Welcome to Ireland where your travel takes you to another place AND feel like your in another time. We started off our vacation in Dublin at the Aberdeen Lodge And then it was off to Phoenix Park where we 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 cool to look at like this Bar…
Slash 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 travellers 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 newbies like ourselves. 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 so 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: Braveheart. We took a tour inside 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 Braveheart like where the King throws Phillip out the window.
This was my favorit castle that we didn’t stay in. I will link to everything in our travel itenerary in the description below this video. The Brazenhead 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 peak: 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 so entertaining. Do not miss this show. For our last nights in Dublin we stayed at the K Club Hotel. The premisis 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 expansive 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 the 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 its 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 inland 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 tranquillity are well worth the wait. With that quick visit we left Northern Ireland and travelled to the first Castle of two castles we would stay in. Solis Lough Eske Castle is just outside Northern Ireland and is an experience you will never forget. For the price of a nice vegas hotel room you can stay in one of this castles best rooms overlooking the spires and out toward the greenland its sits on top of. The castle is equipped with all the standards of luxary hotel yet the ambiance of local Irish royalty. You have to stay at a castle at least a few days when in Ireland it takes you away not only to another time but another class.
Everything from the meals, to the staff and the location itself exude high society. Traveling down the coast towards Westport we rented a bike and rode across the Greenway as if Ireland wasn’t green enough already this scenic pathway is especially green and lush. The trail was one of the best things we did in Ireland. It is extremely pretty and we were stopping every couple of minutes to take pictures or just enjoy the scenery. This pathway mostly used to be a railway that they paved over now you travel through the greenery over the water and through the bridges, lots of the prettiest bridges you will ever see. The Greenway gives you the feel of what Ireland really is you pass through peoples properties, see tons of the wild life and explore what the Irish countryside is all about. The best part about the bike ride with this company is you stop wherever you want and they will come by and pick you up when you are done. The bike ride is well marked and not difficult at all to travel.
You pass through cities, farms, and by rivers. It is amazing. And my wife got the chance to fulfill one of her life goals: Frolicking freely through an open green meadow filled with sheep. If there was a highlight to this scenic route it is definitely this bridge. You may never get to bike through something this beautiful again so take the opportunity while in Ireland and breathe the fresh air of the Greenway. At one point we took a small detour and came across this dainty little cemetary. Amazing. Then possibly the Highlight of our trip was staying at the Ashford Castle. This is the best castle to stay in in all of Ireland. All the other Castles are great but I really feel like a king staying in this Castle.
From the moment you step on to this 5 star property you become royalty. This Castle, once owned by the guinness family, will take your breath away. The landscaping is immaculate, with a bridge over a moat, intricate interior designing, the castle’s massive stone architecture, sitting next to a forrest on one side and the ocean with a view of small green islands on the other: this is what it is all about. Their pool, golf course and spa are all top notch. While all castles can take you away, this castle goes above and beyond. My favorite part was the old Royal Irish activities that can be enjoyed within the outer walls of the castle. And one of my favorite 2 activities in Ireland was the Falconry , the sport of the nobles! In all my travels, the Hawk Walk ranks with my favorite things I have ever done. You start by developing trust with the hawks and having them perch on your hand. Then you go out have them both take off and land back on your arm.
It is Awesome. They are the coolest of creatures. I could have done this the whole day. Then you walk them and have them take off as you follow them until they come back and land on your arm again. In all actuality you arent really walking with them. They consider you equal hunting partners. They think you are there to scare the animals free while they hunt for the critters. The trainer is keen to when they are attacking so when they start to hunt you trek through the trees to find them to see if they made a catch. Most of the time they don’t but oh how I was wishing they would have while we were with them. Walking them through the woods is fantastic. This was one of those moment where you feel like you make a bond with an animal even if for just a little while. You don’t have to stay at the castle for this activity, and there are also other falconries throughout the country.
I will link to this falconry in the description below this video. Then we got to hang out with this guy peeking out of the corner. This is Dingle the owl who can only come out some days. He was majestic but at the same time adorable. And will always beat you in a staring competition. Never did I think I would have animals flying and perching on my arms. It makes me want to buy a bird. The next part of our castle life was archery. Now you can do archery anywhere in the world but it just has a different feel when you are doing it next to the castle in the middle of the woods. The instructor is pretty good too. Well at least I thought so cause with a little practice I was nailing the target most of the time. Got em! Lastly it was time to load the guns and go shoot some clay pigeons. Just like archery, You can do this activity anywhere but it is just more fun doing it at the castle.
