Honeymoon to Ireland (2018) – I think we did it right

IMG_2697Only read this post if you love Ireland or you plan to visit there. It’s long-winded, and it goes into detail on what we did so that you might better plan your trip there.

To my regular blog post readers: this is unorthodox. Certainly, I am not a travel blogger, else you’d only get a blog update about once every 4 years.

I wrote this because I had numerous people that reached out to me about their own trips to Ireland coming up, and I thought it better to write it well, write it once, and be able to send them a link rather than spend an hour telling 20 different people about our experience. It also turned into somewhat of a memoir piece for Jamie (my wife) and I.

I hope this helps you on your trip! Share it with your friends if they plan to visit, and if there are questions, ask in the comments!


Introduction

We’re adventurous, or maybe better described as ‘sophisticatedly-risky’. We avoided hostels and ate tremendous meals, so I wouldn’t say that we’re on Team Badass by any stretch. Despite a few rigorous mountain/farmland hikes that got us more flustered than we wanted, we weren’t exactly ‘roughing it’ by any stretch of the imagination, but we were ready to if needed.

I am going to tell you EVERYTHING that we did, to the best of my ability, and then comment on whether or not I suggest doing it, or skipping it. We felt like we covered so much, but in reality, there are so many things that we did not get to do. Another trip is definitely in order 🙂 Maybe to renew our vows in a year or two!

If you want a detailed description of what it was like to have no plans made ahead of time, other than the flights we booked, but NOTHING ELSE, on a Honeymoon trip to Ireland for 2 very active people in their late 20’s, take the 15-20 mins to look through this. It’ll be worth the read because I think we did it right.

Dates of our trip: JUNE 1 – JUNE 10, 2018

Pre-trip Preparation

Ok, so we did ‘slightly’ more than book our flights, but not until the days leading up to the trip.

Flights

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We booked our flights 5 months in advance, and from the looks of it, if you do that, you can cut your costs in half. We payed roughly $600 for each ticket. I just checked Google Flights today (June 20th), and flights for the next 3 months are almost $1300, but once you get about 4-5 months out, they are back in the $600 range.

Cell Phones

Make sure to get with your provider about options. Throughout Ireland, reception was rare in the country and slow in the city. We found ourselves getting coffee each morning at places that have WiFi, but we did pay $10/day through Verizon for one of our phones to have cell service if we decided to use it. I think we wound up using it on 7 of the 10 days. It was well worth it. $70 for the whole trip made for a fantastic crisis aversion tool for things like calling 30 mins ahead to see if B&B’s had vacancies, or checking which boats had reservations available before spending 20 mins driving down to the docks only to realize that they are full. I will mention this shortly, but renting a car is A MUST, and having GPS directions on your phone is helpful, but not strictly necessary either. Your choice here. If you want to experience as much of Ireland as possible, pay for some cell service or make it a point to get WiFi each morning/evening. If you are going into your trip thinking that you want to relax and unwind, then you can definitely get away with not having cell phone service, especially since your Google or Apple maps applications typically allow you to SEE your location on the interface, but would require service to get directions or find specific destinations.

Credit Cards/Currency

Most credit card companies will be easy enough to warn about your trip, but make the call ahead of time. It’s much better than arriving in Ireland and then having a card get declined/cancelled on you.

We have Citi Cards through our Costco membership, and we notified them of our trip via online profile. Very simple.

The airports have currency exchanges, so I would recommend bringing cash or your card and getting a lot of Euros up front.

Summary:

  • Make sure you book several months ahead, otherwise the plane tickets are almost double the price for at least 3-4 months out.
  • You don’t NEED cell phone service to get around, but it’s helpful, especially if you plan to see a lot rather than just relax most of the time.
  • Do a big currency exchange ahead of time, you can always exchange it back when you return.

Arriving and Sleeping Tips

We flew through the night, which is always a tough call, but it paid off. Our adrenaline was high, and even though we only got a few hours of bad sleep on the plane (I am 6’7″, so I got 0 hours of sleep), we just committed to a short mid-day nap and then pushed through Day 1 easy enough.

It’s a 5 hour time difference from East Coast US.

Customs were pretty easy, but you’ll spend 1-2 hours navigating through the airport, getting luggage, and figuring out the best way to make it to downtown Dublin if that’s where you plan to stay.

