Hi all, apologies that it’s been an eon since my last blog post, but ya know, that’s life! Things are busy here as always, it was a nice spring and summer full of festivals and hikes and fun with friends. We’ve really spent the last few months getting to know Germany and the area we live in which has been great. But of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t use our prime location to explore other countries in Europe!
For Labor Day weekend we met up with our friends Lisa and Eddie and took a trip to Ireland together. If you are particularly observant, you might realize that these are the same friends we met in Hawaii and did a lot of hikes and trips together with… when we found out that they were moving to Germany too, we were thrilled! So this was our first reunion trip together and it was amazing. When I posted on FB that we had landed there, a lot of people said that this was their dream trip, and I can see why. It really is as green and naturally gorgeous as you see on TV & the movies.
The pics above are a few I took on the day we landed. We flew into Dublin but we actually rented a house waaaaaay on the other side of the island in a town called Killorglin, it’s about a 4 hour drive from Dublin. Huge thanks to Eddie for driving the rental car- none of us wanted to deal with the whole “driving on the other side of the road” thing. Not gonna lie, it freaked us out a bit, but Eddie had some experience from having previously driven in New Zealand so he was up for the challenge. It was a manual transmission so I test drove it a bit in a driveway just to try it out, but I wasn’t exactly ready to hit the road LOL. Anyhow, it rained a lot the day we landed so we didn’t get to see as much of the panoramic views as we would’ve like but it was ok because we had been up since 2:30-3am so the long drive was a great opportunity for Lisa and I to zonk out in the back seat of the car as per usual hahaha. When we woke up we were in a town past Killorglin called Dingle. It’s a really neat little fishing town on a peninsula, so cool. Our first stop was an old skool Irish Bar called Dick Mack’s – funny name, and definitely a hole-in-the-wall kinda place that had been there for forever! The boys had a few pints of Guinness while Lisa and I poked around town doing some window shopping and dodging rain drops. When we returned the guys had made friends with an older Irish gentleman named Hans who was giving them great tips about where to eat, things to see and what to do all over Ireland. Very cool! He steered us to a place called Murphy’s for dinner (There’s a place called “Murphy’s” on like every corner in Ireland, seriously!) and I got to try some authentic Irish Beef Stew!
After that we headed over to Killorglin to our rental house, which was beautiful. The hostess, Shayla, met us there and she was very nice and helpful. It was a great place to stay for the weekend, not that we spent a lot of time there because we were always out all day, but it was very enjoyable when we were there!
The next day we woke up to farm fresh breakfast foods provided by our hostess: eggs, yogurt, bread, milk, assorted fruit, and oranges to make fresh squeezed orange juice! We liked it so much we gave her extra money to pick us up some more things at the farmer’s market that morning for the rest of the trip! We fueled up on our tasty breakfast and off we went!
Our first stop was an area called Bray Head where we did a Hike out to an awesome scenic point where an old watch tower was. Apparently this area was used as point of communication for telegraphs back in the day, pretty cool! The hike was so pretty and at the top the views of the cliffs and the roaming sheep was pretty neat too. You could even see some little islands off in the distance!
After our hike, we were starving, so we headed over the bridge to another super cute little fishing town called Portmagee! We popped into a little pub and grabbed some lunch. I got to try some awesome and fresh seafood chowder, yum! And of course, the boys had more beer lol. We also tried some kind of an English Mustard with our french fries and it was actually really good- it had quite a kick that we weren’t expecting!
Next up on the agenda was a trip over to Derrynane Bay. We did a small hike to the beach and walked along it for a long time. It wasn’t raining, but it wasn’t exactly warm either, and yet there were people in the ocean! Very cool beach too, because not only was it picturesque, but the were a lot of huge rocks on the beach with striations from glaciers, that was something I had never seen on a beach before!
Our last stop for that day was over to Torc Waterfalls which is part of the Ring of Kerry. It’s a very tourist-y spot with a 5 minute walk to see a waterfall. Unfortunately, there was a lot of people there and a good handful of people kept going into the waterfall to get a picture of themselves in the falls, which we all thought was pretty rude because it obscured everyone else’s shots but whatever. Keep that in mind for proper etiquette fellow travelers, that is not cool! So all my shots of the falls have some random dude in it, but I digress. It was a nice little scenic waterfall to end the day with.
