After 10 days in Switzerland it was time for our trip to Ireland which we have been planning for a while. I will split up our adventure on the green Island into a few entries as we have covered quite a bit in two weeks.
Spoiler alert – it was fantastic and you might want to drink a Guinness afterwards.
Part 1 – From Dublin to Kenmare
After arriving in Dublin and picking up our little blue car we straight away bypassed the city (we saved it for the end of the trip) and headed south towards the small coastal town of Wicklow.
Instead of taking the highway all the way we decided to do a detour via the old Military Road. The first of many small country side roads. It led through the so called Wicklow Mountains (as a Swiss I would rather call it a series of hills) which were barely visibly in the thick fog.
After checking in with our super charming Airbnb host Mary we headed to town for dinner. At Phil Healy’s we had one of our best meals of the entire trip – a first positive surprise.
The next morning – after a lovely beakfast including entertainment by a friendly dog and toddler – we were heading towards Glendalough (always pronounce Irish words with a deep Celtic accent) where we planned some hiking around the lower and upper lake.
Besides an old cemetery and church ruins (the first of many) we enjoyed the splendid nature along the two lakes. Remains of a few old mining towns served as a reminder of mining activities in the region (which lasted till about the middle of the last century). I was especially pleased by what was allegedly the former residence of St. Kevin.
Via Wicklow Gap (pass) we were heading inland towards Killkenny which is a well preserved medieval town. There we enjoyed a great live music session and good food at Matt The Millers Bar.
Killkenny and Rock of Cashel
As a beer lover you might know Killkenny as a beer brand (in Ireland it’s actually called Smithwick’s). However the city also had to offer a nice old town and nicely restored castle (which would make a excellent holiday home in our humble opinion).
After lunch we continued to the rock of Cashel a castle/monastery from the 12th century. The ruins are situated on a nice hill and offered a fantastic 360° view in splendid weather.
A further highlight on the way to Kinsale – at least for Hazel – was the stop at famous Hedgehog Fibers which produce hand dyed yarns (apparently if you are into knitting you will know…). Clever and friendly as they were they offered me a Coffee while Hazel went shopping.
Later on we enjoyed fantastic fish and chips at Dinos in the lovely town of Kinsale.
South Coast to Kenmare
The next day we spent driving along the beautiful Irish South Coast. Already by now we knew that the country is all about natural beauty and rugged coasts. In a clever marketing move more than 2000 km of coastal road are marked as The Wild Atlantic Way which allows for easy navigation.
After a short stop at a small beach we visited the mysterious Dromberg Stone Circle (think miniature Stonehenge) followed by a stop at the Beacon which offered views of the Atlantic.
After lunch we visited the Mizen Head Lighthouse with its impressive Cliffs. Lucky us the sky opened up the moment we arrived and so it was a highly enjoyable afternoon and we even spotted a few seals.
After checking in with Padraig in Kenmare we headed for another nice dinner at PF McCarthy’s (it was so good that we went there both nights).