ITINERARY: Dublin → Kilkenny → Killarny/Ring of Kerry → Dingle → Galway
Tipperary House | Tipperary House 7 Parkgate Street | Opp. Heuston Train Station, Dublin, Ireland
I was a fan of this hotel for a few reasons. While it is a bit further from the touristy Temple Bar area (although the tram system there is super easy to figure out and will get you there in no time), it's location close to the train station was perfect for the purposes of parking our rental car. We rented a car at the airport to drive around the rest of Ireland and did not need it during our stay in Dublin. We paid around 9 euros per day to park which is really good for a city rate and you can leave your car there and not worry. The hotel itself was simple but comfortable, we had a tiny room with it's own bathroom which suited our purposes just fine. The man on staff was also very nice and gave us some recommendations on where to grab a bite to eat near the hotel and hear live Irish music.
EAT & DRINK
Eeamon Rea's | 25 Parkgate Street, Dublin 8
Barebones local pub, traditional music every night - where the locals go to hear music. This was right next to the Tipperary House so it was recommended to us, but it is off the beaten normal tourist track (but near the Guinness storehouse). I wouldn't say it's worth making a trek to this area to visit, BUT we enjoyed walking there from our hotel and felt like it was more of an authentic spot than anywhere in Temple Bar.
John Gogarty's, Temple Bar | 58 Fleet St, Dublin 2, Ireland
This was our first night out in Ireland, so we wanted to do the cliche tourist thing and go out in Temple Bar. This place was great for that - Live music, fun atmosphere. Kind of a tourist trap, but a good place to grab a pint and take in the sights! Once you are there you can walk around Temple Bar and explore, there is no shortage of pubs to check out.
When you have less than 24 hours in Dublin, what do you do? Most people would tour the Guinness Brewery or Jameson Distillery, but alas, we might be the only Dublin visitors that did not do either! It was mainly because of how the timing of our arrival and departure for our quick stay worked out, so we will have to hit those things up next time. Here's what I squeezed in:
I'm glad I did this. While the Book of Kells itself wasn't the highlight - the student led tour was really interesting so I would take advantage of the students offering this when you enter the campus. You pay one price which includes the tour and the viewing of the Book of Kells exhibit - I thought it was worth it to do the tour and it made my visit more meaningful. Trinity College is beautiful and the library is total #instagramgoals.
Shopping was also a priority, because for me shopping trumps beer & whiskey (wine is another story!). Grafton street has all of the high end shops, as well as Irish/Dublin souvenir stores.
Club House Hotel | Patrick Street, Kilkenny R95 DX76, Ireland
This hotel reminded me of an old ship - the decor and feel was straight out of the Titanic! There was some confusion with our room booking- I booked a "single" room for us, seeing as we share a bed, but since there were two of us we had to upgrade upon check in to a "double". The hotel was really nice though and included breakfast. It was in a great spot to explore Kilkenny which is super cute and has no shortage of shops & pubs. The hotel also had this hilarious sign in their parking lot, which made staying there totally worth it.
Smithwick's Experience |44 Parliament Street, Kilkenny, Co Kilkenny, Ireland
Pronounced "SMIT-icks" - this beer was originally brewed in Kilkenny by monks but is now actually made in Dublin. The "Smithwick's Experience" allows you to learn about the history of the beer and see how it's made, and most importantly taste a pint at the end!
Beautiful grounds and castle, easy to walk to and great spots to take your Ireland Facebook profile picture.
Robeen House | Muckross Road, Killarney, Ireland
Nice owners, clean and spacious room. It was very easy to find but a little bit on the outskirts of the downtown, right as you enter by car. We were still able to walk downtown though at night. It was a good place to stay the night before our Ring of Kerry drive.
We spent one evening walking around the town of Killarney which was very charming. Our main attraction to this area was the famed "Ring of Kerry" which was a breathtaking scenic drive right out of your Irish dreams. Starting in Killarney we did the loop around to Dingle which was our next destination. We stopped in the quaint village of Sneem for a cup of tea & scones to get our energy up, and also went to the Ladies View lookout (gorgeous), and Waterville for a pint & some beach combing.
A bit about driving in Ireland for those of us who are used to driving on the right side of the road: it is wild! I actually didn't drive myself, but even being a passenger feels a bit discombobulating at first. Take care on 2 lane roads, especially in places like the Ring of Kerry where you will have large tour buses coming at you. Because of this we chose to do most of our driving during the lighted hours of day. ㋡
Devanes B&B | Goat Street, Dingle, Ireland
I was happy with this little B&B owned by a nice family. The location was good and we were able to park on the street. Dingle is a small village, so walking anywhere is possible while you are there.
Ashes Restaurant | Main Street, Dingle, Ireland
If you like seafood, the west coast of Ireland is a great place to indulge. Here I had the seafood chowder and mussels which were delicious and all served in a quaint candlelit atmosphere. It was more pricy than casual pub fare, but totally worth it, everything was so good.
