What was your favorite place to visit in Ireland and why?
Very curious as to what you will all say.
What was your favorite place to visit in Ireland and why?
Very curious as to what you will all say.
My trip was ~25 years ago, so the details have faded. The impression that made a lasting memory was driving in the area of the Ring of Kerry - one of few cars on the road that day - and stopping in the road to let a flock of sheep go by. You know, it makes for a humorous postcard, but a vivid memory.
Unique to us: Tracking down and meeting a distant cousin, then seeing the (still standing, but in ruins) cottage in which my grandmother and her many siblings were raised...humble place. I had an old black/white photo of the place from childhood and never dreamed I would "step into that photo," walking the fields my great-grandparents farmed.
Special experiences others can also enjoy: A special two-night stay at Ashford Castle, where we did the Hawk Walk experience........very special memories. Also meeting the head gardener (by chance) at Dromoland Castle, and she took us in the greenhouse, and we talked about common gardening challenges. The walled garden there is simply beautiful :)
Renting a narrow boat barge for 3 days and slowly motoring up the Barrow Canal. Peaceful, beautiful and a unique experience. We did this with our two teenage boys and had a blast! Would recommend highly! A close second was spending the day on the Beara Peninsula, leaving from Kenmare and visiting castles and stone circles. Gorgeous!
The Irish, the beauty, and a November day when I had the Gap Of Dunloe to myself.
My favorite part was leaving. We loved the people and the beautiful scenery in the southwest. But satellite television has essentially done away with the pub life, and the place was just a little too quiet for us in the countryside. Dublin was perhaps our least favorite large city in the U.K./Europe too.
The beer -- real Guinness.
Actually it was the people followed by the scenery and then the food. Of all the countries I have been to, I think the Irish are the friendliest. Always willing to chat, very happy when you are an American, helpful if you need. The scenery just blew me away. I saw every shade of green you could imagine. And the food was excellent. Tended toward sea food, but all excellently prepared, very tasty, even at the lower priced places.
As far as locations, I found the western part the most appealing to me. Very rough, very inhospitable land, but the Irish made it their home.
Ashford Hawk Walk
Edited: We also loved Glendalough
I’ll second the Ashford Hawk Walk!
We also loved hanging in the pubs, driving out in the rural countryside, and the friendliness of everyone we met.
A close second would be our visit to Glendalough.
But our favorite was the few days we spent in the town of Kilkenny. We'd planned to take a day trip from there to also visit Waterford, but cancelled it after having so much fun during our first day in Kilkenny. We met a group of four people at our B&B that we bonded with & the night we spent pub hopping with them is a memory I hope to keep for the rest of my life. The owner of our B&B also scored us tickets to a hurling match against County Clare that was a pretty big deal. Kilkenny won by a single point :-)
All our time in Dublin was fun, but our time in Kilkenny made me want to move to Ireland.
Two trips to Ireland, first in 2017, then 2018, for three weeks total. The music captured my heart! To this day I listen almost exclusively to Irish music! Love the pubs! When the whole pub sings along to the song, goosebumps! Matt Malloy (from the Chieftains) walked in to his pub, sat down and started playing his flute!!!!
Tell me more...... I feel your passion and can’t wait to see this for myself.
What I am looking forward to the most is 3 days in Dingle. I can’t wait to see it.
Like others above: Hawk Walk at Ashford Castle; driving Beara Peninsula (bonus: no tour buses, roads too narrow) and Slea Head; and 3 nights at the Lawcus Farm Guesthouse (also recommended by RS) near Kilkenny (http://www.lawcusfarmguesthouse.com/).
It was very long ago, 1992: (1) Dublin Horse Show Nations Cup when the international showjumping teams used it as a warm up for the Barcelona Olympics; Ireland won on the last ride against the British and crowd went wild. (2) Six day trail ride through Donegal. (3) Driving off the beaten path and along the way discovered a memorial cross to Michael Collins near Bandon and 300 year old woolen mill we have no idea where. (4) Ambassador Crystal (no longer is business) down the road from Waterford Crystal; former Waterford cutters and blowers who took lots of time to explain crystal to us, they rode Harleys and dressed like my brother. (5) The people everywhere, friendly and outgoing; the music in the pubs. (6) No one favorite place because all was great -- the Burren, Dingle peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Sperries, the Quiet Man set used by Ashford Castle back then for their horse trail rides, Galway Races. We tried to avoid the tourist spots so no Blarney Castle, no Rock of Cashel.
My husband and I went in 2001, so a long time ago, but the things we liked I’m sure are still the same. We had a rental car and no itinerary, just drove and stopped where we liked the looks. Flew into Shannon and never made it off the west coast because we loved it so much.
Bar hopping in Galway, stopping wherever we liked the music.
Driving around and getting out and walking wherever it looked interesting. Even in the rain. We especially enjoyed the area around Clifden.
