I said in my previous post about Ireland that I would share about what we did outside of Dublin. The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s biggest natural attractions, and we originally did not think we would be able to make it there, as they’re located in County Clare, on the complete opposite side of the island from Dublin. However, we decided that we needed to take advantage of the chance, and we spent the day driving across the country. This turned out to not only be a great way to see more of the country, but the highlight of the entire trip. It was a bit surreal driving through Ireland because if I didn’t know any better, we could have easily been driving through rural Virginia. Other than the occasional castle ruins and more flocks of sheep than cows, the landscape was identical. Either that or I’ve just been away so long that I forget what Virginia looks like. But I don’t think that’s the case. We saw some beautiful landscape, and got to listen to a lot of great Irish history, folklore, and music along the way.
The cliffs were amazing, and there’s really no way to describe them. There was a hiking trail right along the cliff edge, and we had a blast tromping through the mud and picnicking in actual grass. It was just incredible.
We had a quick stop down by the coast on the way to Galway and enjoyed seeing the Atlantic Ocean from the West Coast.
On the way back we stopped in the City of Galway for a bit, but honestly we could have spent more than a whole day there. It’s considered the cultural capital of Ireland and I could see why. It’s full of shops and pubs and interesting sites that make it worth visiting. We spent our time here enjoying our first Irish Coffees in Ireland (they taste the same but it’s a novelty experience).
Our last day was spent in a small town called Howth, a bit north of Dublin. We took the train up there and explored some of the less-touristy parts of Ireland. Howth is a small fishing village and was very quiet and very beautiful. Sitting there by the coast, I never would have thought that there were parts of Ireland that looked that way. There is also a very popular hiking trail along the Howth cliffs that, had we known about, we would have taken full advantage of. Next time!
We wandered through the streets, enjoying the scenery, ate some tapas, and popped into some shops. It was here that we discovered every American’s greatest dream who has been living abroad for an extensive period of time. Snacks. We hit the jackpot with goldfish, poptarts, kool-aid, JIF peanut butter, Aunt Jemima pancake mix, marshmallow fluff- you name it. Our greatest joy was over the discovery of Ranch dressing- this is not a hot commodity in Europe and none of us have found it until this moment. Our joy left as quickly as it came as we realized we couldn’t bring a full bottle of Ranch dressing back on the plane with us. Our hearts were broken. We consoled ourselves by purchasing eight bags of goldfish and opening them immediately upon leaving the store and eating them while walking down the street and into a pub. This find was one of the happiest moments of the trip and you really can’t understand what it’s like until you live without for so long. The only way we would have been happier was if there had been a box of Cheez-Its in there. And if we could have gotten Ranch.
Our excursions in Ireland were packed with beautiful scenery and amazing landscapes. It was nice to see grass and trees and a different type of coastline than what we see in Malta. Everywhere we went we were met with wonderful surprises and lots of joy. Ireland is lovely and I want to go back immediately.