A Trip to the Emerald Isle

by SI Blog Reader AC

The wife and I just got back from an exhilarating 10 day trip to Ireland.

Unlike our previous holidays together, we decided to not stay in any place for too long and to just drive around the island.

Moving in a clockwise direction, we visited Dublin, Waterford, Dingle, Galway, Belfast and finally Dublin again.

The move paid off handsomely as we soaked ourselves in a rich culture, met warm and friendly people, visited historic sites, took in incredible scenic vistas and of course, drank lots of really good beer.

Here is a photo essay encapsulating some of those pleasures to loyal SI fans!

Republic of Ireland


Located in County Kerry in the South West corner of the country, Dingle dates back to the 13th century. While it used to be a trading post in ancient times, it is more of a tourism center in present times.

One of the popular scenic drives is the Slea-Head (pronounced “Slay-Head”).

Drive around the Dingle Peninsula, hugging the coastline and starting and ending in Dingle.

Below (all pics from Slea-Head Drive except the last one):

Beehive huts from the Bronze AgeBeehive Huts from Bronze Age

Click on the Images to see larger pictures

Blasket Islands off the coast of Dingle PeninsulaBlasket Islands off the Coast
of Dingle Peninsula

View from a coffee shop on the Slea-Head DriveView from a Coffee shop
on the Slea-Head Drive

SeagullA Seagull

Main St on DingleMain Street on Dingle


Galway is a mid sized city centrally located on the western coast of Ireland. It is a city which is renowned for its vibrant arts and music scene. Eyre Square is the city center.
Copper Sculpture in Eyre Square
A copper sculpture in Eyre Square that is supposed to represent the sails on a “Galway hooker”, a traditional fishing vessel.

While original sails are colored dark red, they were recently “Yarnbombed”.

Knife Juggler in Eyre SquareKnife Juggler

A knife juggling street performer in Eyre Square.

He said he was from Scotland.

Galway CathedralInside Galway Cathedral

This massive building (Note the height of the central dome above the pulpit) is a fairly recent addition.

It was completed in 1965.

Galway HarborA view from Galway Harbour

Cliffs Of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher (pronounced “Mo-Air”) which is located to the Southwest of Galway in County Clare.

With the sea especially choppy that day, a lot of the passengers in the ferry fell sick.

There was this one teenage girl who seemed particularly traumatized, screaming with every roll of the ship.

I lost balance and fell to the floor of the ship a few times, trying to take pictures.

Dunguaire Castle
The Dunguaire Castle down the road from our B&B in Kinvarra, the town we were staying during our Galway leg of the trip.

The castle was built by the Hynes clan in the 16th Century.

The castle’s renovation and maintenance is topnotch.

Waterford Crystal Factory

The home of the world famous crystal ware maker is a southern city of the same name that is roughly equidistant from both Dublin and Cork.

The firm offers a tour of the factory premises which takes visitors through various elements of the manufacturing process.

Glass Moulding & Blowing Process

Glass Moulding & Blowing ProcessMoulding & blowing

Cutting with Industrial DiamondsCutting with
industrial diamonds

Beautiful Glass PieceFinished product

Other Miscellaneous Pictures

Hairy Lemon Pub on Stephen Street, Dublin City CenterHairy Lemon Pub

The Hairy Lemon Pub on Stephen Street, Dublin City Center.

I had my first official pint in Ireland here.

The pub claims to be named after a dog catcher of the same name, a supposedly popular character in Dublin circa 1950.

We found this pub by chance and we went here on our first evening in Dublin.

Consequently it became our North Star for navigating Dublin (until I downloaded a GPS app on my iPad the next day)

Howth Harbour

Dublin's Howth Harbour

Howth HarbourImages of Howth Harbour,
a suburb of Dublin

Northern Ireland

The Old Bushmills Distillery

Located in County Antrim in Northern Ireland (about 50 miles from Belfast), the Old Bushmills Distillery is the oldest whiskey distillery in the world.

The tour of the distillery premises is very popular among tourists.

However visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the distillery.

