Ireland. By invite only.

Wild flowers in bloom along the Cliffs of Moher

For those:

· …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? 😁

County Kerry

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 it does not seem to be on any major tourist bucket-list for fellow Indians . And Europeans (that I know) don’t see the point, probably as they’re done with wet and green😬.

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 will always guide you in the right direction.

Beautiful village of Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula

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!

I wont lie when I say that it was Hollywood that first inspired us to visit Ireland. Being compulsive romantics at heart and suckers for all things wild, we loved the movies, “PS, I love you” & Leap Year, both shot in the stunning Ireland. Movies of course, know no geographical boundaries, jumping from East to West in a wink.

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.)

Lough (meaning lake) Tay or the Guinness Lake with its foam head

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.

The Temple Bar in Temple Bar district!

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!

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