After postponing for a while, last summer I had the opportunity to tour Ireland. It was a one week visit. Goodness! What had I been waiting for? The land is beautiful and I enjoyed every bit of my time there. It was a lifetime experience laden with wonderful memories, memories that will last forever.
I was in the company of two good friends. Dublin was our first stop, then we got few Aran Island tours. We had read about how many visitors would bypass Dublin and quickly head down to the coastal attractions. We were not about to do that. We explored the town well. To be honest, what we had read about Dublin was understated. We were all fascinated by the Ireland capital.
The city was multicultural, and it was as if there was someone from everywhere around the world in the city. We didn’t feel out of place or the center of attraction at all, as happens in other cities with less diversity. The city is also very vibrant, so much so that you can feel life as you move around. Interesting.
As advised, we explored the city cycling. The cycling infrastructure is well established and we didn’t have any issues making our way around town. Of the many places we went, Dublin Phoenix Park was the spot that thrilled us most. It is a walled park that also houses the Dublin Zoo. We saw wild animals like deer, orangutan, macaque, lions, mangabey; birds like hornbill, ibis, penguin and many others animals whose names I don’t recall.
What else… Yes, we made a quick stop at the National Museum of Ireland and the Dublin Castle. We had didn’t know Dublin was a shopping haven. It’s well stocked shops have something for everybody. Seems the Grafton Street is the center of shopping. We grabbed a few things there. That’s a super summarized version of our time in Dublin but sufficing to say, it was a pleasant experience.
Our next stop was County Clare. We had read so much about the Cliffs of Moher and were out to see it for ourselves. It did not disappoint. Natural beauty at its best is depicted at the cliffs. The cliffs were gigantic rising to great heights. Sunrays from the bright blue sky reflected against the dark cliff surfaces was jaw-dropping sight. A sight you can’t just get enough of.
We did walk down the fenced pathway near the edge of the cliff. Up to the highest point, O’ Brien’s Tower. From the vantage high point we got the spectacular view of the costal terrains and the distant mountain ranges. The cliff is also rich in birds. Our cameras didn’t stop rolling all the while we were at the cliff.
We passed by Belfast and Galway but didn’t do much save for refreshment.
Our little research had hinted Killarney as the place to be. There we were. Killarney has so much to offer, lots of fun things to do. The most outstanding was the Ring of Kerry drive. As we found out, it’s the circuitous drive around a peninsula named Iveragh. It starts at Killarney and runs through several towns, villages I think, and back to Killarney. We were treated to a breathtaking view of the Atlantic coast landscape.
We made several stop overs during this long journey, 179km (111 miles) to be precise. We were in a bus tour cruise, and the whole experience travelling along other visitors was great. The tour guides were very generous with information. They loaded us with so much about Ireland and its people.
The guides talked of a tourist sensation in the area. The Blarney Stone. We bought the in to it and later drove to Cork. The Blarney Castle, where the Blarney Stone is situated, was an exciting piece of history. But I didn’t see anything with the Blarney Stone worth kissing, so I opted to forfeit eloquence; for it is said kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gabbing.
I could write a book about the whole Irish experience. That’s just but a fraction of the tour. We did a lot. For sure, the great fun and incredible scenes are beyond what words could explain. You need to come experience it for yourself. If you have never been to Ireland you should plan to visit soon. I can’t wait to travel again to the land of beauty.