Pack Your Bags: Irish Day Trips

First, I need to apologize
for making some people
very sad when I posted about Dublin.

I said I didn't really love the city
and that I had hard time connecting to it.

So, I'm sorry.

{I actually am, as I get really sad when people don't connect with a place I love.}

Though it was awesome having you pour out in the comments
what things & places made the city great to you
and I can't wait to try out some of your suggestions the next time I'm there.

So while Dublin still isn't my favorite place in the world,
I can't say one bad word about Ireland as a whole.

Getting out of the city
and into the quieter places of the country
is something I hope everyone gets to do at some point in their life.

{And I'm itching to get to Northern Ireland... luckily I have a hot wedding to go to there this June.}

If you are wanting to get out Dodge
{or Dublin, whatever},
I would recommend these two day trips.


& Wicklow National Park

If you can get out of Dublin,
it's worth the hour-ish drive out to to Glendalough 
home of good old St. Kevin
and his (once) famous monastic community.

The ruins of this long-lasting community
are in impressive shape,
considering how long they have been around.

There is a small museum at the Welcome Center
that will brief you on the history of the site
and then you can head out to see the ruins in person.

{I always like getting some context before heading out to a site. Who doesn't though?}

After you've looked at all the old rocks, ruins & graves your heart can handle,
head out to the lakes for the real treat.

There are two lakes...
the first is about 5-10 minutes away
and it's really pretty.

But keep going on the path
until you reach the second lake
{about 20-30 minutes from the ruin site}
so you can see this.

You won't be sad you did.

If you're in need of a great place to eat,
right up the road from Glendalough
is the charming Wicklow Heather.

Not only is the food delicious,
but the restaurant is a literary-nerd's heaven
showcasing first-edition works by famous authors
such as James Joyce & Yeats in their Writer's Room.

{Editor's Note: Remember in PS I Love You when Hilary Swank mets Gerard Butler
on the road in the Wicklow National Park... 
yes, these are those Wicklow Mountains.}


The Cliffs of Moher

I've been to Ireland
several times before making it out to this famous coastline.

I'd call it a "Rookie Mistake,"
but obviously, seeing as how many times I've gone 
 that wouldn't really apply.

{or "The Cliffs of Insanity"as you Princess Bride fans may know them}
are on the Western Coast of Ireland.

It takes several hours to get out there
and making it out there will take up a day of time.

But is it worth it?

Oh yeah, baby.

Because after you get there, 
you can have this view.

{24 week pregnant lady not included.}

There is a small cafe & a restaurant at the newly refinished visitor's center
that you can find warmth in 
once those coastal breezes get the better of you.

Rangers can lead informational walks, 
but from my personal experience,
 it's not anything to cry over
if you miss out on making the tour.

Apparently, there's not much to say about these cliffs 
other than that they are really old 
and that puffins come to nest there in the summer.

To reach the famous cliffs,
you have two options:
you can take a tour with a group like McCoole Day Tours

If you drive yourself, will you promise to stop in the town of Ennis for lunch?

It's a tiny little Irish village
complete with an adorable town square
and it will make your day trip all the better.

You have the Aspiring Kennedy's word on it.

For what it's worth,
I've also heard Galway is more than worth visiting
when you're out that way.


PS. There's an awesome giveaway happening right now
for a sweet pair of shades from The Sunglasses Shop. 
Don't miss out on the chance to snag a pair!


  1. If you're ever on the Ring of Kerry, be sure to check out the little village of Glenbeigh and the amazing, huge stretch of beach called Rossbeigh (it's designated a national heritage area) My grandmother was born there and my relatives still own the farm on Balinakilla Rd. Also - we're headed to Iceland and Scotland in March and I've found all your posts so helpful!

  2. Wow, the photos are beautiful, even if you didn't enjoy Dublin.
    xo, Maria

  3. Oh my gosh--GORGEOUS photos. Ireland is one place I have never been---the scenery is just breathtaking...can only imagine in person!

  4. Spot on. For someone who spent two weeks in Ireland this summer, those places were hands down my favorite. Not to mention the opportunity to take a very quirky carriage ride into the amazing views at Glendalough.

  5. I love the Pack your Bags series! I hope to make it to Ireland in the near future :) The scenery looks unreal!

  6. May I suggest the Dingle Peninsula for a future trip? Ruins everywhere, great villages (especially Dingle itself, which is famous for its' traditional music venues), and more gorgeous cliffs to look off into the sea? It's such a pretty area, deeply country and sparkling green!

