The Land of my Family
Dublin is a 8 hour nonstop flight from Chicago and it is completely affordable! Aer Lingus is one of my all time favorite airlines to travel with now. The plane was clean, entertainment was provided, the food was amazing for “plane food”, and the Irish flight crew friendly. Everything for this trip was actually booked through Aer Lingus including the Airbnb’s and car rental. Ireland has always been a bucket list destination for me for so long because all that is known of my heritage is Irish. My mother visited our relatives back in the 70’s, so after I graduated from nursing school in 2014, my sister and I went to see Ireland for ourselves.
There is so much to do in Dublin. The Guinness Factory, Trinity College library, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar are some areas to start. If you can’t get a Guinness from the actual factory, it is still pretty fresh and delicious on tap! Trinity College has the largest library in Ireland and was built in the 1700’s. The Book of Kelis is located here, which is a 9th century book detailing the four Gospels on the life of Jesus Christ. This library is amazing. It is what you think of when you hear the word library. It is what I imagine the beast’s library in Disney’s Beauty in the Beast would look like in real life. I envy the students who are able to go here everyday. St Patrick’s Cathedral is right next to Trinity College. Just like any cathedral, (I love them all) it is quite, majestic, and rich in history. The floors of this cathedral are so unique compared to the others I have been to. The remind me of quilts, but in rich colors and patterns native to Ireland. Temple Bar is such a fun area. We didn’t have time to make it to the Guinness Factory, so we went to Temple Bar instead. There we sat at the bar at Gogarty’s, had a pint of Guinness, some fish and chips, and seafood chowder. It was the perfect first meal after we landed in Ireland and a great place to hear local musicians play. As far as food recommendations: do yourself a favor and get the seafood chowder! It is delicious here.
Cobh (pronounced cove), is a town on an island just south of Cork. This was the last port of call for the Titanic in 1912 before heading to New York. You can visit the former White Star Line ticket office and watch the new ships come and go. The sun shines more here than anywhere in Ireland (or maybe that was just my experience). It is rich in colors, history, and beauty. Luckily I have some relatives that live here, so I was able to have a great experience and recommendations. St Colman’s Cathedral can be seen from almost any place here.
Tralee, Killarney, and Dingle
Tralee is the town where my mother’s side is from. When I think of Ireland, I think of Tralee with its magnificent green rolling hills, free roaming cows, and modest people. I dream of coming back here, and know that I will someday.
Killarney is a bustling Christmas town filled with shops, restaurants, people, and decorations. It is worth stopping by, but I probably wouldn’t spend all day here.
Dingle is a beautiful drive through the hills southwest of Tralee. Here you will meet the Atlantic Ocean. The fog is incredible in Ireland. Sheep will pop out of nowhere on these backroads through the country. The south west side of Ireland is truly amazing. Don’t spend all your time in Dublin!
Doolin/Cliffs of moher
Doolin is a charming little town in the country just north of Tralee. It was pretty easy to walk from our B&B around this town on foot. The Cliffs of Moher are located just south from here and were formed nearly 320 million years ago. They stand approximately 700 feet tall and run for nearly 5 miles. The Aran Islands are close by via ferry and are highly recommended by locals. From here Galway is just an hour north. If we had more time I wanted to do the walking/hiking tour on foot through the Cliffs, but we did the one hour boat tour instead.