Guest post by csamek
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Days 1-3: Achill Island
Landed in Dublin and drove 4 hours to Achill Island (almost on the exact opposite side of the country from Dublin, but just a bit north). Achill is a beautiful, non-touristy area. People we were traveling with had family friends that own a house there, so we stayed on their property. We are from Cleveland and learned that there is a strong connection between our home town and Achill. There’s actually a sign in one of the bars in Achill points to Cleveland and says 3,000 km. There are beautiful beaches, lots of old villages and ruins. Spent the first few days hiking around the area and eating at local restaurants and pubs. Restaurants and stores close early.
Spent most of the day in the car as we made the long drive to Portmagee, where the boats leave for Skellig Michael. We had a tour booked for the next day. We made stops along the Ring of Kerry and ate at a local pub for dinner. Portmagee was a really nice place to stay.
- Skellig Michael
- Ring of Kerry
After a delicious, full Irish breakfast at our BnB, headed to the docks to get on our boat to Skellig Michael. Dress like it’s going to be 20 degrees colder than it is. Quite windy. If you can stomach the boat ride (even if you don’t normally get seasick, lots of people did), it’s worth it. Even though it wasn’t close to where we were staying, the Skellig tour was the thing I was most excited about and ended up being the highlight of the trip for me. Don’t bother paying for the guided tour on the island though.
You get back to Portmagee around 2 pm, so we made a few other stops along the Ring of Kerry afterwards and stayed at The Lake Hotel in Killarney. Best place we stayed the whole trip. Great food, too. Was really nice to be in a comfier hotel after a cold day at Skellig Michael.
Day 6: Cliffs of Moher
Made the long drive back up to Achill and stopped at the Cliffs of Moher on the way. Everyone should see this place – definitely worth the detour.
Relaxed day around the island. The Valley House has the best food and drinks in Achill. Jack the Lad – best beer I’ve ever had in my life.
Days 8 and 9: Dublin
Drove to Dublin and spent two days seeing the following:
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral – beautiful
- The Brazen Head – Dublin’s oldest pub
- Trinity College – took a tour. Wanted to see the Book of Kells, but way too expensive.
- Guinness Factory – even if you don’t like beer, it’s a very interesting tour. At the end you get a beer at the top overlooking all of Dublin, great views.
- Temple Bar – don’t recommend, it’s a bunch of tourists looking to get drunk (some might argue this is all over Ireland, but more so here).
- Just walk around the streets of Dublin. We had the nicest woman stop us and ask us if we needed help with directions (which we did).
Day 10: Northern Ireland tour
- Dark Hedges
- Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
- Dunluce Castle
- Giant’s Causeway
Booked a day tour to Northern Ireland. It was a very long day and they pack a lot into the tour. Some of the sites are rushed, but you have to know that looking at the itinerary. We are big Game of Thrones fans, very cool to see where some of the episodes were shot.
Don’t be in a rush to go anywhere in Ireland. 60 km can take you an hour and a half, and you’re bound to see something amazing that you’ll need to pull off and take a picture.
Don’t think I need to go back to Dublin, wasn’t much there for me. My husband would say otherwise, he loves whiskey and dark beer so he would definitely go back to Dublin.
Think we would have been better off spending first day/night in Dublin and doing the Northern Ireland tour at the beginning of the trip. It was such a long day and was pretty exhausting for the last day we had. I also would have rather stayed in Dublin that night than doing a long drive right after a trans-Atlantic flight.
Traveled in June 2017