While Scotland and Ireland are both famous for producing whiskies, there are a few subtle differences that a visitor gets educated on during the tour:

1. Irish whiskey is tripled distilled while Scotch whisky is only distilled twice.
2. In a Scotch whisky, the malted barley is dried using peat smoke which gives it its characteristic aroma. In an Irish whiskey, the barley is dried more naturally.
3. The difference in spelling. The Irish drink is spelled with an extra ‘e’

Irish Whiskey

Complimentary mini whiskey bottle and drink offered to all visitors at the end of the tour.

Dunluce Castle

Located a few miles to the west of the distillery, Dunluce Castle was built in the 13th century by a local Earl on a cliff overlooking the Irish Sea.

At various times the castle was held by clans from nearby Scottish islands and local chieftains.

It fell into decrepitude in the 17th century.

Ruins of Dunluce CastleRuins of Dunluce Castle

Giants Causeway

This popular tourist destination- also located in the vicinity of Bushmills- is world-famous for its precisely carved basalt columns on the coast.

Volcanic activity millions of years ago shaped the basalt in the area into polygonal columns that are several feet tall.

The most common shape among the columns is the hexagon.

The surrounding cliffs also provide spectacular vistas.

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

Giants Causeway

Giants CausewayPics from the Giants Causeway

Tips for travelling in Ireland

1. While it is always prudent to carry traveller’s checks while travelling anywhere, it is may be advisable to carry some hard currency in Ireland. Outside of Dubiln, none of the Irish banks were willing to cash the checks. EUR in Republic of Ireland and GBP in Northern Ireland
2. It may also be a good idea to consult your bank to see if they have tie-ups with Irish Banks. That way you may just be able to use your ATM card without attracting punitive fees.
3. If you are planning to rent a car, remember that the Irish drive on the left side of the street and you may only be able to rent a stick shift.
4. Get a GPS. This was pretty useful in the cities as unlike North America, street signs were not prominently displayed.
5. Have some warm clothing handy. Our first night in Dublin was chilly even though it was mid-July.

3 Responses to "A Trip to the Emerald Isle"

  1. gandhiji   August 4, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Useful little article.

    Ireland has been in my vacation radar – I’ll dig up this article if SI still around when I am actually ready).

    Nice photos!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Just in case you were not aware, you can click on the photos to see the bigger images.

  2. Mnx542   September 1, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Ireland was never in my list. Looks like it deserves an inclusion.

    Nice pictures.

    Btw, one of the best holiday destinations i’ve been to in the southern hemisphere is New Zealand. I don’t think NZ attracts as many visitors as Aus but it’s definitely worth a visit. Planning ahead is very crucial.

    SI, what about Amreeka? 😉 is it a good tourist destination?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Is Amreeka a good tourist destination? Hard to answer that question.

    Depends on what you’re looking for.

    Compared to most nations, Amreeka has little by way of history.

    Until the Europeans started their Westward migration to America in the 16th Century, the place was mostly empty except for some pockets inhabited by native Americans.

    So you shouldn’t expect very old historical stuff/monuments here. Unlike India where for instance the architecture/palaces/Temples/Mosques go back several centuries.

    In a sense, our (U.S.) monuments start from the Civil War (mid-19th century) – battlefield monuments in Petersburg (VA), Gettysburg, etc.

    There are, of course, some well maintained estates of leaders like George Washington (Mt.Vernon in Virginia) or the homes of Robert E.Lee (chief of Confederate Army, his estate is now Arlington Cemetery), Benjamin Franklin’s home in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson (Monticello, VA) etc.

    Since Amreeka is huge, there are a lot of picturesque places. Mountains, beaches, big parks (Yosemite, Yellowstone etc), waterfalls, Museums (particularly the Smithsonian Museums in DC and the diverse museums in NYC) etc.

    For the population (300 million), America is a huge country.

    Outside of the few big cities like NYC, Chicago, Miami, L.A., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington DC etc you won’t find many people or much to amuse yourself. So unlike India, where there are people everywhere.

    Above all, America is ferment. Constant change, but that’s not something that can be perceived or appreciated by tourists.

    • boopalanj   September 2, 2012 at 9:27 am

      Some of the best moments of Russell Peters.


      Includes the piece where he makes fun of Columbus 😀

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      My favorite part was having to take a glass of water when going ‘down’ on these spicy Indian girls. 😉

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