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Ireland – 50 Shades of Green, Blue & Beer

Tracking My Road-Map

After landing in Dublin, we immediately picked up our rental car from Hertz (I’ll do a separate post on car rentals & road culture in Ireland), drove right away to Co. Cork’s namesake capital, Cork, which would be our first pit-stop. Using this as a base, we then covered the largely unexplored region of south-western Cork.

Anonyous Beach

Anonymous Beach en-route Timoleague

A couple of days later we drove west into Ireland’s favourite lovechild – Co. Kerry. Some amongst Kerry’s long list of highlights include the three miraculously beautiful drives known as the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula and the Iveragh Peninsula. It also boasts of Ireland’s most famous park – Killarney National Park and the charming towns of Dingle & Killarney. Our nights in Kerry were spent at a pretty little hamlet known as Glenbeigh – away from the tourist frenzied towns in the county. Glenbeigh is where I stumbled upon one of the best stories of my entire trip.

Moving northwards, we spent a day in Co. Clare, exploring the unbelievably stunning Cliffs of Moher that have made it to the front page of countless travel magazines, before seeking a home in Co. Galway and Ireland’s second most famous city – Galway.

Cliffs of Moher

Watching Seagulls Sing at the Cliffs of Moher

Galway is the most ‘Irish’ of all Irish towns, with Gaelic being spoken in abundance on it’s charming bohemian streets. An unmissable destination just off Galway is the blessed cluster known as Aran Islands – floating in the innocuous Galway bay, boasting of countless tales of historic, cultural prominence.

Co. Galway also houses another world famous national park at Connemara – we spent a day in a tiny village right outside the park – Letterfrack and used it as base-camp for our ascent to the famous Diamond Hill, which overlooks the entire 2,957 hectares of the park.
Our final pit-stop on the Wild Atlantic route was the lovely surfing town of Bundoran, a great location to explore counties Sligo & Donegal. Bundoran hosts one of the best surfing spots in Europe (and the world) and is naturally frequented by experienced surfers from the world over. Drumcliff in Co. Sligo is where the legendary WB Yeats rests – may his soul rest in peace.

Connemara National Park

The Stunning Landscapes of Connemara

Co. Donegal is Ireland’s wild child with breathtaking coastal scenery all the way up to Malin Head (Ireland’s northernmost point) – unfortunately, cut short for time, we couldn’t complete the route right up to Malin’s and had to end our Atlantic journey after scaling the Pilgrim’s Path (on foot mind you), to Sliab Liag (Slieve League) – Ireland’s tallest cliffs and competing neck to neck on the beauty quotient with the Cliffs in Moher, only not so tourist infested or famous due to their remote nature and rugged terrain/weather.

From Donegal we finally drove down to Dublin, where we gave up our beloved ride and explored the erstwhile pre-medieval Viking stronghold on foot. Dublin is a supremely cosmopolitan city, filled with tourists of all kinds in the summer and is the only ‘party-esque’ destination in Ireland in the contemporary sense. If you ask me though, all of the Irish know exactly how to party, and I for one, would love to spend longer raging with locals in the smaller towns and hamlets than embark upon pub crawls in Dublin with my bunk-mates.

Dick Mack's

Dick Mack’s, Dingle Town – Amongst Ireland’s Most Famous Pubs

Also, since the title mentions it, I might as well speak of it now – except for the creamy delight of Guinness, all of Ireland’s sexret* (not a typo) beers, ales and lagers are produced in the little towns. All counties, and often each town within the same county have their own local brews, several of whom don’t even have names, but are delicious beyond measure. If there’s anybody in this world who know how to brew their beer (and drink it) it’s the Irish. Yes, yes I can hear the German’s grumble, but I’m yet to travel to Germany, and I reserve judgement till then, but hear me when I say this, you have some bloody darn high standards to beat ye feckin’ gobshites!

So that’s it then – a small outline of my time spent in this ridiculously wonderful nation. I look forward to sharing detailed travelogues of my time in each of these places, though certainly not as much as the one’s reading this I hope. I sign off momentarily, with some of the amazing pictures I clicked along the way.

