Welcome to Ireland where your travel takes you to another place and feel like you’re at another time. We started off our vacation in Dublin at the Aberdeen Lodge and then it was off to Phoenix Park where we came across some wild deer. These deer were gorgeous and roam free in the park for all to see. Then they even started approaching us when we sat down to enjoy some snacks. Interacting with them is magical and it was just the start of our enchanted journey and everything we did in Ireland got more beautiful and charming along the way. In the heart of Dublin, we made our way to Trinity college to see the Book of Kells. Which is an ancient manuscript containing the four gospels and is located in this antique library?
The library looks like something out of a scholastic dream. Here they explain how and why the ancient manuscripts were a mixture of art and holy writ. Close to the Library is Grafton Street which is electrifying and full of street performers, shopping, and people! It was worth passing through when doing downtown activities and at every turn is something fun to do or cools to look at like this Bar/hardware store? Also nearby is Saint Stephens green which is very beautiful and serene. In the afternoon it is a place to hang out so go early if you want to take in the serenity. The Number one thing travelers do in Dublin is tour the Guinness storehouse. We stopped by but didn’t stay long as we had more authentic places and pubs we wanted to visit.
Next, we went to Experience the Gaelic Games. My favorite thing we did in Dublin. What I love about Ireland is they have their own culture going on. From their dance to literature and especially sports. Here not only do you learn how to play their own Gaelic sports but how these sports are HUGE here, yet they don’t have all the politics of other international sports and oddly nobody knows about them anywhere else. My favorite was learning the sport of Hurling. Here you learn the simple rules and techniques of the game then play a match with a group of newbie’s like us.
Then after, we got to watch some of the professionals show off their skills. Unlike other sports, each county is represented by athletes only from that county which gives it more personal meaning. After Hurling we got to play Gaelic football which is like a cross between soccer and volleyball. This was so much fun to do it then go get tickets to an actual game if it is in season! Just outside of Dublin is Trim Castle. There are plenty of castles in Ireland some are for admiring and some to stay in, so travel to the ones that peak your interest the most. Trim castle is not too unnaturally renovated like some of the other big castles in Ireland but yet it is still beautiful. In fact, I chose Trim because it is well preserved, eye-catching and used to film my favorite movie; Brave heart. We took a tour of the castle where we learned the 3 stages of its history and about the purpose of these castles in general.
Also, we learned where they filmed various scenes from Brave heart like where the King throws Phillip out the window. This was my favorite castle that we didn’t stay in. The Brazen head is the oldest Pub in Ireland. So it is a must stop. We booked a unique show called Food, Folklore, and Fairies.
Here is a peek; They’re called trooping fairies because of their movement throughout the year. If they’re acting unusual clearly that is not your child you have got a changeling on your hands. The Irish truly possess the gift of gab and this show is full of old Irish tales related by a great storyteller. Literature, Poetry, and folklore are such an important part of Ireland’s culture. You learn so much about Ireland and it is entertaining.
Do not miss this show. For our last nights in Dublin, we stayed at the K Club Hotel. The premises is breathtaking and for golf enthusiasts, its course was designed by Arnold Palmer and is one of the top 10 courses in the world. But besides that that this place is calm and luxurious and the best place to stay near Dublin. Next, we made our way to Northern Ireland which is part of the UK unlike the rest of Ireland. First, we stopped by Giants Causeway which was way more impressive than I expected. After a short hike, we made it to this beach which is naturally formed by these geometric rock formations. In fact, I was blown away by how many and how expensive it was.
These formations are one of Earths most impressive natural landscapes and it can only be experienced at the Causeway. It is a perfect place to take some pictures if you can get here before all the tourists come to take over. In fact, the secret to Giants Causeway is to get there early and be done before 9 am when the museum opens and all the tourists arrive. Then you can just relax, take in nature and enjoy what mother Earth has provided. A short trip down the road is the Carrick-a-rede Bridge. This rope bridge hanging from the cliffs above the ocean was once used by fisherman to drop nets into the ocean. Now it’s a pretty place to cross and take in the beauty of the cliffs and the coastline in Northern Ireland. Even if you are not a rush seeker this place is just nice to visit. Between the Carrick-a-rede Bridge and the Causeway is the Red Door Cafe. This quaint little restaurant was a great stop with a pretty view and good food and desserts.
This was first of two parts as we hit its sister restaurant: The Blue Door later in our vacation. Travelling a few minutes in land we made our way to the Dark Hedges. When I first turned the corner and saw these trees they were stunning. The trees form a tunnel that is a clash between romantic and eerie yet they are good for a peaceful walk. Planted in 1775, these trees were recently made famous as the “Kings Road” in the TV series Game of Thrones. Now another tip, If you happen to arrive with a group of tourists just wait a little while the crowds will die down But, the pictures and tranquility are well worth the wait.