The perfect Irish roadtrip
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Adam and I love to travel, so we are going to sprinkle a travel blog entry here and there to tell you all about what we’ve been up to! This summer we got to go on two incredible international trips. The first was to Isla Mujeres, Mexico (which we will write about in the future) and the other was to Ireland and Northern Ireland.
We initially had plans to go to Colombia, where I am from, with a couple of our friends, but for life reasons, that trip didn’t quite work out this year. So in April, we picked some dates in the summer, opened Google Flights, and Dublin was among the cheapest destinations on the dates we had decided on. That same night we booked our flights and got to planning an Irish roadtrip with our friends Bryan and Kylie!
Where we went
Ireland (and Northern Ireland) are absolutely beautiful, and there are so many options for places to go and things to see. We had nine days and decided we wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher and to go up to Belfast, so based on those two stops we decided to go Dublin – Kilkenny – Killarney – Doolin – Belfast – Dublin, and if we were to do it again, I would not change a thing. It was the perfect Irish roadtrip!
Kilkenny was our first stop. An easy 1.5hr drive from Dublin, it was the perfect first stop on our roadtrip. We went on a train tour of the city, walked the grounds of a castle, and had our first Irish beer at the Smithwicks Experience Bar (we skipped the tour and went straight to the tasting room).
Killarney & Dingle
A lot of people use it as a launching pad to drive the Ring of Kerry, but after reading countless reviews telling us how crowded the Ring is in August, we decided instead to do a hike in Killarney National Park and head to Dingle on our second day. On our way there, Bryan, aka Dingle Surf Guy, got to take in some epic waves at Inch Beach. In Dingle, we had the best fish & chips, biked part of Slea Head Drive, and capped the day off with some amazing handmade Dingle sea salt ice cream at Murphy’s.
Doolin is a tiny town near the Cliffs of Mohr and it was one of our favorite spots. We decided to stay the night here so we could go to the Cliffs later in the day once the tour buses have departed. After walking the Cliffs and seeing them from the water (which we highly recommend), we checked in to our wonderful B&B and spent the night watching live Irish music at the local pub.
Belfast was incredible. It is a city with a very complicated recent history, and it is fascinating to walk around streets and neighborhoods that were heavily militarized 20 years ago. To really see Belfast, I highly recommend doing both the hop on hop off bus (something we try to do in every city we visit its available) and a black cab/political tour.
Dublin felt like a huge city after spending most of our time in tiny towns and driving through the Irish countryside. Here, as in Belfast, we relied heavily on the hop on hop off bus to see the city (and the company we chose offered a pass that included an airport transfer, score!). On our second day, we went to a couple of the free (!!) museums in the city, including the Natural History Museum, the National Museum of Ireland and (not usually free but included in our bus ticket) the Little Museum of Dublin. Our last night in Dublin was Adam’s birthday, so we celebrated with a delicious dinner at Delahunt.
Random Recommendations & Other Tidbits
Car Insurance: Make sure to include car insurance when booking your car! We did not do this thinking our credit car would cover us, but we learned a little too late that Ireland is one of the few countries where cards do not cover your insurance.
Google Maps: We were able to navigate using offline Google Maps the entire time we were in Ireland. We never get international data when we travel (it is fun to be offline) and downloading maps while you have Wi-Fi makes it super easy to navigate anywhere.
Aldi/Lidl: We love these stores at home, and they were the perfect place to stock up on snacks, drinks, and breakfast supplies throughout our trip.
Gas station food: This is weird, but we LOVED food at Irish gas stations. A lot of the ones we encountered had ready-made food, a sandwich counter, and a legit bakery. It’s the perfect place to stop for a cheap meal while on the road. We recommend the black pudding!
Talk to the Locals: This tip is evergreen, but it is especially important in Ireland. Make sure to stop by as many pubs as you can, grab a beer, and talk to bartenders and locals while you are there. Ireland is absolutely beautiful but the best thing BY FAR, are the people.