I stayed home from work today with a nasty head cold…today was what I am hoping will be the last of pounding headaches and sinus pressure! Through the fogginess of it all I remembered that today is indeed March 17and that is St. Patricks Day! I started to remember fond times Dusty and I spent in Ireland almost a year ago now….in June 2013. It was the last leg of our 5 country Europe tour. Ireland was by far one of our favorite places to visit.
We purchased a rental car and drove throughout the southern end of the country. I highly recommend Ireland to anyone who is pondering an across the ocean get away….Dusty and I can’t wait to go back and do the same in the Northern half. The people are friendly, the food is great, and the beer isn’t too bad either 😉 Not to mention the history and castles…rolling hills and greenery…is beyond breathtaking. We only spent two days in Ireland…so we had to move quickly!
Since the country is smaller…we were able to drive and see a lot of what we wanted to. We landed in Dublin at 8:00 a.m. got our rental car and were on the road by 8:30 a.m. we decided to take a drive through the central part of southern Ireland as the area of Tipperary is absolutely amazing…think leprechauns and fairies with pixie dust! Something you’d see in a movie…with winding roads, beautiful views…and castles that would rise up out of nowhere. Since we didn’t have to really rush anywhere…we decided to literally “get lost” in the south/central part of Ireland…we went off the beaten path on our drive to Cork…and simply turned our GPS off and followed the signs from town to town….it was amazing!
So weird! Driving on the other side of the road…we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a tad…nervous…before pulling out of the parking deck…we may have did a few laps just to reaffirm ourselves that we could do this!
Here we are in “awe” at driving on the opposite side of the road….also we had to take some video of the experience!
From Dublin to Cork (where we were staying for the night) it took about 2 hours total in the car…so we took our time since it was early enough in the day and saw the country side….After 30 minute of driving…we stumbled across a random castle! This was my all time favorite part about Ireland…we could drive for only a handful of miles and like a mirage we would see this large stone structure come in to view…a castle!
And an old graveyard!
View inside of the Cathedral…
The oldest section of the castle….Cormac’s Chapel is said to be one of the first in Ireland.
I loved the little towns we would come up to along the way….
And the abandoned homesteads….I would pack up and live here in an instant…
Some more ruins… Moor Abbey, just east of Galbally Village and overlooks the Galtee Mountains was founded in 1471.
Dusty and I are both history nerds….however, we each appreciate different aspects of the history…he enjoys reading the fine print details and dates…I like to get the frame work and then observe the structures, snapping photos to document what we saw….
love love love……
We reached our bed and breakfast in the town of Cork in the mid afternoon, which was adorable and quaint! I highly recommend staying with Avril and Tony Lyons at the Fernroyd B&B in Cork!
Our accommodations were very comfortable and clean!
Later that evening we headed over to Blarney Castle which was only a 5 – 10 minute drive from the B&B we were staying at in Cork. Blarney Castle is a must see while in Ireland!
The initial structure known as the Blarney Castle was built before 1200 AD and in 1446 was destroyed and then rebuilt in to the structure that stands today.
Dusty kissing the Stone of Eloquence aka the Blarney Stone, which is made out of limestone. It is a magical stone that is said to be a stone in which kings were crowned 🙂 Legend has it that anyone who kisses the stone receives the gift of gab or great eloquence or skills at flattery and speaking! (what a weird/random thing?)
In the photo below you can see where one of the main floors fell through…a fireplace/hearth is left standing where the floor would have been.
When you stand on top of Blarney Castle you can see the Blarney House off in the distance which was built in the early 1700’s!
The next morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Fernroyd House B&B! Dusty especially loved the traditional Irish breakfast. We had a lot of options! At breakfast we were asked if we had any relatives that were Irish…with Dusty’s last name being Collins…they thought for sure that is why we were visiting…Dusty’s great great grandfather changed his last name from Zykowski (which was Polish) to Collins so we don’t actually have any Irish roots…!
Delicious homemade biscuits and jam!
The Traditional Irish Breakfast!
I had a poached egg, toast and bacon!
We were up bright and early and hit the road to do the Ring of Kerry, head up to the Clifs of Moher and back to Dublin! The Ring of Kerry took us about 3-4 hours total to drive…but it didn’t feel long because we stopped, took photos, walked around, enjoyed the views, drove with the windows down, listened to interesting Irish tunes on the radio…and just had a great time!
Our first stop overlooking the beautiful oceanside town of Cahersiveen.
We had to stop to enjoy it….take it all in…
After enjoying our jaunt through the Ring of Kerry we then drove up to town of Tarbert and took the ferry across the River Shannon and headed to the Cliffs of Moher.
Here is a random photo of us in the car on the ferry.
When we got to the Cliffs of Moher it was cold! The wind was whipping across the ocean. It was windy and a little bit rainy! I have heard that if you can make it to the Cliffs of Moher on a clear day you are lucky…it is usually foggy. We definitely got lucky! The view was beautiful.
The sun was setting…squinty me!
After visiting the Cliffs of Moher and a long day of driving…we were famished! We were craving seafood on our last night on our Europe adventures….so we stopped at a quiet oceanside village named Kinvara and had the best meal ever.
And oh look, as the sun set low…and darkness fell…another stone castle appeared on the horizon…this castle is called Dunguaire Castle and was built in the 16th century AD.
Until next time Ireland!