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/
The 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.
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.
Have 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.
The 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.
If 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.
The 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.
After 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!
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 next destination was Kylemore Abbey (http://www.kylemoreabbeytourism.ie/).
Kylemore 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.
Clonmacnoise 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.
The 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.
To 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.
The 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!
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:
– salted butter
– ham and eggs (or bacon)
– black pudding
– white pudding
– grilled tomatoes
– baked beans in tomato sauce
Republic of Ireland
Emergency Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Telephone: 112 or 999
Emergency Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Automobile Association (AA) Breakdown Service
Telephone: 1800 66 77 88