Where: Ireland and Northern Ireland
When: End of November
How long: 6 Days
With: My brother
My brother and I decided spontaneously to go to Ireland after he saw some real cheap flight tickets (only 23 CHF / person / flight!). After some research we then decided that it would be the best option to rent a car with a bed in it. So we wouldn’t have to pay for a bed every night and wouldn’t be bound to public transportation or tourist tours. The plan was to travel one time around the isle, reversed clock wise, see a bunch of places and meet some people.
Day 1 (Dublin – Glenavy)
We arrived at Dublin Airport around 2 p.m. . Despite our concerns the weather was sunny and there were almost no clouds. The guy whom we rented a car from picked us up at the airport and drove us to the next gas station to hand us Skywalker over (yes, that was the name of the car). After a few instructions he left and our adventures began.
Our first destination was Glenavy where the B’n’B was, where we slept the first night. When we arrived, it was already pitch black (at 4 p.m.!!). The house was beautiful and had a rustical charme to it but oh my – it smelled so bad. But in the end we were very happy that we slept there the first night. It was bitter cold even inside the house, but they’ve got great blankets. We would have frozen our butts off in the car.
Day 2 (Glenavy – Belfast – The Dark Hedges – The Giants Causeway – Somewhere)
The next morning we woke up early, so we had enough time to go to Belfast and later head up more north. We ate a typical Irish breakfast and then headed to Belfast. In Belfast we did a little grocery shopping (and a little clothes shopping escapade on my side – still sorry for that dear brother) and left after that. Not quite sure if we just saw the wrong places, but we didn’t like Belfast that much.
Then the real adventures began.
We drove up north to the dark hedges. It was quiet foggy on our way there, but we both liked that misty mood. We arrived safely at the dark hedges and were lucky enough for the first ten minutes to be almost alone. At first it seemed somehow small and not as dark and mysterious, as I’ve expected. But if you stand under the big dark branches that lean towards each other you can feel a bit of a mysterious vibe. I liked that quite a lot.
We then drove west to the giants causeway. You have to pay a bit for the parking lot and the entrance, but I think it’s a fair price since they take care of it and you get a little story-teller-thingy, which I found quiet interesting by the way. It’s always nice to get a little more informations about a place and it’s history. And to say the least – the giants causeway is impressive. Nature is just stunning. And on top the sun was setting whilst we walked down. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Since it was already getting dark (around 3 p.m.) we left to search a place where we could park the car to sleep. We ended up sleeping somewhere on a supermarket parking lot under their christmas lights. Very cozy.
Day 3 (Somewhere – Kylemore Abbey – Cong)
On the third day of our roadtrip we slept in a little and then drove off to eat breakfast at the beach. We took a morning walk at the almost empty beach and ate our not so tasty breakfast inside the car (because it was freaking cold outside). Our only two destinations this day were Kylemore Abbey and a campsite in Cong. Since we had plenty of time we stopped several times whilst we drove towards Kylmore Abbey. The landscape was so so beautiful! The hills on both sides of the road were covered in this reddish brown gras. Nothing but sheep, bushes, gras and little rivers. It even had some sunshine and the sky was mostly blue too. We were very lucky with the weather from this day on.
When we arrived at Kylemore Abbey we decided to eat something first. As we walked out of the restaurant the sun shone perfectly on the castel. Made for a very nice view. Even tough we didn’t go inside, we later got told that it’s really worth a visit. So we’ll do that next time.
It took us quite some time to find the campsite in Cong but eventually we found it and it was perfect. It even had hot showers, a kitchen and a heated dining room. We made tortillas for dinner and hung out in the dining room to warm up after dinner. It was really nice to stay a little longer in a heated room. We haven’t done that since we left home. We went to bed early that night, so we could get up early as well the next day.
Day 4 (Cong – Cliffs of Moher – Burren – Killarney – Cork)
We started the day by taking a morning walk over to the castel of Cong. Not really worth a visit, but at least we got to move our bodies after all the driving in the car.
We then headed off to the cliffs of moher. We stopped a few kilometers away from the visitors center to avoid the tourist crowd. As we walked over to the cliffs a surfer crossed our way (yes, there were plenty of those crazy surfers in that freezing cold weather). We half climbed / half walked up the cliffs to get the full view. It was just breathtaking. Nature at it’s finest.
Then we drove further to Burren. Never have I ever seen something like this. It was just craggy rocks as far as we could see. It had a very calming vibe to it and it made me feel very little. Isn’t it fascinating how different the landscapes are on this one island?
Our next stop was Killarney. Sadly we came a bit to late and it was already to dark to fully enjoy it’s beauty. But from what we saw, I’ll definitely want to go back and maybe spend a day there, swimming and hanging out at the little beach that we discovered.
After that very short stop we headed of to Cork to meet my brothers friend Björn. We left Skywalker at the B’n’B that we spontaneously booked and went for dinner with Björn. Burgers it was. Later we walked a bit trough the city and stopped by a pub to get the real Irish experience. Even though I’m not that into alcohol I quite liked the atmosphere and the apple cidre.
Day 5 (Cork – Navan – Dublin)
We started our last full day with Irish breakfast and then walked over to the university where Björn studied. He showed us a bit around. There were a few old pretty buildings on the campus. My brother and I found them to be the only pretty things about Cork. So we weren’t to sad to leave at noon.
We drove a few hours up north to Navan to bring Skywalker back to his owner. A very gentle man. He even drove us over to a bus station so we could go back to Dublin.
We arrived around dinner time, quickly checked-in at the hostel and left to go eat out with Kat another friend of my brother. She brought us to a mongolian BBQ restaurant and the food was so good there! You get to pick your own ingredients (vegetables, spices, sauces, noodles, rice, and so on) and they heat it up on a huge iron plate. It’s incredibly delicious!
We took a mini walk trough Dublin but since Kat had to leave for work and my brother and I were to tired to do something else than sleep, we went back to the hostel.
Day 6 (Dublin)
The next morning we got up early to catch our flight home. We were a bit sad that we hadn’t enough time to explore Dublin – it seemed like an interesting city to spend time in.
Looking back I’ll highly recommend going to Ireland and I will definitely do so again. There is so much to see and to simply enjoy natures beauty. I’d suggest to go during the warmer periods of the year. Even tough it was surprisingly warm in the car (trough the nights too!) it was just too cold outside to fully enjoy the experience. And I’d definitely recommend to stay longer than a short 6 days. It will be worth it. And of course – go check out Skywalker! He’s not that beautiful on the outside, but it’s the inner values that count, right?
See you next time Ireland! ♡