have a Guinness on my behalf, you can also visit the Guinness storehouse and spend few hours there, it's actually a beautiful experience! You can also do some whiskey tasting if you're a fan.
Glendalough National Park - Photo by my friend Khaledtron

Horse Carriage - Dublin

Restaurants:

There are plenty of restaurants that are worth visiting (specially around Dawson's street), in general food in Ireland is fresh and delicious. To name a few: Johnnie Fox's restaurant is quite an Irish experience (20-25 minutes out of Dublin), Terra Madré (Italian), The Church (an actual church turned restaurant), The Schoolhouse bar, Yamamori sushi, and an amazing breakfast at Il Valentino Cafe & Bakery (see Top Breakfast Places in 6 Amazing Cities).

Trinity College Library - Dublin - Ireland

Places to stay in:


A photo posted by Liliane (@funkyozzi) on

 

Things to do in Dublin:

  • Parks: Saint Stephen / Phoenix
  • The Temple bar (a bit touristy but still a must); Pubs and Irish country music live bands
  • Pub Crawls (check discoverdublin.ie)
  • The Brazen Head (Irish folklore and Story telling)
  • Sandycove beach
  • Grand Canal (You can also do a Vikings splash tour there; they let you scream at people :D)
  • Bord Gais (to watch a play or a musical)
  • Museums & Castles
  • Trinity College (definitely worth walking through this amazing university specially if you love books as its library is one of the largest in Ireland).
  • And finally shopping: Dundrum, O'Connell street, Grafton street, Penny's (cheap and has everything)
 
Viking Splash Tour

 
 
A photo posted by Liliane (@funkyozzi) on
 
Ashford Castle - Ireland (Photo taken by Yasser Abu Ghdaib)

 FROM IRELAND WITH FUNK - Explore

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