Murphy's Ice Cream | Strand Street, Dingle, Ireland
This ice cream is soooo delicious and they have lots of interesting flavors. They also have shops in Dublin and Killarney, but the original is in Dingle. Brown bread flavor was my favorite - sounds weird but it was really good.
The Mighty Session | Lower Main Street, Dingle, Ireland
We stopped in this pub because they happened to have an American Football game playing that my husband wanted to watch, and eventually found ourselves in deep conversation with a man who revealed to us that he was actually the owner! It was a fun little spot and we ended up staying till close. If you haven't had dinner yet and have had a few pints, there is a fish and chips/kabob place next door that has curry fries, an Irish drunk food favorite.
An Droichead Beag | Main Street, Dingle, Ireland (on the corner by the little bridge)
Thank goodness you don't have to be able to pronounce the name of this pub for them to let you in! It means "The Little Bridge" in Gaelic and is unmissable with it's bright yellow facade on the main corner in town. This place was *the spot* in Dingle for late night drinks & dancing. After meeting and having a chat with John, the owner of The Mighty Session, he took us to this place next where we had a great time and stayed up way past our bedtime.
Dingle is known as a town where Gaelic is widely spoken, so make sure to keep your ears open as you walk around so you can hear this otherworldly sounding language. There are plenty of shops and cute winding streets to take in. There also happened to be a little farmers market/festival going on when we were there which was neat. Also I was told do do the Skellig Ring Scenic Drive but unfortunately the weather was not great for the day we had thought we would do that (it can happen in Ireland). I heard it was phenomenal though!
Fungi the Dolphin Boat Tour | Unit 2, The Pier, The Tourist Office, Dingle, Co. Kerry
A Dolphin in Ireland? Why yes! Learn about why friendly Fungi the Dolphin calls Dingle home as well as lots of other interesting historical info about the area, all while taking in the scenic views of Dingle bay. Dress for the weather and keep your eyes peeled (and your camera ready) for when (if) Fungi makes his appearance. Luckily for us he did!
On our way to Galway we stopped in Adare for lunch. We grabbed a bite at a charming cafe called The Good Room Bistro that was located near the church and an adorable row of thatched roof houses & shops. After that we drove to the Cliffs of Moher which is a definite MUST do for any trip to Ireland. We got there in the late afternoon and it was perfect light for pictures before continuing on to Galway. The roads were winding and there were lots of tour buses though, so we wished it had been a bit earlier in the day for our drive.
We absolutely LOVED staying in Niall and Laura Marie's adorable and cozy house! Usually when we book AirBnBs we make sure we have the place to ourselves. This place had such glowing reviews about it's hosts though so I wanted to try to stay with them for our time in Galway. Niall unfortunately was away so we didn't get to meet him, but Laura Marie was a delight to stay with - she really made us feel like we were old friends coming in for a visit. She made sure we knew we were welcome to the kitchen and to the breakfast foods she kindly left out for us, and gave us plenty of tips about the area. Upon learning that it was my birthday during our stay, she even left me a nice card and a few little local treats, which was really nice! Their dog Molly was extremely sweet, affectionate and well behaved. Their house is well located, very close to the bars and main shopping area (about a 5 minute walk), but on a quiet street. The room was spacious and comfortable. I would love to stay there again if I ever get to come back to Galway!
EAT & DRINK
Griffins Bakery Tea Rooms | 21 Shop Street Galway, Galway, Ireland
Great place to grab lunch while exploring Galway - the food was good and there was upstairs seating.
Tigh Coili | Mainguard St, Galway, Ireland
Our AirBnB host said it was the best pint in Galway. Also had great live music, cool atmosphere!
High Cafe | 2 High Street, Galway, Ireland
This was a nice break from traditional heavy Irish food - there were many different options with a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Vibe.
White Gables | Moycullen Village, Galway, Ireland
This is where my husband took me for my birthday dinner. It was right outside of Galway in a village called Moycullen and it was a really nice experience for the special occasion (the big 3-0!). It was a little fancier than the other places we ate on the trip, but I felt really special during the meal. The service is excellent and the food was delicious - very good seafood. They also brought me a special birthday dessert with a candle!
Galway is great for wandering and shopping! There are so many little streets it's easy to lose yourself, in a good way. In addition to European chains you can also find unique souvenirs like an authentic claddagh ring (See below):
Thomas Dillon's Claddagh Gold | Quay Street, Galway, Ireland
Original makers of the Claddagh and they know their stuff! I replaced my inauthentic American claddagh ring here with a real Irish one. They helped me pick out a size and even let me exchange it the next day when I felt that it would be a little loose. A nice keepsake if you're looking for a meaningful gift to bring home with you.