  7. wow! can't wait to get back to ireland! only saw dublin but now am even more dying to see more!

  8. Every post I fall more and more in love with you. I love love love this post! So informative and GORGEOUS. And I will always adore that preggo shot of you.

    Hopefully taking a trip to Ireland later this year. Will be bookmarking this post for future reference.

  9. Magical pictures!! Love checking in & seeing all of these wonderful travel tips/hints... great to stockpile!

  10. LOVE all those spots too... I'm going to piggyback on here and say Galway is DEFINITELY worth the hour drive north from the Cliffs of Moher, as is Doolin, which is only FIVE minutes north of the cliffs. I am in no way touting these two places because I happened to set my second book there. NOT AT ALL. :) No, seriously, everywhere in Ireland is magical. I am dying to go back. Hope you and the little ones are well! :)

  11. I have fond memories when I was teeny tiny and we did the Galway crystal tour. I don't think they do it anymore? But so neat to go there!

    And you look so gorgeous with that view in the background.


  12. Fantastic pictures! Makes me wanna go there

    Northern Ireland is beautiful!! Wonderful scenery, lovely people, lots of castles etc. And Belfast is not so touristy either.


  13. I'm with you all the way. We were lukewarm on Dublin, but loved the Wicklow mountains. We stayed here - and fell in love with porridge, and I'll never forget the moment we got out of our car and Lough Tay came into view: (not sure if this google + link will work... I still don't understand google +!)

    I agree with someone above who said to visit Dingle. Also drive the ring of Beara and experience full on girly glee when you approach the colorful town of Eyeries:

  14. I felt the same way about Dublin, but I LOVED the western coast of Ireland. Rachel Rivas and I went to Dingle, and had probably the most magical two days of my life. It was exactly what I wanted Ireland to be: green, friendly, quaint, and really really green. The "famous" dolphin, Funghi, popped up while we were walking along the cliffs checking out some old ruins. He's really friendly! (Have you heard about him? ) The next day we stumbled upon some local horse races and an elderly Irishman offered to show us around the cliffs next to his farm, where we saw goats being born. But I'm no travel writer like you, so don't judge it by my description.

    Jim and I are hoping to plan a trip for this summer to either Ireland or Scotland (and hopefully squeeze in a day or two in London). Your description of the Isle of Sky had me leaning towards Scotland, but now... you've got me all mixed up!!

  15. Other than Dublin, I've only been to Glendalough - and I agree, it's GORGEOUS! stunning in its quiet beauty. you can totally understand why they felt close to God there!

  16. Oh, and I don't know if you've been to either of these, but Dingle, the town at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, is adorable and great. And the Dingle Pub has AMAZING food. Also Waterford is a great city- we did the tour of the Crystal Factory (which was surprisingly interesting) but the city was just fantastic! And Kilkenny Castle is absolutely gorgeous!

    We spent a week wandering around Ireland (Republic of; sadly we didn't get to Northern Ireland either) and, while it wasn't my favorite country in the British Isles, I definitely agree that the best parts are the nooks and crannies, and any trip that skips them is remiss!

    1. Dangit, I meant to write that we only had one afternoon to spend in Glendalough, and we both wished we'd had a couple of days. So serene and beautiful!

  17. the more I read your blog, the more I hassle my husband to find a job in England! Your trips are amazing!

  18. My gosh, these pictures don't even look real they're so gorgeous!

  19. i want to go to ireland baaad. i'm irish! but that's not the only reason. and that cliffs of mohrer pic of you and the beeebs is the best.

  20. I agree with DJ, you should certainly come to the Beara Peninsula in West Cork. There are a number of beautiful villages with pastel coloured houses and beautiful views of the Atlantic ocean! A trip in the only cable car in Ireland to Dursey Island is a must! A great experience and a cold pint in one of the pubs while listening to traditional Irish music leads to a great nights entertainment! x

  21. It's bad when you've lived in ireland your whole life and haven't been to either of these places!But I can vouch for the north (especially antrim coastline which I travel up and down every week and still don't get tired of the views), as well as Donegal - as long as you don't mind the hideous roads and getting lost) and galway is pretty spectacular too :)


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