The day started slow, at least for me as my friend went for a little nap after we had homemade brown soda bread and cerial for breakfast. In need of another caffeine fix I shuffled into the kitchen, where our host Maria supplied me with coffee and biscuits. She guided me to the armchair in the sitting room, insisted I put my feet up and I sat in silence with my coffee, enjoying the view of the Gap of Dunloe with dreamy clouds wrapped around the tops of the mountains. Continue reading
We sat at breakfast that morning and Audrey, who ran the b & b we were staying at, handed us a stack of information about the area, including a West Cork Foodguide which I found very interesting. My friend flicked through the pages, suddenly stopped, looked at me with a very serious expression oh her face and exclaimed: „You lied to me!“. It was before my first cup of coffee and I looked at her, completely baffled and not really sure what I did wrong… She held the picture of a bridge over cliffs under my nose and exclaimed „You told me the bridge on the cover of the guide book was in Northern Ireland, but this leaflet says it is at the Mizen Head we skipped yesterday“. I looked at the picture, there was a bridge and it clearly said Mizen Head… I apologised that I had probably mistaken it for something else (which I hadn’t, the Coverpicture of my guidebook actually showed a ropebridge in Northern Ireland that looked similar but different) and agreed to her suggestion to drive to Mizen Head to see the bridge instead of going round Beara Peninsula. Continue reading
We hit the town that isn’t called Smithwicks after the complimentary breakfast. There is a well-known beer that you can get in Irish Pubs back home in Germany, but there it’s called something different, even though it originates from the same brewery in Kilkenny… While my friend dived into some culture and visited Kilkenny Castle, I went for a little shopping (Oh how I love the Irish summer sale) and had coffee in a café where I could charge my camera batteries. Like a pro I had forgotten the night before, but it wasn’t that bad as I hadn’t missed much in the medieval capital of Ireland. I had been before and not much had changed. Apart from one thing maybe, the newly opened branch of Murphy’s Icecream opposite the Castle. Ketty, the guide of the foodtour I took in Dublin suggested I could swing by every of the 6 branches and I kinda liked the idea. So we hopped in once they opened, Padraigh scooped me up with some Irish Coffee Icecream and exclaimed that Murphy’s in Kilkenny is the best of all. Continue reading
After waking up to the sound of seagulls I finally wanted to go to the sea. Dublin is so close to the sea, I tend to forget that from times.
A quick bite and a tea later (instant coffee is beyond my pain tollerance) we rolled our luggage towards the car hire in the Southwest of town. After taking care of all the formalities, we stashed our luggage in the trunk of a brand new white VW Polo and went for the first few meters repeating our Mantra: To the left, to the left (as in Beyoncés song Irreplacable). It was my job to navigate, leaving the driver seat to my friend who already had a bit of experience with driving on the other side of the road. I had picked out a few stops for the day and I almost cried of joy when we reached the first stop.
We started off the second day in Dublin with a little bit of stress. My own iternary was full for the morning, so we had The Bald Barista make us some good coffee to go and made our way to the Northside to get some morning kids clothes sale shopping done for another friend. Let’s just say that escalated quickly and I really hope that the stuff I bought fits her kids… I was so overwhelmed with the place I was almost running late for my main event of the day: The Delicious Dublin Food Tour. Continue reading
We arrived in Dublin late night and it definitely came in handy that I knew my way around already. Not much worse than having to search your way to your designated bed when you’re tired… We checked in to our Hostel on the Southside, that I picked mostly because of the good location close to some of my facourite places to eat and some others that I wanted to try.
In the morning we buckled up and walked down Camden Street, full with normal people doing their business or heading to work or university, and made our way to The Cake Cafe. After buttermilk pancakes with bacon, citrus curd and banana with a view of the beautiful courtyard, we made our way back towards the hostel, but not without another coffee stop to check out Meet me in the morning along the way. Continue reading
It might not come as a suprise to those who know me (or read this blog for a longer while now) that I have a thing for Ireland. Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach of Ireland, once said „Ireland is where strange tales begin and happy endings are possible.“. I am strange myself and I believe in happy endings so it might just be natural for me to love the emerald isle. While I have been to Dublin quite a few times I only traveled around Ireland by bus once (plus a short trip to Cork). Since the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way I was secretly dreaming of a self-driving vacation on the rough shores of South-West-Ireland. Because I overheard my friend mention she has never been to Ireland and really wants to go this summer, we spontaneously decided to make it happen and booked some flights only a few days later.
