Ireland Adventure Recap: Part Four – Doolin!

Part Four: Doolin

(continued from here)

Doolin: After doing some shopping in Galway, B got in our car to drive to Doolin, where we’d also be staying in a bed and breakfast. Our plan was to get to Doolin by 1, catch a ferry to the Aran Isles, check in at our bed and breakfast, and then enjoy dinner and some of what is known as Ireland’s best live music. Of course, the trip didn’t go as planned. Irish driving always seems to take longer than it should, and we pulled into Doolin at 1:15 p.m. – just too late for the ferry to the Aran Isles! So, instead we decided to see if we could check in early.

Our Doolin B&B

Luckily, our bed and breakfast was gorgeous – and the people who owned it were by far the friendliest Irish people we’d met (and we’d met a lot of friendly Irish people!). We were greeted not only by freshly cooked scones and freshly made coffee, with Bailey’s, but the host, Sarah, also gave us a ton of flyers, a recommended itinerary and plenty of suggestions on how to spend our day without seeing the Aran Isles.

B on the Burren in front of the Cliffs of Moher

On the Burren in front of the Cliffs of Moher

B and I got back on the road and decided to check out the Burren museum and drive through the beautiful Burren region. The hills of Burren are made of limestone rocks and bright green grass. Because of the way the area was formed, and the way the limestone just juts out of the grass, the area is home to some incredible flora and fauna, and is often studied by scientists and naturalists. After checking out the museum and beautiful scenery, B and I headed back to our B&B and decided to walk to the ferry station and catch a boat tour of the Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Insanity!

The boat ride was beautiful! It was chilly, but not raining, and the cliffs were magnificent, jetting into the water and far above our heads. The water was rocky and I may have felt a little seasick at some points, but I definitely recommend taking a boat cruise to the Cliffs if you’re ever in Doolin. We could see the Cliffs from our B&B, but to be up close to them was truly incredible.

After our boat ride, B and I walked back to our B&B and got ready for dinner and some of the famous live Doolin music! We ordered dinner at a local pub and enjoyed some really cool, traditional Irish music. What a great evening!

Guess which breakfast was mine? (scones and breads not pictured)

The next morning, B and I had another amazing B&B breakfast – this time with homemade jam, freshly baked scones, brown bread and banana bread on the side. Then, we hit the road for our last adventure – one more day/night in Dublin!

Return to Dublin:

After our drive back to Dublin, B and I decided to hit one of the places we had missed our first time around – the Jameson Distillery! We enjoyed the guided tour, plus some Irish coffee (made with Jameson of course), Irish coffee chocolate, and a Jameson tasting at the end.

irish coffee at Jameson Distillery

the last pub

After the Distillery trip, we walked a little more around Dublin, visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and got dinner at an Indian place. We got there before 7, meaning we were able to try their tasting menu and enjoyed an appetizer, main course, naan and a drink.  After dinner, we had plans to meet up with Katie one last time and enjoyed some more beverages, including my last Irish cider (<3 Bulmers!) and last live music session. It was the perfect way to spend the last night of our trip!

Part one of this post, our Dublin trip recap, can be found here.

Part two of this post, the London trip recap, can be found here.

Part three of this post, the Galway trip recap, can be found here.

Ireland Adventure Recap: Part One – Dublin

As you may have gleaned from the past few photo posts, B and I just came back from an amazing European vacation, where we traveled around Ireland and visited London. It was a GREAT trip, even better than I had expected.

Let me start by admitting that Ireland had never been on my list of places to visit. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to visit it – I love traveling and had heard many great things about the country – it was just that I’m not Irish and my list of places to visit have included Asia  (yes the whole continent), New Zealand, Belgium, Turkey, the Caribbean, Spain, and so on – but never Ireland. BUT I am SO glad we went. Ireland was beautiful, breathtaking, pastoral, etc. and the people were more than friendly. So what did we do? Here’s an outline of our itinerary, some of my favorites, and some photos for you to enjoy.