Tons of B&B’s, hotels & hostels. You should not need to book ahead, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to do so for your first night, so that way you can get your bearings down.

Upon arrival, we were confused about some of the bus systems and wound up buying a “3-day Dublin Go Pass” which appeared to be a public bus system and transport to and from the airport that ALSO included a tour bus route. All we wound up using it for was transport to and from the airport, nothing else. Don’t waste the €35 on it unless you want to tour the city in a packed, overheated bus. Parking is difficult in the city, so I don’t suggest renting a car for your time in Dublin, but a better move is to get online and purchase a 3 day pass for Dublin Bikes. Dublin is an easy city to bike in, and you can see much more of the city that way. The busses were crowded, sometimes not on time or too full to take passengers, and very hot and smelly. Plus, their are several types of busses, and getting the wrong sort of ticket will limit you to whatever specific route that bus takes you on. We waited until our last 3 hours in Dublin to rent bikes, and we wished we had done it the whole time. Point being, I think it’s best to just find the cheapest singular ticket into Dublin rather than getting some sort of transportation multi-day package.

Renting a Car

We decided, after 2 days in Dublin, that we wanted more freedom to explore, so we rented a car from “Easirent” and wound up paying around $550 for 8 days with it (that included all the maximum insurance, an automatic transmission -extra cost- and the gas voucher and all that good stuff). The company was below average in customer service, but we booked it through Kayak.com so I would check there or your other typical car rental sites for good rates.

I STRONGLY suggest renting a vehicle, but here is what you need to keep in mind.

  1. You will be driving on the left side of the road. It is not that hard to pick up on, but if you are a timid driver already, this may not be for you. The hardest thing to pick up on is TURNING RIGHT. In America, we make right turns very casually, and only peek over our left shoulder and then role through the stop sign, am I right? Haha. Here, that will get you in an accident, because your right hand turn is actually crossing you into traffic, just like making a left hand turn is in America. So if you casually make a right hand turn and let your instincts take over (only looking left), you could find yourself getting beeped at, or worse, when you enter the oncoming traffic lane.
  2. City driving is like you’d expect in bigger cities, but country driving (which is how we got most places, the roads get very narrow. You have to be willing to slow down to let people pass from time to time, but there are lots of little pull-off spots to let people through. If you are willing to take your time and share the road (which most of the locals and tourists both do very well) you will be totally fine. Tour busses travel the same narrow roads, so if they can fit, you can to.
  3. I am 6’7″ and I fit comfortably into a tiny Honda car. It was the smallest they had available. That said, we did not have much room in the back seat. While larger families traveling probably need more room, it could become difficult to drive a larger vehicle through some of the mountainous or country roads. It is very possible to do it, and we passed tour busses and campers on even the smallest of roads, but I would just suggest that the driver is confident and composed before decided to drive yourself around.
Places to Stay

As I detail the places we went in each city, I will tell you about some of the housing options that we used. That said, we did not book until the day of for 9 out of the 10 nights. We did choose a hotel in Cork for 2 nights, but that’s only because it was a bigger city and we wanted to relax more there than we did in the smaller towns where we were up and about most of the day.

Planning the Day

Use your phone, be it Google Maps or Apple Maps, and star out all the places you want to go. That way, as you plan your daily travel from city to city, or even just walking around, you can remember all the places that you’d like to check out. Do this as you go too. If a local suggests a place, STAR IT!

Summary:

  • Rent a car, it’s worth it, but:
    • Make sure you are confident and composed as a driver
    • Smaller vehicles are easier to handle on narrow roads, but larger ones are manageable too. If coach busses and campers can drive those roads, you can handle an SUV or Van.
  • If you can sleep on the flight, fly through the night. If you hate flying, get on one early in the morning so you get to Ireland with time to get settled
  • Maybe book the first night or two ahead of time, but after that, you can probably “wing it” as much as you’re anxious mind will allow you to.

RATING SYSTEM 

Almost nothing was a bad experience, so these ratings are basically to help you decide, in my opinion, what you don’t want to miss compared to where you can use your own exploration to probably find similar experiences. 

