It’s Gorgeous. It’s Irish. It’s IRELAND!


Blarney House at Blarney Castle and Gardens
Blarney House at Blarney Castle and Gardens

Landed in Dublin and picked up our rental car. Headed for Cliffs of Moher! Well yes, that’s a three hour drive, but we are in Ireland, so it’s okay!! The countryside is beautiful, when I wasn’t dosing. Haha During our backpacking through Europe trip, we have been going non stop and even getting up in the wee hours of the morning to get to the airport, so we are a little sleep depraved.

We visited the city of Galway first. What a fun and whimsical downtown. Really wanted to park and check it all out, but we were on a mission. Not to mention, still in the learning curve of driving on the left side of the road! We (as in Big Dog-the driver) would try parallel parking later. We did find an interesting inn and restaurant slightly outside of town and decided to stop for lunch. It was a little early and they were still serving breakfast, so we decided brunch was a good idea. It was very Irish, almost pub-like when you first enter. Then as you go through the restaurant, there are several rooms with lots of little tables and with more of a tea room feel. Perfect for Irish tea! The food was good and the people were really nice. Then back on the road, towards The Cliffs.

Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Galway Ireland
Galway Ireland
Irish Tea
Irish Tea

We arrive at the Cliffs of Moher and park. Trekked to the gift shop for some bottled water and then off to explore. It was an exhilarating experience! The massive, scenic cliffs are such a prelude to Ireland in general. We hiked around admiring the view and God’s creation. Very enjoyable. There’s just a slower pace now that we are in Ireland and not only have more time, but will be catching up with our resident tour guides soon!

Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Cliffs of Moher Ireland
Cliffs of Moher Ireland
High point-made it!
Cliffs of Moher Ireland

After leaving the Cliffs, we head to Shannon to check into our hotel. We would be flying out of Shannon airport in a couple of days and decided to stay there. Our plane would be leaving very early again! It’s a theme. Haha How else are we going to have all day to enjoy a destination? And we can sleep when we get home, right?! The hotel was at the airport, in fact we had to go through the security check point each time we went to the hotel. It was nice and one of the largest rooms so far. They had a restaurant and offered a full breakfast each morning. They also had laundry service, so this hotel worked out well for us.

Croissants and such! Ireland
Croissants and such!

Finally, we head to Limerick to see our son and daughter in love! They have been living here temporarily for her work. By the time we arrived, they had been in Ireland about a month so they knew of some great spots to take us to. One place was The Locke, a wonderful Irish pub in Limerick. We had an awesome dinner of fish and chips with them, while even enjoying live music and a river dancer. So fun!

The Locke Limerick Ireland
The Locke Limerick Ireland
Fish and Chips The Locke Limerick Ireland
Fabulous Fish and Chips!

The next day we toured Blarney Castle and Gardens with our son. The castle is fascinating-a step way back in time and the grounds are beautiful. It’s very lush with lots of flower gardens. There was a bagpipe player entertaining the visitors on the walk towards the castle. It wasn’t crowded when we were there on a weekday in May, so we were able to walk into the castle before the line started. What an experience climbing up the small narrow winding staircase, in the castle turret, to the top of the castle. It was a lengthy and slow process, but that let’s you soak in the experience. It’s at the top that you have the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone. To kiss the stone, you have to lay down and lean your head back into a gap off the edge of the castle to kiss the stone across the gap! Big Dog and Zach both did it. Dizzy Lulu passed and tried to snap pictures real quick instead. It’s a fast process. One person is cleaning the stone between kissers and the other person is helping visitors become contortionists. More steps wind you down to exit, although there is not a line and you can go much faster, you still have to be careful of the slick stone steps.

Blarney Castle Ireland
Blarney Castle
Bagpipe player at Blarney Castle Ireland
Bagpipe player at Blarney Castle
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Incredible and massive tree at Blarney castle and Gardens
Incredible and massive tree!

After Blarney Castle, we drove to Killarney for lunch. Driving in Ireland was not only about driving on the opposite side of the road than we were used to, but also about maneuvering through all of the round abouts. The pub did not disappoint. The food was great and there was (as usual) plenty of it. They do not skimp on food in Ireland! The portions in Ireland are hearty.

Driving on left side of road Ireland
Who’s idea was this?!

From Killarney, we were off to our 3 hour or so drive of The Ring of Kerry. Such amazing scenery. There were absolutely gorgeous mountain and ocean views along with lush green countryside. The terrain varies around the Ring so you go from mountain roads to county roads to coastal roads. Some areas are very steep and rocky. Sheep tend to be more prevalent on the farms in the hilly areas and cattle in the flatter pastures. Rock/stone fences are very common even through the pastures. Another very Irish thing to me. We also kept seeing all of these plants with beautiful purple flowers along the road sides and up into the hills. So pretty. The Ring of Kerry was a fabulous journey, worth the time it took to drive it.

