Back in April, my husband and I spent a week in Northern Ireland and Ireland (two separate countries - I had no idea!). I loved the small towns and roads. It really is as beautiful as they say! And I think the sheep outnumber the people 1,000 to 1. My heritage is Irish (is it obvious from the red hair?) and it was so neat to visit a country that I'm from!
(we brought our drone and I made a video! Fair warning - I'm a photographer, not a videographer or video editor!)
After spending too long on an airplane, we reached our bed and breakfast, put our luggage in our room, and drove to the Mussenden Temple.
Weirdly, we immediately adjusted to the time change. We think it's because we stayed up the whole first day and went to sleep at 10pm. We woke up the next morning around 8am feeling great! We stayed adjusted the whole trip.
Our second day, we drove up to Giant's Causeway. We hiked down and then back up along the cliffs. This area is full of thousands and thousands of basalt columns. Definitely one of the most interesting rock formations I've ever seen!
Everywhere you go, you are surrounded by sheep farms! And that yellow bush in the above photos is apparently a weed, according to our guide! It takes over the farmers' land and it's hard to get rid of (but oh so pretty! The entire country is covered in it).
Next we drove over to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I think we learned that it was used by fishermen so that they could get across to a small island to fish. Ireland is so windy, so walking across this was terrifying!
We then drove to the Dark Hedges, which if you watch Game of Thrones, is the King's Road!
The next day we went to Castle Ward, which is also a Game of Thrones filming location! It was used as the set of Winterfell in the first season. We did some archery, canoed, and had a medieval feast for dinner, but unfortunately I did not bring my camera this day because I knew we'd be pretty active. Also never saw Jon Snow, so.... :/
The next day was maybe one of my favorite days ever. We went on a food tour with a local Irish woman. She took us to a cheese shop, then she brought us to her home where her neighbor taught us how to prepare traditional Irish breads! She gave us tea in her china teacups and let us explore her home.
We continued our tour by visiting an oyster farmer who, no joke, had prepared an oyster feast in his shed! The shed is pictured below. He then showed us how he grows and harvests the oysters. It doesn't get more real than this!
The next day, we took a train to Dublin and visited the Guinness Storehouse for a couple hours, then hopped back on the train and arrived at our final destination and accomodations for the next three nights, the Dromoland Castle! :O We spent the rest of the evening exploring the grounds.
I actually ended up getting really sick the next morning, and we had plans to visit the Cliffs of Moher. I tried to push through but we ended up having to cancel. So I spent most of the day in bed, with no appetite. :(
Luckily, I felt much better the following day, and we were able to snag another tour! We first boarded a small boat that sailed along the bottom of the cliffs, then we took a bus to the top and walked the path. There is literally nothing to stop you from falling over the edge, so it was just a liiiiiittle bit scary in some spots!
We went on a very warm day, and it was not windy AT ALL! It felt amazing, but also brought out a ton of bugs! You can see them flying across a lot of these images.
Overall thoughts on Ireland -
There's so much to explore and so much history on such a small island. It's beautiful and green and the accent never gets old. There are just literal castle ruins in people's backyards. It's insane! Our tour guide said that many farmers will take the ruins to build their fences!
Definitely stay in a bed and breakfast! Our bed and breakfast was owned by a married couple who woke up early every morning to make breakfast for their guests. The wife made a rhubarb coconut yogurt because she had some rhubarb from her garden that needed to be used! I mean seriously, how cool! Really my only complaint about the country is that I'm not a fan of UK/Irish food. It's a lot of potatoes (duh) and just pretty plain and bland. I'm sure the food options would be better in the big cities like Dublin!
Have you been to Ireland? Anything I missed? I'd love to hear what you did differently!