Jan 29, 2011

Ireland Travel Blog

P.S I Love Ireland!

Last November, I was fortunate enough to visit my good friend John Smith (seriously, that’s his REAL name) in his native land, Ireland. Here you will find a summary of my Ireland adventures, some travel/destination tips, along with some of my own suggestions that I wish someone would have told me before my voyage! :) If you have any questions you'd like to ask, please don't hesitate- email me; lovelygetaway@gmail.com

P.S- Please keep in mind that my trip was in November. All the prices you see here are in Euro, converted to US$. The exchange rate changes almost daily so make sure and check up on it before your trip! I usually use the XE Currency Converter online website, its easy & fast :)

Look what I found posted on John's fridge :) haha!
John's neighborhood

Ireland was beautiful! Not to mention very very green and cold! Upon my arrival at the DUB airport, John picked me up and we headed straight for home, eh his home, in Dundalk, County Louth (which is about an hour away from Dublin). I was exhausted from my previous travels so it was very nice to come home to an actual house, and not a hotel. After getting my good dose of 8 hours of sleep, we decided on taking the city bus back to Dublin to check out some tourist and historical sites.

Dublin :)
Downtown Dublin

The city bus dropped us off in downtown Dublin, we walked down to the center of Dublin and saw the main O'Connell Bridge and the Spire; the Spire is huge! It was made for the new millennium (although it was built in 2003) and costs 3 million euros to clean it a year. Its 120 meters tall and is the biggest sculpture in the world. To be honest, it wasn't really that exciting and it didn't fit in with the buildings around it. But to the people of Dublin, it’s sort of their own personal landmark.

After looking around for a bit, we easily spotted one of those double deck tourist buses and we hopped on. I must say, this is a MUST for every Dublin tourist. It's the easiest, most convinent way to travel around the city! The tour started off at the Dublin Castle grounds, where we were told about the almost successful rebellion. On the tour we passed Johnathan Swift's (author of the "Modest Proposal") childhood house on our way to Christ Church Cathedral, which was built in the year 1030. Christ Church Cathedral has the 2nd largest crypt in the world and it is where Strongbow is buried. We also saw where U2 was discovered by Mr. Guinness and the hotel across the street that Bono owns (woo whoo! I LOVE U2!)

Along the river, we saw the Ha'Penny Bridge. In the older days, people were required to pay a 1 cent fine for crossing the bridge. Soon they built more bridges close to the Ha'Penny Bridge and everyone avoided it so they wouldn't have to pay the fine. If the city were to still charge a penny for crossing the bridge, it would take care of Ireland's debt within a week. Crazy, huh? Along the tour we also went through Trinity College, where in 1904, it became the first college in Ireland to allow women to study. Apparently, there is an old law that says anyone could shoot a bow and arrow at a Catholic inside the college grounds and not be arrested. Trinity College never removed the law, so it’s still in place! Later we went to see the outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Jameson Distillery. Finally our tour ended at the Guinness brewery house and we had to visit this famous place :)

Guiness Brewary House

Welcome to the Guinness Brewery House!

As a first time traveler to Ireland, everyone (well most people) told me that I had to visit the Guinness Storehouse tour. Well let me tell you this, I did visit and it was a great site and very informative, but I must admit, I was a bit disappointed.

The tour cost 15 Euros, which works out to about $25 US dollars, and all you do is walk about looking at videos and reading about the history of Guinness. I am sure I could go to there website or Wikipedia and read all of the same things online. But at the same time, it was very interesting having everything come to life before your very eyes. 
There are seven floors of an old and renovated brewery and basically a trip through what the process involved in making Guinness. I found this interesting and did learn stuff that I didn’t know such as where Guinness was first brewed back in the day. I will say that the smell in the place is just fantastic the aroma was relaxing. There are quite a few very good displays throughout the building and a lot of history for anyone who cares for the nostalgic side :)haha! And to top it off, especially for the distant traveler and Guinness drinker, you get to pour your own pint of “de black stuff” and try to get the shamrock design in the foam. We headed up to the Gravity Bar (on the top floor, it has a nice view of the city) for a view and some peace/quiet. Cant comment on any food prices, we didn’t eat. All in all I did enjoy my visit, it was a good piece of History- but I wouldn't recommend it.

