In Ireland be Irish – nothing else would be easier. A country-side girl in Ireland certainly feels at home. And I am not even talking about all the stunning drizzly views from the Ring of Kerry, all the quiet woolly sheep calmly chewing grass on the side of the road or the endless bed of thick green grass. I am talking about the people. Amazing, talkative, sad-songs writing people. I felt at home.
We landed in Dublin early in the morning with one plan: renting a car and driving south. We grabbed our street map, threw our luggage into the boot and off we went towards Kilkenny, our first stop. The amazing Kilkenny castle is a gem stone in the middle of a beautiful peaceful town, smiling down to us on top of its 800 years of wisdom. The sun was shining strong and drying up the grass quickly. Back on the road after an Irish Breakfast we drove further to Cork. I fell in love with the city. Such a beautiful town! The houses down the hills, the lonely, mellow river, the bridges standing sad, the grey sparkled with blurry colors. The whole city had this feeling about it like a mother who’s seeing her sons go away, Not that the people were sad, but the city itself. As if Cork had feelings of its own. Feelings of loneliness and pride, shadows and hope still. We wandered around, astonished by the stillness of the city and looked for a B&B to spend the night. We didn’t have to look for long since Ireland is rightfully known for their welcoming and warm Bed and Breakfasts! A few words exchanged and we felt part of the family. In the morning a really nice coffee and pancakes served by one very exquisite sample of the Irish gorgeous men that make women exhale and day-dream around the world made our day. Cork is wonderful. We walked around the city, visited the University, adored the green mailboxes, explored the streets and corners, became a part of it.
The time was tight so we left Cork, so we got in the car and drove up to do the Ring of Kerry, a 179 km long circular route that goes through one of the most beautiful sights south-western Ireland has to offer. After talking with some people we were told to do it clockwise so we started in Killarney and drove towards Kenmare and ended up in Killorglin. The road itself is so relaxing. Lakes, ruins, grassland, moss, waterfalls. So many things we saw and so many more we missed. We stopped along the route a few times for coffee. We found a sea-side B&B full of personality where we met two Canadian girls exploring the country for 2 weeks and I got seriously jealous. We had only 3 days and I was missing Ireland already! When the sun was setting we decided to look for a place to stay for the night so we drove to Killorglin but we found it so small. Come on, it was Saturday night and these two ladies wanted some Guinness for a change! So we looked in the map and there was fairly unknown city, Tralee, that seemed to me quite big. I looked it up in the Lonely Planet guide and I found NOTHING about it! Not even one single mention to this city! We got curious and decided to drive up there since it was just 26 km up north.
When we arrived to Tralee we found some people and asked them for a B&B of some sort. This lovely gentleman pointed us to a old house and we went to knock. We went in, up the stairs, the whole place smelled like old people and mold, when a creepy life-size statue of a complacent looking Virgin Mary was looking down on us, Get out! Get out! – My brain started yelling – I’ve seen this in horror movies and I know how it ends! “Thank you, thank you, Goodbye, goodbye” – we left nearly running outside the door, waving “ciao”! We walked a little more, getting tired and extremely hungry, and we asked someone else if they knew any place where we could spend the night. And then it happened! – the most amazing place, a real Irish pub with live music about a man who lost his wife for drinking too much or about a man who found his wife in bed with someone else – we learned Irish songs are not so happy, even when they clap clap happily while downing a beer. Seán Óg’s, a purple walled pub with yellow windows – it couldn’t be more perfect! They have rooms on top of the pub and it was a real Irish experience, for 50 euros. We highly recommend it! Also, they know the best places around to eat and we went to a pizzeria next door, probably the best pizza I’ve ever had!
After a couple of beers and Irish songs we went to bed and next morning woke up with that feeling of “Well, this is it, the last day”. But we still had Dublin. We drove back to the capital, stopping only briefly in Adare, renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest villages with its cottages outside Adare Manor.
Arrived to Dublin we parked outside a hostel and asked for things to do, since we only had six hours until our flight back. The Guinness Storehouse is definitely a must see. Incredibly interesting and informative we got to learn how is Guinness made, what gives it its velvety touch, the roasted barley bitterness, the black ruby red color and famous creamy top. Arthur Guinness certainly had faith in his brewing process and we couldn’t be more grateful. The Storehouse in massive and it takes a few hours to see everything, but you will not see the time going by and you end up sipping your own Guinness at the Gravity Bar and thinking you could be there forever. (Just check up the website http://www.guinness-storehouse.com).
After we went to The Brazen Head, officially the oldest pub in Ireland, dating all the way back to 1198! But age has got nothing on this pub and on a Sunday evening is the perfect spot to eat a Beef and Guinness stew (what else?), enjoy some really good live music, drinking Irish coffee and living a real Irish moment with people from around the world looking for the same as us. I ended up at the counter talking with a very charming old man who was telling me everything about his childhood and how he was mocked at school for being ginger. You got to love Ireland.
An absolutely amazing experience of 1000 km in 3 days that ended up too quickly across 5 counties and a short budget. I had so much fun and I definitely want to go back to Dublin, look across the river and to those bridges lying tired and sight, with the city hustle behind me and a group of warm men and women in front of me clapping to the Celtic sound of Whiskey in the Jar.