When the name “Ireland” is spoken, my family instantly lights up with smiles, remembering the colorfulness of this country, its people, architecture, and casual feeling of happy people, Irish music, Irish cuisine and stunning landscape. (like Torc Waterfall below)
It’s true what they say about the “40 shades of green” and the pastoral view is calming AND intense at the same time.
The castles are more simple than Scotland or England and the Irish folk have that jubliant spirit whereas, the people of the U.K. seemed more proper and serious. (Just my interpretation). Our itinerary took us to Adare, Limerick, Shannon, Ennistymon, Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, Dublin...Other places to see are the Ring of Kerry, Galway, Cork, Killarney, Aryn Islands. It’s not always possible to fit everything into a trip, but the nice thing about Ireland is that you won’t be disappointed no matter where you visit! The Castles and Cathedrals were informative and educational and once you are ready for an “intellectual break”, there’s always a charming tavern to relax in with “fish and chips”, salmon, cold beer and lively music. A walk through Adare gave us a chance to snap some photos of the charming cottages. We were very surprised at how colorful the architecture is in Ireland. It was brighter than Mexico, even! (Pictured here is a chandelier inside the Dublin Writers Museum)
The hotel we stayed at was the Dunraven Arms in Adare. This was a beautiful boutique hotel that celebrities and royals have stayed in and I can totally see why! The decor, garden patio and beautiful hotel rooms were a very nice welcome to this magical, colorful country! Our itinerary in Ireland consisted of:
- Dromoland Castle
- Rathbaun Farm
- Cliffs of Moher
- St. Mary’s Cathedral
- King John’s Castle
- Burnatty Castle (show and dinner included)
- Rock Shop near Cliffs of Moher
- Muckross House in Killarney
- Torc Waterfall
- amusement park in Killarney
- Dingle Peninsula
- National Archealogical Museum
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Hop On/ Hop Off Bus tour
- Christ Church Cathedral
- Blarney Inn for dinner and dancing!
- Dublin Writer’s Museum
and other places, too, ….but these were the highlights. The beauty of Adare, which looks like something out of a storybook, can be traced to before the Norman Conquest . The 3rd Earl of Dunraven influenced the rebuilding of Adare to include larger thatched houses. In Killarney, we stayed near Killarney’s National Park. Stretching our legs for a good walk along this parkway was lovely. Muckross House was amazing and one of the Ireland highlights we enjoyed the best.
The story behind how the homeowners prepared this house for Queen Victoria’s visit is astounding. I won’t give it away here but I highly recommend you visit Muckross House. Exploring the Ring of Kerry can be done on your own. The recommended route for Ring of Kerry is:
- Caragh Lake
- Coomakista Pass and Drrynane
You can leave Killarney to go directly to Dublin like we did or you can explore a scenic route which includes stopping at the Blarney Castle to kiss the stone for good luck. We chose the direct route so I guess we’ll have to go back someday to kiss the Blarney stone and visit Blarney Woolen Mills for some shopping! Kilkenny Castle was recommended to us, too. In Dublin, we stayed at Cassidy’s Hotel which was a boutique hotel. This was in Dublin’s city centre. I do remember the sounds of mating sea gulls keeping me awake at night but everything else was glorious!The tour on the Double Decker bus connected us to all of Dublin’s attractions. This tour took 90 minutes and we loved every minute of it and could’ve stayed on for 90 more!:
- Guiness Storehouse
- Dublin Castle
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Phoenix Park
- Old Jameson Distillery
For our first meal in Ireland, I had mussels, my son had lamb stew, my husband had shepherd’s pie and the other two sons had fish and chips. It was misty and we wore our rain coats and ponchos. Our oldest son was the “docent” of Ireland for this trip. Because he had researched Ireland, he wanted to see if the Cliffs of Moher had visibility that day because the first time we went, it did not. We made two trips to Cliffs of Moher and both were incredibly foggy. On our drive afterwards, we found the view charming with its rolling hills, hedges of stone walls, sheep, farmers, shepherds and perfectly maintained cottages with brightly painted homes. We saw sheepdogs, Shetland ponies, wagons and incredible florals. At night, we went to the dinner and show at the Bunratty Castle where we were welcomed by a bagpipe player, a walk up the plank or moat into a hall where they handed us mead. We listened to a harp solo. We entered the Great Hall where we sat with an other American family. The 5 course meal was delicious and we had to eat it with our hands, Medieval style. Bread, parsnip soup, ribs, veggies, chicken, desserts, wine. This was our first time to try parsnip soup and we loved it so much, I recreated it back home in America. Recipe link below.
Other Ireland blogs to search on gypsyfamilytravel are: Rugby Tour of Ireland, Dingle Peninsula, Muckross House and Torc Waterfall. Type those titles in the search tab.
Follow this lesson plan to build trip itineraries with your family: