One of the first travel goals I made was to travel to Ireland before I turned 21 – and I finally accomplished that goal in 2017!
I have always been somewhat obsessed with Ireland – being a ginger and all. Originally I was supposed to spend a whole month studying abroad through my university. But shortly after being accepted, they canceled the program because not enough students wanted to go!
It turned out however, that my dad, stepmom, and younger brother were planning on traveling to Ireland and London that same summer to attend a wedding for one of my dad’s coworkers, and lucky me I got to go along with!
We flew into Heathrow the first week of June, and because we had to make it to the wedding on time (we flew in a day late because nobody packed the passports when we left for the airport, making us late for our original flight), we spent the whole first day catching trains to Hollyhead to take the ferry to Ireland. Be warned – the ferry takes about an hour long. Make sure to bring some Dramamine to avoid sea sickness!
As soon as the ferry landed in Ireland, we hopped into our rented car. If you have the cash, this is arguably one of the best ways to see the Emerald Island. Just make sure to drive on the left side of the road!
After a couple hours we made it to our destination – Kilronan Castle! We were going to stay the night! Walking the ground after dinner, I could almost picture being a princess and
The next day, we attended a traditional Irish catholic wedding. The wedding and reception were both so beautiful. Although I didn’t partake in the after dinner festivities of drinking and dancing, my dad said the Irish now how to party! Some of them were still going at 4 in the morning.
Not wasting any time, we were on the road again the next morning. One thing I loved about driving through Ireland is how many abbeys and castles are tucked along the country side. We stopped at a few of them on the way to the Cliffs of Moher. If you’re driving also watch out for the livestock, but what’s a trip to Ireland without getting stuck behind some cattle or sheep on the road!
The Cliffs of Moher were astonishing to look at. My brother and I paid the small fee to climb up the tower and I loved the view from there. Don’t forget your jacket, as the cliffs are quite windy. There are a couple trails to the left and right of the cliffs, so you can see it from all angles!
That night we drove into Dublin. In the morning, we booked a bus day trip to Cashel Rock and the Blarney Castle. The history of both of these buildings is absolutely amazing and very interesting to read up on (if ya got the time). One of the coolest things I saw at Cashel Rock was a sword dating back to 700 BC!
The Blarney Castle could easily be a full day excursion by itself because of the surrounding gardens and buildings. Don’t forget to walk around and look at the wishing steps, the seven sisters, the mansion and more.
The Blarney Stone of course is the main attraction and the wait to kiss it was only about 30 minutes. It was rather an acrobatic feat to kiss it back in the day – however, it’s very safe today. The vertically challenged (like myself) may have to stretch a little to be able to reach it.
We spent the next day in the Big Red Bus tour of Dublin, but since it was Monday most of the places were closed! We did get to explore Trinity College, the library, and see the Book of Kerns. We also went down to the Temple Bar neighborhood and checked out the Temple Bar Pub, although we ate at a pub a little ways down the street.
The next day we took the ferry and multiple trains back to London. Since it was getting dark when we arrived, we made the decision to stow our luggage at the Waterloo station, instead of wasting time going to the hotel and checking in before exploring.
We walked around the River Thames and snapped pictures of the London Eye and the Big Ben. We also ran into the Underbelly Festival and grabbed some burgers to eat. If you’re in London during the summer, you can catch some live comedy and entertainment here!
We woke up bright and early the next day in order to squeeze in one more attraction: The Tower of London. You can’t visit London without seeing the crown jewels! We didn’t have much time, because we had to catch our flight later in the day, but it was definitely worth squeezing in. The London Bridge was right there as well.
One week exploring Ireland and London is by no means enough time to see what both of these places have to offer. But if you plan accordingly, and maybe sacrifice a little shut eye, you can see quite a lot. I can’t wait till I can go back and roam more of the Irish countryside and explore those London streets.
Have you been to Ireland and London? What were some of your favorite activities or sights? Comment below!