For a long time I have planned to travel enchanting Ireland. Had learned several things from friends about the beauty and serenity of famous places in Ireland and I wanted to experience it myself. Finally, when I could arrange this 10 day tour of Ireland, it came to reality. I feel so excited about sharing my experiences!
The Delta flight to Ireland was enjoyable and easy. We watched a couple of movies, even napped and drank a little. Since we left in the evening and did not land until 10:00 a.m. Dublin time, our plan was to stay in Dublin through the day until a respectable bedtime so that we could stop jet lag and get the most out of our journey. I had a breathtaking view from the sky as we landed at Dublin airport. I was up for an adventure, never to be forgotten in this lush paradise.
Our first day at Dublin was noisy, frenzied and culture-brimming. Obviously, we had to go to our first Irish bar, trailing through a visit to the Jameson industrial facility and closing with Dublin Castle and the premises of this beautiful, fun town. We saw individuals hurrying up and down the boulevards to and from the workplace and afterwards there were the travelers who walked around and went to various bars and took pictures of all the unforgettable, populated locations. We walked more often than not and saw Dublin Castle, all the bars on the main strip, and we enjoyed the Irish singing and going through a wide number of bars and intersections. In Dublin and all through Ireland, I delighted in sand workmanship that was stupendous, no doubt. These craftsmen depicted their subject in real size (if not greater) and with outstanding point of interest.
The Temple Bar is among Dublin’s most thought about bars. It’s really hard to get into so we got a beer quickly and fought the crowds while soaking in the Ireland sounds and scents.
Dublin, like every other major city, is a vibrant city with a distinct taste of satisfied residents, busy workers and curious tourists. Over the course of our stay in Ireland, there were many beers to sample during our visits to various bars. My favorite of all was the Galway hooker, which I kept a lot of coasters souvenirs of.
My visit to Dublin’s Jameson Distillery spurred on my new favorite cocktail in Ireland, dubbed a “Jamie and Ginger” locally, namely Jameson, Ginger Ale and a touch of lime juice. I was hooked instantly and I still enjoy this drink at home. They have you try different whiskies, bourbon, scotch and of course, Irish whiskey at the end of the tour. I still preferred Jameson to all of them following our visit, particularly added to an Irish Coffee.
My first Irish Coffee was in a former Galway tavern. The brown sugar’s hidden ingredient made it delectable and memorable. Now, before I pour in the Irish Whiskey and coffee, I apply brown sugar to the bottom of the cup so it’s melting right in. Delicate!!!
Our second day has taken us to Waterford in Ireland. Our first stop was of course the factory in Waterford Crystal. The staff and the accuracy and care they took in making each piece of Waterford Crystal astounded me. All those not good are put in a bin, broken down into crystal and used again. We’ve seen crystal footballs from Super Bowl, baby grand pianos, a 911 tribute, wine glasses, Hershey kisses and so much more. One of my favourites is a grandfather clock that sells for $150,000, below.
That day, I just couldn’t afford to. Perhaps after winning the lottery, I can buy this on my next trip. In addition to the Waterford street cultural and art galleries, the view of the water was beautiful both day and night.
Cliffs of Moher
You can not travel to Ireland without a visit to Moher’s notorious Cliffs. It’s described as bleak, stunning and at the same time haunting us. This is of course produced very beautifully with the misty weather in Ireland that was evident most of the month of August when we were traveling there. Bad hair days in Ireland were not rare and frankly, just gave me one less thing to think about as I soaked in all the beauty and splendor of this beautiful country. Standing atop and gazing out at Moher’s Cliffs was a sight embedded for ever in my brain.
If you’re looking for a picturesque town with water views, then you’ll have to visit Kinsale. Hilly mountainsides overlooking the spectacular green-blue water, the town of Kinsale is home to restaurants, cafes and one of my favorite bookstores in the country. My favorite was especially The Poet’s Corner. A cozy little café with tiny tables where you can enjoy a tea and a scone while flipping through one of your favorite novels was a quaint rest stop right in the middle of our trip to Kinsale. You can also carry your used books into the Corner of the Poet to exchange for another. The Irish authors were shouting off the shelf, wooing you for a look. This is to a reader’s paradise.
Food in Ireland
The food in Ireland was quite special, as a Greek / Italian traveling to unknown territory. Breakfast, which is usually my favorite holiday meal, in Ireland was my least favorite. They offered blood pudding (Irish people love this) along with runny scrambled eggs, and baked beans (for breakfast?). With my bagels and cream cheese I’ve enjoyed the abundance of nova salmon.
We always stopped for lunch just for a fast cappuccino and a scone. Yes, tea is the preferred drink but nowhere can I resist cappuccino. I loved every single scone I tried in Ireland-from raspberry to plain to chocolate-with warm butter and jam I enjoyed every one.
Dinner was practically completely essential. Most places served steak and salmon that was my go for most days -for meal. We’ve been recommended to have what people at this Dublin tavern call “the best burger,” called the Brazen Head Ok, they’re good. On our last night in Dublin we went to the Bold Head, and had just that— an unforgettable burger to this day. The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland, where some of her best works have been frequented and written by famous authors including James Joyce. In the pub, where they wrote with many historical prints and newspaper articles describing the room left almost as it was back in their day, you will visit the room upstairs. What a weird place to come!
After our last day in Dublin we had yet another two days to explore. This fishing village, called Howth, near Dublin, we discovered. Driving along the shore towards our destination we find this place wall filled with the village’s ancient country charm and quaintness. We walked around, saw all the historic items, had some ice cream in a tiny café and met some amazing people including a lovely Golden Retriever with whom I shared my ice cream. One of the townspeople proposed we eat prawns in Dublin on our last night in Ireland.
These were big shrimplike fish that looked a lot like lobster. Lobster is one of my favorite foods of all time so obviously I couldn’t resist. For most of the day, we walked along the shore and went back that evening to enjoy some fine Dublin wine and scrumptious prawns. The only word I could use to describe this beautiful location is exquisite.
The places I described above, are only a small part of our wonderful trip to Ireland. We spent 10 days, drove over 1200 miles and saw most of this beautiful country. We visited castles and even the Blarney Stone, we walked along the shore in Galway, we met many travelers and countrymen, and we enjoyed every minute of this beautiful country.
I hope you’ll come to visit the Emerald Isle too. We rented our own car, which at times was tricky but worth the sightseeing and exploration. It was my first trip to Europe and it surpassed my standards altogether. I expect to return to Ireland after I visit a few of countries there.