Days -2 to 0: Dublin
We flew in a few days early to adjust to the time difference and see some sights in Dublin, including the Book of Kells, the Guinness factory, and several museums. We ate tapas, curry, and had an afternoon tea in a café. Our hotel was in a Georgian townhouse right across from St. Stephen’s Green.
Driving west, we visited Ireland’s only fjord, had lunch in Galway, learned about peat bogs, hiked in the Maumturks of Connemara, and stayed in a castle.
We took a detour to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, known for fishing, stone walls, and sweaters. Only about 800 people live on this island, which is an Irish-speaking area, or Gaeltacht. The local children were having swimming lessons in the harbor that day; it was not that warm out. Back on the mainland that afternoon, we visited the Cliff of Moher.
We took a ferry over the river Shannon, had lunch at the South Pole Inn founded by the famous explorer Tom Crean (seriously, dude was amazing), visited a 15th century castle, and had a very wet afternoon hike with some sheep and a waterfall. We arrived in Dingle to have dinner and visit the workshop of a local crystal cutter artisan.
We spent the day touring the town and peninsula of Dingle. We took a small hike to see the remains of an Iron-age ring fort along with a Famine grave for babies who were unbaptized and therefore not allowed to be buried in a consecrated graveyard. The town of Dingle is really cute; we did some shopping and heard traditional Irish music in a pub in the evening.
We toured the famously lovely Ring of Kerry, then did a cycling tour of Killarney National Park. On our journey around the Iveragh peninsula, we did a little off-roading to see some great views, and the ruins of another ancient ring fort and nearby castle.
Took an unforgettable journey to the Skellig Islands, UNESCO World Heritage Site and filming location for Star Wars Ep VII: The Force Awakens (more about that adventure here).
More lovely hiking today in the Beara peninsula. We had a picnic lunch with a great view, saw an ancient stone circle, then ended the day in beautiful Gougane Barra.
We acted a little touristy as we kissed the Blarney Stone and toured the Rock of Cashel. Then it was back to Dublin for our flight home the next day.
I’ll be incorporating many more photos from Ireland into my Weekly Photo Challenges at some point, so stay tuned for more!