Walking around the Burren and looking at wildflowers.
Mark, I had forgotten about the Guinness, thanks for the happy reminder. I am not a beer drinker — can’t stand it here at home — but loved the “real” Guinness in Ireland. Nothing like it.
Ireland is so beautiful — you will love your trip!
ETA: and yes, Dingle was stunning! I have a big photo in my living room of the coast. Beautiful!
So many things, but if I had to narrow it down I would say that Galway was my favourite town. It's close to such a variety of things (Cliffs of Moher, Burren, Connemara, Aran Islands), and I heard the best live music there at the Crane Pub (upstairs in the Listening Room).
There are so many wonderful places to visit that it's hard to choose but if forced to pick one spot it would probably be the Dingle peninsula. On our first trip to Ireland we had a beautiful sunny day to spend doing the lovely Slea Head drive at a leisurely pace, with a stop midway for coffee and scones (with clotted cream--a revelation!) which we enjoyed while sitting outside on the deck marveling at the view. It was really a perfect day! We loved Ireland so much we had to go back for a longer visit
and on our second trip we revisited Dingle where we had a lovely time fulfilling my husband's dream of playing a round of golf at the local course, as well as enjoying the Irish Football Championship games at Foxy John's Pub with the very enthusiastic locals.
I’m loving reading this so much. Thanks for sharing everyone.
Just got back. The hawk walk stands out but it's expensive. A day of bike riding on Inismor is up there too.
I just did a trip report, you can see my favorites there. PM me if you want to hear more about any of them.
Portrush. Harbour Bar. Where I was finally able to leave my fellow Americans behind and meet some locals (albeit from Belfast).
Westport -unlike Dingle, it hasn't sold it's soul to tourism. The 26 mile bike ride from Achill island back to town was wonderful.
Inismore -but you have to spend the night. The Black Fort by bicycle (and foot) was incredible. Bayview Restaurant was great as well.
Kilkenny -John Cleere's pub...late. Mena House b&b.
In Dingle if it's a nice day take the Fungi boat ride. Better yet, pack your swimsuit and a towel, rent a bike and ride to the other side of the bay and hike up to the tower. Look down to the right. See that beach? Ride down to it and go for a swim. I did!
Don, late October early November might not be the time for a swim but that sounds lovely
We went in 2014. My favorite religious sites were the ruins of Monasterboice and Clonmacnoise—we saw the first on a sunny morning where I got some great photos of the tower and the tall cross, as well as various gravestones. The second was on a rare rainy day (for that trip—we really lucked out those 18 days!) in mid afternoon, with hardly anyone else there. Just very evocative—I really enjoy damp days with few other tourists around so I can get a feel for what an old place might have been like in its heyday.
But my favorite memories were of the people—the wonderful restaurant owner in Dingle who had his son give my not-feeling-great BIL a ride back to the B&B instead of having him walk the mile back so the rest of us could go to the pub for music night and lots of Guinness. The garda who took care of us when we got in a car accident (he taught us how to swear with an Irish accent!). The driver who met us at the Dublin airport and asked if we wanted some coffee before going to the apartment we were staying at and taking us to the gas station/drivers’ hangout; when I stayed in the car, he came back with a bottle of water for me unasked for (he also recommended my now favorite drink—Jameson and ginger ale—yum!).
Just visited in May for 2 weeks. This might sound odd but I was so attracted to the ruins. The Hore of Abbey ruins were fabulous. It was a picture perfect day. The B & B we stayed at was literally right next door so we were able to walk through the gate and through the field of cows right into the ruins. I wish I could post a picture here to show the beauty of the Rock of Cashel framed in the arched window of the ruins of the Hore of Abbey. The ruins in Trim were fabulous as well. Organized hike near the Giants Causeway is a close second.
After three trips over several years, my fourth trip with four members of my family was the best because we hired a driver/guide. He took us to places we hadn't been aware of previously. I can't imagine spending nine days in a rental car that seats five but only has room for three suitcases. It was a pleasure to be able to look out the window enjoying the beautiful Irish countryside and not worrying about on-coming sheep, cows and big trucks.
I went November last year.
I met people that were very friendly, I know that's part of their job, but I was very surprised when some asked my husband and I to go drink a coffee or a pint with them.
Back in November I was living in Texas, so to me the sea looked like... Corpus. Seeing the Cliffs was a very nice experience. We went just right before sunset and that was very special.
I didn't thought I would liked beer that much.
Of course all the scenery. Green everywhere.
The people, the ancient stone buildings (like Rock of Cashel), and the scenery. Less of a sightseeing agenda and more of an enjoyment of the place.
I've been to Ireland twice, and both times my favorite experience was going out to Great Blasket Island from the Dingle peninsula. It's stunningly beautiful and you can hike all over with very few other people. It's best if you have read some of the books by the locals who lived there prior to 1953. What a life they led on that isolated island. It has been uninhabited since 1953, and you can see the ruined stone homes that they lived in.
