While we’ve all been stuck in lockdown for the last goodness-knows-how-long, dreams of travel as trip away have certainly been on our minds. Whether social media is showing you reminders of your ventures this time last year, or you’ve been locked into the Coronavirus-related travel news, figuring when you can next safely jet across the world.
We’ve been reminiscing with April James, an Aussie who did a *very* extensive trip around Ireland late last year. Using the app Sygic Travel, her and her Irish boyfriend managed to squeeze the following into their two-week trip:
- Dublin, Bray (2 nights),
- Powers court Waterfall,
- Wicklow mountains,
- Cork (1 night),
- Blarney castle,
- Kinsale (1 night),
- Killarney via the ring of Kerry (2 nights),
- Ross castle,
- Dingle peninsula drive,
- Dingle (1 night),
- Limerick, Ennis (1 night),
- Inishmore island (1 night),
- Cliff of Moher,
- Galway (1 night),
- Ballyshannon (1 night),
- Malin Head,
- Portrush (1 night),
- Dunluce Castle,
- Giant’s Causeway,
- Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge,
- Dark Hedges,
- Belfast (1 night),
- Dublin (2 nights).
Yeah, we were impressed too, and had MANY a question for her. It was April’s second time in the country, having only been to Dublin before. They got around by hire care to get around on their trip, and stayed in cheap hotels and b&bs, splurging in Belfast to stay at the Titanic hotel – fancy!
Which were your favourite places that you went to, and why?
‘Oh wow, everywhere was amazing! Bray was beautiful, the coastal walk was breathtaking and the cross at Bray Head was a really nice way to stretch the legs after 24hours of flying, and the view at the top was amazing!
The Wicklow mountains were absolutely stunning, I didn’t have any expectations but was totally blown away by how beautiful they were. My only regret is we didn’t spend more time here, I would love to have spent more time exploring them, but we just drove through them on our way to Rock of Cashel, the first castle of many!’
‘We stayed in Killarney for two days to climb Carrontouhill, but the weather wasn’t great, so unfortunately, we didn’t get to do that. But the silver lining, we ended up going for a really nice dinner and stumbled across this cool little gin/whisky bar/bistro called Celtic Whisky Bar and Larder. We also had time to check out Ross Castle instead of sleeping in (which we planned to do after the climb). Ross Castle was stunning, so picturesque.’
‘Dingle peninsula drive, Dunquin pier and Dingle town was one of our biggest highlights…. we both fell in love with Dingle, the quirky pubs, music and nightlife and also where we discovered Dingle gin, honestly the best gin we’ve ever tasted.’
‘The Giant’s Causeway was something we almost didn’t do, but so glad we did… it literally felt like we’d been shrunk, like the movie “honey I shrunk the kids” these giant rock formations are something you have to see up close to really appreciate. Although they do look cool in photos, they don’t seem to do them justice.’
Do you have any favorite moments from your trip? – a view, event, activity, food?
‘Too many to mention. One that I haven’t mentioned, was our meal in Portrush. After a long day driving and checking into our hotel, we discovered Ramore seafood and managed to get a table with no booking. The food was sensational and the view was 😍.
Actually our night out in Dingle was hands down the highlight, we had perfect weather, amazing seafood, and the best pub crawl I’ve ever been on. Live music and dancing in the street with a full moon shining, could not have asked for anything more.’
Did you have any difficult/awkward moments at all whilst travelling?
‘We had an awkward farewell at the parking lot in Doolin. After parking the car to get a take-away coffee and driving off to see the Cliffs of Moher, we bumped into a bollard. It ripped a massive hole down the left side passenger door of our hire car….this was the moment we realised, the insurance cover was an absolute bargain.’
Anything that took you by surprise?
‘How many allergy listings you have on your food menus.’
‘Keogh’s potato crisps are extremely addictive.’
‘Ireland has some of the best seafood I’ve ever eaten and the weather was so sunny, we had maybe two or three days of rain in the whole two weeks we traveled.’
Any words of wisdom you’d pass on for someone looking to travel round Ireland?
‘If you can get more time off, I would recommend making it a 3 or 4 week road trip. I was really content with all the places we visited and how much we got to see and experience, but it did feel a little rushed at times, we were constantly on the go. I’d suggest spending at least 2 nights, even 3 for each stop, so you can have at least one full day to relax and explore.’