Traveling to Ireland to Celebrate the big 3-0

Back in September, 2011 I decided to celebrate the big 3-0 in style, by spending 11-days driving around Ireland with the husband. For the last 7 years we’ve often referenced that Ireland trip as one of the best trips we’ve ever taken and in looking back now at one of those personalized photo books I had made of our vacation, it really was an amazing time.

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
The Cliffs of Moher

The Itinerary

Day 1 and 2 – Dublin, Hotel: Harding Hotel

We started out our Irish adventure by touring Dublin on foot and via the hop-on/hop-off bus system for two days before picking up our rental car to drive around Ireland.

Day 3 – Dublin > Meath > Sligo, Hotel: Temple House

Our trek around Ireland finally started once we jammed into our Skoda. We traveled to County Meath and County Sligo before calling it a night at the beautiful Temple House.

Day 4 – Sligo > Ballycastle > Westport, Hotel: CastleCourt Hotel

After leaving the Ireland countryside at Temple House, we climbed Knocknarea mountain. We also learned all about bog before making it to Westport for the night.

Day 5 – Westport > Clifden > Galway, Hotel: Harbour Hotel

Spending hours at the beautiful Kylemore Castle and Grounds and realizing it was still not enough to fully appreciate its beauty. And finding the best smoked salmon on our Ireland vacation in the little down of Clifden.

Day 6 – Galway > Doolin > Clare, Hotel: Bunratty Castle Hotel

Possibly our favorite part of the entire Ireland trip. Discovering the woodland path near the Aillwee Caves and ending our day at the very entertaining Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. And learning about mead and potcheen. I probably could have left off not learning about potcheen.

Day 7 – Clare > Blennerville > Dingle > Killarney, Hotel: Earls Court House

Definitely the most memorable day of the Ireland trip. We started out enjoying Bunratty Castle and Folk Park during the day time. And then we drove to Dingle. And lived to tell the tale.

Day 8 – Killarney > Moll’s Gap > Kenmare, Hotel: The Hawthorn House

Getting lost for hours in Killarney National Park was an invigorating and beautiful way to spend the day before ending up in the postcard picture perfect town of Kenmare for the night.

Day 9 – Kenmare > Drombeg > Kinsale > Blarney > Cork, Hotel: Lancaster Lodge

Amazing bed and breakfast, druid stone circles and delicious fish lunches, and that was all before getting to kiss the stone that gifts you with gab.

Day 10 – Cork > Cobh > Kilkenny, Hotel: Pembroke Hotel

If you are a foodie or love to cook head to Cork and scope out the Old English Market. If you are an animal lover, head to Fota, an amazing wildlife park with few cages. And if you want a fun night out at a wonderful Irish pub, head to Kilkenney.

Day 11 – Kilkenny > Wicklow > Dublin Airport

While this part of the trip was mostly just to head back to the Dublin Airport, the Glendalough National Park was a beautiful and tranquil way to spend our last day.