I´m back from my trip, and feeling a little guilty for not having posted anything here since I got back on Sunday. I hope that this post makes up for it though :)
First of all, Mandy (my friend from work,) and I had a WONDERFUL time on our Ireland trip! It was absolutely perfect, and I am so happy that I was able to find such a wonderful friend to spend the time with.
We left Stuttgart at 6:30 on Monday morning (the 9th). This meant, we had to wake up at 4 am, which is not my favorite thing to do. But, since we were on our way to Ireland, how much could I really complain? We arrived at Cork Airport at 10:30 am, having flown through Amsterdam. After picking up our perfect little car, and Mandy practicing driving on the "wrong side," we made our way to Blarney Castle.
After touring the castle, kissing the Blarney Stone, and touring the grounds, we made our way, exhausted, back to Cork.
On Tuesday morning, we left Cork and headed down towards the coast, to a wonderful little town called Kinsale. We spent a few hours meandering the streets of this charming town, visited some shops, went to the market, and enjoyed a coffee before heading out again.
A picture of the harbor in Kinsale.
After Kinsale, we stayed along the coast, driving through more wonderful little villages, like Clonakilty and Skibbereen, and made our way to Bantry. Bantry is far west in the country, and lies along Bantry Bay. There is a famous house in Bantry that was the ancestral home of the Earls of Bantry. The house was amazing, and the gardens were just perfect. What was especially wonderful was the staircase in the back of the house, leading up a high hill overlooking the house and the bay. It was a most amazng view! After a couple of hours at the Bantry House, we were off again to Kenmare, where we spent the night.
A picture of the pub / bed and breakfast where we stayed.
Our night in Kenmare was spent in a O´Donnobhan´s pub. Okay, the bed and breakfast run by the owners of O´Donnabhans, which was located above the pub. It was a great place to stay, even if the smoke alarm dragged us out of bed at 4 in the morning! Kenmare itself was a perfect base for Wednesday, when we worked our way up to Dingle. We spent some time shopping in Kenmare and left around 11:00 for the rest of the day. Our drive took us through a small part of the Ring of Kerry, and we were afforded incredible mountain vistas between Moll´s Gap and Ladies View. We then stopped in Killarney National Park, and hiked around the Torc Waterfalls. After our hike, it was back in the car and into Killarney. Killarney was a large town compared to the other villages we had been in since leaving Cork.
Pictures from Killarney
We enjoyed shopping in the town center, and enjoyed a bagel (one of very few in Europe,) before leaving for Dingle.
The town sign for Dingle (it is now officially not Dingle, but only legally the Irish name.)
Dingle lies in the heart of the Gaeltacht, the Irish language speaking area of Ireland. So, most of the names of the shops and pubs in Dingle are written only in Irish.