The Best of Ireland!

“If you’re enough lucky to be Irish… You’re lucky enough!”

My childhood friend was accepted into the MBA program at Oxford, so as any good friend would do, I decided to take a trip!

After exploring Oxford (which is another blog post of its own) we decided to jump on a plane and head to Dublin, Ireland. Little did I know Dublin was selected by National Geographic’s as one of the best trip destinations in 2018 — see here!

We flew Aer Lingus. They have VERY reasonable flights — just make sure you pay attention to their baggage fees.

There are so many cool things to do in Dublin these are some of the spots we visited. I recommend them all:

1) Dublin Castle

I recommend going here first it will give you the history of Dublin. The one hour tour is worth the price.

2) Trinity College

( If you have a student ID, you get a discount). Trinity College was established in hopes of becoming Ireland’s Oxford or Cambridge, but never reached that status. However, the library there is astonishing!

3) The Book of Kells

(The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was protected by monks for centuries) is located in Trinity college.

4) The Brazen Head

The is the oldest pub in Ireland. Founded in 1198. They have excellent food and you can catch a storytellin’ here if you want to!

5) O’Neills Bar & Restaurant

This pub has fabulous live Irish music and dance every night! Keep in mind, you’ll have to be a bit aggressive to get a table and a spot to see the live music. The live music is upstairs and starts at 7pm.

6) Chester Beatty Library

This is free and quite remarkable to see. Chester Beatty started a collection of books and manuscripts and after his death he received a lot of donations from other people. In here you will see religious artifacts from all over the world.

7) Art & The Great Hunger Museum

Admission is free. It’s located next to the Chester Beatty Library at the end of the Dublin Castle Gardens. If you want to know a little more of the hostility that still exists between England and Ireland this will help you understand. Very sobering.

8) The Guinness Factory!

(My Favorite spot in Dublin) This place is outstanding! There are 5 floors of history and fascinating things to see. I felt like I could have stayed another hour or two looking around. Everything was so appealing. They teach you how Guinness is made, about the founder, Arthur Guinness, and how it expanded to be the company it is today. The amount of testing that each batch goes through is unbelievable. You will also learn the proper way to drink and you can get certified as a professional Guinness bar tender in their Guinness Academy. Lastly, you’ll get a free pint of Guinness at the end of the tour and go to the top floor. It’s the BEST view you will get of Dublin.

One place I didn’t get to because it was sold out was:

Kilmainham Gaol

It was founded in 1726 and closed in 1924. This jail destined and, unfortunately, executed many of the members who fought England for the independence of Ireland.

Since we were in Ireland and I desperately wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher, I decided to look up ways to get there. I came across PaddyWagon Tours. Our tour guide, Fin, was excellent! I learned so much about Ireland and I got to see 5 of the 26 counties in (Southern) Ireland. The landscape is beautiful!

The Paddywagon Tour starts at 8:00am and finishes at 7:30pm. It takes about 3 hours to get to the Cliffs, but you make several stops along the way. It was prefect because you can catch some rest on the bus, but also see a good chunk of Ireland.

We stopped in a town called Kinvarra which is where the Dunguaire Castle is located. It is said that if one walks around it counter-clockwise you will become a virgin again. The Irish are an interesting group of people!

We then stopped at the “Baby Cliffs” which I was already a little terrified because 100 feet is quite high. The Cliffs of Moher are over 700 feet high!

Our group stopped for lunch before seeing the Cliffs of Moher and had a delicious lunch of fish and chips and then we were headed to see what the cliffs had to offer. I have been to nearly 20 countries and have seen a lot of amazing sights, but the Cliffs took my breath away. I stood in awe. The are simply majestic. I felt like I could have stayed the entire day soaking in their beauty. I listened to the birds squawking, the waves crashing and I felt the wind blowing in my face. It was seriously one of my favorite moments in my life.

There are lots of warning signs because one section of the cliffs are not regulated so you can go on the edge. Unfortunately, several people have lost their lives because they’ve fallen off trying to take selfies or get a better look. But, if you go, my suggestion is this, take a lot of pictures quickly, then put your camera away, sit down and enjoy the view in front of you.

We spent the weekend in Ireland and I’d say that was the perfect amount of time. If I were to stay longer, I might have wanted to spend a day or two in the country enjoying the green and being by the seaside, but if you have a weekend to spend while you’re already in Europe, I would say, look into Ireland! I have an absolutely wonderful time!

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