Plus you got the clay pigeon launchers. Remember you don’t have to stay at the castle to do these things but staying at the castle will sweep you away to another time and who doesn’t want to be Royalty for a day. From the Castle we travelled to Galway. Galway is a moderately sized city next to the ocean with a lot of things to do. We spent a few hours here walking around Quay street which was filled with street performers and shopping. My favorite street performer we found was this guy who beautifully played his flute but in this practically hidden alley that had great acoustics even though less people could find him he still stuck it out at that location.
Best example of not selling out ever! Next to Quay Street is Salt hill. This is where the locals go to dive off this ledge into the frigid ocean… and they love it. Except when we got there there was only this one guy and we asked if he would jump off and he did it again and again. Until his friend finally joined him. Then more showed up…. and even more. Until it was a party.
I should have jumped in. I guess I will always have to live with that regret. On our way to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped by the Doolin Cave. The doolin cave is relatively small and is known for one thing only. It is home to the largest stalactite in all of Europe. And these little drops of water that roll off the end mean it is still active and growing. I recommend stopping by the cave if you are going to be visiting the Cliffs of Moher. Speaking of which when we got to the Cliffs of Moher we were let down because there was tons of fog inhibiting the view. But we stuck it out and eventually the fog lifted revealing the majestic rolling cliffs. The way these cliffs roll away in the distance are picturesque and worthy of their iconic status. Important tip: Go after hours during sunset and find parking.
You are more free to roam after hours to get better pictures and the cliffs are illuminated with light in the evening as opposed to shadowed in the morning. If you do stay after hours this was our hotel and had an excellent view. I will link to it and everything else below. Another Reason to stay around the Cliffs is Gus O’Connors Pub in Doolin. By far the best Pub we went to in all of Ireland. The food is great and has the best seafood chowder I’ve ever had. They also have nightly authentic, repeat authentic, Irish music. The musicians play off of one another and are genuine and real. Not like all the gimmicky pub music you’ll hear in other parts.
This pub is the real McCoy and a constant party at night. I recommend a nights stay in Doolin if for nothing else to go after hours to the cliffs of Moher. You won’t regret it. The next day we continued our travels to Killarney but not before stopping in Adare village. This quaint little village is mostly known for its thatched rooves. Which is exactly why we stopped by. Now you must stop by the Blue Door Restaurant… not to be confused with the Red Door we visited in Northern Ireland. The food was amazing but the ambiance is unforgettable. This place is pretty and once again will take you back in time. When you get to Killarney there is one show you must see.
The talent is through the roof and I have seen a lot of shows. These sisters sang in perfect harmony I mean just beautiful voices. Then the Irish Stepdancers were all really talented and everyone just put on such this great show. All the musicians were on point and the harpest even sounded like Enya. The show has it all from Irish jigs to Gaelic Ballads and not once did it feel hokie.
At points the performances are slow and heartfelt and some numbers intense and energetic. Afterwards my wife and I couldn’t stop raving about the show. If you see one show in Ireland make sure it is this. Their information will be in the description below. But seriously the talent is unbelievable and at the end they even followed my lead with tap dancing. What a gang. In the morning it was off to Killarney National Park. For us we decided to take a day adventure through the park which started with a horse-driven jaunting car ride through the Gap of Dunloe. The gap of dunloe is one of the prettiest places in all of Ireland. The jaunting car takes you by the stream at the foot of the mountain. Like most beautiful lanscapes this video does not do it justice. It is something that can only truly be seen and felt in person. We breifly walked up this hill to give the horse a rest and I am so glad we did. Because walking around what wasn’t to love? the levity of green pastuers mixed with the strength of stones and grandiose mountains, lovable little sheep, and the trickling of stream water.
This place is nature at its finest. And once again the horse ride made it feel like we were here in another time. Can you see why the opening line of this video was that Ireland will take you away to another place and time? After a small break at a little diner we continued the second half of our adventure with a boat ride the rest of the way through the park. For all the same reasons as the jaunting car ride this was beautiful and another charming way to travel through the Gap of Dunloe. There is no better stress reliever than taking in the fresh Irish Air… and enjoying a Diet Coke. There is only one way that I know to find this tour and I will explain that in the description below. Your trip ends as you dock at Ross Castle. Ross Castle crowns the great journey with a rewarding final destination.
