Last week I was able to visit the very green and beautiful Ireland. I was only able to be there for three full days (a 5 day trip including the travel) but we managed to see a good bit Ireland including Dublin, Galway, and much of the west coast!
We flew from Charlotte to Dublin on a Monday afternoon and arrived in Ireland on Tuesday morning super early. I usually don’t sleep much on airplanes, but with the time difference and our limited days my family and I all did our best to sleep as much as we could on the overnight flight over so that we could start our tour of Dublin as soon as we got there.
We rented a car at the airport, got our bags, and went straight to the Guinness Storehouse to take a tour of Guinness museum, brewery & bars inside. We chose to buy tickets for the regular tour, not the connoisseur tour which cost a little bit more and oversold when we got there. If you do plan on doing the connoisseur tour you do get a lot more out of it but for almost three times the price. For 20 euros (14 in advance if purchased online) we got to do a self guided tour through the storehouse, learned to pour our own perfect glass of Guinness, did a short tasting class on how to properly taste beer, and drank our very own pint of Guinness in the gravity bar on the top level of the storehouse. If you have time to kill in Dublin, I definitely recommend checking out the storehouse for a few hours (especially on a rainy day).
After spending about 3 hours at the storehouse my family and I started to feel extremely jet lagged and tired since we only slept about 4 hours max on the plane, so we decided to jump on one of the “hop on hop off” busses to take a tour through the city. Conveniently the storehouse is one of the stops, so when we walked outside there was multiple different busses we could catch. If I remember correctly it was about 15 euros for the day per person. Our bus driver happened to be hilarious and as we passed each stop not only gave us a lot of background and history but made us laugh along the way too. We only got off the bus about three times because we were so tired, but one of my favorites was a cathedral we saw that looked like a castle.
At around 6pm we decided to have dinner inside a random pub. Guinness and fish & chips were my go to, and did not disappoint. After dinner we walked back to the car, got a coffee and made our way to the hotel.
Since we planned on visiting the west coast of Ireland for our next two days we decided not to stay in Dublin, but instead drive a little bit closer to the west side. The town we stayed in, Athlone, pretty much in direct center of Ireland. It was small but the Hilton we were at was connected to a huge mall with a lot of stores so if you did have some time to kill you have something to do. We were exhausted so we went to bed so we could get a fairly early start again the next morning.
In the morning we took the Wild Atlantic way down to the cliffs of moher. Entrance per per person was 6 euros and there’s plenty of parking right across the street. It looked sunny when we parked so we figured we’d take our chances and start our hike with no umbrella, rain jacket or boots. I highly advise against this! Always bring rain gear no matter how sunny it looks… In the middle of our hike a rogue rainstorm found us and completely drenched and ruined our clothes. We didn’t even end up going back after it stopped because we then were so cold. The cliffs were beautiful but it was a shame we couldn’t walk all the way to the end.
The food inside the cafe was amazing and very reasonably priced, also there’s not too much nearby so if you didn’t eat before going I’d recommend trying something there! I tried the goat cheese quiche.
For the rest of the day we continued along the Wild Atlantic Way towards Galway, a cute little town directly west of Dublin, on the opposite coastline. We actually didn’t have any plans on where to stay this night, so as we arrived in Galway I searched hotels in the area, and most of them were booked. Lucky for us we ended up finding THE CUTEST bed and breakfast, within 5 minutes walking distance of the heart of Galway. Saint Martins only cost us about 30 euros per person if I remember correctly and our host Mary was AMAZING and so sweet, even making us a traditional Irish breakfast when we woke up. Yum! She doesn’t book in advance much- but here’s a link to lonely planet who wrote a quick review on her.
On our last full day in Ireland we spent the morning eating breakfast at Saint Martins and then walked over to Eyre Square,
where a lot of the pubs, restaurants, shops and bars are located. Even with the rain it was fun walking around this area and exploring the town. Once we’d seen all we needed to see we made our way again along the Wild Atlantic Way, exploring even more of the west coast.
When night fell, we made our way back towards Athlone where we stayed before we caught our flight home early the next morning. I hope you find Ireland as beautiful as we did! Cheers!