The pictures arefrom previous visits, from the cliffs of Dun Aengus on the Aran Islands, the scenic riverside in Cork and Blarney Castle, Lakeview in Killarney, Celtic Crosses at Glasnevin Cemetery, as well as colourfull doors and iluminated buildings in Dublin and of course the Cliffs of Moher. I don’t know a single person who visited Ireland and didn’t fall for the country and the friendly people. Yes I am pulling out good old Yeats now who said „There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met“ and this is one thing I have experienced to be true in Ireland. There must be something in the water or in the air, whether it is locals or tourists, this island is full of friendly, warm and welcoming people paired with beautiful nature and history on every corner. Who wouldn’t fall for that?! Follow me on Instagram, I yield to post pictures and stories throughout the whole trip. And as a little appetiser I might add that my friends funny faces are legendary!
I am a bit scared though to be completely honest. Not because of driving on the wrong side or on narrow roads with lots of traffic and sheep. No, my fear solely revolves around the route. Since my friend visits Ireland for the first time, I really want this trip to be epic and of course there are some things that you can’t miss when going on a roadtrip in Ireland. But on the other hand I want to see some things I haven’t seen before and I am almost certain, that I planned too many things, stops and drive. You never know unless you try…
An té a bhíónn siúlach, bíonn scéalach (He who travels has stories to tell.)
So let the adventure begin…
Dublin makes it easy to fall in love with, my heart was lost the second I set foot out of the airport bus: the cobbled streets, the lovely & colourful storefronts and the friendliest people in the world. Dublin is a young, hip, colourful and vibrant city with a fantastic energy. Better not miss it!
It was 2009, just a few days after St. Patrick’s Day and we were welcomed with bright sunshine and 25°. We stayed in a run down Hotel in Temple Bar, noisy with a dripping tap and only cold water in the shower, but that couldn’t keep us from having a great time. We took a stroll around town, shopped on Grafton Street, had a sandwich on a sunny bench in St Stephens Green, took a trip to the Guinness Storehouse to learn how to pour the perfect pint, we hit the Pubs, always ending up in Palace Bar on Fleet Street, and experienced the Irish hospitality and kindness. It is impossible to chat with complete strangers in a bar at home, not to think of buying them a round of drinks. But this is completely appropriate in Ireland, cause strangers are friends you haven‘t met yet. The Irish really live up to that saying. Though the economy was in a very poor state back then and a lot of people lost their jobs, they never lost their craic and fun. I envy them for their positivity, Germans tend to see the glass rather half empty. After a few days in the city we took a bus outside of town to check out the Wicklow mountains. Beautiful landscape, hundred shades of green that you only find in Ireland and the friendliest people in the world. And that‘s when we decided we need to make this an annual trip!
We made it our tradition to fly in for Christmas shopping, something that I am looking forward to the whole year. Lately I read that Dublin at Christmas is like stepping into a Christmas card. That describes very well how I feel about the city, especially around Christmas. The festive spirit, the decorations, the shopping windows and the bright lights even in the smallest back street get me into the mood and it‘s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I love this town for what it was and even more for what it has become.
You can see that the Irish economy is picking up again, a lot of new businesses, more shops and shoppers on the high streets and even in the smaller side streets. Some of these side streets were a little scary back in 2009 and I‘d rather not go there alone in the dark. Now, only 5 years later, all those before shady streets are full of shops, cafes, restaurants and people. It makes my heart jump to see the situation improving even more each time I come round to visit.
With all those emerging culinary hotspots, I needed new sources of information about what‘s good and what‘s not, because we only have limited time in town. I started following a few Dublin based blogs such as Frenchfoodie in Dublin, The Dublin Diary, Kate‘s Kabin and Lovin‘Dublin to get more insights. It kills me to read about Dublin most time of the year, but the closer our Christmas trip comes, the more I dig myself into these blogs. It is funny to wander a „foreign“ city and to recognize restaurants and tell what food they serve and who recommended it even though I have never seen or been to this place before. I made a Pinterestboard to keep track of all the places I want to visit, the Mister trusts me to pick the good ones and I don‘t like to disappoint him. Even though some of the places are not as good as they used to be or not as good as in my memory, I love checking out new stuff while also sticking to some familiar places.
Here‘s a short summary of our trip packed with pictures and memories, enjoy! Continue reading