When you think about Ireland, its hard not to have scenes from PS. I Love You or if you’re a serious movie buff, maybe The Quiet Man flashes through your head of small crowded pubs with live music, rolling green hills that stretch for miles, and dirt roads lined by ancient stone walls. This is the Ireland I dream of seeing. Five years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a school trip to Europe that included London, Wales, and Dublin (Thanks Mom & Dad). Dublin was a sweet little city and we were blessed with a single day of sun, which I hear is quite rare during the time of year we were there. I saw a bunch of really great things like Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle.
The first thing that struck me about Christ Church Cathedral is the outside. It was summertime when we were there and all their flowers were blooming, which made the cathedral look even more beautiful.
The architecture of the cathedral itself both inside and outside is absolutely breathtaking with beautiful archways inside and a seriously impressive ceiling. Underneath the cathedral is a crypt, which sounds kind of scary but was actually very interesting. They had a little gift shop where I purchased my favorite item of the entire trip, my sterling silver claddagh ring. You really can’t not buy one if you’re ever in Ireland.
While visiting Dublin Castle, we got our first glimpse of the sun which made it even more special. There’s a lot of history in that building so definitely spend the extra money to get a guided tour.
My favorite part about the castle was the giant beautiful chandeliers that were in almost every room. It was so hard not to take pictures of every single one.
The next time I make the trip to the Emerald Isle, there are definitely a few more places I’d like to see both in Ireland & Northern Ireland. Whether that’s through a guided tour, renting a car and making my own itinerary, or maybe even a pub crawl throughout the island. Below are the places that both Kate & I know are definitely on our must see list.
Top 10 Bucklist for Ireland
- Cliffs of Moher – With movie appearances in everything from Leap Year to Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince to The Princess Bride, the Cliffs of Moher are definitely number one on my must see list for Ireland.
- Blarney Castle – Going to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone while in Ireland is a no brainer, I mean you wouldn’t go to Paris and not go to Eiffel Tour or to see the Mona Lisa would you? Plus getting the “gift of gab” wouldn’t be a bad thing either!
- Ring of Kerry – The Ring of Kerry seems to have something for everyone from beautiful landscapes to castles and churches.
- Giant’s Causeway – Hiking might not always make it onto the must-do list for a vacation, but when it does you know it must be for a good reason. I’d say exploring 40,000 interlocking basalt columns along the coast that were formed by a volcanic eruption (or if you believe the legends, a giant) is definitely a good reason!
- Guinness Storehouse – While I’m slightly disappointed you can’t tour the actual factory, going on the beer version of the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour can’t be a bad thing especially when you get to learn how to pour the perfect Guinness at the end!
- Stay at Ashford Castle – It’s not often you get the chance to stay in an 800 year old castle, let alone one owned by the Guinness family. Plus, this is where many of the stars of The Quiet Man stayed while filming!
- Jameson Whiskey Factory Tour – While whiskey may not be my favorite spirit, I always find distillery tours incredibly interesting (the samples that are typically included don’t hurt either). The great thing about Jameson is there are two different tours, one in Dublin & one in Cork so no matter where our itinerary takes us we’ll get to see at least one if not both!
- Waterford Crystal Factory Tour – Waterford Crystal has been a part of our table for special occasions for our entire lives, so stopping here and learning how its actually made an absolute must! Plus, this is definitely a great place to pick up some gifts for family & friends.
- Stay at Waterford Castle – It’s pretty much impossible to pass up the opportunity to stay in a castle on a private island, let alone one as scenic as Waterford Castle.
- Belleek Pottery Factory Tour & Museum – Belleek pottery is another item you can find in our parents & grandparents houses, so seeing how it’s made and learning more about it’s history would be pretty cool. Plus where else can you have lunch & tea served only on Belleek pottery?
Are there any places not on our list that you loved or are a definite must for your trip to Ireland?