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):
Click on the Images to see larger pictures
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.
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”.
A knife juggling street performer in Eyre Square.
He said he was from Scotland.
This massive building (Note the height of the central dome above the pulpit) is a fairly recent addition.
It was completed in 1965.
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.
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.
Other Miscellaneous Pictures
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)
Images of Howth Harbour,
a suburb of Dublin
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’
Complimentary mini whiskey bottle and drink offered to all visitors at the end of the tour.
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.
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.
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.