- 3 years ago
- Wedding: May 2013
We were married on May 24, 2013 and spent 9 amazing days in Ireland on our honeymoon. Before our trip I read every post, review, and idea I could so that we would have a great time. I have decided to post about our honeymoon on here for other soon-to-be travelers. If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask. I have also made a video of driving in Ireland which I will post the link to at the end.
Here was the itinerary I made:
Day 1: Dublin – Ballsbridge Hotel
Day 2: Clonmel – Glasha Farmhouse B&B
Day 3: Ballydavid, Dingle Peninsula – Imeall na Mara B&B
Day 4: Ennistymon, County Clare – Pairc an Fhia B&B
Day 5: Galway – Almara House
Day 6&7: Cong – Ashford Castle
Day 8: Dublin – Ballsbridge Hotel
Day 9: Depart
I booked the Independent Vacation Package through Aer Lingus. It was the best online deal I could find and I was immensely pleased with it. It came with airfare, 2 nights in a hotel in Dublin, 4 vouchers for B&Bs, 2 nights at the 5* Ashford castle, and an automatic car for around $3500. I also suggest buying the Ireland maps card for your GPS and bringing it with you rather than renting one there. The addresses in Ireland are awful and that way you can find latitude and longitude coordinates for your destinations and put them into your GPS before you go. This worked out with about 90% of the places we went to. Also, remember when planning your trip that it will take much longer to drive than google maps says it will. The roads are narrow, there are lots of sheep, and you will probably miss a turn at least a dozen times.
We departed O’hare and arrived in Dublin at 5:30 am. I took two Benadryls after boarding the plane so that I could sleep and wake up ready for the day in Dublin. After falling asleep I was awoken by a child that literally screamed for the entire 7 hour flight. Needless to say I was very jet lagged by the time we got there but I would do it again and recommend it if you are getting there early in the morning (just hope that you don’t have a crying child whose parents do absolutely nothing to console for hours on end).
Dublin was our least favorite part of Ireland but we both are not fond of big cities (and we were there on our first and last days so we were pretty tired out). It reminded us of every other large city you have ever been to – tons of traffic, homeless people, ect. I had heard recommendations of skipping Dublin and flying into Shannon or Galway. I would have liked that, but those flights are much more expensive. Driving in Dublin is very hard due to a high volume of traffic. I highly recommend paying the extra fee for the automatic car. My husband can drive a manual but it’s just too hard when you are in a foreign place and already trying to navigate with different traffic laws. We parked our car at our hotel (Ballsbridge Hotel) and walked all around Dublin (parking in Dublin is very expensive and it wasn’t too far of a walk from Ballsbridge into the main city). We had dinner at a tapas place called The French Paradox near our hotel and it was one of the best meals we have ever had. Tiny little restaurant (like 4 tables) surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine. Really romantic atmosphere and amazing food – duck livers, pate, duck confit, tapanades, breads, cheeses, and a delicious bottle of red wine.
The next day we got up early and walked to Bewleys on Grafton Street for breakfast. Really good place. There is a lot of shopping in that area too.
We then drove to Clonmel and hit The Swiss Cottage and Cahir Castle on the way. I loved the Swiss Cottage although some people on their honeymoon might find it boring. The town of Cahir is charming and I wish we had had more time to walk around it and go into all the shops. We had dinner at Mulachys in Clonmel, a pub with great food – there is not much else in Clonmel – but thats where our first B&B was (Glasha Farmhouse – 5* although the shower was insanely small for such a high rating. Breakfast was good, not the best we had on our trip)
The next day we went to the Dingle Peninsula. On the way we stopped in Cork – lots of shopping and The English Market – if you are a foodie then this is the place for you. The market is almost as old as the USA, haha. And they have incredible foods to see. We bought some things for a picnic at Blarney. Irish do not eat lunch much (unless you count an afternoon Guinness). We found that stopping by a grocery store and then picnicking worked out well. Anyways, on to Blarney…Blarney is expensive to get into but you get to see a lot – there is a small cave, large walking grounds, the fern garden (amazing), the poison garden, and of course, the Blarney stone. I would definitely recommend it and I wish we had a whole day to walk around the whole place. We then drove on to Dingle Peninsula which was my favorite part of the whole trip. I seriously could have spent my whole vacation there and been happy. We had heard from our B&B host from the night before that Dingle was over-marketed and not much to see….I have no idea what she was talking about because it was the most beautiful place I have ever been to. The town of Dingle has lots of shops so of course there are tourists. We stayed in Ballydavid which is very quiet, other than the pub which was packed with locals. Our B&B was right on the ocean and we were able to walk to dinner (a mile or two) at Gordons which was amazing. Seeing the sunset on our walk back was so beautiful.
