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Travel: Ireland

Updated: Jun 25, 2018

Ireland is a magical place. I have had the privilege to visit 4 times now and it just keeps getting sweeter. I have included in this blog, places I have stayed, things I have done and even some things I have yet to do.I tried to combine both detailed descriptions along with a “hard and fast” informative list. I have this broken up by the location with sub-sections of;

1) where to stay,

2) what to do, and,

3) one day in …

There are * along the way which note things I wouldn't miss.

Finally, at the bottom I have included my personal Top Ten for Ireland.

Here goes;


Where to Stay:

Portmarnock book online:

This is a beautiful place to stay NEAR Dublin, note this hotel is NOT in the city center. This is the place to stay if you want to relax and walk on beach, great restaurant on site. You can take the bus into the city center for about 3 Euro or drive into the city if you have rented a car. Really nice rooms, overall great place to stay.

What to Do:

*Guiness Storehouse- Voted THE BEST tourist attraction in all of Europe, which I feel is a bit hyped, however, after 4 visits to Ireland, I finally did the tour and it was worth it. You get to pour your own pint and the view from the Gravity Bar on the top floor is pretty awesome. Great gift shop, you can even get your own pint glass with your name engraved on it. This really was fun, and I feel like it is worth a visit. Buy your tickets from your smartphone online the night before to save money on your tickets.

Pour the Perfect Pint at the Guiness Storehouse

*Grafton Street- Butlers Chocolates located on each end of Grafton Street. Go in, get some truffles and walk down the street. Enjoy street music. This is what Dublin is to me.

*Beweley’s Oriental Cafe- This is in the middle of Grafton Street. Lovely cafe with a great tea and coffee selection. The hot chocolate come with whip cream, marshmallows and chocolate shavings! Worth a visit, if only to rest your feet and use their wifi.

Henry Street- This is where you will find most of the shopping. My personal fave, Penney’s, it is like Forever 21 but CHEAPER. Arnotts is also nice for shopping. I always buy a book when I travel, normally a children's book. It is worth stopping in, if only to browse the magazines, which are always fun to peep at when you are in a different country. Henry Street is where you will get the best view of the Spire.

George Street Arcade- Funky hole in the wall type market. Vintage and quirky stalls worth a stroll through.

St Patricks Cathedral- (St Patrick's Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, DZ08 H6X3, Ireland.)

Tallest church in Ireland. If you are in Dublin, you have to take a moment to visit.

Temple Bar- There is an actual bar called “The Temple Bar” but “Temple Bar” refers to the street off the Liffy, in which there is pub after pub. “Off Beat” Doughnuts is in this area too.

River Liffy and Ha’Penny Bridge- While walking around Temple Bar, take a moment to see the bridge. You will recognize it from photos.

Trinity College- This is where the Book of Kells is. I’m torn on this one. I feel like it is worth seeing if you are all the way in Dublin, but at the same time, I feel like you wouldn't be missing much if you missed it all together. The best part is walking through the “Long Room” Library, which really is worth seeing.

St Stephen’s Green- Located at the base of Grafton Street. This is a beautiful mall, shopping is not great but the architecture is worth a peep.

*National Gallery of Ireland- (Merrion Square W, Dublin 2, Ireland.) Must see The Taking of Christ (Caravaggio) ask someone to tell you its story. Truly worth seeing, coming from an art lover.

*Kilmainham Gaol- (Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland.)

This was a place my Irish cousin really wanted to take us to. I wasn't super excited about the visit but turns out it really struck me. This place really gives your a sense of The Irish Republic History and it is done well. There is a 30 min or 1 hour tour. We did the 30 min tour but I would go back and do the hour tour. Buy your tickets online ahead of time (they only allow a certain amount of people in the jail at one time) or else you might get stuck killing time in the cafe to wait for your entrance time.

3FE- (32 Canal Street, Dublin.)

Now, I cannot vouch for this place, as we have yet to make it there, BUT I read about this place in an article of the TOP TEN COFFEE SHOPS IN THE WORLD. Could be worth a visit.

ONE DAY in Dublin:

I would try to do Guiness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol and Grafton Street, stopping at Beweleys Cafe and Butlers Chocolates. Finishing the night with a stroll down Temple Bar. This would be a jam-packed day. Personally, I would have to spend a good hour at the Henry Street Penney’s but thats just me :)


This is a little coastal town about 10 mins outside of Dublin. Go take a peek. You don't need to spend a whole day here, but plan on having a meal here. Either lunch or dinner.

What to Do:

*Beshoff Bros Fish and Chips- One of the best meals we had in Ireland. Order take out, go sit somewhere outside with a view. Ask for the garlic mayo on the side. You won’t be disappointed.


Where to Stay:

JB’s Bar and Accommodation, $86 (70 Euro) 42 John St Upper R95C2WK

Note: This location does NOT offer parking BUT is located next to a large shopping mall that offers overnight parking for 4 Euro. Great location for walking to city center, also great if you love shopping at malls :)

What To Do:

Jerpoint Glass Blowing (opens at 10:00 a.m.) about 10 mins outside of Kilkenny, can watch them glass blow, also can purchase glass goods.

