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My amazing Irish adventure

Ireland, Ireland
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When my mom asked me to go on a trip with her to Ireland, I thought to myself "What could I possibly do or see in in Ireland?" Being the first born (and self-declared favorite child), I went to Ireland with her, spending eight days crisscrossing the small Island nation of 3 million citizens.

As a 24-year-old from Baltimore whose only international travel has been limited to bi-annual trips to the Philippines (where I was born), my visit to Ireland -- which also marked my first trip to any European country -- went above and beyond what I imagined. We absolutely fell in love with everything Irish: its kind people, its storied past, its humble and inspiring culture, the architecture, majestic views, and delicious cuisine. Instead of telling you about everything that we did -- although we enjoyed every minute during our time there -- I’ll share some highlights from my amazing trip.

We crisscrossed the country, visiting Dublin, Kinsale, Galway, County Wicklow, Cobh, and County Clare. Every day brought new adventures -- breathtaking places to see, cultures to soak in, and history to learn about. Here are my favorite visits during my trip:

1. Trinity College’s Old Library. In the heart of this historic and beautiful campus is the Old Library building, which houses the famous Book of Kells and the majestic Long Room. The Book of Kells, long considered as one of Ireland’s national treasures, dates back to year 506. The book is an illuminated Latin manuscript of all four gospels. The illustrations and art within this book is hard to describe and can only be truly appreciated when seen in person. The Long Room is just remarkable in many ways -- its architecture, its history, and what’s in its shelves: over 220,000 rare and centuries old books.

2. Powerscourt Estate and Gardens. Situated in Ireland’s serene countryside, the former 13th century castle now houses a charming cafe with delicious sandwiches and salads, shops, and a museum about the history of this famed residence. Visitors can enjoy a nice walk through the Estate’s expansive and carefully manicured gardens, and can even visit the estate’s pet cemetery!

3. The Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland. This was the home to the Kings of Munster (today Southern Ireland) from the Fifth Century to the Eleventh Century, when the King donated his fortress to the Church in the hopes of gaining favor to become the High King of Ireland. Ruins of a magnificent cathedral, graveyards, a chapel, and a round tower can be found there today, with a commanding view of the Irish countryside.

4. Blarney Castle, a 14th century castle overlooking expansive gardens and home to the famous Blarney stone. Legends say that those who kiss the stone receive the kiss of eloquence. I overcame my fear of heights (just for this one time) and joined the millions of others who have done this ritual since the 18th century. About half a mile from the castle is a large shopping center, where patrons can purchase wool products made locally, souvenirs, and enjoy a variety of delicious food vendors in the cafeteria.

5. The Cliffs of Moher. This was, without a doubt, my favorite experience in my entire trip. Visitors to this national park can stand atop cliffs that are higher than skyscrapers, with unobstructed beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. Dedicated visitors can also make a 30-minute hike to get stunning photos of the Cliffs and enjoy this exceptional natural beauty.

There are so many more to see, and I can write pages about my experience in Ireland. It was incredible to visit Cobh, Ireland, where the Titanic made its last port of call before embarking on its tragic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. As a history buff, my visit to Charlesfort, a star-shaped military fort controlled by the British was an exceptional opportunity to learn about the military conflicts that happened along these shores. Glendalough was another “wow” visit -- this ancient monastic site has ruins of a cathedral, a historic chapel, centuries-old graveyards, and a magnificent round tower. Killarney National Park was just absolutely stunning; its towering mountains, ancient trees, lakes, and wildlife make this serene place so special.

I considered my trip to Ireland as an “appetizer” to this beautiful country. I intend on making another visit soon, to learn more about the country, indulge in its history and culture, and see more places that I didn’t get a chance to visit.

I hope this post will inspire you to make your own visit to Ireland. I have no doubt you will have a magical experience like my mom and I did.
Story Details

Culture and experiences

Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle
Beautiful historic castle and home to the famous Blarney Stone

Hotels

Killarney Court Hotel
Nice four-star hotel with a friendly staff and good food options. A 10-minute taxi cab takes you to fun pubs with live music, shops, and restaurants.
Trident Hotel
Nice hotel adjacent to the dock in Kinsale. A ten-minute walk from downtown Kinsale, home to charming shops, delicious restaurants, and historic sites.
Camden Court Hotel
Great hotel with friendly staff. Delicious breakfast buffet and close to Downtown Dublin.

Points of interest

Rock of Cashel
Rock of Cashel
Amazing ancient castle on top of a rock, with beautiful views of the Irish countryside. A castle, along with ruins of a majestic cathedral are among the many things to see at the Rock.
Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher
A MUST see for any visitor to Ireland! Commanding views of the Atlantic Ocean and a picturesque and serene national park.
Powerscourt House & Gardens
Enjoy a nice visit to a 13th century castle situated on acres of gardens. Delicious sandwiches and salads in its cafe.
Trinity College Dublin
Home to the famous Book of Kells and the Long Room.

On The Map

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