Ireland


A Round Trip

Ire­land – a very inte­res­ting coun­try for a holi­day. If you’re loo­king for tra­vel tips, you can fol­low the out­line of our tour in 2015 below and find some infor­ma­ti­on for your own trip.

On Sunday 29th of March 2015 we star­ted an extra­or­di­na­ry and very exci­ting trip to the Repu­blic of Ire­land. The three of us took a flight from Mem­min­gen in Ger­ma­ny to Dub­lin in Ire­land. We arri­ved at the air­port in Dub­lin around mid­ni­ght. The­re we had reser­ved a car.

Then we dro­ve on to the Irish Natio­nal Heri­ta­ge Park near Wex­ford Town. For infor­ma­ti­on on the park, you can visit their home­page: http://www.inhp.com/

Pic4The park is very big and you get a lot of infor­ma­ti­on about the histo­ry of Ire­land. The­re are buil­dings from dif­fe­rent cen­tu­ries. Ire­land has a long and fasci­na­ting histo­ry. The first peop­le came to Ire­land about 9000 years ago and moved from place to place. In the park you can see camp­si­tes that show you how tho­se peop­le lived. The park is also like a jour­ney through time. It is pos­si­ble to start in prehis­to­ric times (very ear­ly) and look at dif­fe­rent pla­ces up to the Midd­le Ages.

Our next stop was Cas­hel. The­re we wan­ted to see the famous Rock of Cas­hel. The ruins of an old seat of kings are a popu­lar tou­rist attrac­tion. The­re are still a round tower and an anci­ent cha­pel, as well as walls from for­mer times. When you buy an ent­ran­ce ticket you are also invi­ted to watch a short film that shows you the histo­ry of the rock.

Pic9A gra­vey­ard (= a place whe­re peop­le rest when they are dead) is next to the buil­ding whe­re you can have a look at the typi­cal Irish crosses, which are also cal­led Cel­tic crosses.

Then we con­ti­nued our trip to Blar­ney Cast­le. It is a big cast­le that is very well-known. The cast­le that is visi­ble today is the third built on this ground. It was built in 1446. In the 19th cen­tu­ry peop­le even con­struc­ted a rail­way to bring more tou­rists to the cast­le.

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Pic14Have you ever heard of the Blar­ney Stone? The­re is a legend which says that when you kiss this stone, you get the gift of tal­king. This means that you would be able to talk very well and give fan­tastic spee­ches. For more than two hund­red years this stone has attrac­ted thousands of peop­le. Howe­ver, to kiss the stone you have to lie on your back and lean out over the wall of the cast­le. This is what you can see in the pic­tu­re above. The­re are spe­cial secu­ri­ty workers the­re just to hold the peop­le while they kiss the stone, becau­se it is very high up in the wall.

But at Blar­ney Cast­le you can do more than just kiss a stone. Around the cast­le the­re are beau­ti­ful pla­ces whe­re you can walk and enjoy natu­re. The­re are many shades of green and lovely plants. In one part of the grounds the­re is also a water­fall and if you have the time the­re are many parts of the gar­dens worth see­ing.

Pic15The cast­le has its own web­site http://www.blarneycastle.ie/ on which they publish the pri­ces for tickets and whe­re you can also take a vir­tu­al tour of the cast­le and grounds.

What you should defi­ni­te­ly do when you go to Ire­land is dri­ve along the beau­ti­ful coast. We dro­ve around the Ring of Bea­ra and the Ring of Ker­ry. The­re are streets direc­t­ly at the coast. The land­s­cape is unbe­liev­a­ble. You see a lot of the coun­try and are right next to the sea.

The sheep in Ire­land are usual­ly very colour­ful. Every far­mer marks his or her sheep in a dif­fe­rent colour. This helps them to find their own sheep again. In this way they don’t take their neigh­bours’ sheep.
Some­ti­mes the streets along the coast are very nar­row, but often the­re are near­ly no other cars. The Ring of Bea­ra is a road of around 140 kilo­me­tres in total on the Bea­ra pen­in­su­la. This pen­in­su­la is in the south-west of Ire­land. We stay­ed at a bed and bre­ak­fast in Cast­le­town­be­re, the big­gest town of the pen­in­su­la. It was lovely and the har­bour was fan­tastic, too.

Pic19If you want to see a lot of the beau­ti­ful and par­ti­cu­lar­ly Irish sce­ne­ry, take your time with dri­ving. You will need some hours to dri­ve and con­cen­tra­te on the road, so make sure that you also inclu­de many stops at various pla­ces.
The Ring of Ker­ry is an even lon­ger road along the coast. It is also worth a visit.

Bun­r­at­ty Cast­le: Ire­land has many cast­les and many of them are still well pre­ser­ved. This means that the walls are still stan­ding and in a lot of cast­les peop­le have also deco­ra­ted the insi­de of the cast­le the way it must have been hund­reds of years ago. One of the cast­les we visi­ted on our trip was Bun­r­at­ty Cast­le.

Pic20The cast­le is sur­roun­ded by nume­rous trees and the­re are many birds that live in them. Bewa­re of the birds, becau­se some­ti­mes they drop some­thing on you – as hap­pen­ed to us.
It is pos­si­ble to go insi­de the cast­le and look at dif­fe­rent rooms. The­re is an enor­mous hall with a long table and big chairs. On the next floor you also find equip­ped rooms from the past.
Out­si­de the cast­le the­re are small cot­ta­ges with beds, tables laid for tea and a lot of other things.

