Ah, the homeland (well half of me anyway). I’ve gone to Ireland twice now, and glad I did because it takes a few weeks to see and do everything. If you think you will only go once in your lifetime, go for about two weeks and familiarize yourself with driving on the other side of the road. I was lucky enough to have a native the second time around who had the whole ‘stick shift on hills’ thing mastered.
While we can’t all be welcomed by Gaelic-speaking locals who will make you eggs, sausage and potatoes for breakfast every morning like I did, below is a must-see itinerary to check Ireland off your list whilst a Guinness foam stache on your upper lip. Side note: this list does not include Northern Ireland – it is different than the Republic of Ireland. (Not making that up, read this.)
Pro-tip: Indulge in the Older than Ireland documentary before you go.
Both times I flew in and out of Dublin, no complaints on the airport at all. I do have one simple request though, can a girl get handed a Harp while waiting in the customs line please? Sláinte!
Dublin is fantastic – full of booze, culture, booze and more booze. Turns out the locals can’t tell the difference between a well-trained Irish dancer, and well, me. I made everything up from a few moves my childhood friends taught me and welcomed the rest of the nights’ free drinks that moment forward.
Some fun activities I did beyond the obvious pints at all pubs:
- The Guinness Storehouse tour where you can attempt to pour the perfect pint (and get a certificate to prove it, even if it was foamy)
- The Jameson Distillery where you can unfortunately be chosen to taste test whiskey, even though you don’t like whiskey, but you suck it up because, yolo, you’re in Ireland
- Visited the Trinity College in Dublin
- Kissed the Blarney Stone Castle in Cork for eloquence and a mouth sore
- Visited the beautiful Powerscourt Estate gardens and waterfall in Wicklow
- Hung from the Cliffs of Moher in Clare
- Ate in the Cloonacauneen Castle in Galway
- Laughed through a few Irish comedians in Greystones
Pro-tip: invest in an aran wool sweater and a knot back claddagh ring – I get tons of use out of both.
Most folks are overly friendly and very hospitable. I didn’t run into one irritated soul. They have a cheery demeanor and a dry sense of humor. The Irish like visitors and love to show tourists a good time. Prepare for a bit of departure from technology – minimal-to-no wifi, old school ticketing processes, cash-only places, cobble roads and tons of fish ‘n chips.
I enjoy a good ode to my heritage wherever I am, but having it fresh and pouring it myself just can’t be beat.
<insert Irish goodbye here>
Friendly reminder that the middle seat gets both armrests.