Adare, Adare Manor, Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Dingle Peninsula, Galway Cathedral, Guinness, Ireland, Mahon Falls, Newgrange, O'Brien's Tower, Pat Collins Bar, Rock of Cashel, Sean Collins Bar, Torc Waterfalls, Waterford Crystal
Spending a week in Ireland with my family was such a treat! I loved it so much and we were able to see a ton of the country. Meeting everyone in the airport I was excited to see my sister, grandma, mom and dad. We quickly caught up some after enjoying a cup of coffee.
After picking up our rental car, we headed to Newgrange World Heritage site. It is an Irish passage tomb that is dated to 200 B.C. I couldn’t believe how windy it was here and not to mention the piercing cold. After learning about the history of the site, we were able to head inside out of the wind. Walking through the narrow passage, we made it to the center where there were carvings on the walls and ceiling. The coolest part was seeing a simulation of tomb when the winter solstice hits. On the day of the winter solstice, just as the sun rises over the horizon, the rays travel through a small opening above the entrance and light up the interior chamber. After visiting Newgrange, we made the drive to Adare where we were staying in a villa at Adare Manor.
The second day of our trip, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher. It was a great day to be out with the sun shining nice and bright! Viewing the 700ft tall cliffs, was just spectacular and breath taking. We enjoying walking along the top of the cliffs where it was easy to look right over the edge with no guard rail. There were places that you could even sit right on the edge and enjoy the view of the cliffs jutting out of the Atlantic Ocean. This was definitely a must do for anyone traveling to Ireland.
March 11th was a big day and we saw a whole lot. Getting an early start, we headed to the Rock of Cashel. This is a historic site where many of the Kings of Munster were seated. After visiting the Rock of Cashel, it was time to head to Waterford Crystal. I was not expecting much out of this tour, but was presently surprised. We were able to walk in the workshop and view the workers carving and shaping the crystal right in front of our eyes. Also I learned they are the largest and one of the top crystal manufacturers in the world. Finishing off the day, we were able to view Mahon falls which are tucked away in the Comeragh Mountains. We were able to enjoy the falls as the sun was setting.
Our fourth day, it was time to head to the Blarney Castle! The weather wasn’t too great this day with some rain coming down throughout the afternoon but it made the castle uncrowded. Walking around the castle grounds and exploring the castle itself was phenomenal. We were able to go inside and explore many of the rooms in the castle as well as the main dining room. Making our way to the top where you can overlook the vast landscape, it was time to kiss the Blarney Stone. Once each of us kissed the stone, it was time to move on to the Torc Waterfalls. The water here was clear as it gushed down the mountain.
Day five, we headed to Galway to view the Cathedral. It was spectacular and the size of this cross shaped building was breath taking. The Galway Cathedral originally started out as a prison before being converted into a church. Inside, each of the stained glass panes depicted a different biblical story. The altar in the center of the Cathedral was beautiful as well as the organ pipes on the wall. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the city of Galway and exploring the shops after eating some tasty fish and chips at Mc Donagh’s.
Our last full day together came on Saturday, March 14th. While enjoying some pints and local music the night before at Sean Collins Bar, the owner convinced us to visit the small town of Dingle. This town was located at the most south western part of Ireland. Walking around the local shops, we came across Murphy’s, which served home made ice cream! It was so yummy with no extra additives added in. After seeing the town, we all hopped back in the car and drove the Dingle Peninsula which had some spectacular views. It followed the coast line and was a narrow two lane road.
Sunday morning came and it was time to drive to the airport and see all my family off. I was sad to see them go but so happy I was able to spend so much time with them! We had a lot of long days with lots of driving but it was well worth it being able to see so much of Ireland. Each night, we spent quality time at either Sean Collins or Pat Collins Bar enjoying live local music, seafood chowder, and a pint of Guinness. Being able to relax, hang out, and talk with my family each night was one of the things I cherished most about this trip. Thanks again for coming to visit me and making things part of the travels so special!