Also Read:

7 Travel Lessons From My First Excursion

Ireland: Co. Cork, The Underated Prologue

Playing The Guide in Goa

 Interesting Reads On the Web:

If you can’t wait for the rest of my series to be up, here’s a short summary of my trip on Tripoto – [Read: The Wild-Atlantic Irish Road-Trip]

The Best of Ireland | Passport Collective

Discovering Seville, Travel Photo Mondays

26 comments

  1. We haven’t been to Ireland yet, but it is a place that is on our list! Mostly for the exact things you talked about, especially the bright green landscapes. They don’t call it the emerald isle for nothing! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  2. You tell it well! Ireland used to be just over the water from us in Wales, but we haven’t been for a long time now. We really should now we’re back in the UK for a while

    • Oh you most certainly should! It’s a lovely land. Before I went to Ireland, I spent a few days in the UK. Unfortunately I had to choose between Wales & The Lakes, and I went for the latter, but would love to visit the Welsh someday 🙂

  3. Looks like a lovely place to visit. I still can’t believe that we have not visited and yet we are so close 🙂

  4. Dublin is the perfect destination if you want a truly European escape.
    I especially like the weather and the pubs which are full of people there.

  5. I live in Scotland and Ireland is ridiculously easy to get to from here… but shamefully I’ve only been once, on a flying visit to Belfast! I would LOVE to go to Dublin and also see the Cliffs of Moher (I’m a bit obsessed with cliffs), think I may have to make it a priority in 2016!

    • mm

      I think you should. I found a lot of similarities culturally, between Scotland and Ireland, and I think you will love it. Dublin’s great, and I didn’t have the time to make it to Belfast, but I am assuming it will be somewhat similar, but the real charm of Ireland lies deeper in the country, in the smaller towns, lesser people, more sheep and an alarming amount of green.

  6. My favorite shades – Green and Blue! Lovely country, indeed. Oh Ireland, I wish I can meet you soon! 🙂

  7. My neighbour just came back from Ireland and absolutely loved it. I hope I get to visit soon. Looks like you had a great time.

  8. This brought back memories! I used to go to the south when I was a teenager for a music festival, it was so much fun. Dublin is fab for pubs 🙂

  9. Lately i have read many posts of yours Sanket. ENjoying the way you are introducing new places to me. Look forward to more from you. All the best!

  10. lovely account of a time well spent. Makes me want to go, despite i do not like the rain and cold at all!

  11. I know how you feel. I’ve only been to Dublin, too and felt like I missed a lot! Glad you enjoyed!

  12. You speak of Ireland as a beautiful place. Question though, I heard that if you go a bit further out from Dublin you’ll barely hear English and Dublin is dubed as the city where locals don’t speak Gaelic. Correct me if I’m wrong but nearly all Irish chef’s I’ve worked with speak very little Gaelic and they are all mostly from Dublin. The country side, I feel, is really a must visit place and as you have mentioned there’s a lot to see and country side usually expresses more authenticity than just simply spending all your time in the city.

    • mm

      I’m quite in love with it — even one year on. In my experience, most people within and outside of Dublin speak proper, legible English. Dublin is a lot like other big European cities — cosmopolitan, fast-paced and gregarious. It has its’ own character, of course, but it isn’t a true representation of Ireland per se, in a cultural sense. In the countryside, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of people that speak Gaelic, but I look like a very clear visitor/foreigner, so I’m not surprised nobody attempted to converse with me in Gaelic 🙂

      I did overhear a few snippets of conversations in Gaelic, and let me tell you, it’s pretty difficult to figure out what they’re saying. HA

  13. Ireland is certainly on my “to go to” list. I have always wanted to go there!

  14. I’m going travelling with you if you bring the heat! I’ve yet to get to Ireland (only been to Northern Ireland, Belfast was fun!)

    • mm

      You know I’m hoping to be based out of Europe next year — if that works out, I’m completely game for another trip to Ireland. Despite 20 days, I feel there’s so much I missed out on. I’d initially planned to start off in Cork and drive from west to north, right up to Belfast, before coming down to Dublin for my return flight. I could only make it as far as Donegal before we turned back. Too little time, and too many fabulous places 🙁

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