When I first started planning for our trip to Ireland, I quickly realized that one of the best ways to see the country would be to rent a car. As I researched, I tried to see if it would be possible to avoid renting a car as I wasn’t too confidant in my “driving on the left side of the road in a foreign country” abilities. But, the more travel blogs I read, the more I came to the conclusion that stepping outside my comfort zone was the best way to go. It is safe to say that I read many articles on “Tips for Driving on the Left Side,” before we made our way across the pond. And, now, I would tell anyone who is planning on making their way to this beautiful country that renting a car is a must. I am also happy to report that no sheep were harmed during my time behind the wheel. I did, however, fall in a ditch while chasing down some sheep. That’s another story. All is well that ends well, as the saying goes.
As always, I thought I would share a few photos from our trip and give you our 3 Day Road Trip Itinerary. The first part of the trip was spent in Dublin, which by the way, two days in Dublin is more than enough time to see+do all the touristy things. So, after adjusting to the weather and having a couple pub meals, we made our way to Dublin Airport where we rented a small, yet sturdy car. For the most part. The check engine light came on an hour into our drive (ha.) Thank goodness for insurance!
We started off the day by driving straight from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher, with a quick pit stop in the darling town of Doolin for lunch. Unfortunately, since we were travelling during off season, nearly everything was closed except for the local pub. So, we got a true local experience.
After warming up with a bowl of Seafood Chowder, we made our way over to the Cliffs, in hopes to get there before dark. With an hour to spare, we had enough time to walk along the cliffs and then stop in the cafe for a cup of tea.
I definitely would have loved to spent even more time at the Cliffs. The Cliffs of Moher had been at the top of my bucket list since I was a little girl, so getting to go to the place that I had read and seen photographs of for so long was a dream come true. In my second book, A Song for Somme, the Cliffs of Moher play a part in the storyline. So, it was truly wonderful to get to experience the cliffs for myself. I would love to go back in summertime!
We stayed at an AirBnB in Burren County and had dinner at a local Italian restaurant, one of only two restaurants open in the entire town. The next night, we dined at the pub, our only other option. I actually loved travelling during off season. On our second night in town, it truly felt like we were locals, as everyone at the pub was from around town, meeting up with friends for drinks and good food. I went for the seafood chowder again, a must when in Ireland. Chunks of salmon in my soup? Yes, please.
On the second day of our road trip, which happened to be Thanksgiving, we decided to drive two hours north to Kylemore Abbey. This place had been on our list of places to visit and we didn’t know if we would be able to visit, so I was so excited when we were able to make it happen. Driving through the Kylemore Lough was seriously one of the most breathtaking places I have ever driven past. We kept saying, “This is unreal.” It truly looked like a scene out of another world, something that you would discover in Lord of the Rings. Since I was driving, I didn’t get to snap any photographs of such a beautiful place, but here’s a capture from Google Maps for your viewing pleasure. Check it out here.
Upon arriving at Kylemore Abbey, we were so taken back by the beauty and the history of the place. Learn more here. If you are ever in Ireland, highly recommend adding this place to your list. We spent a good amount of time walking the gardens and the estate. Afterwards, we went to the cafe for lunch. We were surprised to find that they were serving a Thanksgiving meal, which was surprisingly delicious. After enjoying lunch, we grabbed tea for the road and made our way back to Burren County.
After our visit, we drove to a sheep farm, where we were hoping to get a tour, as advertised online. Unfortunately, they were closed for the day. So, instead, we tried to see the local sheep for ourselves, which is where I, gracefully, fell into a ditch. One second, I was chasing sheep, and the next moment, I plunged into a deep hole of mud. I think even the sheep were amused. I thought that would be the last of our comical stories for the day, but after running low on gas, we pulled into a gas station for the first time to fill up, and for the life of us, Caymbria and I could not figure out how to open the gas tank, which was far from normal from your gas tank. After my ditch incident, I had taken off my left shoe and sock, which at this point, was out of use. So there I was, standing in the middle of a gas station in Ireland, with only one shoe on, looking through the car manual for about 15 minutes, trying to figure out how to get the gas tank to open. Even a local Irishman saw that we were struggling and asked if we needed help, but thankfully we figured it all out right then and there. How else does one end an evening like this? With sandwiches from a gas station, of course.
Every trip needs a good story, right? It wouldn’t be the same if everything went perfectly. Caymbria could not stop laughing after I fell into the ditch. It was definitely one of the most memorable moments of the trip, for sure. And, I was pretty excited to get back to the AirBnB that evening so I could give my feet a good scrub.
On Day 3, we packed our bags and drove to Galway, where we stopped for coffee and a quick stroll through town. The Christmas Markets were already up, so it was fun to walk through all the sights and sounds of the season. Europe truly knows how to do Christmas markets well. After grabbing a cup of coffee from the cutest shoppe, Coffeewerk+Press, we hit the road and headed back to Dublin, where we checked into our hotel, ordered a pizza, and caught up on The Crown. What better way to end our three day road trip?
I loved getting to drive through the West Coast of Ireland and would love to make my way around the rest of the coast next time. If you only have a few days in Ireland, definitely rent a car. It is totally worth it! Until next time, cheers!