Ireland’s Gems

On Tuesday May 14th, Oscar and I said farewell to our hometown of West Palm Beach and left for our honeymoon to Ireland!!

Airport Goodbye

I am so glad that we chose Ireland for our honeymoon destination.
It is a beautiful and laid-back country with so many gems to explore!

We had one quick connection in NYC and then an overnight flight that brought us into Dublin at 8:30am the next day. As soon as we arrived, we picked up our rental car and headed straight for Roscommon and Galway to begin our seven day journey throughout Southern Ireland.

Getting around was fairly easy since we had maps and a GPS to guide us. The average time we spent in the car was about an hour in a half  from city to city. Our longest trip was our drive from the Cliffs of Moher to Kilarney which was three hours but we enjoyed all of the beautiful country-side views and vistas along the way just like these…

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Below is a map of our journey and the cities we visited. I also posted some photos if you have some time. These are some of the most priceless memories of our trip 🙂

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Ireland Day 1: Roscommon to Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo:
Our first day was very special.  Oscar planned our route so that our first stop was in Roscommon which is where the Fallon’s (my ancestors) originated and still live today.  We drove to the main city of Roscommon and explored an ancient castle, took a walk in a park, ate lunch and saw vast valleys and farms with stone gates all around us. Unfortunately, I didn’t see or meet any Fallons but I heard they are living happily tending their farms 🙂

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Roscommon farmland

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Roscommon Castle built around 1600s

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After our brief stop in Roscommon, we drove 2 1/2 hours to stay at the Ashford Castle Hotel in County Mayo which is all the way on the west coast of Ireland just north of Galway City.

Not a bad place to hang your hat after

Ashford Castle – Not a bad place to hang your hat after a long day’s journey, yeah?

This place is magnificent! It is an old medieval castle that has been refurbished and expanded over the years and then transformed into a luxury hotel.  Upon our arrival at the castle gate, we were greeted by extremely hospitable staff and were treated like royalty the whole time we were there.

When we got settled into our room we took a nice long two hour nap before dinner. Our dinner reservation was at 8 so it gave us some time to enjoy our room and the castle grounds. We only stayed for one night but it was so worth it. Oscar and I were very impressed with modern accommodations mixed with the old world charm.

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Ireland Day 2: After a nice warm Irish breakfast and some more exploring around the grounds, we left the castle and drove to County Clare to see the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher.

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Irish breakfast: Ham and eggs with sausage, baked tomato and black pudding and a white pudding.

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067 072076We spent a lot of time at cliffs. It was such a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed walking along the pathways of the cliffs’ edge and taking in all of the natural beauty. Once we left the cliffs, we made our way South to Kilarney where we stayed at an Irish Bed and Breakfast called the Cill Ide for the next couple of nights.

Day 3: The Ring of Kerry and Kilarney National Park:
The Ring of Kerry is a long circular 111 mile traveler’s route located in County Kerry.  We took a private tour on a small bus with six other passengers and a licensed tour guide for some local insight that made for a relaxing and scenic tour of southwestern Ireland.

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River Sneem – Ring of Kerry

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Stopped for a pint at The Red Fox Inn

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We even made some friends along the way…

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I want to go back!!

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After our Ring of Kerry tour which ended ended around 5pm, our guide dropped us off at Kilarney National Park where Oscar and I hiked and explored the rest of the day since the sun is out until 9pm!

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Muckross House and Gardens

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Huge Rhododendrons!!

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Torq Waterfall, Kilarney National Park

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Kilarney National Park

After the Cliffs of Moher, Kilarney National Park was my second favorite natural attraction. It’s got everything from gardens, mountains, lakes, woods and waterfalls. If I could live anywhere in the world it would be in Kilarney!

Day 4: Blarney Castle, Co. Cork and The Jameson Experience, Midleton: On our 4th day, Oscar and I left Kilarney and headed over to County Cork to kiss the Blarney Stone for the gift of eloquence.

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Blarney Castle, County Cork

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Battlements

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We were blessed with another beautiful sunny day so we strolled through the gardens, had a little snack and then headed over to Midleton to tour the Old Jameson Distillery. Oscar is a huge whiskey fan so I know this had to be his favorite 😛

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And I became a certified whiskey taster!! I’m not a huge whiskey fan but the their whiskey is so smooth. I know I made my husband very proud 🙂

Day 5: Kilkenny Castle to Powerscourt Gardens, Co. Wicklow:
After our day in County Cork, we drove to a town called Waterton and stayed at another very charming and cozy B & B called the Carriage House.  As you can see from the photos, some of the more typical Irish rainy weather started to appear and I got the chance to wear my new Wellies!! The rain wasn’t too bad, just some light drizzling.

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Hanging out in my Wellies

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Carriage House view from our window

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Kilkenny Castle

We enjoyed our tour of the Kilkenny castle and learning all about the Butler family and the history of the town of Kilkenny. After our castle tour, we explored the rest of the town and had some lunch and did some shopping.  Then we made our way to Enniskerry in Co. Wicklow to stay at the Powerscourt Hotel.

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The floor has heated bathrooms!!

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Powerscourt Waterfall – highest waterfall in Ireland!

As a wedding gift, my cousins paid for our one night stay at the Powerscourt Hotel as well as The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. The Powerscourt is a five star luxurious hotel in Enniskerry, Ireland (30 minutes south of Dublin) and is set among a beautiful estate and gardens. It is also home to the tallest waterfall in Ireland.

Day 6 & 7: The Shelbourne, Guinness Storehouse, Brazen Head Pub, and Temple Bar District in Dublin: Our last two days were spent in the city of Dublin. We wished we had more time to spend there but we made of the most of it and visited various places throughout the city.  Our first stop after we checked into our hotel room at the Shelbourne was the Guinness Storehouse!

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View from Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness Brewhouse

After the Guinness Brewery tour, we walked around town, visited the Christ Church Cathedral and then stopped into the Brazen Head for an evening of food, folklore and fairy tales. The Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest pub that dates all the way back to 1189. It is a great venue. We had some traditional Irish food (lamb stew and Shephard’s Pie) which was excellent and sat with good company. Our host for the evening was very entertaining while he sang traditional Irish songs and told us some funny and some sad stories of the Irish.

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After the Brazen Head we hit up the Temple Bar area for a night cap and to listen to some Trad music before heading back to our hotel.

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After our night cap, we settled into our room for a good night’s sleep so we could get up early and enjoy our last day in Ireland.

The next morning we woke up to more rainy weather but that didn’t stop us from visiting the Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Stephen’s Green.

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Trinity College – Library Hallway

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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St. Stephen’s Green

I hope to go back to Ireland one day. It’s such a beautiful and magical place. I hope you enjoyed our photos and learning about the sites and attractions in Ireland! Thanks for taking the time to visit 🙂

Have you ever been to Ireland? What were your favorite spots?

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