Last spring I made my first visit to Ireland and fell in love. I mean, swoon, where have you been all my life, in deep- fell in love. Everywhere I turned, there was beauty to behold. The people are lovely and that brown bread with fresh butter, oh my. My husband and I took our youngest daughter as a graduation gift. She was the one who chose Ireland as her destination, and I will be forever grateful for her choice because I can't imagine in all my travels somehow missing Ireland.
I researched routes and worked and planned to create an eight day itinerary. We decided to live dangerously and rent a car to do our own thing rather than a tour bus. If you have ever driven in Ireland, then you know what I mean when I say dangerous. Wow, those roads are skinny!
We began our journey in Dublin where we spent one day. Dublin has a great feel to it and I instantly felt at home. There were flowers everywhere we turned throughout our entire trip.
We went to Trinity College to view the Book of Kells and to stand in awe of their famous library.
We also toured the Dublin Castle and the Little Dublin Museum. Across from the Dublin Castle is the sweetest little cafe The Queen of Tarts. Stop in if you are in need of a coffee/pastry break. Stephen's Green is a lovely park to sit and rest your feet.
From Dublin we hit the road to visit our next destination. It was a little over an hour drive to Glendalough in County Wicklow. We visited the monastic city and took a hike in Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Sheep and clover cover the hills of Ireland!
We stayed at Tudor Lodge and this was our backyard. It was a wonderful way to end the day. The Wicklow Heather, a restaurant in town, is both cozy and delicious.
The next day we woke early for the two hour drive to the town of Cashel. We strolled the downtown and walked up the hill to the Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel is a castle literally built on a huge slab of rock. This location made it easier for them to defend their castle. We were blessed with a sky that was a crisp blue and the views were amazing.
Our home base for the night was the town of Blarney which was still an hour and a half away but we decided to make a stop along the way to see Castle Cahir. It was well worth the stop because this castle comes complete with a moat!
We spent the night at Blarney Castle Hotel and visited their pub for a pint and music. We also made time for a quick shop at the Blarney Woollen Mills. While in Ireland, it really is a must to make at least one stop at a wool mill. It is easy to find your woollens in Ireland!
We awoke the next morning refreshed and ready for a big day. It is a short walk from the hotel to the Blarney Castle. I was pleasantly surprised with the grounds and gardens surrounding the castle. It is a great place to spend the morning wandering. And yes, I kissed the stone.
From here, we made our way to Killarney. We didn't think Ireland could get anymore beautiful, but she had surprises for us at every turn. Look for Part 2 of our Ireland trip.