Ring of Kerry Ireland
Ring of Kerry Beautiful Drive in Ireland
Ring of Kerry-gorgeous!
Ring of Kerry-gorgeous!
Ireland Backpacking through Europe
Ring of Kerry

We’ve put in a full day by now and decide to meet our daughter in love in Adare for dinner at The Blue Door. Wonderful food again and lots of it. The outside is charming, kind of rustic Irish, but the inside furnishings are more contemporary. Lovely place to eat. All 4 of us enjoyed our dinner.

Dinner at The Blue Door Ireland
Dinner at The Blue Door

The last day in Ireland, we hung out in Limerick with our son. This is a pretty good sized town concentrated around the River Shannon. Loved being able to stand in one spot and look around at the various views-mountain, river, CASTLE, and multi story buildings. It’s a great city with normal busy streets of shops and restaurants, but also has courtyard cafe kind of areas and a Milk Market space where they have market on the weekends. King John’s Castle is in town too and you can see one side from across the river and pretty much walk around the rest. It’s a museum now, but I didn’t realize that when we were walking around it and opted out of paying admission to go in. (I was thinking it would be empty like Blarney-oops). We did check out the passage way on one side though. It was basically a small rocky and muddy cave. The castle is huge and really cool. Love that it is located on the river in town. There are also wonderful old churches and buildings with admirable architecture in that area.

King John's Castle Limerick
King John’s Castle Limerick
Cathedral Limerick Ireland
Cathedral Limerick Ireland
Old church Limerick Ireland

For dinner the last night that we were in Ireland, the 4 of us walked to  another ‘pub’ in town. We chose this place specifically for the chowder. I’m talking loaded chowder with big shrimp, chunks of white fish, mussels, etc. Oh my! Scrumptious! It’s served with really dense grainy brown bread and Irish butter! We certainly did not go hungry in Ireland. Loved the food!

Hearty Seafood Chowder

Back to our hotel at the Shannon airport, where we had been staying for the last 3 days. Time to turn in rental car, pack up and get a few hours of sleep before early flight to London in the morning. Ireland has been incredible! Hanging out with the kids, the food, the friendly people, and of course the stunning scenery made this one of our favorite stops on our backpacking through Europe adventure.

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Big Dog’s Review: From the castles to the cliffs, this is a beautiful country. We rented a car and for the first time in my life I got to drive on the wrong side of the road. The roads are winding and most of the towns we visited were small, but we had an awesome time! I kissed the Blarney Stone and hiked up to view the Cliffs of Moher. Our son and daughter in love are living in Ireland, we spent some much needed quality time with them. Limerick is where they live. We had a great dinner at an Irish pub. Fish and chips with a Guinness! Live music with a river dance! Ireland is awesome! Check it out!

58 thoughts on “It’s Gorgeous. It’s Irish. It’s IRELAND!”

  1. Your trip is so amazing! Love all the stops. I visited Ireland in 2017. Just stayed in the Dublin area but I so want to go back and see more!

  2. My twin sister was supposed to go to Ireland in April of this year but their trip was postponed until hopefully October. I asked her to do a guest blog post about her trip.

  3. My ancestors are from Ireland and I really hope to get to visit there someday. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

  4. I loved our time in Ireland! Cannot wait to go back – we went to all these places except for Limerick – will have to add that to our list!

  5. Awesome! My son-in-law is Irish with a whole family over there. My daughter said it was one of the most ah-mazing trips ever! Looks awesome! Fingers crossed for one day!

  6. Amazing post! Your pictures are beautiful and it looks like you had a great time! Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  7. Wow! What an incredible trip! I would LOVE to spend time in Ireland! Those fish n chips look absolutely amazing as do all of your pictures. I love that you refer to your DIL as daughter in love. <3

  8. Wow! Great photos. How wonderful to have someone in country to help with plans. I haven’t yet been to Ireland; looks enticing.

  9. I loved Ireland!! Such a beautiful country and the people were so friendly. We missed Blarney as it was flooded – we arrived 2 days after the hurricane in 2017. It’s on my list for when I go back.

  10. Wow! What wonderful information for those of us who have always dreamed of traveling to Ireland. You photos are fabulous too!

  11. Saving this for my upcoming trip! The Cliffs of Moher look amazing! Planning to go to Galway too. Glad you had a great trip!

  12. Wow, your trip to Ireland sounded amazing. The Cliffs of Moher looked absolutely breathtaking! And, your son and wife look cute together. For kissing the Blarney Stone, why do it? Does it bring good luck or something?

    1. Thanks! The Cliffs were one of my favorite things! As for kissing the stone, it’s supposed to give you eloquent speech. The gift of gab. Lol I don’t see any changes. Haha

  13. Love this! I had a ticket to Ireland for departure September 7, 2011. Unfortunately our trip was cancelled due to unforeseen reasons. Thank goodness it got cancelled as that was during the historical time of 9-11. Never rescheduled. Maybe some day. I long for these sights. Thank you!

  14. Lovely writeup. You story reminded me of when I did this trip about twelve years ago And yes I kissed that damn stone 🙂 Then did the Kerry Ring. Our visit to Tralee was timed to coincide with the Rose of Tralee annual event which was fun. Ireland is such a wonderful country full of friendly people. Love the pace

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