Ireland Roadtrip Recap:
Ireland, you are a beautiful country! The very beginning of September was a perfect time to visit. Jeremiah and I were shocked at how much sunshine and warm weather we had (I even went swimming in the ocean!). And we didn’t have to contend with crowds. Fabulous trip overall (which I wouldn’t be able to say if I were the one driving. Thanks, Jeremiah!).
The trip was 9 days total, including travel days. We began our adventure in Dublin, where we picked up our rental car at the airport. Because this was such a fast paced trip, we only spent one night in Dublin (poor Jeremiah was thrown into driving on the left side of the road in a city), and made our way across the country, towards the Cliffs of Moher. Unlike my France roadtrip over the summer, Ireland did not seem to have many toll roads, and the ones that we used were not expensive.
We were very happy with our rental car company, NewWay. They were shockingly relaxed about everything, and made it very easy to pick up and return the car. Our rental even included insurance. BUT, I will note that driving on the left side of the road (if you’re used to driving on the right) is NOT easy. AND, Ireland tends to have teeny tiny roads, where vehicles whiz past each other, with only a few inches between.. I tried driving for two seconds and was like “NOPE”. (Thank you, Bearemiah!! Your driving skills are much appreciated)
First Stop: Dublin
If you are traveling during the summer, or early September, I highly recommend staying at the historic Trinity College Dublin! I believe they only offer this experience while school is not in session. We caught the tail-end of this dorm-room style guest accommodation (booked through Airbnb), which includes a beautiful breakfast. The location is excellent, the grounds are very pretty, and parking is provided (which is pretty amazing). While visiting Trinity College, book advanced tickets to the Book of Kells and the Old Library, where you can tour the stunning library filled with ancient books and see the 1,200-year-old Book of Kells.
Dublin is a very pretty city, and we enjoyed roaming around the lively Grafton Street, and taking a peaceful walk through Saint Stephen’s Green Park.
Next up on our itinerary: the adorable town of Doolin and the famous Cliffs of Moher.
This was a 3 hour drive from Dublin, and was a welcome change of scenery from the hustle and bustle of the city. We scheduled the Cliffs of Moher Experience for the 4-7pm time slot, allowing us to catch the golden sunlight sparkling over the vibrant green landscape. The rainstorm had subsided just before our hike, providing us with THE most breathtakingly beautiful rainbow-clad views. I suggest booking tickets online in order to save a few dollars (the tickets are essentially just for parking at the Visitor’s Center, and then you are able to enjoy a self-guided hike).
The B&B we stayed at was nothing special, and there are plenty of nice options around this area, so I won’t bother to link ours here.
The next day, we hopped on the one-hour cliffs cruise (via The Doolin Ferry Co.), where we enjoyed views from the water while learning about the history, and of course the movies that were filmed there (Princess Bride, Harry Potter, Star Wars..). I honestly preferred the views from above rather than the boat, but it was a cool experience.
(1.5 hour drive from the cliffs)
I love the way we broke up cities with small towns/nature. We said hi to some cows along the way, before arriving in the super cute medieval city of Galway. We stayed right in the middle of the cuteness, at The Snug Townhouse. The name does not lie– the hotel rooms are snug, indeed. But if you are spending time in your room, you’re doing it wrong. The Snug Townhouse was clean and convenient (truly amazing location), with a parking lot nearby.
Moving on to: Beach time (the highlight of our trip)!!
Two nights at the 4-star Renvyle Resort (highly recommend!) — a 1.5 hour drive.
Wow, we had no idea that Ireland beaches looked like this!! Again, we hit it at the right time, so it was still pretty warm out, but without the crowds. The water was not warm, but it was surprisingly not too cold to swim. We had THE MOST UNREAL, DREAMY time here. The crystal clear blue water and the many magical rainbows were almost too pretty to handle.
Along the 1.5 hour journey to the Renvyle Resort, we stopped by the village of Cong, visiting the Monk’s Fishing Hut and the 12th century Cong Abbey. We attempted to visit the GORG Ashford Castle, but could only see it from across the way, because we were not overnight guests.
Once at our resort beach stay, we took off exploring beaches (although, the beach at the resort is quite beautiful itself).
The nearby Kylemore Abbey is a must-see. You can book tickets to the gorgeous Kylemore Abbey and Victorian walled gardens, or simply view it from across the water for free.
Final city on the list: Westport
This is a 1 hour drive from the resort.
Westport is a cute little city, and it’s where I found my one-of-a-kind hat!! ..Truly a highlight of the trip. Jeremiah and I came across a fabulous hat in the window, knocked on the door, and were greeted by the sweetest milliner, Lina Stein. Lina invited us in to her home and studio, showing us her many unique designs, and fitting various hats to my head before settling on the perfect one. Thank you, Lina!! (See this reel for more)
Final day/night of the trip: Trim Castle
It’s about a 3 hour drive from Westport to Trim.
Oh my goodness, it was SO much fun staying across from a castle!! We stayed at Trim Castle Hotel, and the views were spectacular. Walking by the castle walls at night was spooky (and wonderful), and sipping our morning coffee on the roof deck while staring dreamily across to Trim castle was well worth the luxury hotel price point.
It’s about 40 minutes from here to the Dublin airport (an easy drive to catch our afternoon flight).
We would have loved to have made it down to the Dingle Peninsula, Cork, and Kilkenny, but with limited time, we sadly could not.
Miscellaneous pics (content overload! See my IG for more):
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