Could there be a better day to tell all of you about my amazing trip to Ireland? The answer is no, today it has been exactly 2 years ago that I went on my first ever holiday all by myself, to Ireland. For 2 weeks I roamed the beautiful green country of the Irish and let me tell you, it was the best experience I have ever had. I’ve had many more amazing holidays, but Ireland was the start of my travel fever and I will never forget the people I met and the things I saw.
My journey started in Eindhoven, a small airport in the Netherlands, where I said goodbye to my mum and eventually got on the plane that would take me to Ireland. I landed in Dublin, but I didn’t stay here, I took the bus to Limerick where I would spend most of my nights. However, the way I spent my days in this green country was very different. I saw many different parts of the country from Killarney, Dingle, Limerick, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Galway and it ended with a few days in Dublin. In the rest of this blog I will talk to you about my favourite spots and the things I loved the most.
I want to start by saying that the Irish are one of the kindest people I have ever met. Whenever I looked a bit lost, they came rushing to help me and they are always up for a chat – very different where I’m from, when you’re on public transport you mostly just sit in silence, but in Ireland I had a few of my favourite conversations in the bus.
One of my absolute favourites, and probably the one of every tourist, were the cliffs of Moher. As someone from the Netherlands, where most of our country is below sea-level, these extremely high and extremely beautiful cliffs looking out over the ocean was incredible. On the journey to the cliffs I met another traveller at the smallest train station you could ever imagine, and guess what? He was Dutch as well! We travelled together, since we both had the same destination in mind. Once we arrived at the cliffs, we decided to walk all the way to the end (you can walk in two different directions, we chose the one without the little castle), we were very lucky, because it was a relatively nice day. Of course, that luck ran out the minute we were at the very edge of the cliffs when it started to rain. In that moment, we knew we’d be soaked whether we rushed back or just walked back, so we took our time and enjoyed the wild sea crushing against the rocks. Today, it is still one of my favourite spots.
Tip: for all you Harry Potter lovers out there, a small part of the 6th movie (where Dumbledore takes Harry to find the medallion and they stand on a rock outside of the cave) was filmed at the cliffs of Moher!
A few of the other things that you should visit while in Ireland is Dingle, it’s a small town where you can go on a boat trip to spot dolphins. It also has great diners, where you can have the most delicious food, I particularly liked the restaurant Idas. After spending some time in Dingle I moved on to Killarney. Here I rented a bike and spent an entire day in the national park, one of the most relaxed and calming days in Ireland. If you want a day where you don’t have to talk to people, this is an activity for you. It’s quaint and the scenery is amazing, with a huge lake, waterfalls and enough green and trees to satisfy your need for nature.
Furthermore, the castle and folk park of Bunratty is also well worth a visit. It feels like you went back in time and you get a feel for what it must have been like back in the day.
What I liked about traveling in Ireland was that no matter where you looked, there was green everywhere, also a lot of old buildings and a lot of ruins. Things that I find immensely interesting. To be honest, the thing that made Ireland so amazing were the people. I met a young couple from America in a hostel, who invited me to go to a pub with them. Needless to say, that evening was a very late one. Almost every pub I went to had live, and sometimes traditional, music. The music gave me a real feel for the Irish tradition and since it was spent in great company, it was all I could have asked for! Of course, when you’re in Ireland you have to try Guinness, though I have to admit it wasn’t really my thing.
I was lucky to know some people who live in Ireland, because they took me under their wing and showed me the most amazing things. For example, I went cub hunting with a large group of people and young hounds. We tried to keep up with the hounds, with wellies through the mud and through ditches. Afterwards, we all stayed together for an Irish breakfast with black pudding, a delicacy that you have to try when you’re in Ireland. Also, if you are not used to drinking tea and someone offers you a cup, make sure you ask for milk and/or sugar, because black tea in Ireland is extremely strong, a thing I learned the hard way!
If you have the chance, try to visit the university of Limerick. I was able to sit in with a few classes in journalism, the people were very nice and you have karaoke nights and who doesn’t like karaoke?
I ended my 2 weeks in Ireland with a family in Dublin. I met this woman on the flight from Eindhoven to Dublin, she was the aunt of a guy from my high school and when we landed she came up to me and gave me a piece of paper and her number and she told me if I wanted to spend a few days in Dublin I could stay with her and her family, which I did. Sadly, it was a holiday the weekend I was there and a lot of the things I wanted to see were closed, for example Trinity college and the library. Then again, this gives me a great excuse to go back and visit Ireland again!
For everyone who loves nature, drinking, music and kind people, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t, I would recommend going to Ireland. It was one of the best things I have ever done and I loved every single minute of it!