Last June, we did a Journey of 10 nights and 11 days around the Island and this is how we did it:
We arrived at Dublin Airport and we rented a car in Hertz. Something important is that the price showed in the web page didn’t include taxes or Insurance. We got the full coverage insurance because many people told us about the tiny roads in Ireland. So, at the beginning the price for 10 days was going to be around 260 euros, plus everything else end up being 700 euros (more than the double). Also, they gave us the choice of returning the car full or empty, their gas price is lower than outside, so we decided to return it empty.
The first stop was Rock of Cashel. It is an amazing old church and everything I expected from Irish scenario. Nearby, there is an old abandoned castle, it is very nice and not so touristy, you can see it from the Rock of Castle.
Then we arrived at Cork, where we stayed at a Hostel called Kinlay House. Is a very basic accommodation, breakfast is poor, only toast and jellies. But it was nice to make sandwiches for the day.
We had dinner at the Fish Wife. If you want real Fish and Chips eat there! They are huge and the flavour is unique. The place is small so ask it for take away and sit in front of the river or in a bar.
We went for a little walk around the town and we end up at Blackrock castle. This one is a museum for kids, it was smaller than we thought. We walk back from there to the city, so we were starving, so our next stop was Franciscan Well, an old brewery with a nice selection of beers and pizzas. A most go if you visit Cork. They have live music and a nice atmosphere.
After breakfast, we went back to the road, our next stop was Kinsale. A beautiful and colorful little fisherman town. We had coffee and scones in a very cozy café called Jo’s Café. The raspberry scone was divine and fresh. It looked like a favorite between the locals.
After Kinsale we went to Killarney National Park. It was enough time to do the long trail and getting back to the Killarney downtown where our Hostel was. The Black Sheep Hostel was amazing, I highly recommended. The rooms were clean and the beds were private, the breakfast had a nice selection of different toppings for the toasts, cereals and fruits.
Dingle Peninsula Day. It is completely worthy and is kind of a short trip in the morning, after lunch we walked around the town. We had dinner in a place called Quinlan’s, it is famous for the fish and chips. They are very yummy, a little bit more restaurant style than the ones in Cork. The portions are big but is expensive, around 15 euros the plate. Later, we finished up in a pub with live Irish music. We tried, as always, the good local beers (Murphy’s and Killarney).
Finally, we did the Ring of Kerry, it is stunning and if you go early the tourist buses are not a problem. From here, we went directly to Cliffs of Moher. The place was crowded but since is very big you cannot realized it, giving you a lot of opportunities for photos without people.
Then we did Burren National Park on our way to Galway. It is worthy, we thought that we were in another planet.
We arrived at Galway in the evening, so we checked in the Hostel (Snoozles Hostel) and went to bed. This one was a new Hostel, it was comfy but a felt I was in a student residence.
We walked around the city and we went to the Claddagh Cottage, where they offered us a cup of tea and a scone. There was a very nice guy, who told us a little bit of the history of the Claddagh ring, cottage and Galway.
After our journey around every possible place in Galway, we had an early dinner in a place called The Pie Maker. It is a very small and cozy place where you can find delicious pies! My favourite was the Chicken and Mushrooms with Irish Whisky Sauce. Glenn had a Beef and Dark beer pie, and they recommend us to have one that was practically an Irish Breakfast in a pie. Since we already had enough Irish Breakfast on our trip and so more to go, we decided to skip it. The ambiance around Galway at night is amazing, it is very artistic and if you meet the Galway Street Club, you will enjoy of a great show for free.
Time to go to Sligo, but before that, we tooked the long way to meet the National Park of Connemara and Kylemore Abbey. Definitely, they are worth to visit, the scenarios in the Connemara park are speechless and the Kylemore Abbey looked nice but it was under refurnishing, so we could not enter. Probably we will visit next time.
After the long drive, we got to Sligo, where there is a fairy tale mountain and a completely different scenario of Ireland. It is a little bit more rural but the people is still friendly and a little bit less stress. There, we stayed at one Bed & Breakfast called Benbulben Farmhouse. I have to be honest with you, I chose this place because the Homemade Scones they make every morning and thank God, I did it. The place is amazing! I want to live there; the owner is super cute and helpful and her cooking skills are spectacular.
We had lunch at a place called Henry’s Bar and Restaurant. Our host recommended this place to us. The food is very Irish, if that could be an adjective, big amount and cheap. It was full of locals so if you want the real thing go there. It was also very closed to the B&B. As lunch was big, we ate some popcorn for dinner that our Host made for us.
We had the most amazing breakfast and leave early to visit Donegal and London Derry. Two completely different towns. We saw the Donegal castle and the controversial paintings in London Derry.
As our objective was to stay the closer be could of Giant Causeway, our accommodation was in a little town called Portrush, only 10 minutes by car. The got and an amazing Airbnb in front of the sea. Our dinner was TESCO pizza, not the fanciest think but still delicious.
We woke up early and took the road to try to see Giant Causeway without people. We didn´t achieved it but still is amazing. And make sure you look for the legend before you go. It makes it more magical.
On our way to Belfast, we passed through the Dark Hedges and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the first one is practically free, so there is a lot of tourists taking pictures. The Rope Bridge was also crowded but some friends told us that it wasn’t worthy to pay for passing the bridge, that the queue is long and in the other island there is not a lot of things to seem so we skip it.
When we arrive to Belfast, it was raining but that didn’t stop us to walk around the city and check the amazing paintings in the Cathedral Quarter and check the amazing architecture of St. Anne’s Cathedral and the City Hall.
We stayed at a nice hotel called Tara Lodge. The place was fancy, but that is our way to go, the last night of the trip must be a good place with nice breakfast. It is very close to the Belfast University, so we wait until the next day to visit it.
Our first stop was breakfast. It was delicious and they suggested us to try the porridge, Glenn doesn’t like it but I gave it a tried, especially if was a peculiar flavour as the Whisky one. It was amazing, but I would put more Whisky…
The visit to the University was nice and short, it is a spectacular campus and you can see how proud they are about the famous students.
Then, we started the last part of our journey. The last stop before Dublin was Brú na Bóinne, Tombs from the Neolithic period completely well conserved. Our intention was to enter Newgrange but the next tour was late and we had to return the car around 5:00pm, so we went to Knowth. We don’t regret this decision, Knowth is the biggest of the three tombs and you can walk to the top and have a nice view of the landscape. Also, you can enter in one part and see how is in the inside.
Well, we went back to Dublin airport to return the car and took a bus for staying the last night in Dublin. We spent only one night in Dublin because we had already been there, for as a recommendation stay in Dublin at least 3 nights to get to know it better. We stayed at my accommodation for the semester so no more hotels.
Obviously, in Dublin we went to a pub with live music called The Porterhouse. They have craft beer and a nice atmosphere. We had dinner in a place called Bunsen, they specialize in US style burgers, having only 3 types no cheese, with cheese and double. The burgers are really tasty, but what you have to try in there is the Chocolate Milkshake, is super chocolately.
Finally, the last morning we spent in Ireland we decided to go for souvenirs after we had breakfast in Brother Hubbard, because you must say goodbye from their pulled pork. Also, we got a snack to get to the airport at Augier Danger Donuts, a delicious red velvet and black forest donuts.
Well, that was everything. It was a long journey 1900 (we start with 90 km, it was a new car :)= but I think we covered almost everything we want to see.
If you plan to visit I recommend going at the end of May, when the weather is a little better and there are not many people, so the prices of everything are cheaper.
Please let me know if you have some questions.