Some first impressions I had about Ireland before actually going included: Leprechauns, Shamrocks, Shamrock Shakes, Green everything, Beer, Castles and sheep.
Ireland always seemed so close to the rest of Europe but so far away. Since it was always included on the Eurail pass, which I greatly utilized in earlier backpacking days, it was always on my radar. Stored in a back pocket when time could allow for a fully dedicated trip to the Emerald Isle.
I am proud to say that since that with six full days road tripping around the country, my understanding of the culture was a bit more broadened.
This trip was a mad dash since I wanted to meet up with a friend in Liverpool for New Years. We saw Penny lane and lost our first two days of Ireland. This eventually led to my heartbreak in Lucerne.
In preparing this article I didn’t realize how many of the best poets and authors came from Ireland including Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, C.S. Lewis, James Joyce about a thousand others. Truly not exaggerating that much.
As I am.
As I am.
All or not at all.
Once we got into to Dublin we embarked on a whirlwind of a trip all the way across and around both Ireland and Northern Ireland. A few things I didn’t expect that I hope can help, inspire or enlighten you.
Driving is doable. If you didn’t know, they drive on the opposite side of the road than the US. I went into this with a very open mind and eased into the way of the road very quickly with the encouragement of my navigator. I should say I am somewhat dyslexic and truly don’t know right from
Winter Time + Daylight. This was something we knew going in but proved to be tough to work around. We traveled the first week of the year which meant it got dark around
It didn’t rain. Not hardly at all which was wonderful. It was dewy and cold but it actually rained only a handful of times, mainly around Dublin and up in Londonderry.
The Irish are the loveliest. Truly. We had so many kind experiences with the people. We stayed at a cute inn in Northern Ireland and spent a few hours in the evening chatting about life and the history of the country with our host. People have time to sit and talk and laugh and tell stories. A refreshing change from the states.
Pub Culture. I wouldn’t consider myself a huge drinker but this place is all about Pub life in the most wonderful way. Each evening we would go to some kind of pub for a warm drink, dinner or to hear some local music. I was amazed at the delightful experiences we had in pubs.
Medieval Culture Reigns Supreme. I’ve always been one for more gothic architecture from my travels to France and Western parts of Europe. Ireland is all about medieval. It is common to see ruins and expect
Sheep. So I expected them but the amount of sheep still blew me away. There are so, so many. I was surprised at the paint, officially called
Blarney. I found the Blarney Mansion to be much more thrilling than Blarney Castle. I caught glimpse of it exploring the steps up to the stone. In the summer I heard they do tours but in the winter it sits alone, watching the tourists giggle and take selfies at the stone. Eerie, wonderful and my favorite building in Ireland.
Game of Thrones Culture. Many of the locations, especially Dublin and Castle Ward had tours for the show. Several locations throughout the countries. Important to note that my experience was not tarnished from not seeing a single
Dublin. I didn’t expect the city to be such a food and shopping frenzy. All of my favorite European shops and sweet places where here including Laduree and Marks and Spencer. They also had a plethora of vegan and organic options.
The most expensive thing we did. I didn’t expect to pay so much to see the overcrowded Trinity Library. I was thrilled with the photos I got, being very tricky to avoid tourists doing the same thing, but couldn’t believe it would be the most expensive ticket in the country. You can’t even look inside the books. Something cool to see but that I actually wouldn’t do again.
The most we drove for something that was meh. Kylemore Abbey. It’s a tragic love story and beautiful building but with the distance and the amount of time we
Overall, Ireland was a dream to visit. I feel like there were so many more things to see and writing this gave me all the feels to plan a trip back. In case you were wondering, I found no shamrock shakes. With all
This post also makes me sad because my travel buddy photographed in many of these images used to be my best friend. We haven’t spoken for nearly a year because she fell in love and ultimately didn’t know how to balance both relationships. I am responsible for some of
This was a glorious trip and a special chapter in my travels. Leaving you with some of my favorite snaps.