My 1st visit to Ireland was a bit of a last minute decision. The original plan was to spend several days in Paris; however, the week prior to departing on my 22-day European adventure Paris suffered a horrendous terrorist attack. My friends and I opted to change our plans and ended up on a seven-day road trip through the land of a thousand welcomes, Ireland.
We arrived in Dublin on a Saturday. My friends and I were scheduled to spend a few nights in Dublin’s famed Temple Bar neighborhood. We arrived early and had time to kill before our hotel room was ready for check-in. We dropped off our bags then started our day with a traditional Irish breakfast. After breakfast, we purchased a ticket for one of those city bus tours. It was November so it was COLD! We bundled up and sat atop of this open-air bus touring around Dublin getting to know the city and its history.
Although our time in Dublin was short we managed to go to mass, do some whiskey tasting at the Jameson distillery and ended a day of fun with a hilarious trip to a bakery known as the Queen of Tarts.
Our trip to the Queen of Tarts started out with my friends and I looking at a map trying to figure out if we could walk to the bakery or if we should hail a cab. It had been a long day I was tired so we opted for a cab. We hailed a cab jumped in and proceeded to tell our cab driver to please take us to the Queen of Tarts. He looked at us as if we each had three heads. He then told us it was close enough to walk to and somehow in the process, my friend Lizzy tells the cab driver she is the Queen of farts. We instantly began laughing. The cab driver is holding Lizzy’s hand asking her where has she been all his life. My friend Gracie and I are in the back seat in tears from laughing so hard. Then our cab driver drives us less than a block away and drops us off at the bakery. It was one of the funniest nights ever. If only I could have captured the moment Lizzy said she was the queen of farts. It was simply priceless.
We left Dublin on Monday morning. We’d rented a car Lizzy was brave enough to drive on what to us is the opposite side of the road. We were headed to Belfast. Once in Belfast, we did one of the famous classic black cab tours. The tour takes you throughout the city stopping off at many of the Catholic vs Protestant murals. Our driver stated he would not tell us which religion he was but it was fairly clear halfway through the tour that he was Protestant. We’d spend most of our time on the Protestant side and just a short time on the Catholic side. My friends and I didn’t really mind the murals were full of some much history. We even stopped off to visit 1 of 57 peace walls in Northern Ireland.
Now you can’t go to Belfast without visiting the Titanic Museum! Okay, maybe Jack and Rose weren’t there but it was cool to see how the now infamous ship was constructed. From Belfast, we journeyed to the Giants of Causeway. It was cold and we’d arrived late in the afternoon. We walked down to where the giant is said to be sleeping, hung out then walked back in the rain to where our car was parked. It was a fun outdoor adventure.
From the Giants of Causeway, we’d scheduled one night in a castle. My friend Gracie has a thing for castles but then again what girl doesn’t. Castle Leslie was beautiful it felt as if we had taken a step back in time. The grounds were green and lush. The inside of the castle was decorated for the upcoming holidays. We enjoyed a luxurious dinner, soaked in our giant tub, and relaxed before continuing on our Irish adventures. From Castle Leslie, our next stop would be the city of Galway. And from Galway, we would visit the Cliffs of Insanity for you non-Princess Bride fans that’s the Cliffs of Moher.
Galway was a cute town complete with a holiday market. My friends and I ventured into the holiday market for a night of dinner and drinks. The next day we drove to the cliffs to find them completely fogged over. I won’t lie. I was heartbroken. I guess I simply need to return to Ireland. From the cliffs, my friends and I cruised through the countryside and neighboring towns before stopping for a traditional dinner of beef stew at the Irish Arms.
Our adventures through Ireland provided some of the best travel memories I have been blessed enough to create; however, I think what I cherish most are the moments when my friends and would get lost, throw plans out the window just to stop and marvel at sheep in the countryside. Travel is about living in the moment and creating memories to last a lifetime. Thank you to the land of a thousand welcomes. I truly hope to return someday.