Our first time in Ireland and the trip that layed ground for an unbroken fascination for the country and its people. I could only encourage everybody to visit the green island.
This first holiday was a short road trip for us. We drove from Dublin to Kilkenny, Cashel, Cobe and Cork and back again. It was very different from the following two years and I wouldn't rather go down south once more after seeing the western, eastern and northern part.
For our second trip to Ireland, we decided to set up base in a cottage and going on daytrips, instead of a roadtrip through the country like on the first trip. We stayed in a wonderful cottage near Arklow in the eastern part of Ireland south of Dublin.
Well, 2014 holiday season is over and I’m back from Ireland for some time now.
It all started in Dublin. We spent two nights there. The hotel sadly was not as nice as the photos in the web indicated and sad in the middle of Temple Bar quarter, right above a live music club... The city was nice as ever anyhow. I really love the street-artists and street art in Dublin and the people again were very kind.
Next up we went to a small cottage near Roscommon. A nice home with lots of space in the house but missing some surroundings to go for a walk. From this home base we went off on a number of trips. Roscommon itself is a typical small irish city. Small houses, small old town centre and a castle ruin.
Our first big trip took us to the Cliffs of Moher. Thankfully it stopped raining for the time being. The cliffs have been quite an experience. Looking at least 120m down to the ocean, dark waters breaking at the foot of the cliffs. A sight everybody should experience when visiting the green island. On our way back to Roscommon, a short stop at Galway in order to get some food revealed an astonishingly uninteresting town, though serving very nice fish.
On a brighter day with lots of sunshine, our next journey took us through Connemara to Kylemore Abbey. A wonderful patch of nature. Lough Kylemore with its green mountainside and dark blue waters is a tremendous view. The old Manor at Kylemore once served as a school. The building has a nice, though not overly uncommon castle like appearance. What is really striking is the landscape around it, with it water, the green slopes and the hollow way to the old gardens.
While staying at our house near Roscommon, we also visited a nearby butterfly garden, Lough Ree and Athlone. While Athlone is a nice town and the butterflies where colourful, I won’t show any pictures to keep this gallery condensed.
Leaving the Republic of Ireland, we headed to our next stay in Dundrum, Northern Ireland. What was missing at our first house in the republic, was pleasantly present at our apartment in Dundrum, space to take a walk. We had our apartment at the promenade of a bay in Dundrum. The bay view is a pleasure, while sitting on the balcony. Dundrum as a town is too small to really do shopping, even some basics. Fortunately New Castle is close.
The nearby beach, the nature reserve and the nearby town of New Castle gave us a lot of opportunities to spent our time in walking distance or at least just a short ride away. We only undertook two really big tours while staying in Northern Ireland. For the first one, we went to Bushmills Distillery (my father-in-law arrived in heaven) and afterwards took the trip to Giants Causeway. On our way to the causeway we took the cliff road, driving high above the sea through green hills, steep cliffs and a lot of sheep. Arriving at the causeway, we got to see beautiful spectacle of mother nature. The basaltic hexagonal pillars coming of the ocean in different heights and deep black or sandy yellow have been something to remember.
Belfast on our next trip seemed kind of as old as the pillars themselves. I’ve never seen as much ruins right inside the cityscape as I have in Belfast. The city is another category compared to Dublin. It is much more metropole than Dublin and has a totally different soul. The people have been more of the reserved english style than the friendly and open irish folks. Nevertheless I really enjoyed Belfast as a city.
That’s the short story of our journey and a little explanation to my pictures.
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