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Ireland – The Luck of the Irish

November 24, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Grab your Guinness and come with me because this ride through Ireland is as pretty as can be! =)

When you hear about Ireland you hear words like beautiful, scenic, and green. But when I think back to my last two weeks in Ireland I think of the word charm. The country of Ireland is beautiful without a doubt and it’s definitely scenic and green, but it’s charming narrow streets that you wind through along the coast and throughout the countryside and the charming little small town pubs with the Irish music and smiles that you find along the way to every scenic destination on your list is what makes Ireland a special place.

Our trip to Ireland began in the funky capital city of Dublin. This vibrate city, filled with character is home to the well known Trinity College and Book of Kells. The gorgeously illustrated original manuscript of the book of Kells was fascinating to see, but the Old Library here was equally impressive. Several movies have been filmed in this library. While in Dublin we also made a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, which was a really neat experience. The seven story Storehouse retells the story of Dublin’s most famous drink and gives you the chance to attempt a perfect Guinness pint pour. The storehouse itself is in the shape of a giant pint and the very top floor or the head of the pint is the gravity bar where you can grab your free pint of beer and enjoy the a 360′ view over the city.

No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to a pub/beer garden. So Tyler and I made our way to the famous Temple Bar where the live music and Irish charm began.

Dublin was fun but now it was time for us to jump in the right seat driving car and head down the other side of the road to explore the infamous Irish countryside. Our first stop was across the country in the beautiful Clare County to see the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. People say the cliffs of Moher are amongst the most impressive things to see in all of Ireland, and I think I must agree. Our visit there was on a windy misty day and in my opinion made our visit even more dramatically beautiful with the waves crashing up against the cliffs and the sky a beautiful deep blue. At the midpoint of these cliffs is a round stone tower, the O’Brien’s Tower which also adds to the dramatic beauty on a misty day. And I must mention if your a Harry Potter fan you might recognize from the pictures this place to be one of the many locations for the filming of the most recent movie!

From the beautiful Clare County we made our way south to County Kerry to spending a day exploring around the infamous Ring of Kerry, which was known to be Charlie Chaplin’s favorite vacation spot. On this incredible site seeing drive some of our favorite stops were at the Killarney National Park where we stopped for pictures around every corner and at the popular “ladies view” spot, the Skellig Ring where we hoped a fence and snuck out to some breathtaking cliffs to see a view of the famous Skellig Michael, the Stone Forts in Cahersiveen where we played with some friendly sheep, the Rossbeigh Beach where we walked along the beach, and the adorable little town of Kenmare where we stayed in a charming B&B and hung out at the local pub. Oh and of course enjoyed some delicious Guinness stew with homemade brown bread. Yummy!

From Kenmare we drove toward the city of Cork to visit the famous Blarney Castle and kiss the famous Blarney stone, which is something you have to do upside-down. So of course we climbed the 200 stairs, kissed the rock, and spent the day walking around the beautiful property, where the fall leaves were at their very best. We then drove to Kinsale, Ireland’s food capital, to try some of their famous seafood chowder and spend the rest of day walking around the adorable port town.

The next day we were up and off to Waterford to visit their famous crystal house. Our tour through the Waterford’s crystal factory was such a neat experience. At this specific location they make all of the custom orders received, so we saw pieces being made for the London Olympics 2012 and Superbowl trophies for 2012. We saw the skilled craftmen’s perfectly cutting the designs using a diamond wheel and the discard pile where anything that isn’t flawless is destroyed. The whole factory tour was just fascinating, especially the interesting fact that if there is the smallest flaw the piece is destroyed and put pack into the flames to try again.

On our last day in Ireland we went to visit the beautiful Hook Lighthouse, the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world. It was originally built by the monks and today it stands out on the skinny Hook peninsula above the jagged rocks and cliff still working and more beautiful than ever. We were there during high tide and the waves crashing up onto the rocks in front of this lighthouse was truly one of the best scenic memories we have from Ireland. From there we visited the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross and learned about Ireland’s unfortunate history during the Potato Famine and listened to many sad stories about how these cargo ships sailed across the Atlantic to Canada and America to escape the horrible famine in their own country.

We had an amazing time driving down the narrow roads though the charming country of Ireland and seeing the wide open green pastures and beautiful cliff dropping coastlines. This lush country is a place you could explore for months with it’s endless beauty and a guarantee sighting of a rainbow with a pot of gold (or a pint of Guinness).

T+C

Cheers!

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