My 2016 Europe trip would NOT have been complete without adventuring through Ireland. This country made my list of favorite countries very easily and it’s not hard to see why! I spent two weeks tipsy on life exploring Ireland and Northern Ireland and fell in love with the landscape and the people. The people are really what make a trip anyway, right? The Irish are full of life, ready to show you a good time in a moment’s notice, and in general good craic 🙂 Being a wee bit Irish meself, I was excited to discover and learn more about where some of my ancestors came from.
When my Dad turned 60, he spent a good portion of time working on a project to explore our roots. After tons of research, he wrote a book that he shared with our family to help explain more about our ancestors. It was in this book that I learned my Grandma (on my Dad’s side) has a distant relative (her Grandma’s father) named Michael Cully that is from Carlow County, Ireland. While I didn’t get to explore Carlow County on this trip, I know I’ll be back one day and plan on visiting this area. I highly recommend digging in to try and learn more about your ancestry if you haven’t already! For one thing, I learned my Grandma’s great grandparent came from a gorgeous country covered in rolling green hills and a ocean so blue the current takes your breath away.
Check out my photos to inspire your next trip – I highly recommend visiting Ireland in the summer months to make the most of it given the weather can be a bit tricky other times of the year! I lucked out with really great weather for the majority of my time there in August with mostly sunny days but I did get some rain by the time I got to Killarney. Overall, I explored Dublin, Belfast (and the surrounding area), Galway and Killarney all via trains and public transit. Next time I plan on renting a car so I can explore even more of the countryside where the train doesn’t have direct routes, including Carlow County!
If you’re traveling solo and don’t want to rent a car on your own due to price, etc., you can certainly get around by public transit which I’ve always been a fan of. If you decide to do this and want to see the whole of the island, I recommend you start in the north. If you can fly into Belfast versus Dublin, you can then make your way to Dublin, head west to Galway, and then south to Killarney, Cork, and then back up north. The reason this makes more sense is because there are no direct trains from Belfast to Galway or south, you end up having to stop in Dublin no matter what. I started my trip in Dublin and when I went up to Belfast I ended up powering through a pretty long day of travel from Belfast-Dublin-Galway. It’s totally doable, but not ideal so consider your route in advance.
Today I’m sharing with you the highlights of my Ireland trip from Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Cliffs of Moher, Killarney National Park, and even a nice city park in Dublin. All of these are MUST VISIT places in my opinion. If you enjoy this picture gallery, swing by my Instagram profile for more like this!
Have you ever been to Ireland? What were your favorite areas to explore and what would you recommend to others planning a trip? Please share in the comments!