♣♣♣♣ – YOU MUST DO THIS THING OR SEE THIS PLACE OR EAT THIS FOOD

♣♣♣ – MISSING THIS WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO COME BACK TO IRELAND AGAIN LATER, BUT YOU WON’T BE THAT MAD IF YOU MISS IT THIS TIME

♣♣ – GO IF YOU HAVE TIME, BUT IT IS NOT AWFUL IF YOU MISS IT, THE PLACE NEXT DOOR IS PROBABLY JUST AS COOL

♣ – SKIP IT


Dublin

Big, fun, historical city, but don’t stay too long

Dublin is a great city, but it is also just another big city, and in many ways does not differ much from what you would see in the US. You could spend your whole trip here seeing everything, but I think you’d feel that you wasted it. Ireland has so much more to offer in the smaller towns, mountains, cliffs, and oceanfront that Dublin does not have. There are castles, cathedrals, historical sites, gardens, LOTS of pubs, a nice river walk, memorial sites, and the architecture is amazing. All of that said, if we could do it again, we would only have spent 1-1.5 days here rather than 3 like we did.

  • Dublin Bikes – Transportation – ♣♣♣♣
  • Tour the City – ♣♣♣♣ – walk or bike, there’s lots to see on your own

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What we did:
  • River Walk – Hike – ♣♣♣ – it’s worth it to walk the river and pick out things to do
  • Temple Bar / Neighborhood – Pubs/Shops/Food/Wild Fun – ♣♣♣ – think ‘a night out in “New Orleans” back alley bars’, except all day long.
  • Dublin Castle – Place – ♣♣ – cool, but there are lots of castles, tour takes too long
  • Trinity College – Place – ♣♣ – History, The Book of Kells (Religion), College scene
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Place – ♣♣♣ – insanely detailed architecture
  • Guinness – Brewery – ♣♣♣♣ – If you like Guinness, do the whole tour, if not, still go but just go to the Open Gate Brewery
  • Jameson – Distillery – ♣♣♣♣ – super cool, “SINE MATU” : without fear
  • Phoenix Park – Place – ♣♣ – relaxing bike ride, monuments and parks, not unique
  • Gallery Museum – Place – ♣♣ – if art is your thing, do it. If not, it will be a drag.
  • Garden of Remembrance – Place – ♣♣ – a park, with fascinating revolution history
  • Howth – Place – ♣♣♣♣ – this is last on our Dublin list because we actually didn’t go here until we returned from the rest of the trip and went for a ‘hike and seafood’ night here before catching our flight home. Make a dinner trip to Howth. It’s gorgeous, and they have phenomenal fresh seafood. The people on this little island outside of Dublin are there for a good time.
    • Howth Head Peak – Hike/Views – ♣♣♣♣ – Awesome hike, cliffs, not that long, do this before dinner, then go socialize.
    • Deep – Dinner – ♣♣ – great food! But any of the places on this little strip have good ratings and reviews
Dublin Food / Drink
  • Brother Hubbard – Breakfast – ♣♣♣
  • The Bachelor Inn – Pub – ♣♣ – if you like poetry or writing, it’s ♣♣♣♣
  • The Winding Stair – Dinner – ♣♣♣♣ – one of our favorites
  • Terra Madre – Dinner/Wine – ♣♣
  • The Millstone Restaurant – ♣♣ – good food, good music
  • Queen of Tarts – Food/Dessert – ♣♣ – Pastries
  • Lemon Jelly – Food/Breakfast – ♣♣♣ – progressive environment, good food

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Driving from Dublin to Cork (Kilkenny, Cashel)

These drives were just as great as anything we did in Dublin… earthy, vast stone walls, gorgeous green hills, serene, simple, forgotten. 

Kilkenny

This was a good stop. I would make the trip through and maybe dedicate a few hours and a meal here. Walkable shops. The castle is pretty fantastic, and to tour it is short enough that it won’t take all day. One of the better small-town castles you can find.

What we did:
  • Kilkenny Castle – Castle – ♣♣♣ – the castle plaza and surrounding area is very neat. I would at least stop in and tour the castle, but don’t stay too long. Maybe grab lunch, no need to spend all day here.

