Click the dots on the map above to view pictures I have taken in these locations.
Many things come to mind when thinking about Ireland. Irish beer, Irish whiskey, crazy St. Patrick’s day parades. The Irish are proud of being Irish (and 6th generation Irish-Americans are even prouder). But there is more to the country than getting hammered while wearing green.
I had just a weekend to explore Ireland when friends and I flew to Dublin from London. A weekend is not a lot of time to explore the country. We had plans to just stay in Dublin the entire weekend. But to be honest, we got bored quickly. Living in the city of London had our expectations high and Dublin just did not quite meet them. I felt that the city was somewhat dirty, the buildings weren’t easy on the eyes, and didn’t have too many interesting things to do. Plus, we wanted to see what the countryside was all about.
We did take the time in Dublin to tour the Guinness brewery and the Jameson Whiskey Distillery, back to back. The Jameson tour was very good. We had an informative tour guide who gave an interesting tour. I had also never really drank whiskey before this, so it was a cool experience to be tasting it here. The Guinness tour was a self-guided tour as we worked our way around different levels of the building, learning about the history of Guinness through videos, old articles, and past marketing memorabilia. The tour ended on the top floor with 360º views of Dublin with a Guinness in hand.
From here, we rented a small van to explore the countryside. Stopping in small towns along the way, the total trip from the east coast to the west coast city of Galway took about three hours. Outside of Dublin, Ireland was everything we hoped for. Small, winding country roads leading past old stone fences. Herds of white sheep surrounded by the vastness created by the green grass. It was magical.
We stayed one night in Galway, a port city on the west coast, before leaving early the next morning to the Cliffs of Moher. Sometimes mother nature creates something that just makes your jaw drop. The towering Cliffs of Moher is one of those. Seeing them in pictures do not do justice. It’s an entirely new experience by seeing with your own eyes, feeling the cold air come off the Atlantic Ocean, and hearing the waves crash into the wall far below. It makes one realize the powers of nature, and you walk away with a refreshing sense of being a very small part of the world.
Although just a weekend, I really enjoyed the trip to Ireland. I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time in Dublin, but the rest of the country is well worth the time.