Leaving the Dingle Peninsula we drove through Conors Pass, you can walk up a mountain for an even better view – so of course we did. The drive is a bit nutso because the road is very narrow and you are on the side of a cliff – you can see it in the video I made.
We decided to skip Limerick (heard it was not a nice place to visit) so we took the Shannon Ferry which was only like 20 something euros and a great way to shorten our drive. We spent that night in Ennistymon and heard from our B&B host that it was going to rain the next day so we went to the Cliffs of Moher that night. We walked the whole thing (15+ miles). They are incredible. We got there at 6pm so we did not have to pay for parking. Once you walk about a half a mile out there are like no tourists at all (why not walk the whole way?). We got to see the sunset from the cliffs which was really cool. The only bad thing was that we got back into our car at 9pm and all the restaurants were closed. We went into a pub that also served food and the waitress laughed at us that they “were not seving dinner this late!” – lol, it was only 9pm, not 2am, haha. So, it pains me to say it, we had pizza that night. Ugh…two foodies traveled thousands of miles and ate pizza, haha.
The next day our B&B hosts were gracious enough to give us coordinates and a map to see the Burren – which is a pretty cool, stark place to see. Saw the portal tomb which is free to see. There are few public restrooms in Ireland to begin with, but there are hardly any in the Burren. I unfortunately saw two different tourists (male of course) peeing on a rock in the Burren.
Anyways, we went onwards to Galway. Our B&B was right by a bus stop so we took the bus into the downtown. Galway is a pretty cool place. Loud street music, tons of college aged people drinking, great smelling food, ect. We went to Gemelles because it smelled incredible and it was a super cute place with hanging lights and great food.The only bad thing about Galway…the buses stop at 10:30pm. We would have liked to hit a couple pubs after our dinner but we were worried about missing the last bus so at 10pm we went back to our B&B.
The next day we drove up to Co Mayo and saw Kylemore Abbey. Like the Blarney castle, it is expensive to get into but you get to see a lot – beautiful abbey, gothic chapel, Victorian gardens, and a beautiful walking trail. We also had lunch at the touristy spot in front of the Abbey and it was very nice – big slice of salmon quiche, nice soup made from ingredients grown in the garden, and nice deserts. We also hit Connemara Celtic Glass where they give you a live demonstration of the glass cutting and my husband bought me a glass wedding basket. We did not go to Waterford, but unlike Connemara Celtic Glass Waterford does not make all of their own glass in Ireland.
We spent two nights at the 5* Ashford castle which was the fanciest place we have ever been to. While there we took a falconry lesson (one of the best things we have ever done), had dinner at the George V dining room (really fancy: suitcoats are required) – it was just OK – 180 euros for really small plates and just 50/50 food – but I would have regretted it if I had not eaten there. We also walked (and got very lost) the grounds around the castle. Had we had an extra day there I would have loved to have gone horseback ridding. Our second night there we ate at Cullen’s at the Cottage which is in front of the castle and it was delicious – better than the George V room for less money. The town of Cong is within walking distance of the castle and had a lot to offer. We had lunch at a pub there one day. But we were visiting on the weekend of a bank holiday so a lot of places were closed.
The next day we drove back to Dublin and hit the Killbeggin distillery on the way – my husband loved it. I am not a big hard liquor drinker (now wine is a different story…) but it was interesting to go through. They do guided tours but we were there on a bank holiday so we had to do a solo tour which was OK. They have a restaurant next door which I wish we had tried, but we had already eaten. We also saw Newgrange which irritated me beyond belief. We followed the signs, even stopped and talked to a guy that worked for Newgrange. Got there, parked with all the other cars, went up to buy tickets and were told that you can only buy tickets 20 minutes down the road – why not have a sign for this??? We had wasted 2 hours of our time and had skipped a Guinness tour to see Newgrange. I was so irritated I just left and would never recommend that place.
Our last night in Dublin we ate at an Indian restaurant near our hotel (The Jewel in the Crown) since Indian food is so popular in Ireland and the UK (they even have Indian subway sandwiches). It was good, a lot of food, and a tasty bottle of champagne. We were sad to leave Ireland the next day but also pretty tired out. It is a beautiful country and you will definitely not be disappointed if you want to see beautiful sights and eat delicious food.
I think Ireland is an amazing place to honeymoon – as long as you can get along with your significant other when you are completely lost in the middle of nowhere. Also, both Irish and North Americans will gravitate towards you due to your accent – everyone wants to ask you where you are from. And if you are Irish they will ask you where your ancestors are from! The Irish are very hospitable, they love to give their opinion of where you should travel to, and very helpful if you are lost. At one point I sent my husband into a gas station to get directions and literally everyone in the gas station helped us and one lady let us follow her all the way to our destination. I hope that this post helped anyone looking for info on a honeymoon in Ireland.
Here is a video of driving in Ireland if you are interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr5IsNs-pZM