Cashel

We wound up naming our Dog after this city/castle (Cashel, but “Cash” for short). The city is quite small, and simple, but it was one of our favorite places. The castle here is ‘in ruins’ rather than your typical re-furbished castle, and I think that made it more fun. Get here early enough in the day to get into the castle (before 5-6pm), then maybe eat at one of the few restaurants (we got there too late to eat, but it’s a pretty town).

What we did:
  • The Rock of Cashel – Castle – ♣♣♣ – you’ll want to walk around for an hour, and if you want a relaxing countryside walk, there are some trails on the castle grounds as well.

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Cork / Cobh / Blarney

There is a little bit more personality to Cork than there is in Dublin, but it is still the city. I would spend 1 day here, and if you spend more, then venture into Cobh (pronounced “Cove”) and make the drive to Blarney. I suggest to arrive in Cork early, walk the town, then finish the night in Cobh.

We wound up getting a hotel between Cork and Cobh and it worked out well, but we could’ve had just as much fun at a B&B in Cobh or outside the city. At this point in the trip, we were very glad that we rented a vehicle because the country drive from Dublin to Cork was INCREDIBLE, and having a car allowed us to do Blarney pretty easily. We were in tears at how simple and beautiful the farmland and small roads lined with stone walls were. The stone walls! They just keep going and going and going. It’s green, and it’s wonderful. County Cork (larger than just the city) is also home to “Murphy’s Beer” which is strangely similar to Guinness, but you can only get it in Cork, and all the locals swear that it’s better than Guinness. They sold me on it. #TeamMurphys

What we did:

Cork

  • River Walk – Hike – ♣♣♣ – it’s worth it to just walk the river and pick out things to do, much like Dublin. Lots of pubs and shops.
  • The English Market – Place – ♣♣♣ – Neat indoor/outdoor market that’s been there for a LONG time. Awesome shops and fresh foods.
  • The Farmgate Cafe – Food – ♣♣♣ – Eat here upstairs in The English Market, or just walk around and get some of the local fresh food and goodies!
  • The Elm Tree Glounthaune – Food – ♣♣♣♣ – Perfect honeymoon dinner spot, but it is not in the city of Cork. It is about 10 minutes outside the city. Quiet place, but FINE DINNING AT ITS BEST! Not terribly pricey, but excellent experience. If you are finishing the day and you’ve had enough of the city, drive out here, sit on the back porch and watch the sunset over some rolling green pastures while you enjoy TOP NOTCH FOOD! Get their mushroom appetizer… I ordered 3 of them, hehe.

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Cobh

Awesome little city. Not ‘small-town’ per se, but ‘busy little city’ best describes it. Great place to find a B&B and spend the night. There’s a little square with restaurants and pubs and live music every night. You could definitely have a seaside Irish night out for the ages here. Park the car, walk around the ports, and dance with everybody in the square.

  • The Titanic Bar & Grill – Food/Drink – ♣♣♣ – Nice back patio overlooking the bay. Cobh is the last place that the Titanic stopped before it sank. This is where I had a Murphy’s beer for the first time. Not bad.
  • The Quays – Food/Drink – ♣ – it had promise, but the service was awful and the food was average. The views on the back porch were incredible though!

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Blarney

  • Blarney Castle – Castle/Hike – ♣♣♣♣ – If you are only going to see Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 10.19.01 PM.pngone castle in Ireland, this is the one to go see. After that, they all run together. Definitely make this stop… KISS THE BLARNEY STONE! You can spend a whole day walking around the premises, taking the tour, and seeing the gardens and lake. I would spend a whole morning or afternoon here before heading back to Cork or Cobh.
  • The Woolen Mills – Shop – ♣♣ – If you’re going to be in Blarney already, might as well stop. THIS IS THE PLACE TO BUY SOME GIFTS FOR PEOPLE! Best shop in Ireland potentially.

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Driving from Cork to Glengarriff 

These drives were just as great as anything else we did… earthy, vast stone walls, gorgeous green hills, serene, simple, forgotten. 

Hunting Megalithic Sites

There are so many of these throughout the country, and the level of mystery and awe is well worth going out of your way to see some of them. At times we had to park and hike through fields, while others were just off of the road. Here are 3 of them that we stopped at between Cork and Glengarriff.

