Traveling to Ireland for Spring break was definitely an adventure I’d love to repeat. The 14 hour flight from Albuquerque, New Mexico wasn’t very exciting but well worth the adventures that followed.
As this was my first trip to Ireland, I can tell you to expect a warm welcome, gorgeous scenery, interesting ruins, fun and friendly locals, a relaxed atmosphere, and a lot of rain.
Ireland is a place where you can fill your days with outdoor adventures and hours of sightseeing, but it’ll also tempt you to slow down and soak up the natural beauty and inviting culture.
The Temple Bar, Dublin
The Temple Bar is quite possibly one of the most iconic bars in all of Dublin, with tourists flocking from all over the world to have a drink inside its famous walls. I’m not a beer or whiskey gal so I opted for fresh Oysters and and an Irish Coffee. Although the history of the bar dates back to the early 1300s, it still remains popular to this day due to its famous red exterior, its great location in the heart of the city, as well as being a huge part of Dublin’s central nightlife scene.
Take a Tour of the Old Jameson Distillery
Another historical gem is the Old Jameson Distillery, located just off Smithfield Square. This location previously used to be the original site where Jameson whiskey was manufactured and distilled until it stopped production in the early 1970s. Although I am not a fan of whiskey, I was rather intrigued by the process in which this solution is made (pun intended). This tour of the old distillery will take you through the history and process of creating the refined whiskey, along with the unique opportunity to take part in a comparative whiskey-tasting experience. At the end of the tour, you will be given a drink coupon to indulge in the greatness, I chose a Jameson and Ginger ale which is now one of my favorite cocktails.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Known as the largest church in all of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is actually one of two cathedrals that were built on Dublin soil. However, St. Patcrick’s Cathedral still remains the most popular of the two when it comes to tourists. A brilliant architectural wonder, its beauty can be noticed both inside and out although I didn’t get to see the inside due to services being in session. The cathedral was originally founded in 1191 and is the final resting place of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s travels and Dean of the Cathedral (according to the sign outside).
The Cliffs of Moher
Another spectacular trip that awaits you just beyond the city is a tour of the marvelous Cliffs of Moher. These natural wonders have also been used for various film shoots, such as Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Princess Bride, and are an absolute breathtaking experience to view in person.
The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most recognizable landmarks. Finally seeing them in person was one of the things I was most looking forward to on my trip to Ireland!
The Cliffs of Moher stretch over 8 miles along the western coast of Ireland. They tower above the Atlantic Ocean, reaching over 702 feet at their highest point.
The Visitor Center is located at the midpoint of the cliffs, which is also the highest point. If you’re short on time and just want to see the most recognizable view of the cliffs, you can do that from here.
This spectacular rock formation on the coast of Northern Ireland. It is an area of about 40,000+ hexagonal columns rising out of the sea. The unique look of the causeway was formed by an intense ancient volcanic eruption. Or if you’d prefer to believe the legend which was told by our awesome tour guide, the columns are the remains of a causeway (bridge) built by an Irish giant named Finn MacCool to connect Ireland and Scotland.
Giant’s Causeway is free (without a guide) to visit and is always open. However it can get super busy during the day, and knowing where to park can be confusing. We found an official parking lot for the Visitor Center. Parking costs around £10.00 per person (not per vehicle, per person) and gives you access to a museum about how the causeway was formed. However you can visit the causeway for free without visiting the museum.
After exploring the causeway, there is a hiking trail you can take that follows along the upper cliffs of the coast, giving you a panoramic view down onto the causeway.
The Book of Kells
I had heard about the Trinity College Library from friends but never thought I’d actually see the inside. We didn’t spend much time in Dublin, but I’m glad we made time to see this beautiful establishment.
It’s more than just a place for book lovers, the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College is an interesting lesson in art, history, and religion. And if that is not enough, the Long Room upstairs is just visually stunning and filled with so many amazing books. Books on books, these books have books!
You don’t get to see the Book of Kells right away. You have to go through the exhibit which helps you appreciate the book and learn some Book of Kells facts.
First, you learn about how the Book of Kells was made. I hadn’t thought about it before but obviously, they don’t have the tools that we do now to be able to make books. They actually used 185 calf skins to make the pages. They were very resourceful and used various things such as gypsum, green clay, and indigo indigotin to get the colors that they needed.
The Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions is the Blarney Castle, a medieval stronghold in Blarney. I still can’t believe that people from all over the world come to this old castle to climb to the top and kiss its famous Blarney Stone. The reason people kiss the stone is to ‘gain the gift of eloquence’, though I’m still not entirely sure how kissing a stone can make someone eloquent.
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Me, kiss the stone…. I did not. I have no interest in putting my mouth on a rock that has seen millions of mouths. No thanks, hard pass.
To kiss the Blarney Stone, you actually have to lean backwards and grab the iron railing. There is a man there to hold you and keep the line moving. There are also railings under the stone for an additional layer of safety.
Waterford Crystal Factory
Waterford Crystal is known throughout the world as a premiere brand and it’s my name, so of course I went to see it. It’s used for famous occasions, well known trophies and glassware for royalty. You can see first-hand how the crystal gets made in a tour that takes visitors through every phase of the process, including watching master craftsmen put cuts in to the pieces that make for unique designs. When you’re done, there is a showroom on hand to buy your own souvenir. Don’t worry about having it break in your luggage; you can arrange to have them ship it home.
Well folks, thats all I got for you this trip. Thanks for joining along for my Ireland adventure.