Wow wow wow. It was my first trip back to Europe in FOUR years. Idk how time has passed that fast. I last went in May of 2019 to Spain, then 2020 happened and you know the rest of the story.
In 2021 I finally quit my job and went full time as a wedding + elopement photographer and this opened up so much more time for me to be able to travel and not have to take sick days but there was still so much testing and restrictions going on around the world. In 2022 things started to open up again & my husband got a week off of work so we started planning! We landed on Ireland bc #1 it’s in Europe and I had been dying to go back and #2 bc I hadn’t been before (I’ve been to over 25 counties at the point and wanted to try something new)!
So let’s dive in… if you’re thinking about traveling to Ireland I 10/10 recommend!! It was such an amazing trip + they speak English so that was a really easy transition. We went the last week of February – first week of March. The weather was pretty cold.. it stayed in the 40s but I took a huge floor length jacket and it was fine. The good thing is, since we were in off season we never really had to wait in line for anything!!!
Start by booking your plane ticket to Dublin. If your dates are flexible (unfortunately ours weren’t bc his job) you can get the best prices – check out Scott’s Cheap Flights. Obviously the more time the merrier, but we stayed a week and got to see everything we wanted! This trip wasn’t meant to be a relaxing one, so we stayed in 4 different places within 5 nights bc I wanted to travel around and see the whole country!
Day 1 – Our flight left Lexington, KY around 5:30pm and we woke up at 9am (their time) in Dublin! Here’s a tip: pack your make up, skincare, and your first days outfit in your carry on that way when you get to the airport you can freshen up bc more then likely your hotel or Airbnb will not be open for check in yet since it’s so early! OH and bring a phone charger with a USB and not the new USBC ones… trust, it comes in handy.
We took a bus from the airport to downtown and after we dropped our luggage off at the Airbnb we started exploring! Our first stop was trinity college which is a MUST!!! This was such a cool experience bc we got to go into the “long room” and see ancient books, including The Book of Kells. Make sure to book this in advance tho bc it fills up fast!
Next up we ate lunch in Temple Bar. No, not the bar! I learned that Temple Bar is an area, but the world famous bar is there as well. I had to try fish and chips and it was great! My husband got bangers and mash (it was a no from me, but I think you should always at least try the country you go to specialty)!
We were able to get into the Airbnb after this and freshen up before we took an Uber to the Guinness show room! This is another experience that needs booked in advance (click here) and is a must do of course!!! It was really cool, it was partially like a museum – you got to see how Guinness was made and the history behind it. There are 7 levels you go through. On the 5th there is food, so you could eat dinner here if you wanted! You could easily spend 3-4 hours there depending on how much you want to do. About halfway up we got to take a little class and pour our own Guinness (I know it’s a crime but I could only take like 3 sips of mine hahaha). Then, we got to go to the 7th floor which is a 360° glass / rooftop ish bar. I was so surprised when we got up there to see it was PACKED (and it was a Sunday in off session). People had even brought cards to play and enough the view. We had a drink voucher for a drink up there as well. You could really spend the whole evening here if you wanted! We called it at night tho at like 8pm bc we were exhausted. I ended up being awake from 5am – 7am and then going back to sleep until 11:30am. Which leads me to…
Day 2 – we had a few things on our schedule that we slept through (which was a pattern this trip haha but we made sure to do all the things that we really wanted)! We were supposed to get breakfast at Mackenzie’s which was supposed to be really good + do a tour of the Dublin castle. After finally leaving a little after noon, we walked to The Brazen Head which is the oldest pub in Ireland (est. 1198). I LOVED how old everything was. It’s just so interesting and wild bc most of the things we saw and did were way older than literally America. Anyways, I got the seafood chowder and it was SO GOOD! I highly recommend going there. The building itself is so cool + the food is amazing.
This day was the day I had my elopement to photograph! So after this, we went and looked around the Dublin castle (but didn’t go in) and surrounding area to scout locations for my shoot. We stopped and got some chocolate covered churros and then headed to the courtyard to start the elopement! It was so awesome + Shannon and Jeff were so sweet. They gave us some tips for Ireland as well. All of the locals we met were so welcoming and friendly. I felt so safe and happy here!! The rumors are true, the Irish really are just like a happy bunch.
That night, we went the world famous Temple Bar and it was a BLAST!!! Seriously one of the highlights of my trip!!! They had an Irish band playing music and the vibes were IMMACULATE.
