Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Exploring Ireland

Greetings! I’ve been back from Ireland for a few days, and finally got around to write my trip recap with selected pictures.

I had a wonderful time in Ireland. Most of what I day dreamed about Ireland came true. I feel fortunate that I was able to explore a lot there before Hurricane Ophelia, the worst storm in recorded history on the island of Ireland, arrived.

My Top 10 Great Experiences in Ireland:


1) Friendly and welcoming Irish people: The Welcome sign in Gaelic and English is everywhere in Ireland. I was impressed that the local residents are still so friendly despite the high number of tourists arrives in Ireland year after year.


2) Lively Dublin with amazing sights that are free to visit: I walked to explore Dublin on my own, and also joined a free walking tour which was excellent. I visited all the major sights such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle, Molly Malone statue, Ha’penny Bridge, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the General Post Office (site of the 1916 Easter Rising), Grafton Street (main shopping street), the Temple Bar area, and many more. I met a graduate student from Germany and we spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying tea and browsing books at a place called Books Upstairs, as well as viewing world class art collections at the National Gallery of Ireland for free.

Trinity College

Dublin Castle
Molly Malone statue
Ha'penny Bridge

3) Comfortable train rides from Dublin to other counties and back: I had ordered my rail tickets online before my trip. It was straightforward to print the tickets at the train stations. The trains were on time, with stop announcements and monitor displays in Gaelic and English. The rides were all so relaxing.


4) Lush green scenery dotted with sheep, cows, and horses: It was a real visual treat to see one green rolling hill after another. I liked the sheep with paint on their backs for the farmers to know which sheep belong to them.



5) Beautiful landscapes in Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry: The mountains here are soft in appearance. Killarney National Park was simply lovely. I think I could easily spend at least a week there to hike, or go boating, or go on a buggy ride. The Ring of Kerry had amazing scenery for miles.

Killarney National Park

Ring of Kerry landscape

6) Deer seen roaming in Killarney National Park: It’s always a thrill for me to see wildlife in their natural habitat, without looking threatened by human visitors. I was very close to a mother deer and a baby deer while hiking on a trail, and saw a stag with big antlers at a distance.


7) Delicious seafood and all kinds of “Irish weather" along the Wild Atlantic Way: I had salmon and seafood chowder at different pubs and they were all delicious. On one day, the local weather changed quickly from sunny, to cloudy, to rain drizzle, to heavy rain with strong winds, and back to sunny at different parts of the Wild Atlantic Way. We faced dense fog upon arriving at the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren but had fairly good weather everywhere else.

Bunratty Castle
8) What I learned about Ireland from the tour guides: I was on a walking tour in Dublin, a day tour from Cork, and a day tour from Killarney. All three tour guides were very helpful, knowledgeable, and humorous.

Ladies View

9) The friends I’ve met in Dublin and Killarney: Even in shoulder season, there were many international visitors in Ireland. I met and made new friends from Germany, and Canada.

10) The rich literature, poetry, and music throughout Ireland: What can I say? This is the country of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and other world famous writers. The live music at Irish pubs was memorable fun.

St. Stephen's Green Park, Dublin

Note to self: Next time I go to Ireland, I'll definitely spend more time at Killarney National Park and along the Wild Atlantic Way.

I hope you enjoy my recap and pictures of Ireland. Please feel free to comment.

20 comments:

  1. Wow, gorgeous pics and sounds like a great trip. I'd love to know your itinerary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Juhli. It was a great trip. My itinerary in Ireland was Dublin>Cork>Killarney>Dublin. Tourism is well established in Ireland so it's easy to book tours. It's also easy to travel short distances between towns as Ireland is not a big country. If you'd like more details, feel free to let me know.

      Delete
  2. Hi, Natalie - I was in Ireland briefly (many years ago). What I remember most was the lush green scenery. I am glad to read that your trip went well and that you are now safely back home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Donna: Ireland is mainly lush green. I guess that's how it's known as the Emerald Isle, and the song "40 shades of green".

      Delete
  3. I'm heading to Italy next September / October and trying to work out where else I want to go while away. I told someone I wanted to go to a fishing village like that in the old TV show Ballykissangel, which they reminded me was in Ireland!

    It looks lovely. #teamlovinlife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw a lot of "Bally..."s in Ireland. I was told Bally means Town of... Your plan to go to Italy sounds wonderful. It would be so cool if you add on Ireland.

      Delete
  4. Ireland is a magical country. We drove around Southern Ireland in 2008. We were particularly awe-struck by Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. It's endowed with such scenic countryside. #TeamLovinLife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, Kathy. I was in awe with the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula scenery. I really enjoyed Killarney National Park, too.

      Delete
  5. You've given me wanderlust, Natalie. I've never been to Ireland and so want to go now.

    SSG xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, SSG, I like to share my passion for travel. Glad you now want to go to Ireland.

      Delete
  6. I really need to get to Ireland again - I'm in England so it's crazy not to! x #Lovin' Life Linky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Maria, for visiting, and commenting. You're so close to Ireland, you can do either a long weekend get-away or a longer trip.

      Delete
  7. That red paint was a tad distressing! Thought it was blood. Lovely photos. I need to go to Ireland. Planning to get there in about 4 years with my cousin for her 50th. It is our heritage. Can't wait! #teamlovinlife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your plan to go to Ireland for your cousin's 50th birthday is great, Leanne! I hope you get to do a thorough visit.

      Delete
  8. I've been looking forward to your Ireland post - and have not been disappointed. I really must get over there some time - your pics have inspired me. #TeamLovinLife

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jo. I think Ireland will inspire you to write more books, or at least come home with books.

      Delete
  9. So thankful to see that photo of the sheep with paint on their backs! We just happened to see a trailer full of sheep with paint all over their backs yesterday! At a McDonald's!! I was afraid the paint was blood. The paint was on their backs in the shape of a C or S but some of the sheep had it smeared around their mouths, which made me afraid they were bleeding. So relieved to know that's how ranchers mark their sheep.

    The landscape is stunning. Ireland is on my list of places to visit. And your photographs just make me want to go sooner than later.

    Looked up Molly Malone to see if she really existed. Seems as if she may have,at least to authorities in Ireland. Was interested to read that the first record of the song by the same name was in Boston in the 19th century. Interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learned about the sheep colour marking from the tour guide. I saw sheep marked with purple, green, or blue paint, too, but took pictures of those with red paint because they were closer to me.

      Delete
  10. Ireland is on our travel list so I appreciated this post and the lovely photos. Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming European trip Natalie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, LuAnn, for visiting and leaving a comment. I enjoyed Ireland very much, and wouldn't hesitate to return. I'm excited about going to Central Europe in about three weeks.

      Delete