Guinness & Green Pastures: Southern Ireland

 

I want to state that this blog is not about where I went on my vacations. I don’t want to be THAT person that is always telling you where they went. I do want to share some information about some locations so that you can gain some helpful information about a place you are interested in.

Ireland was not high on my list of places I wanted to visit but when something falls in your lap, you just have to go with it. We had friends that were going and they invited us to join them. I am “The Planner” of the group so I did what I did best…. I did the Google.   I found a lot of information about what to do in Ireland and how much time to spend there. I do want to tell you that there is more to do than stare at the lush green landscape, although that was pretty amazing too. We had 10 days including travel time and that was the perfect amount of time for us. (Two weeks is about all I want to be living out of a suitcase most of the time.) With only 10 days, we focused on the southern part of Ireland.

You can pick up any Ireland travel book and choose the sites you want to see but here are some thoughts from our travels that we learned firsthand:

 

  • Fly into Shannon airport instead of Dublin. It is a much smaller airport.
  • Rent a car with a navigation system and drive around Ireland yourself. It is very easy to get around once you get used to driving on the wrong side of the road- which takes a little bit of time and some brain cells especially when turning right. DO NOT GET SUCKERED IN TO A SUV EVEN IF THE PRICE IS THE SAME OR BETTER. The roads are narrow and it is much easier with a smaller car. (FYI-We learned the hard way.)
  • Stay in a bed and breakfast type hotel and enjoy a smaller hotel with personality. Get to know the owners and make friends with other guests. Just be aware that some B & B’s are hit and miss with regards to accommodations. Read reviews and do your best. After that, it is all an adventure.
  • Do try the Guiness but realized that Irish restaurants and bars have everything that you are accustomed to drinking. Also, try the Jameson, ginger ale and lime.
  • Dublin is a cool city with a lot of historical sites. Don’t miss the Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison for many Irish political prisoners. You may think this isn’t a top site to visit but it was extremely interesting.
  • The Waterford crystal factory tour was not lame, as I expected it to be. It was an awesome tour. You get to stand RIGHT next to the artisans engraving the crystal. (I was so close I could have nudged the artisan.) I even held a replica of the BCS championship trophy. If this appeals to you at all, just go. You will be glad you did.
  • Go to a sheep farm if you haven’t seen this before.  It is cool to see the dogs trained to guide the sheep and to watch a pelt of wool sheared from a sheep.
  • Stay in a castle if you can. We loved the Waterford Castle, which was on an island, but any castle is a great experience to have.

 

Travel is made a little easier when you have a little insight to make it less stressful. That is what I’m here for. Enjoy.


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