Pic21After so many cast­les we had a look at some­thing com­ple­te­ly dif­fe­rent. The Cliffs of Moher are very high cliffs whe­re the rocks meet the sea in a fasci­na­ting way. When we arri­ved the­re we were a bit disap­poin­ted. It was rai­ning and the only thing we could see was fog. The cliffs were hid­den in the grey. Nevertheless, we deci­ded that we real­ly wan­ted to see the famous cliffs. So we went into the restau­rant and wai­ted. It was nice to wait the­re. The­re was a lot of good food and cof­fee. Final­ly, after about two hours, the fog went away and we could see the cliffs!

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The hig­hest part of the cliffs is 214 metres high and the­re are almost one mil­li­on visi­tors every year. For more infor­ma­ti­on take a look at the web­site: http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/

Our stay in Gal­way was not very long, but we enjoy­ed the city a lot. It was lively and the­re was also a nice har­bour. One famous Irish song that you could lis­ten to is ‘Gal­way Girl’.

Pic25Our next desti­na­ti­on was Kyl­emo­re Abbey (http://www.kylemoreabbeytourism.ie/).

Pic26Kyl­emo­re is the oldest Irish con­vent of the Bene­dic­ti­nes. The con­vent was foun­ded in 1665 and has moved to dif­fe­rent loca­ti­ons many times. Ori­gi­nal­ly the con­vent was foun­ded in Ypern (today in Bel­gi­um) and the nuns moved to Kyl­emo­re Abbey in 1920. They ope­ned a famous school the­re which had stu­dents from all around the world. The school was clo­sed in 2010.
It is still pos­si­ble to go insi­de the buil­dings. Insi­de, many items from dif­fe­rent times can be seen.

It is pos­si­ble to dis­co­ver a lot in the various rooms. Out­si­de the­re are nice Vic­to­ri­an gar­dens with beau­ti­ful arran­ge­ments of plants. You can take a small train from the abbey to the gar­den and the tearoom, which are a bit fur­ther away. The way the­re runs clo­se to a lake.

Pic31Clon­mac­noi­se was also on our list of pla­ces to visit. Howe­ver, we arri­ved the­re too late in the evening and it was alrea­dy clo­sed. We loo­ked at it from the out­si­de and saw many of the typi­cal crosses. Clon­mac­noi­se is the old ruin of an abbey near the river Shan­non. It has a long histo­ry that goes back until the 6th cen­tu­ry. The ruin is full of gra­ve­stones and crosses.

Pic32The end of our trip to Ire­land was com­ing nea­rer and nea­rer. We dro­ve back to Dub­lin, whe­re we had star­ted our tour. The­re we stay­ed in a youth hos­tel in the midd­le of the city. Up to now dri­ving on the left had always worked out. In the midd­le of the city we were sud­den­ly on the right side of the road. It was a stress­ful moment, but luck­i­ly not­hing hap­pen­ed. The Irish dri­vers even laug­hed at us – they know that tou­rists some­ti­mes for­get to dri­ve on the left.

Pic33To get to know the city a bit we went on a sight­see­ing bus tour with an open top. It was very rela­xing after the exhaus­ting week to sit and relax. The tour show­ed us many dif­fe­rent parts of Dub­lin.
Dub­lin is also famous for its pro­duc­tion of alco­hol. We wan­ted to do a tour of the famous Whis­key distil­le­ry Jame­son, but it was ful­ly boo­ked. Tip: It would be bet­ter to book a tour in advan­ce. You can also do this online: https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/us/visit-us/oldjamesondistillery. You have to enter your year of birth first so they know that you are over 18 years old.
Ano­t­her famous alco­hol pro­du­ced in Dub­lin is Guin­ness, a cer­tain kind of beer. Many peop­le wan­ted to visit the pro­duc­tion site.

The city its­elf is full of life and colour. You can see a lot the­re.

Don’t miss to go to a pub at night or make a who­le pub tour. They often have live music. In many pubs they still play tra­di­tio­nal Irish music. The pubs are usual­ly very full and the­re is a spe­cial atmo­s­phe­re in them.

Pic40The pubs often look very tra­di­tio­nal and have an old fire­place. Even if you do not like whis­key or beer, they are worth a visit. Don’t wait for a wai­ter to come to your table. It is usu­al to go to the coun­ter and order the­re.

The week in Ire­land pas­sed very quick­ly. After seven days full of adven­ture, sight­see­ing, and fun we went home again. See you again, Ire­land!

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Important Information

Acco­mo­da­ti­on
We stay­ed in various dif­fe­rent types of accom­mo­da­ti­on. If you want to get to know the cul­tu­re and how the Irish live, you could choo­se to stay in a B&B (bed and bre­ak­fast). The­re you stay in pri­va­te Irish houses and can order a tra­di­tio­nal Irish bre­ak­fast. The Irish bre­ak­fast is simi­lar to the full Eng­lish bre­ak­fast. It usual­ly inclu­des:
– toast
– sal­ted but­ter
– mar­mala­de
– ham and eggs (or bacon)
– sau­sa­ges
– black pud­ding
– white pud­ding
– gril­led tomatoes
– baked beans in toma­to sau­ce

Use­ful num­bers

Repu­blic of Ire­land
Emer­gen­cy Poli­ce, Fire, Ambu­lan­ce:
Tele­pho­ne: 112 or 999
Nort­hern Ire­land
Emer­gen­cy Poli­ce, Fire, Ambu­lan­ce:
Tele­pho­ne: 999

Auto­mo­bi­le Asso­cia­ti­on (AA) Break­down Ser­vice
Tele­pho­ne: 1800 66 77 88

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