Much later is better than never, right? I think the time to share holiday photos and stories has long expired by now, since we went away in July, but I still wanted to share the film photos I took on our holiday to Ireland and write down some of the places that we visited and just a few tips and tricks.
Merlijn and I went on a 10 day trip to Ireland in the middle of July, which is the time when you desperately hope the weather is going to be nice but secretly know that it’s going to suck. We had a very Irish experience with 9 out of 10 days of rain (my pink rain coat came in very handy, let me tell you), but ultimately it really doesn’t matter that much when you’re away on holiday together and you’re discovering a whole new country.
Even though I always wanted to go, I had never been to Ireland before and we both knew we wanted to travel around a bit and not just see one city or one country. So we decided upon three cities in three different parts of the country, namely Dublin, Galway and Cork, and we traveled to and from the places via public transport. As we are poor students (rip) we had a budget to stick to and couldn’t go full out on travel costs or fancy dinners, but I really don’t think you have to do that to really discover a new place or to have that feeling that you’re on holiday.
The first destination on our trip to Ireland was a bit of an obvious choice, but ultimately the most convenient, its capital Dublin. We flew from Schiphol airport to Dublin Airport and from there on a we took the city shuttle to where we were staying, which we were both incredibly excited about: Trinity College. We went for the ultimate student experience and stayed at the campus accommodation of the university, which is situated right in the city centre of Dublin, really beautiful and actually very affordable. We stayed for two nights in one of the campus buildings, which means you have your own bedroom but you have to share a bathroom, kitchen and living area. This was absolutely fine because we didn’t spend that much time in our accommodation anyway, as we were exploring the city the whole day.
One of the things we always love to do when we’re on holiday is to go and see a movie. To some people it might seem as a big waste of time to go to the movies while you’re on holiday, but I think it’s so much fun to go to a movie theatre that is completely different from the ones you always go to at home, to see if they have different snacks and popcorn toppings and different movies that are screening (I also love to go the supermarket when I’m on holiday somewhere just to see what different things they have in stock). That night we actually had perfect timing and we went to see the live registration of MUSE’s latest tour, which was a one-time event and just so much fun. Cue Supermassive Black Hole…
When in Dublin, definitely go and walk through the Temple Bar district with all the bars, music and shops (and tourist traps, beware!). As far as museums go, and Dublin has quite a few, I would really recommend the Chester Beatty Library, especially if you love books as much as I do, because this is a museum ABOUT BOOKS. Yeah, you read that correctly, an entire museum full of rare books, manuscripts and art and it’s free admission. The best of both worlds.
From Dublin we took the train to Galway, which took around 2,5 hours and a ticket was around €20,-. If you’re on a small budget just like us, taking the bus is much cheaper, but will take a little bit longer and is much less comfortable than taking the train. We stayed at The White House, a little B&B right by the seaside and around a 10 minute walk from the town centre. The day we arrived in Galway was actually the first and last day of sun and warm temperatures during our trip so we enjoyed it to the max with walking by the seaside and the infamous colored houses (Galway Girl‘s music video, anyone?) and ate loads of mint chocolate chip ice cream.
In Galway we went to the movies again and again we had perfect timing because while we were there the Galway Film Festival was going on, called the Galway Film Fleadh. That day it was not just raining, it was actually pouring down so we just wanted to take shelter in the local movie theater. Because of the film festival there were a lot of different movies that were screening and also some premiere screenings and we went to see Damsel, the new Zeller brothers’ film. Currently it doesn’t have a Dutch release date yet, but if you get a chance to see it, definitely do because it is absolutely hilarious. And one of the main characters is a fat little pony called Butterscotch, which let’s be honest, is enough for me to give the film an immediate 5 stars.
For going out to dinner in Galway, there are more than enough options on the town’s high street, but I would really recommend Pomegranate, which is a mediterranean all-you-can-eat restaurant. For only €9,50 you can eat really delicious food and some great vegetarian options too, which are hard to come by in Ireland.
During our stay at Galway we planned a day trip to the Aran Islands, which are three little isles in the bay of Galway. We visited the biggest of the three islands, Inishmore, and after a short bus and ferry ride we arrived in the little harbor. The best way to get around the island is definitely by bike, which you can hire immediately upon arrival at Aran Bike Hire, and from that point you can cycle to the seal colony on the north side of the island. 10/10 would recommend because seals are great as they are basically water doggos (doggi?!) and here you can easily spot them from the cliffs doing what seals do best: swimmin’, chillin’ and sealin’. Then cycle on towards the prehistoric fort of Dún Aengus, situated right on top of the cliffs, nearly falling into the water below. It’s a steep climb, but definitely worth it for the amazing views from the cliffs.
Our last destination was the city of Cork, all the way to the south of Ireland. Our bus ride from Galway to Cork took us around 4 hours, which was very cheap but also very uncomfortable, but delivered us safely to the Parnell Place bus station. From there it was only a 15 minute walk towards our hostel, Blackmore Court, which is great if you’re on a budget, because it’s super close to the city centre while still being very affordable. Off season it’s a student accommodation, so when you stay here over the summer break you get a very basic bedroom and you share a bathroom, kitchen and living area. Again, it’s great if you’re on a budget because you can prepare your own meals and safe a little money, which you can then spend on a day trip to… Blarney Castle.
One of my highlights from our trip to Ireland (if not the highlight, let’s be honest), was a visit to Blarney Castle and Gardens. Even though the tickets are quite expensive (€14,- for a student ticket) and the grounds are very touristy, I would still highly recommend visiting Blarney Castle. I think over the Summer all of the tourists staying in Cork and in the county flock towards the castle to kiss the infamous Blarney Stone, which then supposedly bestows you with the gift of eloquence. Personally I think it’s just really gross to kiss a stone millions of others have kissed before you (SUPER GROSS RIGHT??!!), but the castle and its grounds have so much more to offer than just the Blarney Stone. You can walk through the entire state, which includes several gardens (flowers! So many flowers!), a lake, caves underneath the castle and woodlands.
And that concludes our trip to Ireland. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been back, but we’ll always have the memories, and ton of film photos, to look back on. And playing Galway Girl in moments of weakness, that too.