It’s been almost three weeks since I went to Ireland, so I’d say it’s about time to make my post about it.
Let me start by saying how fantastic my Ireland travel group was. I mean, I loved the girls I went to Portugal with, but it doesn’t get much more awesome than seeing the world with two of your best friends, one whom you’ve been friends with since 1st grade and the other since 7th, both of whom are A+ people. So even if Ireland had turned out to be lame, which it most definitely was not, it would have been a great trip.
Jessica, Sara, and I met up in Madrid, went to the airport together, and then took a flight to Dublin, arriving late at night. We took a bus from the airport to the city center and then walked around for a while looking for our hostel before realizing we had gone the wrong direction, but we found it! The day we arrived was Arthur’s Day, the 250th anniversary celebration of Guinness, so, while Dublin (especially the Temple Bar area — “bar” doesn’t refer to the establishment where you buy drinks; that’s just the name of the area) is party central all the time, it was even crazier that night. Strangely, most of the people out seemed to be really young (they must have been at least 18 if they were at pubs, but they looked like they were in high school). We didn’t end up going into any pubs, but it was fun seeing the celebrating, and we ended up stuck in a conversation with four drunk Irish guys in a fastfood restaurant. To give you an idea of how pleasant that conversation was, one of whom pulled out his belly hair and tried to give it to Sara. At least it was entertaining.
Sara and I hanging out with James Joyce after arriving in Dublin.
We spent the next day in Dublin, walking around some more before taking a free walking tour of the city (Yes, it was actually free! No gimmick except that they really appreciate tips), which lasted a few hours, provided a lot of interesting historical information, and showed us the entire city, including places like Trinity College and Dublin Castle. Our tour guide informed us that that night was Dublin Culture Night, meaning a ton of museums, performances, and other cultural spots were free! We started out with a free tour of the Guinness factory (if you like Guinness, go to that tour, because you will get tons of free beer. It’s a shame I don’t appreciate it), and then we saw Christ Church Cathedral and the viking museum (lots of excellent photo opportunities). Fun stuff. We ended the night by stopping by a few pubs and enjoying the Dublin nightlife.
Free pints of beer in the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse.
At the viking museum.
People dancing and playing music on the streets in Temple Bar. A very cool area to be on a Friday night.
The next morning, we woke up way too early after way too little sleep to take a bus to our next destination, Galway. There, we checked into our hostel and then took another bus to Lisdoonvarna, where the annual Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival was being held! Each year, people from around the world come during September to find true love in Lisdoonvarna. Honestly, it wasn’t quite as cute as it sounds, and it’s really geared toward old people, but it was still pretty adorable. The town of Lisdoonvarna is tiny, so we managed to see the whole thing a few times over in the few hours we were there, but it was definitely a fun experience. The bus ride to and from Lisdoonvarna also gave us a ton of pretty views of the Irish countryside.
The Matchmaking Bar in Lisdoonvarna, the center of the activities.
From there, we headed back to Galway and explored that town. It’s smaller than Dublin, and there’s a lot less to do at night (most of the shops were closing by 7ish), but it’s cute. We had a fantastic dinner at a crepe restaurant (who says banana chocolate crepes can’t be dinner?) and then went back to our hostel and relaxed and chatted for a while. We had a four-person room, but the other person didn’t arrive until really late, so it was fun just hanging out there.
Delicious crepes in Galway.
The next morning, we took a Cliffs of Moher + The Burren bus tour, which took us through the Irish countryside again (we drove past Lisdoonvarna), showing us some neat things like fairy rings (trees that grow in a circle that will result in a curse if you cut them down), castles, and churches. The highlight was the epic Cliffs of Moher. They were gorgeous, and we walked along the path that’s marked with a million, “Danger! Do not walk here or you will die a horrible, painful death!” signs (everyone takes the path anyway, although our tour guide did say that falls off the cliffs are so common that they never make the news), and it was all very awesome, in the way that word was originally intended.
Jessica, Sara, and me at Dunguaire Castle.
Sara and I exploring the rocks along the coast.
Me at the Cliffs of Moher.
Sara, Jessica, and me at the cliffs.
After the tour, we caught a bus back to Dublin. Sara had to catch a flight super early the next day, so we spent the night in the hostel. No other guests ended up joining us in our room, so yet another fun night of having a hostel to ourselves. Monday was our last day in Ireland. We had to say goodbye to Sara, but Jessica and I met up with Krista, Tara, Swann, and Finn (who were in Ireland on their own trip so I got to see them, yay) for lunch at a cute little Irish pub and then saw some more of the city before we caught our flight back to Madrid.
Ireland is gorgeous, I love the accents, and we had amazing fun. All in all, a fantastic trip, and I’d love to go back to Ireland some day. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it, and I’m very happy to have had the chance to go with such great friends. If you’d like to see the rest of my photos from the trip, check out my Facebook album here.