We recently had the pleasure to spend 9 days exploring Ireland. The country is an amazing place filled with culture, history and beautiful landscape. Words can’t express how much we enjoyed our visit, and pictures can’t convey how breathtaking and scenic it is there. It was a wonderful trip and experience filled with so many good memories. Ireland has definitely made it on the list as one of our favorite places.
Each day on our trip was filled with many adventures as we toured the bottom half of Ireland. I will try my best to share our experience, but it will probably be only highlights of each day or site. We started our trip in Dublin, then moved on from there, spending one night in each place, except while we were in Galway City. We planned our visit based on things we wanted to do and see and spent the night in the same county.
We arrived to Dublin at 8:30 AM, but our day was filled with mostly settling in as we needed to grocery shop for the entire duration of the trip. Being so, we visited Blackrock suburb of Dublin and loaded up on food at The Organic Supermarket. To our surprise, behind the grocery store was a scenic view.
Only after that, we caught some lunch and did some sightseeing around city center. It was a low-key day used to settle in, as we braced ourselves for the adventures ahead of us.
Leaving Dublin, we would be staying on an organic apple farm in Kilkenny. And while on the way there, our first visit was to Dunmore Cave in Ballyfoyle. The limestone cave is not the biggest cave, but it’s known to be one of three darkest places on earth. Earlier findings include human bones and a Viking massacre actually occurred there, which explains the myriad of bones found by archaeologists.
Kilkenny is a very small place. We were able to see just about everything as we visited Kilkenny Castle.
Our final stop before heading to the farm was at Jerpoint Abbey in Thomastown, a ruined abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century.
Touring Highbank Organic Apple Farm
Our stay at Highbank Organic Apple Farm was our favorite place, and we spent more time in the morning before checking out to discover the land. The farm specializes in biodynamic apple farming, and the owners use the apples for ciders and spirits. They also grow oats and harvest them for export to the U.S. And besides touring the farm, we were able to sample the owners’ high-quality apple cider, hard cider and brandy the night we checked in. Overall, the stay was great — peaceful and relaxing. We even spent some time with the owners’ dogs and horses, which we just adored.
Rock of Cashel
After checking out of the farm we headed to the Rock of Cashel in Cashel. This historic site was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years. In 1101, the King of Munster donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. Few remnants of the early structures remain, its current site dating from the 12th and 13th century. Visiting this site was very scenic, with a view of another ruin nearby.
Cahir Castle was not originally on the agenda, but because of its close proximity to Rock of Cashel we decided to visit. Although it didn’t seem huge to us, the castle is one of Ireland’s largest and most preserved castles.
An hour away in Cork, Blarney Castle was a great visit. This was our favorite castle on the trip. It is set on a beautiful landscape, and exploring the castle was quite fun as we crawled through a ground tunnel that took us deep into the bottom of the castle, but not actually inside it. Besides the castle, there are other sites and things to discover, such as the Poison Garden, mini waterfalls, caves, a witch’s kitchen, and the Blarney House and Gardens.
Discovery Channel list says that kissing the Blarney Stone is among 99 things you should do before you die. The stone is at the top of the castle and if you kiss it, you will be granted the gift of eloquence. To do the kiss, you must lie on your back and bend back to kiss the stone. And for support, a guide will be there to hold you.
After visiting Blarney Castle, we headed to Kinsale where we spent the night in a boat house near Charles Fort. This was our second favorite place to stay at on our trip.
That’s it for now. For Days 4 – 6, come back on Wednesday!