Temple Bar Area
Another famous place I got to visit was Temple Bar. Temple Bar is a very popular area, especially at night. We wanted to grab a drink at one of the pubs, and maybe sit down to watch a Fútbol (soccer) game, but the place was packed. Also, what I didn't know about Ireland before was that Ireland is extremely expensive! My one cider was seven euros ($10). So instead we just hung out towards the back for a bit, listened to an Irish band playing in the pub, then left. Afterwards we hopped back on the city bus back home to Dundalk. At this time, we were literally starving so we decided on getting some Chinese food to-go. I don’t know why, but Chinese food in Ireland is DELICIOUS! It really is addicting, you must try it if you ever visit. John and his family took very good care of me...feeding me...and I'm slowly porking me up, but I've been walking and talking my calories off. I love my metabolism :) haha!

Dundalk <3
The next morning we had plans to go into Belfast, which is in Northern Ireland. If you’re wondering what kind of weather I got, well it was pissing rain some nights and others the sun came out, but it was cold. Everyone made fun of me for being cold...but it was freaking freezing! So instead of heading up North, we decided to take a day to relax and visit some of John’s family. I met the millions of John’s cousins that make up Dundalk, I exaggerate not! He’s probably related to half the city population.... his family is wicked awesome and his little four year old nephew, also named John, is adorable (he'll be quite the ladies’ man when he grows up). Louise (John’s sister) was kind enough to invite us over for dinner and cook a delicious meal. I swear, in Ireland its Thanksgiving everyday; mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, corn… the list goes on! When people ask me, “What’s a typical Irish dish?” I usually respond, “Whatever you have for Thanksgiving dinner, only they have it daily.”

While in Dandalk I did get to visit “The Eight Wonder of the World”, Magic Hill. We visited at night and I must say it is very intriguing yet, creepy. You park at the bottom of the hill, put your car in neutral and turn it off completely. Your car will literally move up the hill, by itself. John and his cousin, Hami, tried explaining the dynamics about how this happens, but I was too busy screaming, “Holy Jesus! We’re moving! Ahhh! We’re actually climbing the Magic Hill”, so I didn’t pay much attention to what they were saying. Yes, I was a bit too excited, and just so you know I was totally messing about it being the 8th wonder… haha :)

The Irish Sea & Corcomroe Abbey

Doesn't it look peaceful?
The next morning, we drove out to some see some Irish countryside and let me tell you, it was gorgeous! It was exactly how I pictured Ireland as. We traveled to see Corcomroe Abbey in Ballyvaughan. We took tons of pictures there, because the abbey was so pretty! It dated back to the early 12th century. We then drove into the Burren. This hilly area was once completely under water and is now covered in limestone rock. This is also the area where the first Stone Age people settled. Many fossils, wildlife, plants and of course, sheep are found here. In the Barren there is a 5,000 year old tomb called Poulnabrone dolmen. We had a quick lunch in Kilfenora and passed through the village of Lisdoonvarna. Every year the city holds Europe's largest singles festival and up to 60,000 people come to the festival.
Sadly, like any trip, my Ireland adventures came to an end. John dropped me off at the airport for my flight back to Roma. There I would meet up with a friend to continue with our traveling. Talk about exhausting, huh? But let me tell you, it was well worth it!

Overall though, I think Ireland was a success! I hope you like the pictures.


  1. I am insanely jealous you went to Ireland. My great great grandparents on both sides of my family came over from Ireland so I have been dying to go.
    This was so much fun to read though! Thanks for posting about your trips :)

    1. ruinireland.com for more travel posts on Ireland from a local!

  2. Wow! Totes jealous! Glad you had fun!

  3. The countryside is gorgeous!! And I imagine the accents weren't too bad either ;D

  4. So jealous! Always wanted to go to Ireland. My grandparents went on a month long horse back riding trip there a few years back (gotta love em) and I have wanted to do that ever since.

    The sea looks incredible!

  5. OMG so fun! So jealous! What an adventure you had!

    Thanks for sharing with us!

