Stephanie and I recently had the opportunity to travel to Ireland through Stephanie’s work, Usborne Books. It was definitely a rare opportunity and I am so glad that we were able to go on it.
We wanted to share a few of the highlights from the trip, as it would take way to long to cover everything that we did.
Our trip started off with us flying from Columbus Ohio through Toronto to Dublin. Our flight was over night, so once we landed we hit the ground running (mostly to combat the jet lag). We hopped a cab to the Finnstown Castle Hotel, which is where we were staying for the first half of our trip.
We dropped off our luggage, as it was way too early to check in, and headed into Dublin to go on the tour at the Guinness Storehouse. I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone visiting Dublin. It is full of Guinness history and their process for making their beer. The building is beautifully redone with the old industrial steel and masonry still there. They offer tastings of their products, an academy where you learn how to do the perfect pour, and several eateries that highlight many recipes using Guinness. You even get a free pint as part of your tour. The tour takes you from the bottom of the building upwards, finishing at the Gravity Bar, which offers a 360* view of the city.
Our group did a tour around Dublin, which included visiting Trinity College Library, a boat ride out of Howth harbor, and seeing Christ’s Cathedral.
On one of our free days, Stephanie and I joined a group that headed up to Northern Ireland to see some sights along the coast. On the way, we visited a spot where a gentleman had planted many beech trees along the road to his house, resulting in what is known as the dark hedges from the show Game of Thrones. We visited Carrick-a-rede, which was a spot that fisherman would bring their catch from an island over a rope bridge, then headed over to Giants Causeway, which has a wonderful tale of a few giants picking a fight with each other. After that, we made our way down to Belfast to do some shopping, sight seeing, and grab a bite to eat. A bonus was that we were able to drive past the Titanic museum.
Midway through our trip, our group moved to the other side of the island to explore the Atlantic side. We took a boat ride out onto the Atlantic to see the Cliffs of Moher, which some may recognize from the films The Princess Bride (Cliffs of Insanity) and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. We also visited Bunratty Castle, which has been fully restored and decorated, along with a living history village surrounding it.