· …who love long breezy road trips along winding coastal roads peppered with sheep here and vistas there.
· …for those who can not have enough of green. Be warned, it’s called emerald Isle for a reason and if too much of wet and wild is not your cuppa coffee… then maybe, hike some place else.
· …for those who love to sweat it out for a view that’s worth it’s while! Full of awe-inspiring hikes, ireland is a haven for adventurers.
· …for those who own a sturdy, smart, Rain jacket. That’s self-explanatory.
· …for those who dig pubs, live traditional Irish music and stout beer. Heard of Guinness? 😁
Why Ireland. We faced this question a bit more than we liked. Well, for all these reasons and more!
Ireland is hugely popular with Americans (since a fair majority can claim Irish inheritance) but fellow Indians are not pining for it. And Europeans (that I know) don’t see the point, probably as they’re done with wet and green😬.
Agreed that Ireland can’t boast of cities, as popular as London or Prague, or famous monuments like the Eiffel tower, rivers such as Thames or the Danube, has no ethnic charm that comes with Asia, nor its on any “typical” touristy bucket list.
But hey.. ever heard of Dublin, one of the most trending cities of the world with old world charm and new age shenanigans. Galway, with its vibrant style and epic arts and music culture? What about the dramatic Wild Atlantic Way? No. Ever heard of “craic“…don’t you want to feel it? Or Guinness anyone? Which can never taste as good anywhere, as it does in Ireland!
Not sold yet. Please read on.
Ireland, the island, is divided into Northern Ireland, part of the UK with Belfast as the capital, and the Republic of Ireland, a separate country, with Dublin, the capital city.
Schengen visa does not cover Republic of Ireland, so one needs to apply for an Ireland visa.
A UK visa only permits you to visit Northern Ireland, unless you’ve been stamped with a BIVS (British-Ireland visa scheme, given by default to citizens from some nations including Indians) on which both countries can be visited. All this might change with Brexit.. so keep yourself updated with the latest at your time of visit.
Having said that, boundaries are, as of now, only on paper, or can be spotted funnily on a GPS…easily missable in actuality, since a sign board marks the boundary. Also, you’ll realize you’ve entered UK territory when suddenly the GPS starts talking in miles vs kilometers. 😁
Irish folks, on the whole, are a friendly cheery, relaxed bunch of folks, who may not go out of their way, but will always guide you in the right direction.
We had 9 days in Ireland, not much by any standard but since we had plans to be in London already, we latched on the opportunity to visit Ireland, a wish, brewing in the mind for some time!
Of course we wanted to see it all. Of course, we were driving around the country.. but distances and time taken on road, don’t mean the same in Ireland, as you will read everywhere. Smaller coastal roads, tourist traffic, sudden fog rolling in, could all alter the variables. And with a young kid, though very tolerant for his age, we couldn’t overdo the driving, push the timing or change cities everyday.
Our itinerary was as follows:
Day 1: London (STN) to Dublin, via Ryanair, arrival 10am, car rental pick up and drive out to Wicklow, a 1 1/2 hour drive, via Lough Tay and short hike in Wicklow to Glendalough. Then Drive across the country, from East to West coast, straight to Glengariff about 41/2 hrs drive, arrival on the west coast). (One might notice that we shaved off the southern part of the island from our itinerary which was tragic but necessary.)
Day 2: Morning in Glengariff, at the mouth of Beara Peninsula, exploring the Ring of Beara. Arrival at Kenmare.
Day 3: Kenmare for exploring the Ring of Kerry: Did a bit of loop the loop on this day, to avoid tourist buses by taking the longer route and to be on the opposite side of the road as the general traffic. Arrival at Killorglin.
Day 4: Killorglin- Dingle- Kingdom falconry. Sleep at Killorglin.
Day 5: Cliffs of Moher. Drive north to Tarbert- Took ferry across the estuary- drive to Liscannor- followed by a short spectacular hike from Hag’s head to see the Cliffs- arrival at Galway. Serenaded by Galway’s night life!
Day 6: Galway farmers market, drove towards Achill Island via Connemara- biked a bit of the picture-perfect “green way“. Had plans to see the Kylemore Abbey but couldn’t manage with the time constraints.
Day 7: Galway, exploring Latin quarters, saw Emma, tapping to Irish music. Lunch- Drive to Donegal via Sligo- Glencar waterfall on the way- arrival at Kilcar.
Day 8: Morning exploring Cliffs of Slieve League. Drive to Giant’s causeway in northern Ireland. Drive to Dublin.
Day 9: Explored Dublin via walking tour and beer tour.
Day 10: Dublin to London.
So much to see, so little time!
See you all on the next post! Drop in question about the itinerary in the comments below. Always happy to help! Slán!