Ireland is tops! We had a meaningful few days there because we are both part Irish.
Our first question to a Dublin local was “Where can we get traditional Irish food and dancing?” The answer was O’Neill’s, which was a short 5 minute walk from our hotel in Temple Bar (super touristy area, but full of tradition and fun!). This bar is incredible. It’s very easy to get lost as it’s a huge place. We found a cute corner table right next to the bar where we had a delicious corned beef meal and local pints of cider and red ales. About 9pm, we headed upstairs where a table right next to the band was waiting open! We listened to Raglan Trail play some wonderful Irish music and were treated with traditional Irish folk dancing (River dance what?!). Lindsay got pulled on the dance floor – see video on our IG page.
Our next day we grabbed a bus with Finn McCools Tours (which you can book on our website through the Book Travel tab at the top of the page) for the Cliffs of Moher. Tara was our guide and she was awesome! It takes about 4 hours to get to the Cliffs, so Tara filled our drive with historical information. We learned that all the small rock walls or fences are a result of the last famine in Ireland. People traded the labor of building the walls for food. It’s hard to imagine a time without enough to eat and for that we are thankful. Tara also told us about Michael Collins who was a hero in helping Ireland become independent. There are so many statues and structures that we saw dedicated to Collins that we were beginning to wonder who he was.
We were also treated with a stop at a 13th century monastery. The old stone church or “Kil” and the leaning bell tower (a mini version of Pisa) were rich with history. Glad we got to stop and explore the area for a short while.
Once we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher we could hardly contain our excitement and practically ran to the trails! This place MUST be on your bucket list. It’s absolutely breathtaking! The cliffs stand 702 feet at the highest point and plummet straight into the Atlantic Ocean. Lindsay’s pink silicone wedding band is pictured below. We left a piece of our Irish hearts behind at the cliffs for good luck. We got lucky and were able to see them crystal clear with no fog. A true blessing as the fog rolled in as we were leaving.
On the way back to Dublin, we got to stop in Galway for an amazing fish and chips, exploring an old Spanish arch built in 1584, and some shopping. Also stopped at the “baby cliffs” as the locals call it and the Leprechaun’s castle or smallest castle in Ireland.
Once returning Dublin we made our way down Cook Street to The Brazen Head – Ireland’s oldest pub, circa 1198. Amazing bangers and mash, pint of course, and music. We welcomed a group of 6 Norwegians to our table and proceeded to laugh the night away. Favorite part of the night was one of the guys attempting a dance with every woman in the bar.
Next morning was Thanksgiving and we spent on the hop on hop off bus. Great way to see the city of Dublin. Stopped off at the Little Museum of Dublin and had a free tour with our bus pass to learn even more of Ireland’s rich history. They also drove us through Phoenix Park which is over 1,700 acres and houses the President of Ireland along with several other monuments, sports fields, and the zoo!
After lunch, we hopped a train to Howth, a lovely port and fishing town located on a peninsula about 30 minutes from Dublin. We strolled the pier looking at all the boats and were even greeted by a group of seals! We stopped off for an amazing seafood dinner on the pier (straight off the boat)! After that we found Howth Castle! We also stumbled on St. Mary’s church where the first tombstone was with the sur name “Cooke”. Can’t help but wonder if we’re related. There are so many brilliant architectural achievements in Ireland that you have to see and can’t miss as they are everywhere!
Ireland is a true gem and we can’t wait to get back to explore even more!
Enjoy the Ride,
Lindsay and Justin