This month, I went to Ireland with my mom, sister, cousin, and aunt. Talk about a fun girls’ trip! I’ve travelled quite a bit, and this has to be one of my all-time favorite trips. I want to share our itinerary with you in case you’re planning a visit there too!
Kerry is a county in the south of Ireland, and wow is it beautiful! We stayed in Killarney (such a cute little downtown area.) We enjoyed the local coffee shops and restaurants in the morning and evenings, but we ventured out for most of the day throughout Kerry.
I highly recommend the Gap of Dunloe. It’s a pass between two mountains with a beautiful lake in the middle, and you can take a horse-drawn carriage on the narrow road. This was a highlight of our trip! It’s about 15 euro per person and I think the carriages are available until 5pm. Don’t miss this!
There are scenic valley and waterfront drives near Dingle where you can stop to Hold a Baby Lamb. Look for this awesome sign off the side of the road.
2. Cliffs of Moher
We drove our car onto the Tarbert Ferry en route to the Cliffs of Moher. What an amazing, iconic spot! There was even a little coffee trailer here where we got some iced matcha lattes. We were lucky to have a sunny day, despite the 30 mph winds!
I recommend going to The Ivy Cottage for dinner after your visit to the Cliffs! It was one of my favorite meals during the entire trip.
Galway was also an incredible experience. We spent two full days just enjoying the shops, coffeehouses, pubs, and listening to Irish music. Some favorites were Coffeewerk & Press and the Aran Sweater Market (wool sweaters made locally). You can’t beat Tigh Chóilí for traditional Irish music at night. (Most of the other pubs have live bands playing American music, so go here for an authentic Irish experience!) Warning- it’s PACKED!
We stayed at Ross Castle, this 16th century restored castle with the most incredible host, Marshall, who has dedicated her life these last 40 years to bringing this property back to life. It was breathtaking. I spent an entire day by myself while my family explored Kylemore Abbey just perusing the gardens, picking fresh fruit in the greenhouse, swimming in the pool, drinking tea, walking by the lake, eating convenience store pasta while looking through old books. It was a day I’ll never forget. Here is the airbnb link. Right now it’s $406 a night (Catherine’s Cottage at Ross Castle).
I think I preferred the first two locations over Dublin (I sort of forgot I was in Ireland because it felt more just like a big city), however we did experience some incredible architecture, and we were able to take the train to a quaint and scenic fishing village (Howth Harbor). I recommend stopping by Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Dublin Castle (I was swooning over all the Farrow & Ball paint colors here.) They are all within close walking distance of each other. We also loved walking through the street Temple Bar and lots of side streets off of it. Really fun small markets, shopping, and restaurants!
One of my most memorable stops in Dublin was at Pink, an entirely pink restaurant with beautiful drinks and amazing food! We also enjoyed walking around the parks throughout the city and Trinity College.
Flights from LAX were about $1,000. In my personal opinion, it’s worth it to pay a little extra to secure an aisle seat so you aren’t stuck in the middle on such a long flight. We flew Aer Lingus and had a wonderful experience with their staff and service. They served two meals on the way there and one on the way home, and everyone had a personal TV with music, movies, games, and shows. They also provided small pillows, blankets, and coffee and tea along with snacks.
Once we got to Ireland, we rented a small SUV for the five of us. If you aren’t comfortable driving stick, be sure to rent an automatic car (they are bit more difficult to book in Ireland). The driver’s seat is on the right and the lanes are switched, so get used to being on the left side of the road!
I do recommend renting a car over taking the train, because seeing the countryside and some of the smaller Irish villages was my favorite part. You would likely miss out on some of the key spots without one! When we got back to Dublin, we dropped off our car at the rental place before spending 3 days in the city.
Apart from my $1,000 flight, I spent about $1600 on lodging, car, and food (having a group of 5 to split costs with really helps!) 10/10 recommend a trip here!