An unstructured five days driving around southern Ireland was a relaxing introduction to the country. We had a rental car and our first night booked in an AirBNB on a houseboat in Sallins, a bit out of Dublin. Finding a tourist information office was our first port of call (after the grocery store) on the way to the west coast and the Cliffs of Moher. They were impressive and we had good late afternoon sun to show them off. Each day we booked our Air BNB for where we thought we would end up and fortunately that all worked out fine for us and meant we kept things flexible. Found nice places to stay and between our hosts and the tourist info places, we also found good restaurants.
Had three nights at Cahersiveen (never did learn how to pronounce it) on the Ring of Kerry which gave us one day for the Dingle Peninsula (Inch Beach, Dingle, Dunberg Fort, Beehive huts) and one day for the Ring of Kerry. Learned about Skellig Michael (a very steep rocky island inhabited by monks for 1000 years) and even saw it in the distance, tasted Skellig chocolate at the factory, visited the 2000 year old Staigue Fort with its 6 m (20 foot) high walls (built without mortar) and enjoyed the views in Killarney National Park. Had a walk around Muckross House and Gardens, as well as Ross Castle (one of the last castles in Ireland to fall to the English in 1652). On the way to Kilkenny we visited the Rock of Cashel (reputedly the castle where the King of Munster was converted by St. Patrick in the fifth century AD) in Tipperary (a good excuse to keep singing that song) which contains a replica of the 12th century St Patrick’s cross. Attempted to find our AirBNB in Kilkenny without having an exact address and by one of those amazing strokes of good luck, we met a woman on the street who knew our host and directed us to their place. Kilkenny was a great town to visit, interesting history on the Medieval Mile, good pubs with music, friendly locals, the famous Kilkenny Castle, Cathedrals and a 9th century round tower 30 m high which we climbed, before driving to Dublin.
The instigation for this whole trip was to attend Jenn and Paul’s wedding in Dublin. Pre-wedding festivities included a ‘family dinner’ at Paul’s parents’ home and a tour of the Guiness Storehouse. Barbara spent a couple of nights with us in our lovely Air BNB apartment in Dublin. The wedding ceremony was conducted by a celebrant who was a friend of Jenn’s – it was powerful, emotional and touching. Jenn’s way with words was evident in the ceremony and in her vows. She looked radiant in her stunning gown as she married her handsome Irishman. My dear friend Lesley, the mother of the bride, was also stunning in her hot pink dress and a gracious host all evening. And it was quite an evening with a couple of hours in the pub between the ceremony and the reception, followed by dancing til way after midnight. In addition to the Irish contingent the guests were from Canada, Australia, and various countries in Europe. It was a wonderful celebration of family, love and friendships in the crazy and wild party town of Dublin where revellers carry on in the streets most of the night. A post-wedding brunch in a pub rounded off the festivites. I was honored to be part of Jenn and Paul’s moving celebration, and very happy to have time with lots of old friends and to make some new ones at the wedding. We really enjoyed our time in Ireland, even though it was not on our travel list before the wedding invite arrived.