  • TempleBryan Stone Circle – ♣♣
  • Bohonagh Rock circle – ♣♣♣ – the GPS will take you to the yard of a farmer, his name is John Smith and he was great. He directed us where to go park and how to find the stone circle. Very secretive and secluded, but worth it.
  • Drombeg Stone Circle – ♣♣

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Glandore – ** our favorite small quiet romantic town

After galavanting through the rolling pastures and amazing countryside, when the walls of stone and green opened up, all of a sudden we were at the ocean. On a narrow dirt road, pulling in, with Hayes Restaurant to our right, and the bay to our left, we felt like we just stumbled onto paradise. If you want something romantic, stop here and spend the night with your lover.

What we did:
  • Hayes’ Bar & Kitchen – Food – ♣♣♣♣ – incredible food, owner operated, this was one of our most relaxing stops. Try a “Kinnegar – Rustbucket Rye Ale” (see pic below).
  • Bayview B&B – B&B – ♣♣♣♣ – we didn’t stay here, unfortunately, but we wanted to. We had already booked a place that morning in Glengarriff, so we wound up stopping and eating, but this is a must stop if you know about it ahead of time. Stay in Glandore for a romantic night (this might be one that you want to book B&B a day or two ahead because it’s so small).

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Glengarriff

IMG_2720This is where we rested our head after traveling and stopping for most of the day. Several B&B’s, all with vacancies. We chose Islandview, but you could do any of them.

Glengarriff was our first ‘old-school small Irish pub with live music’ experience. Way cool. Not uncommon throughout the western part of the island, however, so these specific places are not must-see.

What we did:
  • Islandview B&B – B&B – ♣♣♣ – this is just one of a few that you can stay at here.
  • Eccles Hotel – Drink/Hotel – ♣♣
  • The Maple Leaf – Pub – ♣♣ – live music, made friends from France, amazing singers stepped up to sing with the guitarist, who also gave us a USA shoutout by playing “Country Roads” by John Denver, haha. Drank too much Jameson and Whiskey. Awesome night.

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The Beara Peninsula

So, the coastal western part of Ireland has 3 large peninsulas, the most “popular” of which is the Ring of Kerry. Several locals informed us that the peninsula just south of Kerry, The Ring of Beara, was not only better, but was not the same tourist trap that Kerry was. We heard it from about 6 people, unprovoked, before we decided that we’d take that route rather than Kerry, or Dingle (the other peninsula further north) since we were already in Glengarriff (the start of Beara) and we would wind up touching some of Kerry on our way north anyhow.

It was the best decision we’d made yet, because we were almost totally alone on the Beara mountains and coast! We were SHOCKED at how few people were out there with us, as compared to the Ring of Kerry, which is supposedly lined with tourists and busses.

We left Glengarriff, and did the entire Ring of Beara that day, and it was incredible. Definitely do the Ring of Beara in multiple days if you like to hike or catch views, but we had lots that we wanted to see, so we squeezed in the whole thing in one day. THE DRIVE ITSELF IS WORTH IT! If nothing else, just drive the whole peninsula for the 4-5 hours it would take.

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What we did (besides catch views the WHOLE time we were driving Beara):

There are going to be maps of all the things to do in Beara in every shop or B&B that you stay in around Glengarriff (like the one above), so just pick one up and take it with you. When I say that there’s a lot to do, I mean, you could literally spend a month here and not be bored. Even though we did a day trip, this would be a great place to spend like 3 days and stop in small B&B’s and do the whole ring in more detail.

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  • Healy Pass – Views/Hikes – ♣♣♣♣ – make this narrow, windy drive, and it could change your life. Never seen such a place, where the Mountains, Lakes, Waterfalls, Ocean, Sheep, Rocky landscape, and serene views all come together. And the best part? There were almost no people, and ZERO development of the place. It’s like it is locked in time, preserved for us to be amazed by. When you go through the pass, make sure you park at the top and get out and hike up the mountains. It is so easy, and the views are incredible, I mean, LOOK AT THAT!
  • The Smokey Pickle – Food – ♣♣ – nice cafe, but there are many like this
  • Dzogchen Beara Meditation Retreat Centre – place – ♣♣♣♣ – if you’re into meditation, mindfulness, or buddhism, this is a must visit. We stopped here, and at once could understand the monks and what they must’ve been pondering about the meaning of life while on those cliffs. It was slightly creepy at first, as I am not really familiar with Buddhist culture, and we got there after hours so we were alone, but it was amazing.

