Our last three days in Ireland began to calm down a bit. We weren’t on the go so much and didn’t have too many things planned. We began our food adventure, had more Guinness, and just relaxed a bit more. And though we were a bit active, we weren’t rushing to the next destination like on previous days.
How our last days unfolded…
Day 7: 2nd night in Galway
The Aran Islands are a group of three islands on the west coast of Ireland in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way. The islands are at the mouth of Galway Bay, in County Galway, and we caught a ferry 50 minutes away from Galway City to get to the islands. The names of the islands are: Inis Mor (Inishmore), Inis Meain (Inishmaan) and Inis Oirr (Inisheer). The “largest” island is Inishmore, which is the one we visited and spent the entire day on. Inishmore is characterized by Celtic monuments and churches, miles of stone walls and cliffs. The most visited spot on this island is the prehistoric fort, Dun Aonghasa. The fort is located on 300 foot cliffs, and the view up there is breathtaking.
We had gorgeous weather the day we visited Inishmore. It was sunny all day, and although we weren’t wearing sunscreen, we weren’t complaining. It beats getting rained on. We got creative and managed to have our own way of “sun-blocking” with our clothes. It worked, but I still got pretty tan from the day. Nick got a little red, but he was all right.
From the pier, we decided to walk the entire way up to Dun Aonghasa. Most people chose bikes or the tour bus. With lunch break, sightseeing and stopping at various sites, we managed to explore and walk back in time to catch the last ferry back. We walked a total of 10 miles or more on cement road and by the end of it our feet were sore and done.
Dinner in Galway
By the time we got back to Galway we were ravenous and exhausted. All we wanted was food and good food was what we got at Pearla Na Mara. Our meal at this restaurant was superb. Although it is not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, they are extremely vegan friendly because the manager is vegan. They use mostly organic ingredients and cook their vegan dishes and food separately from non-vegan food. They really understand and do take care of their vegan consumers, and it shows.
Nick and I both had a unique and fresh salad to start with. He paired his with mashed potatoes, and I paired mine with butternut squash soup.
Our main dishes were the same: mushroom and butternut risotto.
The dessert was exceptional as well. Nick had mango and vanilla, coconut and avocado based ice cream.
I had a raw pear-rum cheesecake made by the manager herself, which I paired with the same vanilla ice cream Nick had. It was full of flavor and scrumptious.
Everything we had at Pearla Na Mara was top-notch and delicious. It was a great way to feed our appetites, and a perfect way to end our night.
Day 8: Leaving Galway for Dublin
On our last day in Galway we spent the morning in city center before heading out for Dublin. We had a great time in the city, but we were ready to head back to Dublin to explore more of it.
Trinity College and more sightseeing in Dublin
After lunch and checking in to our hotel, we walked around a different part of city center we didn’t sightsee from our first day. I always like seeing different college campuses, so we visited Trinity College. As a book lover, I wanted to see the Trinity College Library and we both thought seeing the Book of Kells would be cool, but the line was absurd so we passed. If we had more time we would have done it, but next on the agenda was a tour of the Guinness factory and we couldn’t miss that!
Guinness Storehouse Tour (St. Jame’s Gate Brewery)
The Guinness tour was one of the best and most interesting tours we’ve been on. Of course, tasting and drinking Guinness was a plus. And let me tell you, drinking a Guinness fresh at the factory is not the same as drinking it elsewhere.
Dinner at Sova Vegan Butcher
The vegan scene in Dublin isn’t that big, but the few options they have are fantastic. Sova Vegan Butcher is a new restaurant that opened last July, and they are really popular. We didn’t know what to expect going in, just that we were hungry. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and taste of the food.
I had the best burger by far. It’s called Chia Burger, but the patty is made up of lentils, mushrooms, chia seeds and spices. The flavor and texture of the burger were superb, the best we’ve ever had. Everything about the burger was delicious and it was even hearty. I had a hard time finishing it all, but Nick was more than happy to help me finish it.
Nick ordered a seitan steak and potato gratin with a side salad. His dish was good, but it wasn’t as impressive as mine.
For dessert, we both had the raw blueberry cheesecake. Although good, Nick enjoyed it more than I did. It was more nutty than fruity, and the texture was too gritty for me. In spite of this, I didn’t leave unimpressed. My burger was that delicious that it didn’t even matter about the dessert.
Day 9: Last Day in Dublin
On our final day in Ireland, we accepted that we would be returning to London, back to pollution, city mentality and being connected with 100% cell reception and wifi again. We both felt like we got a good sample of Ireland and though we weren’t quite ready to leave the serenity of the country, we prepared ourselves to go back to metropolitan, city life.
But before taking the evening flight back to London, we went south of Dublin to hike the trails of Killiney Hill. The view up top the hill showed Dublin’s landscape.
Dinner at Cornucopia
We decided to try Dublin’s oldest vegetarian/vegan restaurant before taking off. We weren’t sure about this place at first, but we were glad we tried them out. It happens to be a very popular place for even non-vegans. Although they offer counter-service, the food is really delicious. They have a wide array of vegan options made with organic ingredients, and everything we had there was yummy. Nick had a peanut curry and vegetable dish over brown rice, with two different kinds of green salads. I had a vegetable ragout over brown rice, and a delicious green salad and couscous salad. Both dishes and all the salads were so tasty and full of flavor, we ended up sharing our plates.
Then when it came to desserts, Cornucopia did not disappoint. Nick had a plain lemon-raspberry cookie. I had a raspberry cake. So yum!
And that ends our time in the Land of Green. Our trip to Ireland was truly a wonderful experience. The country is beautiful and we honestly can’t understand how someone (ahem…Kim Kardashian) wouldn’t appreciate the place. The Irish people are genuine and are the friendliest people we’ve ever met. Their hospitality is unmatched and is deeply rooted in their culture. They also make one of the best beers in the world, Guinness, which is a favorite of ours. And they can be pretty funny as well. Their accent will never cease to amuse us, as well as their humor and their tales and myths. I have never found such inspiration for my writing in one place. Ireland is truly magical and holds a place dearly in my heart.