Day 60 - 62
Bunratty was a great home base for exploring central Ireland. The town is situated directly off the N18 motorway, about halfway between Shannon and Limerick. The proximity to the motorway makes it a good starting point for day trips. The town is home to the Bunratty Castle & Folk Center, a handful of restaurants/pubs, a gas station, and a number of B&Bs.
Located in the heart of Bunratty. Visit website for additional details.
(Distance: ~45mins from Bunratty)
Located on the eastern coast of Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are a tourist attraction and are quite beautiful. One can walk along the coast in either dierction from the Vistor’s Center for varied views of the Cliffs. Weather can change quickly, pack rain gear! From the Cliffs drive north and explore the coastline and little citites. (Could be combined with a visit to Galway.)
(Distance: ~1 hour from Bunratty)
A larger (more industrial) city located on the Esst coast of Ireland. Many day trips can be made from Galway, including to the Cliffs of Moher, and a boat trip to the Aran Islands. The city has a decent cathedral and has a number of pedestrian streets lined with shops, restaurants and buskers. We found a fantastic french cafe & crepe shop called Java’s Creperie & Cafe. We would highly recommend their tasty crepes; Note they accept cash only.
(Distance: ~1.5 hours from Bunratty)
The Blarney Castle is home to the famous Blarney Stone. Work you way through the castle to the top, where you will have the opportunity kiss the stone. A nice gentleman will support you while you lay down and lean backwards to kiss the stone. (Or you can pass like we did … due to a germaphobia!) The grounds of the castle are beautiful. There is a lot to explore (caves, gardens, trees.) Find the most photographed tree on the property.
(Distance: ~1.5 hours from Bunratty)
Making this day trip from Bunratty is doable, but makes for a VERY long day of driving. Recommend staying in a town along the ring to help reduce your driving time. This route is well marked, just follow signs. We went counter-clockwise (with the buses), as reocmmended by the locals, and had no issues! There are countless places to stop and see along the way and snap pictures of the scenic views. Some of our favorites were off the Skeilligs Ring (turn off the Ring of Kerry to head towards Portmagee & Valentia Island.
Top rated item to see is Skelling Michael. Boats leave from Portmagee, Ballinskellig & Darrynane. Limited seating is available. Book in advance. (Leaves @ 10am returns @3pm)
Located directly at the base of the Bunratty Castle, this establishment has history dating back to 1620. Serves up a good pint of Guiness, some tasty food, and has very friendly staff. (Serves food later than any other establishment in town.)
Located across the street from the Bunratty Castle, the Creamery is one of the more affordable options in town.
Bunratty is home to a significant number of B&B options. We enjoyed our stay at one of the local B&Bs that we found through Booking.com.
This house is located on the Low road, about a mile and a half from the Bunratty Castle & Folk Center. The property has nine rooms at a modest price. The rooms were clean and had an ensuite bathroom. A full irish breakfast was served each morning in the dining area. The wireless internet connection was dependable. Our host Joe, was very friendly and helpful. We would definitely recommend this B&B.
Day 57 - 59
A visit to Dublin is not complete without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. A self guided tour starts at the base of the seven story pint glass. Visit floor four to learn how to pour the perfect Guinness. Alternatively, visit floor seven for a 365 degree view over the city.
For the devout fan of Guinness, take the opportunity to do the Guinness Connoisseur Experience. Offered three times daily, for a maximum of 16 guests per sitting. This experience takes place in a special Guinness bar on the 4th floor, where you will spend just over an hour learning more about the history of Guinness, tasting four different Guinness beers, and pouring your perfect pint. (Note: Each person must pay the general entrance fee plus the additional cost for the connoisseur experience.) We were lucky enough to be the only two on our connoisseur experience.
The largest cathedral in Dublin, St Patrick’s has been in existence since the fifth century. The current church was rebuilt in the early 13th century, and the spire was added in 1749. The entry fee to the cathedral is pricey. Free tours are offered at varied frequencies. A beautiful park is located adjacent to the building.
Provides a comprehensive glimpse at pre-historic life in Ireland. A good way to pass some time on a rainy Dublin afternoon. Admission is free.
Art work from European and Irish artist. Entrance to the gallery is free. A good indoor activity when its raining in Dublin.
Dublin is home to a number of sites that offer free admission. The following site provides a sampling. Visit Dublin
Located on the edge of the Temple Bar district, this restaurant is also a microbrewery. Give one of their ten (or so) beers on tap a try, or opt for the taster, and try multiple. They are know for their stout beers, but also make some good ales and lagers.
A busy tapas bar located on the end of the Temple Bar district. A good location for a light meal.
Located directly across the street from Trinity College (near the museums) is this little burrito joint. A finite menu of burritos and quesadillas are available for take-away or sit down. Order at the counter and see the burrito made before you eyes. Be sure you have Euros available, as this is a cash only establishment. Our vote for best burrito in Dublin.
A close mirror of the US based Chipotle restaurants, Boojum serves up large burritos that are assembeled in front of you. We found the chicken lack something, however, not a bad choice if your in the mode for quick Mexican food. This is a cash only establishment.
Fantastic location in the heart of Dublin. Situated across the street from Trinity College and within a short walk from the Temple Bar district. It is everything you love about a Westin, including the heavenly bed and stylish room decor.