October 13, 2013

Photo essay: driving around Ireland

I set out from Dublin for a 4-day whistle-stop road trip around central Ireland with my cousin.

Here’s a quick peek at what we saw from Dublin to Cork to Limerick and Galway and a few very cute coastal places in between.

Ireland roadtrip

And we’re off! Always check the rear view for a different angle on the quaint countryside.

DAY 1

Powerscourt Estate

First stop for a scone with jam and cream on the terrace of Powerscourt Estate. Sadly we didn’t have time to tour the gardens or visit the pet cemetery though. Pic Powerscourt Estate

Waterford Crystal Factory

My main plan for Day 1 was to visit the Waterford Crystal Factory in Waterford. We took a guided tour (about an hour) of the fascinating process from heating the first ball of crystal, blowing it to make a shape, then cutters with EIGHT YEARS of training set to work making it into a fancy creation

Waterford crystal cutting

And no, there isn’t a seconds store. 25% of the day’s blown glass gets recycled because of impurities. Any “seconds” will be fake!

We spend our first night in Cork, but arrived in thick fog and very late. Sadly I have no pics to show you, but this is a great base for Blarney Castle…

DAY 2 Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle was built nearly 600 years ago by Cormac McCarthy, the king of Munster

Blarney stone

Climb 80 steep and narrow steps to the top floor (Winston Churchill managed so I thought I should be able to) and kiss the famous stone of eloquence

Blarney stone

This bloke whips the tourists through the routine of where to sit and what to hold onto as he holds your shoulders and another guy takes your pic. Unfortunately the professional one was heinous so I’m glad my cousin Kate got this one! And now, it is said, I will have the gift of eloquent speech…

We then headed for the Dingle Peninsula, which everyone had raved about.

Sadly for Dingle (and for us) it was throwing it down. Sideways, rolling rain. So much so that we couldn’t see a thing. We settled for a locally caught Dingle crab sandwich for lunch and a cheeky glass of beer. Next time Dingle!

We spent Night 2 in Limerick.

Locke Bar Limerick

With only one night in Limerick, the best tip we got was to walk across the bridge to the Locke Bar where traditional Irish music was playing and the fish n chips with mushy peas was spot on!

DAY 3

On our way to Galway we detoured (about an hour) to the famous Cliffs of Moher… Ireland roadie cliffs of mohar castle Ireland roadie castle of Mohar Cliffs of Mohar

Then a little drive around the peninsula to Galway took us past these paddocks of cuteness… Ireland roadie Mohar road Ireland   And finally into Galway where we stayed at the very chic g Hotel and walked into the main shopping, eating and drinking area.

DAY 4

g Hotel Galway

Just one of the lounge spaces at the uber chic G

Galway

Love this city! Probably my favourite in Ireland (of the few that I’ve seen). Great pubs and music, good food and shopping. Galway all the Way!

Galway Bay

The view over Galway Bay

And finally we headed back to Dublin…

Dublin road sign

Pic taken by Kate Tweedie while I drove. Safety first.

Clontarf Castle Dublin Ireland

And our last night was spent at Clontarf Castle – a fair dinkum castle built in the 12th century and now a really fabulous hotel with huge spaces for weddings

It was a fast-paced itinerary and I would suggest you do it a little slower, spending at least 2 nights in each city. Ireland is small enough that you can use any of them as a base and do day trips to the many cute villages all over this lush green country with a huge heart and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

If you like road trips, then you might also like this blog on driving the 2000km Wild Atlantic Way with a free downloadable booklet of signature experiences and little gems to stop at along the wiggly route >>>

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About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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