Day 3 – is the day when we picked up the rental car which made our life so much easier!!! Instead of having to take buses and drag our luggage around everywhere, we could just leave it in the car! I definitely recommend IF and only if you are a skilled driver. I honestly couldn’t have done it – my husband drove the whole time. It was really confusing and they have a million roundabouts but if you aren’t scared then it’s so convenient!
We headed to Cork this day. It’s one of the bigger cities in Ireland and outside of it lies the Blarney Castle which was another highlight for me!!! Also there was no wait at all bc the time we went and I saw signs around that said like “90 minute wait” at some points, but we just walked right up and into the castle! It was sooo cool to see! Once you got to the top, that’s where to kiss the Blarney Stone (click here to read about it)! It was SCARY! Like I didn’t realized how scared I was going to be hanging upside down over the edge of the castle like that.
After you go through the castle and read all about it, there’s tons of gardens surrounding it. I assume if you came in spring or summer it would be even more in bloom and there were walking paths that you could go on that took an hour. There’s also a cute cafe for lunch while you’re there. Honestly, you could spend several hours here if it’s your cup of tea! Don’t forget to book tickets (for this in advance as well! Oh and they closed at 5 and quit letting ppl in at 4 even tho it said they closed at 6 online!!
From the castle we drove to our next Airbnb about an hour away. We stayed a little outside of cork and I think it was a good idea bc it put us closer to our stop the next day! We stayed at the cutest Airbnb (all linked below) and the hosts were SO sweet. Like they made me want to cry with their hospitality and cute accents. We got dinner at a nearby pub and then went to bed (we had a great time but we’re tired lol).
Day 4 – was a big day! We woke up and had the cutest little breakfast at the Airbnb and drove straight to the cliffs of Moher which was almost 3 hours from where we were. Essentially, we made a circle around the whole country on this trip! The cliffs were just as awesome as everyone said they were – a top tourist attraction in Ireland for a reason!! We almost didn’t get tickets bc I didn’t realize you need to book in advance, but you do!! Click here to book 🙂 They have a little museum and shops at the base as well.
Next up was our castle experience!! We had a couple more hours of driving (this was our biggest driving day) to get to the next Airbnb which was a real castle!!! We had planned to stop in Doolin which is supposed to be a super cute town but we were excited and just wanted to get to the castle. Pete owns this castle and has fixed it up!! It was the #1 Airbnb in Ireland and the United Kingdom!!! It was a real castle and on one floor we had a living room with a fireplace, kitchen, and bathroom. Then at the top was the bedroom! There were actually two beds in there. We just had so much fun. I read by the fire for a bit and turned around and Kolt had turned himself into a king LOL then we went upstairs for bed after a few hours. We were the first people to stay there this year bc it closes for the winter. It was March 1st but freezing!!! I wouldn’t have survived without the electric blanket – obviously there wasn’t heat as it’s a legit castle!
Day 5 – our last day 🙁 we headed into Galway which was just the cutest town!!! It was probably my favorite city… well idk I loved Dublin too! Anyways, we walked around and shopped (there were people on the street singing and this is where Ed Sheeran used to sing before he was famous). Kolt got me a Claddagh ring which was so sweet and we ate lunch at Kings Head, which is crazy old too. I got the seafood chowder again which was just as amazing as the first! It felt so good – warming me up from the inside!! We stopped at some more shops and bookstores and eventually got an amazing hot chocolate at Bee cafe. Then it was time to head back to Dublin.
The final leg of the trip we drove from Galway back to Dublin! This time we stayed in the Clayton hotel and it was super nice and right beside the airport. This was also the first hotel we stayed in the entire trip and it felt like a luxury hahaha. I took like a 45 min shower (the castle didn’t have one, only a tub) and it was so warm and bigger than the others. This night we just ate wings in the room and got everything packed back up and prepped for our flights home the next day!
Overall, Ireland was SO much fun. I just had the best time with my husband (our first time in Europe together). We enjoyed each others company, didn’t rush around, and just took it all in!
Is Ireland on your bucket list?! If you have been, what did you think?! Let me know in the comments 🙂
& if you have any questions I didn’t answer, please leave them below!!
Here are the links to the Airbnb’s we stayed in – I recomend them all!!! 🙂
Castle (a must) Macroom (outside Cork) Dublin (great location)
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Ahhh – your trip looks like it was magical! Thanks for including bookings links and weather info. That will be super helpful for future me 🙂