*Kilkenny Castle (opens at 9:30 a.m.) grab a picnic lunch and eat in the beautiful castle grounds. 8 Euro to tour inside the castle, fun to see if you are into that type of thing. NOTE: most places in Europe offer great student discounts, be sure to bring your ID. Sssssh my hubby and I graduated in 2015 but we travel with our ID’s and still get the discounts. Kilkenny Design Center (opens at 10:00 a.m.) This is the store to shop at if you are looking for the best (high-end) Irish-made goods, such as art, wool, glass, etc.

Matt The Millers- Traditional “Trad” music and good food. Located on the River. Order a Kilkenny Beer.

*St Canice's Cathedral- also known as Kilkenny Cathedral. My husband loves to climb the tallest thing he can find in each city we travel. He loves to view from the top. He also loves laughing at me as a white-knuckle my way up due to my insufferable fear of heights. There is a tower to climb here, cost a few euro each, but it is worth it. This tower in particular is well-done.

ONE DAY in Kilkenny:

You can easily visit Kilkenny in a day. I wouldn't miss Kilkenny Castle, a stroll through the city center, St. Canice Catherdral and ending the day with a stop off in a pub featuring live trad music.


Where to Stay:

Auburn House B&B, $86 Euro *really good breakfast Included

Garfield Terrace, Wellington Rd, Cork City phone: (0)214508555

book online:

NOTE: if driving, the car park is behind the building, pull up to the front and go in, they will unload your bags and give you instructions on where to park the car.

What to Do:

*Sin É- Traditional “Trad” music. Just go in for a drink, quaint “Irish pub” experience. Order a Beemish- this beer is the pride of Cork City, rivals Guiness.

Fransican Well Brewery- This is a bit off the beaten trail but you can walk here from the city center. They have pizza here, indoor outdoor seating. Brew tour starts at 6:00 p.m. Fun thing to do if you are “in to” beer. Order the Rebel Red.

Crawford Art Gallery- Free admission (opens at 10:00 a.m.)

English Market- worth seeing what it is all about, take a loop, be sure to sample the olives. There is a GREAT vintage clothing store located in one of the entrance alley’s into the market, worth taking a peek.

*Oyster Tavern- right next to the English Market. Order the chowder, you won’t be disappointed.

*Blarney Castle- 16 Euro, (opens at 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m.)

Blarney Castle is a must-see. Located about 20 mins outside of Cork City. Allocate a good few hours, if not the entire day and try to catch it on a day with good weather. The Castle is amazing and the grounds surrounding are magical. Kiss the stone, but be aware it is not for the faint of heart.

Jon Snow, is that you?

ONE DAY in Cork:

If you only had one day in Cork, I would be sure to spend it in Blarney (about 20 minutes outside Cork City) exploring the Blarney Castle and grounds. If you were staying the night in Cork City, walk though the English Market (they close at 5:00) eat at the Oyster Tavern and finish the night at the Sin É for live trad music.


Where to Stay:

Tower View, $95 Euro, *Breakfast included

Milltown Houses, Farranredmond, Dingle, Co. Kerry phone: (0)669152990

book online:

Note: lots of animals on sight!


Where to Stay:

Falls Hotel & Spa Sroohil, Ennistymon, Co. Clare, Ireland

Beautiful Hotel, good location, great restaurant! What more could you ask for?

What to Do:

*Cliffs of Moher

Must see. Go there. Just do it. Don't miss this place.

Pictures really don't do this magical place justice.

The Burren- older than Stonehendge. I did this with my mom but decided not to do it again with my husband. Look it up though, if you are into that sort of thing, you might pay it a visit.


Where to Stay:

Craglea Lodge, Miltown Malbay Rd, Crag, Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland

+353 65 708 1450

Draco the Dog enjoying a walk on the beach.

What to Do:

This is Ireland “Surf Town.” If you are not there to surf, or thats just not your “thing” a walk on the beach here at low tide is magical.


Where to Stay:

Eyre Square Hotel, Forster St, Galway, HP1 TCPO, Ireland

NOTE: This place does NOT offer parking! Had we know that beforehand, our experience would have gone a lot smoother. But this is a centrally-located clean hotel. I would stay here again.

What to Do:

Galway is a funky little town often compared to the likes of Santa Cruz. Lots of live music. Just walk around and enjoy street performers. We visited a week before Ed Sheeran was set to perform and the whole place was in full Sheeran-Mania mode. You can visit the pub where he filmed his “Galway Girl” music video, Salt Hill, at Salthill House, Upper Salthill, Galway, Ireland.

*Kai- (22 Sea Rd, Galway, H91 DX47, Ireland)

Best meal we had in Ireland. Hand down. Go here, just do it.

*The Quay’s- Pronounced “The Keys.” Really unique and beautiful pub. Great place to watch live music for a real Irish experience.

Northern Ireland

What to Do:

*Giants Causeway

While on our honeymoon, my hubby and I took a day to drive from Dublin to the Giants Causeway, outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland. It was worth the trek and remains one of my favorite things we have done in Ireland. If you get the chance, don't miss it.

Alli’s “Hard and Fast” Top 10 picks in Ireland:

1. Cliffs of Moher- County Clare

2. Giant’s Causeway- Northern Ireland

3. Blarney Castle- Outside of Cork

4. Beshoff’s Fish and Chips- Howth, outside of Dublin

5. Kai- Galway

6. Kilmainham Gaol- Dublin

7. Guiness Storehouse- Dublin

8. The Quay’s - Galway

9. Grafton Street Bewelys Oriental Cafe & Butler’s chocolates- Dublin

10. Henry Street Penney’s- Dublin

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