Dingle is my favorite place to stay in Ireland.
The Irish people themselves. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so at home anywhere. I did a study abroad in Dublin eons ago in college and have been back a couple of times since. I’d move back in a heartbeat if I could. On more than one occasion, I had people give me rides home from the airport after they discovered I was an American studying at University College Dublin. I went back with my mom after graduation and a cab driver accidentally dropped us at the wrong B&B. He left, but realized his mistake and came back and got us. This type of welcoming and friendly experience was everywhere I went.
Second is the beauty of everywhere you go. It’s just a truly stunning place. My roommate was from Donegal and going to her family’s house and looking out at the field of sheep with the Atlantic in the distance was so beautiful. I remember particularly loving Kilkenny and Kinsale and Derry in the North. I took my husband back in 2007 and am hoping to take my kids next summer. Last time I was there I couldn’t believe how much Dublin had changed and think it’s even bigger and more different now.
Back in 1999 with our 25th wedding anniversary looming, my lovely wife and I sat and discussed how we would like to share our 25th anniversary together.
Barbara immediately wished to go to London England to see Harrod's.
Thinking for but a moment, I added, "and we could go over to Ireland as I've always wanted to see the country."
And so we began planning our anniversary excursion.
Being the researcher, I began to look at travel books at the local bookstores and on-line, and pretty soon, packages of books began arriving at our door.
While many of the recommendations in those books were the 'standard' places to visit, I was beginning to find some very obscure places that sounded too good to be true.
The first was in Co. Donegal west of Donegal town.
The directions were obscure but directed us to drive to a small town (aren't they all?) called Teelin. Signs posted on the 'corners of buildings' would direct us to Bunglas Point.
We had driven around town for almost an hour when I spotted a wee sign directing us to this magic location.
We drove a ways to a cattle gate across the road with the sign, "Failte a Bunglas!"
I opened the gate, drove thru and closed the gate behind us.
We proceeded about a quarter-mile along a narrow dirt road, all twisty-and-turny until the road ended at a large drop off, next to the beginning of a long and tall mountain range.
We were at Bunglas! And the path led us up to the beginning of the "One Man's Pass" along the top of the Slieve League!
That is where I began using my 'most-commonly-used' descriptor, "this place is amazing!"
The other site was on the northwest tip of Valentia Island, across the bridge at Portmagee on the Ring of Kerry.
The directions were again very obscure.
We were to follow an asphalt road which ended at a farmer's property with an unlocked gate next to the roadway.
We entered the pasture and closed the gate behind us.
We were to follow the two-tire path to some sand dunes past the rusted hull of an old Jeep frame next to a large firepit and continue some yards to a deserted slate mine. There were large fields of scrap slate and off in the distance we could see the Atlantic Ocean breakers crashing against the stone shore.
The breakers had to have been at least fifty feet high!
This was the most-beautiful natural space I had ever seen.
We stood there taking photos for almost an hour before it was time to return to the Ring of Kerry and onward.
We are currently planning a return trip to Ireland for the Fall of 2020.
I spent long hours searching for citings of Bunglas Point and the deserted slate mine on Valentia Island.
Neither could be found and neither was described in any of the Ireland travel books in my possession, so we may not be able to find these two locations on our next trip.
Neither were on any maps of Irenald, either!
RustyMusket and My Princess
The Irish people are among the most welcoming I’ve met in nearly 40 years of traveling to Europe. As for favorite places....Slieve League in Donegal (think Cliffs of Mohar but higher and with far fewer people), the Antrim Coast (especially Ballintoy Harbor and Dunluce Castle), Guinness, small town pubs, and hundreds of ancient ruins dotting the countryside throughout Ireland.
Hello from Wisconsin,
Seven trips over the years since 1973. Each trip had its moments. But I think our time in Rathmelton and meeting Doctor Tommy and him telling my wife she wasn't over weight, that she was the picture of health. Her asking about all the beer, cigarettes, and heavy cream as a diet. And him replying that we all have die from something. Being told by the pharmacist that we should vote in the local election as "Wasn't it your Mayor Daley who said vote early, vote often?" Mrs Smith making sure we got a jar of home made mint jelly at the morning market. Music at the local bar and sitting with Tommy, his wife, and the local pharmacist. The soporific air of Donegal.
So I guess it is the people.
My most lasting memories are of the Irish people I met and the conversations we had. I had great luck with weather and the scenery was beautiful. And cider, my favorite drink, available everywhere. Least memorable was the food.
All of it. It’s about time for another trip. Enjoyed the cliffs, the old B&Bs and hotels, Giant’s causeway, Carrick a Rede bridge, Dingle peninsula, Cahir castle, and Glendalough come to mind.