After this, we went back to the rental house and then walked into town to check out the local fare. We hit up this pub called Bunkers and had some tasty food for dinner. I have to say, overall almost everywhere we went, everyone was really friendly. Especially the waitresses and bartenders, they were always nice to talk to! On the way out of the restaurant though, we saw a stereotypical drunk Irish guy yelling profanity at people walking by. It was kinda funny actually but it was late and we had to walk home so we didn’t stick around long to watch that haha.
The following day we decided to spend more time on the Ring of Kerry. Our first stop was Ross Castle! It’s a dilapidated castle from the 1500’s that was partially reconstructed. Usually you have to pay for a tour, but apparently we were there during heritage week so we got in for free, holla!
After that we decided to check out a boat tour of the lake. It was covered thankfully, because it started raining. It really is no joke how much it rains there! We didn’t get to see a whole lot because it was foggy at that point, but the tour guide on the boat was entertaining, so that was nice!
It was lunchtime at this point so we headed over to Killarney National Park and hit up their cafeteria-style restaurant which was actually quite nice. And honestly, they had the largest selection of gluten free food I’d experienced since we got there! I was able to get pot roast, mashed potatoes, a toasted slice of GF bread with butter and a GF brownie…yum!! I’d show you a picture, but I scarfed that shizz so no pics were taken, sorry! Hahaha. As usual, the servings were HUGE so I didn’t finish it and had to take the brownie home for later because it was just too much. Then we got tickets to tour the Muckross House which is a beautifully restored tudor style mansion built in the 1840’s. It has 65 rooms and we got to see I think 26 on the tour. This was the longest and best tour we got to do on this trip, and that I’ve done so far in Europe. I highly recommend it, ESPECIALLY if you are a Downtown Abbey fan. If you’re familiar with that show, then a tour through this house that is so similar to the things shown on that show are going to blow your mind. It was really awesome. Of course, like most castle and palace tours, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside, but it was incredible. I would definitely say this is a must see if you’re visiting the county of Kerry in Ireland.
We walked over to the Petting Zoo after that on the other side of the national park because I was dying to pet a sheep. I know, weird, right?! But sheep are ALL OVER Ireland roaming around looking all cute and snuggly and I just wanted to pet one! Well this was the perfect opportunity because I get to pet three, I was pretty psyched!
For dinner we went back into Dingle (the first town we visited) by way of Connor’s Pass which is a very scenic and beautiful drive around the peninsula. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain again so we didn’t get the best views, but we did get to see a lot of beautiful natural waterfalls (this time without fools standing in them to block our shots lol). And of course, we saw more sheep roaming around very close to us by the waterfalls!
On our last day in Ireland, we checked out of the rental house and headed straight to Dublin. When we got there we went into the downtown area and headed for the popular Temple Bar. It was a nice place with great live music. The musician was so cool, Jeff sent him a pint of Guinness! We walked around Dublin for a while after that and then we grabbed some coffee before we headed to the airport… Irish coffee of course hahaha!
At the airport, we got settled in waiting for our flights and Lisa and I made a last minute visit to the restrooms when I saw the coolest thing… in the restroom, yes! It’s a hair straightener in the ladies room to freshen up while you’re traveling! I’m telling you, when I saw that, I was like “These are my people!! They get me!!” I can’t tell you how many times I wished something like this were available in other places so I could spruce up my hair when it gets frizzy, especially for certain events. Ladies with curly/wavy hair that you straighten, you know what I’m talking about! Now, I didn’t use this one, because I had no need to that day (Ireland water is WAY better on our hair -like US water- than the water in Germany that dries us all out, ugh.) But had I had a need for it, I gladly would’ve paid 1 euro to use this! Ok, enough about that.
This trip was super fun and really a great opportunity and another awesome trip in the books with our friends Eddie & Lisa. We all agreed that it was really nice to be in a country again that speaks our language! The simple joy of being somewhere again where you can read all the signs and the menus and communicate exactly what it is that you want/need and have people understand you is something we no longer take advantage of while living overseas! And of course one of my favorite things was just feeling connected to the island as part of my own Irish heritage. I’m sure I’ll feel this way when we visit other countries my ancestors came from, but my first experience with this was pretty spectacular! :)