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  6. Looks like someone had a blast! :D

  7. Good for you for traveling! It's a great exp. London was a great time too! Piccadilly circus was so awesome... I loved it more than NYC... it may have had to do with the fact I was in Europe. I will be honest about that!

  8. Great Trip Report

    Have to point out though that your photo of "Temple Bar" is actually Grafton Street... Too much Guinness @ that stage? :o)



  9. @Paul - you are SO right! I must have uploaded the wrong picture! thanks for pointing it out :)

  10. My youngest daughter is begging to go to Ireland. Definitely tops on our Someday List. And I adore old, roofless abbeys!

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  12. I absolutely LOVED Dublin. When I went there I actually stayed half my trip with Bono's cousin. My best friend was their au pair so we got to chill for a couple nights at their home. Bono gave them a toaster for their wedding, LOL. A 200 Euro toaster. I totally took a picture.

    Temple Bar was amazing! I loved the atmosphere and the people and looking back, it's a wonder I made it out alive. Oh, but the stories I have to tell! *wink wink*

    Have you read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning? The whole series takes place in Dublin. I HIGHLY recommend it!

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  13. @Jen- I cannot believe you stayed w/Bono's freakin' cousin! That's insanely awesome! What an experience.... I'm so jealous! 200 euro toaster? OMG! Did it fly? :)haha! And yesss... Temple Bar is the BEST! Definitely have some good stories to tell! I love your enthusiasm about everything. Your so bubbly and cute... You know, in a non stalker way ;) Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments. I have yet to read the Morningstar series, but I'll take your word for it and keep an eye out for it!

  14. I think we had an hours conversation about the toaster. I believe the guy told us it was like sterling silver or something. It was seriously huge. I think you could have fit a bagel in one side without cutting it. It was like the prima ballerina of toasters. And...Bono touched it...well, the box at least. LOL! But seriously, the thing still does what every toaster does...TOASTS BREAD. Who spends 200 euro on a toaster? [Bono does!!]

    And, it's always good to know people don't think I'm a stalker. *wink* It's just fun to find someone who has been some of the places I have. It's so rare. I REALLY really want to visit South Africa! Oh...and Istanbul. Hubby says we can go to Istanbul the next time we are back in Europe. Hubby is Albanian...Turkey would be a nice break from Albania! :D (sorry for taking up your comment space. I'm done rambling now. :D)

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  16. Hi there.. seems like you like travelling.
    I always want to visit Ireland, it seems so lovely. Try to pay a visit to Indonesia someday. We have many beautiful getaways :)
    I have some travel posts in my blog too and will add some more later. Come by if you have time.

  17. Hi Diana,
    Ireland traveled with an Irish escort is a great way to experience the Island. Ireland's pages have been read and reread with great pleasure by my wife and I, it's great to see your love of life. I write a small blog about irish experiences not nearly as professional as yours but would enjoy your feedback www.irelandfavorites.com , The nice thing about ireland is it never rains in the pub, cheers, Brian.

    1. ruinireland.com for more Irish travels from a local!

  18. Ireland is so beautiful!
    I have been studying in Limerick city for 4 months now and have managed to travel all over the country side!
    I just love it, the people here are allways up for a good time and having the Craic as the Irish say

    heres a little video of my experences


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  20. next time you visit, you should head south of Dublin to Co. Wicklow instead, it's the 'Garden of Ireland'. You can find info on www.visitwicklow.ie

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  25. Someday I will visit Ireland as well, Can't wait for that day to come.. :)


    1. come over, ruinireland.com...gotta love Ireland...can swap house..;-) I loved Oz.

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  29. Really great post! thanks for the ideas, I'm looking to visit Ireland next year so i'm looking for ideas. We are planning on visiting West Cork and I would love the idea of a Castle or a hotel in West Cork ...I can always dream anyway!

  30. I think some cities in Ireland can be known for stag parties . Sure some cities like Galway and Kilkenny get some, however that shouldn't be what these places are known for as they have heaps of character and is definitely well well worth a visit!

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  36. I think Ireland is the most sprawling place i've ever seen. I just love each and everything you put it on your blog. There are so many attractions in Ireland Which you can enjoy with your family specially with your kids. Its a must see place according to me. I even cant forget the irish coffee. did you had it? how was your experience?

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