It is this simple: you MUST go.
If you haven’t read about my roots, here’s the short version: I am from Butte, Montana. Butte is full of Irish Americans. I come from a long line of Irish families. I always heard that Ireland is must-see, but I truly didn’t get it until I was there. I loved so much about Ireland, but what I loved most were the people. Yes, you’ll hear that from everyone, but it is true! You must experience it for yourself. The Irish live so differently than Americans; we have so much to learn from them. The people are friendly and down-to-Earth; they live simple lives where family is everything. Their pace is slow and relaxed. Nobody is in a hurry. They don’t need “stuff”. Everyone is welcome. Their yards are beautiful and full of flowers. (Hello, Butte friends, does this sound familiar?)
Yes, it is as green as they say and so beautiful. When we visited in late June, it was 72 degrees and total perfection. We lucked out with great weather and no rain. Our travel plans took us from Barcelona directly to Dublin (more on Barcelona in another post). We made Dublin our base and took the train to other areas. I highly recommend this!
We stayed at the Ashling Hotel; it was the perfect location: nice, clean, easy, and friendly. The train station is right across the street (as well as the Guinness factory!). You can easily walk to the heart of the city from the Ashling.
Here’s my quick summary on what you must check out in Ireland:
Cobblestone Pub for true Irish music, good fun, and friendly people.
Brazen Head is fun and claims to be the oldest pub in Ireland (as do many pubs!). This is a bit of a tourist trap, but the food is good!
Take the train to Kilkenny. Such a great small town!
Tour the Smithwick’s Brewery in Kilkenny and enjoy their Red Ale --- SO good! The history of this brewery was amazing.
Stop by the Kilkenny Rivercourt Hotel for a drink or lunch on the patio.
Take a quick walk through town while in Kilkenny to find the perfect Irish gifts and see the churches and castles. Simply amazing.
Have dinner at FX Buckley for a wonderful steak. Don't skip dessert!
Our favorite pub with the locals was P. Duggan's. Join in on the horse race betting and fun.
Hit up the Jameson Distillery in Dublin. No need to take the tour, but stop by for a drink and see the beautiful bar area and all the different ways they serve Jameson.
Walk. You will find all the places, people, and fun by walking. Skip the taxis!
I could share so much about this wonderful trip, but I’ll keep it simple: Ireland, I’ll be back!