The last day of the roadtrip was finally there and it was bound to be the longest of them all. After a good nightsleep on foldouts Betty treated us and the other guests with pancakes, eggs and fried tomatos for brrakfast. Over brekkie I learned how to pronounce the Name Kiely correctly (like Kylie Minogue) thanks to videographer Allen Kiely who stayed with his colleague Jane to capture some of the Fringe festival for one of his clients.
We took off, collected my friend’s friend from her place and I drove us along the coast, leaving Galway westward along the bay. Our luck: The rain had passed and we had another sunny day with blue skies and photogenic clouds. Connemara has a slightly different colour palette than Kerry, Clare and Cork. I think it’s the contrast of the blue seas, the grey stones, the greens and the earthy brown. It is hard to describe, you have to see yourself to understand and fall for it.
Remember me mentioning the swingy weather from day 7? On day 8 it didn’t swing any more, all it did all day was pour. In the morning it was pouring as bad as I had never seen in Ireland before. The iternary for the day only had outdoor activities, which was what we discussed at the breakfast table. Our kind host Noel suggested, we should rather stop in Ennis for some serious shopping cause walking around outside all day with this weather wouldn’t be much fun. So we spontaneously changed the plan and headed to check out downtown Ennis. It was pouring heavily, impossible to walk 20m without getting completely soaked… We decided to get some more coffee and some dolci at an Italian bar while we check out google maps for the good stores to shop at. We browsed highstreet, tried on a ridiculous amount of clothes and finally hit Dunnes Home for some plates and decoration. Victim… I often fail to notice because I live in my bubble and most of my peeps are foodbloggers, but there at Dunnes, it hit me that my friend was the most patient and thoughtful non-foodblogger travel companion ever. Not a single food was eaten before a picture was taken, food was arranged on the table to look nicely and even when buying plates she gave ideas on which combination of plates to get to make the best use of it for pictures and me.
Have you missed the Ireland travel diary series yet?! I can assure you, there is not too much left, only 3.5 days yet to be covered. Some with a lot of pictures, some with a lot of stories, but all fill me with great love, appreciation and wanderlust. After an epic day on the Ring of Kerry and the most epic photo shot on the trip, it surprisingly didn’t all go south from there. The worst part of the day was the morning, as it was time to say goodbye to Maria and her family, who we had stayed with for 2 nights. We left Beaufort and took the route towards Dingle, our first stop of the day was Inch Beach on the southern side of Dingle Peninsula.
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.
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.
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. Continue reading »
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.
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.
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.)