Sheep, Castles, and Waterfalls
Duration: 10 Days
Ireland is an amazing country with so much to see and do. We spent 10 days there starting with Powerscourt Estate south of Dublin and then we headed west towards Killarney, Killorglin, the Cliffs of Moher, and even all the way up to Ballycastle, Giant’s Causeway, and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland.
We stayed at Bed & Breakfasts across the country enjoying the full Irish breakfast nearly every morning. Lunch and dinner was often something with lamb in it or fish and chips.
- Sight Seeing 100% 100%
- Food 70% 70%
- Transportation 50% 50%
- Activities 100% 100%
Powerscourt Estate was originally a 13th century castle, but was extensively altered during the mid 1700s by German architect, Richard Cassels. After a fire in 1974, the house was just a shell and was renovated in 1996. It has multiple gardens, a pet cemetary, a golf course and a waterfall. It has been used for the filming of several movies.
Highlights from Ireland
1. Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is by far the most popular drive in Ireland and for good reason. This part of the country is amazing and beautiful. It takes about 5 hours to complete the full ring.
2. Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is right up there with the Ring of Kerry for me. The coastal views are amazing and you never know what is going to be around the corner next.
3. Dingle Peninsula
I fell in love with Dingle, albeit on horseback at first riding with Dingle Stables. But, the drive from Kilorglin to Dingle takes you by Inch Beach as well as several other beautiful sights.
We started our trip at Powerscourt Waterfall and Powerscourt Estate. The estate features multiple gardens along a walking path. The waterfall is a short drive away.
On our way to the Cliffs of Moher, we drove the Wild Atlantic Way. I highly recommend this drive as the views are spectacular, rivaling the Ring of Kerry.
I found the Dark Hedges on Pinterest, so when we planned this trip, it was one place I just knew I had to get a picture of. This little section of road attracts a lot of attention and isn’t exactly easy to find either. But it was well worth the excursion.
We headed back to Dublin, stopping and checking out unique sites along the way such as Dunluce Castle.
From the Powerscourt area, we headed west to the Ring of Kerry starting with Killarney where we started our tour around the Ring of Kerry. Killarney is a small town where many people actually end their Ring of Kerry trip, but it was where we started. We rode a horse drawn wagon to Muckross House and then to Torc Waterfall.
The Cliffs of Moher are simply amazing. There’s a neat little visitor’s center built into the side of a cliff where you can learn more about the area and get a bite to eat in their snack bar. You do have to pay for parking as well. The Cliffs themselves are a little intimidating. There are no guard rails! Which is really mind-boggling because in America there would be guard rails all over the place. You can see the waves crashing and the Puffins living and nesting on the sides of the rocks.
The Carrick-a-Reed Rope Bridge is considered one of the world’s scariest bridges, so of course, we had to do it! And of course, it was cloudy and windy when we got to the bridge and the sun was shining when we crossed back over! It is a pretty good hike to the bridge itself which takes you over a neat little island. Our son was pretty young on this trip, around 4 years old. He received a certificate from the National Trust for crossing it.
From the Ring of Kerry, we headed to Dingle. The drive to Dingle is beautiful passing the pristine Inch Beach and features the traditional views that just speak “Ireland.” In Dingle, I went horseback riding in the mountains and on the beach. It is also home to dolphin tours and cute shops and restuarants.
This was more of a travel day for us. We got a hotel in Athlone and spent the night there before heading to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is distinctly different from the roads and hedge fences (rather than rock) to even the smells. While Ireland on a whole is known for sheep, we saw many more dairies in the North.
After the rope bridge, we headed to Giant’s Causeway. The Causeway is an incredible work of nature. The basalt octagonal rock pillars are amazing. The Visitor’s Center is fantastic with a movie telling the myth about how the Causeway was created as well as several interactive exhibits for kids.
Inch BeachOn the Dingle Peninsula
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