We were greeted at the airport dazed confused and a little unsteady from a sleepless night and turbulent landing but were relieved to see a majestic full rainbow when we exited the airport in Dublin. I was convinced it was going to be a great trip.
We quickly moved on to the first stop on our journey to grab a bite to eat at Avoca which is a brightly lit cafe with shopping. After refueling and getting some Irish tea and fresh scones we were off to our first town Kilkenny. It was our first glimpse at the quaint small towns that are all through Ireland. Every town has a castle and many more than one. Traveling with four kids dictates the agenda and speed of our trips… a mixture of excitement, activity and history all in one. There is a fragile balance catering to ages 20 down to 7 years old. We have become adept managing to make everyone happy (or at least the majority)
Day 1 Dublin to Kilkenny We headed to our first B&B Lawcus Guest House, a true traveling gem. A working farm filled with baby sheep and puppies to feed, chickens to collect eggs and a beautiful horse.
Ann Marie and Mark the owners gave us some local treasure suggestions to visit. We headed down to Kells Priory. The castle ruins were spectacular and even more fantastic was that we had the whole place to ourselves to explore..except for the local sheep. It looked like a wall of a castle but once you entered it was deceivingly much larger. The slits in the window my son Jack thought made it the perfect place to have a nerf gun fight. We explored the ruins and couldn’t miss out on some yoga pose pictures.
Day 2 Kilkenny to Killarney We first headed to Kiss the Blarney Stone. Although it is a major tourist attraction, the garden, grounds and spiral staircase leading through the castle were well worth it. They even had a poison garden next to castle.
Day 3 Killarney to Dingle Peninsula In Killarney we stayed at Friar’s Glen B&B with an incredible breakfast spread in a nook overlooking Killarney National Park. We visited the Muckross Abbey which is tailed to be haunted and then headed to the Torc Waterfall or according to my kids “twerk”waterfall hike which had more shades of mossy green trees than crayola could ever have made.
Day 4 Dingle We stayed at by far our favorite B&B Heaton’s Guesthouse. They serve you fresh chocolate cake. After settling in we took the magical tour around Slea Head Drive. Including a hidden hike that we jumped a brick wall and hiked in the sheep pasture with breathtaking views and fierce cliffs to the most western part of Europe with the Blasket Islands in the back! It was stunning and exhilarating, the sun was setting, the moon rising, the wind blowing and the sea swelling and churning below us. After a few selfies we looked to the north and you could see the dark clouds coming our way. We hurried back feeling accomplished and satisfied with our adventure. We were almost back to the car and the rain and hail pelted the back of us. Sadie hadn’t seen a rainbow since she had been in Ireland. I looked over to her with the rain behind us and the sun in front. I told her we were going to see a rainbow. One minute later a rainbow, a full one appeared in front of us over the green hills stretching into the ocean. It was magical. We got back into the car speechless.
Day 5 Dingle to The Burren We traveled over Connor pass. We stopped in a little town off the beaten path called Listowel. We had been searching for an Irish Tea set being inspired by all our afternoon and mornings teas at the B&B’s. We popped into an antique store and bought a made in Ireland tea set from the 20’s for 68 euros. Sean had his eye on some candle bras. He picked one up for 36 euros! A souvenir treasure. All the other more popular places we had visited were asking much more for both of these items. We hurried to the car excited from our purchase to catch the ferry over the mouth of the Shannon River. We then hugged the coast from Kilkee up to the Cliffs of Moher. We unfortunately got clouded in and couldn’t see the Cliffs as the fog was so heavy. We stayed in the Burren at The Water House. The highlight of our day was that evening visiting the famous Whiskey Bar in town called O’Loclainn’s Whiskey Bar. Margaret O’Loghlen’s bar has been in the family for 7 generations. She gave us a tutorial on how to make a proper Irish Coffee. She also made fancy fruit drinks for the kids. We shared great conversations with the other 4 people in the Pub and reveled in how much we love the people of Ireland.
O’Loclainn’s Whiskey Bar.
Day 6 The Burren to Galway The Burren has a rocky, moonlike landscape. Before heading out of this area we visited the local highlights a perfumery, Burren chocolatier (picked up some easter goodies), Corcomroe Abbey and the ancient rock formation Poulnabrone Dolmen. Then a quick drive to Galway and checked in to Adare B&B which had a great location to walk to the main drag of the city.
Day 7 Galway to Clifton Heading to Connemara we stopped at the famous bridge and updated the photo of John Wayne to Sean Conley staring in the remake of the “Quiet Man.” We checked in to The Dolphin Beach House. It was Good Friday and the pubs are not allowed to sell alcohol therefore several of them were closed unless they served food. We ordered the customary fish and chips and headed back to the edge of our cliff at the beach house.
Day 8 Clifton Spent the day relaxing. Scout wasn’t feeling well so we stayed back while the others visited the Clifton Castle and took a hike in Connemara National Park.
Day 9 Clifton to Dublin Easter Sunday and everyone got some Cadbury and we headed to Kylemore Abbey for the Annual Easter egg hunt in the Victorian walled gardens. They led the kids with clues throughout the garden and when they finished the hunt they were rewarded with a big chocolate golden egg. It was truly spectacular. Drove to Galway and dropped off the rental car and took the train to Dublin. We finished our trip with dinner in the bustling temple bar district and prepared for the trip home the next morning.