  • Dursey Cable Car – Place – ♣♣ – take the cable car out to Dursey Island. Do it.
  • Castles/Waterfalls/Hikes – stop and see as many as you’d like. Some of this is mountainous and some is on the coast. You can’t go wrong. There is so much to do here. Just check out the map.
  • B&B’s – in this area, you could stop almost ANYWHERE. There are B&B’s like every couple miles.

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Kenmare

We finished the full Ring of Beara in a day, then headed for Kenmare, which is on the northern tip of Beara, and the southern tip of Kerry. This is another cool town. Worth a stop. Lots of B&B’s. By this point, we’d caught rhythm. We knew we could role into the town at 7pm and still find places available. Worry free trip.

What we did:
  • Tom Crean’s Fish & Wine – Food/Drink – ♣♣♣ – there are several amazing restaurants in Kenmare, and we just happened to choose this one because the story of a local hero, Tom Crean, was so immensely powerful. They have their own beer that Tom used to drink. Very cool. After dinner we hit a few pubs around town before crashing.

Driving from Kenmare to Doolin

After our night in Kenmare, the drive up through Killarney and north all the way to Lahinch and Doolin actually began on part of the Ring of Kerry, so we didn’t completely miss it. It was a long driving stretch, but we wanted to get further north for our last few days, so we drove about 3-4 hours straight through and only stopped for a few views and a coffee here and there. Upon arrival, the sky was clear blue, and we decided to head straight for THE CLIFFS OF MOHER! haha. Best views, ever.

What we did:
  • Moll’s Gap – Place – ♣♣♣ – driving north from Kenmare, you go through this. Great place, with views, to stop and have a coffee at…
  • Altitude Cafe – Food – ♣♣♣

The following are all just off N71 heading north from Kenmare toward Killarney.

  • Ladies View – Place – ♣♣♣ – off the side of the road
  • Torque Waterfall – place – ♣♣♣
  • Castle Ruins – Place – ♣♣
  • Many more… pick your own!
  • Lahinch Beach – Place – ♣♣♣ – who knew that beaches in Ireland could be so sweet? You can surf here.
  • Cliff of Moher – Place – ♣♣♣♣ – I won’t spoil this for you by talking about it too much. All I have to say is bring your walking shoes, and plan to spend several hours in amazement. This place had more tourists than anywhere else that we went, but it was SOOOO worth it. There are enough cliffs for all of us 🙂

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Doolin

We drove up a little ways past the Cliffs of Moher and decided to stay in a small town named Doolin. What a blast! Small towns, fish ‘n’ chips, sarcastic B&B hosts, and too much beer and whiskey. Great stay, haha.

  • Fisherman’s B&B – B&B – ♣♣♣♣ – Danny, the owner, is fantastically sarcastic. Danny - the owner at Fisherman's Rest B&B in Doolin, IrelandHonestly, though, he’s a memorable part of our trip and an awesome person. Good location, and an experience that we’ll remember more than most. If you stay in Doolin, seek out Danny, and tell him that a tall skinny basketball player with a ‘hot wife’ that came for their honeymoon sent you there. He probably won’t give you a discount, but he will laugh.
  • McGann’s – Food/Drink – ♣♣ – get the fish ‘n’ chips
  • Gus O’Connor’s Pub – Drinks – ♣♣
  • Aran Islands – Place – ♣♣ – the next morning we hopped on a boat and spent half a day on the islands then did a seaside tour of the Cliffs of Moher (yes, we saw the cliffs twice, and I’d do it again).
  • The Ivy Cottage Cafe – Food – ♣♣

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Driving from Doolin to Galway

Just let me reiterate how great it is to drive through Ireland. It’s just gorgeous, and there is never a shortage of little places to stop along the way. Choose to ride along the coast, or through the pastures. Doesn’t matter. Getting lost in Ireland is fun, and it’s not dangerous or scary in any way, at least it wasn’t for us.

  • Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory – Food – ♣♣ – Bean to bar, located at the base of some mountains. Owner operated, very neat.
  • The Burren – Place – ♣♣♣ – strongly suggest taking an afternoon to hike here. We only drove through and stopped and saw a few things, but there is a lot of natural wonder to experience here. We were running out of time and didn’t spend too much time here, but I wish we could have! Grab a map and explore.

Galway

Galway is a mix of Venice Beach, CA and Portland, OR but with the density and city structure of Raleigh, NC. Of the 3 larger cities that we stayed in (Galway, Cork, Dublin), Galway was our favorite. It just feels magical.

The culture and tradition are still strong, but the environment is energetic, diverse, and fun. There are tremendous restaurants here, neat little markets, street performers, and tons of art. Just outside the city you can get your fix of old Ireland too, with a few castles and scenic drives.

  • The Galmont Hotel – Hotel – ♣♣ – opted for hotel for simplicity. Many options.
  • Loam – Food – ♣♣♣♣ – we didn’t eat here because the reservations were full, but this is a MICHELIN STAR spot that has a 9 course dinner. Want to get really fancy and spend $300 on a meal? Do it. If not, then go to this next place, which is our favorite restaurant that we ate at the whole trip, also sorta fancy, but more relaxed…
  • Kai – Food – ♣♣♣♣ – if you’re in Galway, eat here. Period. SERIOUS CHEF.
  • Eyre Square / Merchant’s Road / Pubs – Places – ♣♣♣ – Galway has flavor, explore the city, and take your time doing it.
  • Esquires Coffee – Coffee/Food – ♣♣♣ – awesome breakfast

IMG_3426 IMG_3439IMG_3675IMG_3676

When our time in Galway was done, so was our trip. We headed back to Dublin the night

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before our flight, and that’s when we drove out to Howth and hiked and had seafood.

I would try to wrap this novel of a trip itinerary up with some parting words, but nothing will do it justice.

I feel as though we’ve seen 10% of Ireland, and even that was enough to scratch my travel itch. We plan to go back again someday to see just a little bit more.


Back Home to the US

Flights

Get to the airport 3 hours beforehand. Customs sucks, but it keeps us safe, and it takes a while to go through that process.

They did not mention it until last second at customs, so we were about to get away with it, but do not bring any fruits or vegetables back with you. They can have different germs/pests/pollen that might have an adverse reaction to American agriculture. They’re supposed to police that, but I had to ask before going through, and they confirmed that I should throw away my banana and lemon.

Currency

Make sure you exchange any Euros that you have left over before going back!

There is also a tax exempt program that some gift stores may have given you while you were in Ireland, if so, you need to handle this at the airport. It’s slightly confusing, but anyone at the Dublin airport should know what the tax forms are all about. They have kiosks for them once you get through customs.

Remembering the Trip

If you’re at all like us, then you took roughly 1,600 photos/videos. The plane ride home is a really good time to go through and delete the duplicates (you know, it takes 12 shots of the same pose to get it right).

I had been writing down some thoughts about all the places we went to and people that we met throughout the trip, and I am so glad that I did. It is better to journal about it sooner than later, when it is fresh on your mind, and some of the intricacies of the trip (not captured in photos) are the best part.

We took on Ireland by car, up the southwest coast, and I am so glad that we did.

If you’re taking this trip, I’d be glad to offer further advice. Feel free to reach out.

More of our photos and videos can be found on my facebook page.

With love,

Jakob

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JAKOB GOLLON

Master Your Craft | Tirelessly Curious. There's more to a person than an "about me" section.

3 thoughts on “Honeymoon to Ireland (2018) – I think we did it right”

  1. Thanks so much for your article and pics from your honeymoon. I travelled to Ireland once, alone, and will always hold it in my heart. Many good wishes to you and your lovely bride. May you have a long, happy and healthy life. And may you always appreciate your blessings. Mary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A truly great blog,I live here & I have saved the Dublin info for when I go there. I live in Co. Mayo & if you like hiking etc this is the most stunning area for that. We have the Highest Sea Cliffs in Ireland & the longest most diverse coastline in Ireland. Please see my Facebook page Walk West Ireland for awesome scenery & info. Congratulations on the Honey moon & so glad that you came to Ireland 🇮🇪.
    Regards Derek Davidson.

    Like

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