The castles reflection on the water makes for some great pictures. Ireland vacations aren’t just about what you do but also about where you stay. The Killeen house is the best place to stay in Killarney. Just look at this house. The bright white, with the vibrant red trim sitting on a green hill with the great view of a pastuer and the neighboring church’s stone spires. The rooms inside are just as nice. And the dining area also has a great view outside. In fact, if you can’t stay here, which you should, you can at least just dine here to come experience the beauty. To set it apart the owners are really accomodating and greet you when you come. The personal touch you want when staying in an exclusive little hotel. Another must do in Ireland is exploring the small Island of Skellig Michael. This is the most scenic location I have ever been to. And this is us passing another boat which is important. Let me explain. I wanted to be the fastest boat out to the island so we could be the first ones to the top to get some great footage.
On the way we passed by its sister Island whose loftiness is just a prequel to Skellig Michael. The island was established by 6th to 8th Century Monks who created a stone stairway that leads to a monastary at the top of the island. At some points the path gets very narrow and slightly dangerous. And its worth it cause this island is magnificent with protruding rock formations everywhere that makes it uniquely visually pleasing. Oh another great thing about this Island is that only 180 people are allowed on the Island a day. So get tickets at a few months in advance. There is this mystic monastary at the top of the island that has survived for the most part viking attacks.
And the site was dedicated to saint Michael in 1044. But eventually the island was abandoned and left to our imaginations. Skellig Michael is so picturesque that it was used for the filming of Star Wars Episodes 7 and 8. Since Star Wars Episode 7 this island has become very popular. In fact we tried to recreate the ending scene of episode 7. If you want to book the fast boat I will leave the captains number and information in the description below this video. And For animal lovers there are tons of adorable little puffins that roam one half of the Island. I love puffins. Skellig Michael is only open like May through October but in my opinion this is another must do in Ireland so Book it way early! Afterward we went to the tiny fisherman town of Dingle for the evening.
We enjoyed a bunch of the small shops of Dingle including their authentic music shop and cheese store. But the star of Dingle is Fungi. Fungi is a Dolphin that pretty much never leaves the Dingle bay. We booked an evening kayak tour to see Fungi on the peninsula. You will have to forgive me it was hard to get good footage of fungi while on the kayak. Luckily fungi is a people person.. or dolphin so he likes to swim around human activity. But I like night kayaking in fact I will be night kayaking again in this trip for a different reason. Slea Head Drive is another way to enjoy the Dingle Peninsula. This drive is gorgeous and like a self guided tour of prehistoric Ireland. We made a few stops. First at the Dunberg fort which dates back to 500 BC. Then we went to some prehistoric Beehive huts. If you don’t make it to Skellig Michael I highly recommend coming to these.
Their structure is fascinating and to think people actually used to live in these is amazing. Another stop was the Gallarus Oratory which is a more perfected version of the huts and was an old religious site. Lastly we stopped by a fairy fort which if you go see the storytelling in Dublin like we did you’ll understand why these places exist. But basically its an area you don’t want to mess with or destroy according to folklore because those fairies can be nasty. Also right there you get to feed the some donkeys and cuddly little sheep as well. It was a nice little stop and for an animal lover like myself it isfun to pet animals outside of a zoo. To complete your Ireland vacation you need to travel to the mecca of Ireland: The Blarney Castle. It is here were legend has it you kiss the blarney stone and recieve the gift of gab. Also it was cool to look at the underground portions of the castle. The location is gorgeous but warning it was a little touristy so I had one goal and that was to kiss the Blarney Stone and hanging from the ledge, kiss the stone I did…
And I’m sure I got a few diseases in the process but the gift of gab is worth it. Before I move on to my last night in Ireland let me just put in a word for making your vacation sort of a road trip. We drove all around the coast of Ireland. Driving in Ireland does not get old it is constantly a lush and vibrant green with the bluest skies that has a way taking all you worries and stresses in life and melts them away. You can visit one or two cities like most people do on vacation but Ireland in my opinion is to be explored in its entirity. In fact we made it all the way from the Causeway in the North to this The Baltimore Beacon in the south. That night we did another night kayaking tour on the placid Lough Hyne lake but this time it was to experience the the biolluminescence if you have never this it is a great place to experience it.
This saltwater lake was serene and a perfect place to wind down the trip. In fact, You can even rent out that house overlooking the water. Biolluinescence is little organisms that light up with movement of the water. My camera only barely picked up the biolluminescence like but it is something that is 10 times more fascinating in person. With that said here are some of my Ireland Drone shots. My Drone and all my filming equipment I have linked to in the description below this video along with links to all the Hotels, Restaurants and Activities on my itenerary. Like, Subscribe and watch my other videos..