Part One: Dublin

Dublin Day One: B and I flew out of Cleveland late Tuesday and arrived in Dublin just in time for breakfast on America’s birthday- July 4! We somehow made it from the airport to our hotel and dropped off our bags. I felt pretty gross and tired from our 7ish hour plane ride and no shower, but the adrenaline and excitement of being in the new country kept me going! We walked around Dublin, starting at St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful park area right next to our hotel. After that we happened to literally run right into Grafton Street, Dublin’s shopping and music hub – in front of the shops on the cobblestone walkway are tons of musicians putting on performances, trying to make money and get discovered. Have you seen the movie Once? It’s where the two main characters first meet… beautiful!

photoshoot at Trinity College

After some window shopping, we found Trinity College and took a tour of the campus and its library, which meant we got to see the famous Book of Kells and the Long Room. I did sit down at one point in the Long Room and found myself almost passing out – which meant it was time to go, so B and I headed to find his sister Katie, who was in Dublin working for an organization called Friends of the Elderly. We found her, dancing with some elderly people during their Fourth of July celebration, which was pretty amusing to see. Are you picturing this? A bunch of elderly Irish people, dancing with Katie, to some American-style marches, in a room decorated with red, white and blue, and of course, tea and scones.

After meeting up with Katie, we finally headed back to our hotel and were able to freshen up and take a quick power nap. For dinner, we met up with Katie at the Brazen Head – the oldest pub in Ireland! I enjoyed a lamb stew, while B got his fish and chips. After our food and drinks, we headed to Kearney’s for some live music, dancing (including to the song Galway Girl!) and whiskey tasting. Not a bad first day!

The three of us outside the Brazen Head

fish & chips (and B’s favorite – mushy peas!)

irish whiskey tasting

Dublin Day Two: B and I slept in and then enjoyed coffee and brunch right off Grafton Street. After brunch we decided to walk as much as we could before our feet fell off to check out some of the other places on our to do list, including: Dublin Castle, the free museum at the castle – the Chester Beatty Library (which I HIGHLY recommend – it was really cool and filled with tons of artifacts!), the Guinness factory, St. Audeon’s and the Kilmainham Gaol. We almost didn’t make it to the old jail – after walking around and around (and of course not asking for directions) we finally made it there JUST as the last tour was going on!

B, in Jail

Dublin Castle!

Enjoying a Guinness at the Guinness Factory Tour

After a long day of walking around and touring, we met up again with B’s sister for drinks and traditional live Irish music at the pub, Cobblestone. Not realizing the place didn’t exactly serve food, B and I grabbed some shawarma on the way back to hotel that evening. I love street food!

Dublin Day Three: B and I slept in again and then decided to take the bus to see UCD, the campus where his sister was living. Well, we actually were going to leave our bags with her while we were in London (Spoiler alert!) but realized then that we wouldn’t be able to get them upon our return to Dublin so our trip wasn’t really necessary. So we returned back to the city center and went shopping! I bought myself a pair of earrings, some post cards I never sent, and continued to peruse stores looking for souvenirs. We then braved the pouring rain and headed to Dawson Lounge, what’s “probably the smallest pub in the world” (as they claim) for a drink before catching our flight to London! (to be continued …)

Dawson Lounge – “probably the smallest pub in the world”

Back from Ireland!

I’m back from Ireland and had an amazing time! We spent time in Dublin, Galway and Doolin, and saw the Cliffs of Moher, Book of Kells and some cool castles — plus fit in a trip to London for a weekend. I’ll share a brief trip recap later – until then, here’s a quick photo collage for you to enjoy. Have a great weekend!

Top row: B and me at one of many pubs in Dublin; us in front of the oldest pub; B in front of the Cliffs of Moher
Middle row: B and me before our climbing of Croagh Patrick, Me in front of the Cliffs of Moher, The Tower Bridge decked out for the Olympics
Bottom Row: B in front of Kylemore Abbey, Me and B at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese a SUPER old Pub in London