Last summer, we were sitting on our couch watching movies on Netflix. Bowls of salty popcorn & ice cold Diet Cokes in hand. The movie we chose was based in Ireland, and after watching I said the words, ” I’ve always dreamed of going to Ireland.” to which Kyle’s jaw dropped & he admitted the very same thing.
We grabbed the laptop & started dreaming. Looking for different places we wanted to visit, average cost of a trip, airfare, etc. We knew that we wanted to spend 2 weeks there, and we knew it needed to be after wedding season. We decided on October & started an Ireland savings account. It was happening.
The dates were set. October 5 – October 17th. 12 whole days of pure adventure.
We fell in love with the country, with the people, with the food, with the scenery. It truly was a fabulous 12 days & we already want to go back!
I don’t think we realized HOW much we needed a vacation. Does that make sense? In a pattern of hustling & working, we had become accustomed to a fast moving, full schedule, busy week lifestyle. But having 12 days with almost no plans, except for adventuring, really did wonders for our stress level, for our relationship, & for our outlook on life.
I’ve been asked SO many details about our trip, so I thought I would put a few things down here that we did, and highly recommend! Along with sharing my favorite images!
The Details :
Costco Travel Vacation Package – We have had multiple clients of ours who booked their honeymoons through Costco & had nothing but good things to say. When researching, we checked out a lot of options, but are so glad that we booked our Hotels + Car through Costco. One, we got a GREAT deal, and we also got to stay at 3 different places around Ireland in order to make the most of our time there. Breakfast was included every day at all of our hotels, we were able to upgrade our vehicle to an automatic, & we were able to upgrade one of our rooms when we arrived at the hotel. Completely happy with all parts of the package that we booked.
The Westin – Dublin, Ireland
Right in the middle of downtown Dublin. Across the street from Trinity College. Walking distance from St. Steven’s Green, Grafton Street, The Temple Bar, & all of the shopping we could have ever wanted. We walked everywhere in Dublin & the people could not be kinder. We even found a cute hipster donut shop called “The Rolling Donut” to get some snacks for our road trip to the other side of the country. We stayed at the Westin in Cabo for our honeymoon & have stayed at many other Starwood properties over the years. One thing remains the same. They are the best smelling hotels in the entire world. And their beds TRULY are Heavenly. I loved starting our trip here – because it felt a little bit like home. The smell when you walk in is familiar, the beds are amazing, and they truly have the best customer service.
The Lodge at Ashford Castle – Cong, County Mayo, Ireland
Hands down our favorite part of our trip. Kyle surprised me with an upgade to their most beautiful room. Complete with a copper bathtub, fireplace, balcony overlooking the water, and of course – an Espresso Machine. Praise. We fell in love with a restaurant called Cullen’s at the Cottage. So much so, that after our first dinner there – we made reservations for another dinner. The best part of the lodge was that it was so mellow. The pace of life was slow and easy. We met such wonderful people. The Lodge is on the same property as The Ashford Castle – one of the most beautiful castles in all of Ireland. We were able to walk the grounds, go on a boat tour of the Lough Corrib (one of the largest lakes in Ireland, we thought we were on the ocean), and have dinner in the Dungeon of the Castle for my birthday. Highly recommend. Plus, it’s walking distance from Cong Village. The CUTEST village with an Abbey from 1200. We loved wandering around Cong, definitely one of my favorite memories.
The Malton – Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland
This hotel is MASSIVE. Walking distance from downtown Killarney. Which is basically like a smaller version of Dublin. Pubs galore which means the BEST food. Holy smokes. Killarney, you did not leave us hungry. We loved driving through the Killarney National Park, so much beauty. One of our days here – we took a road trip to Cork & Middleton. Super fun to explore & we even stopped in Cobh – the last stop the Titanic made & also one of the most colorful cities in the world. SO MUCH BEAUTY. We also met Mary Mac – the concierge at the Malton. She was our favorite. She got us connected with Ted – a jaunting cart owner, who took us on a horse & buggy ride through the Gap of Dunloe. Highlight for sure. She also sent us to her favorite restaurant Bricin, for our final dinner in Killarney, and the owner took such wonderful care of us. Afternoon tea was basically like Thanksgiving, because we drank so much tea & ate so many sweets we definitely needed an afternoon nap.
Car – Enterprise – We upgraded to an automatic, because most vehicles are manual. Being on the opposite side of the car & the opposite side of the road took a little adjusting, but Kyle did GREAT. Highly satisfied with our decision to purchase a Garmin GPS. We were going to rent one – but for the extent of our trip, it was actually cheaper to buy one with Ireland Maps already loaded on. We never got lost. However, our Garmin loved to take us the scenic route once in a while. We ended up on some super remote one lane roads through the middle of the country side & it was where some of the best views were. Loved getting off the main roads and experiencing the beauty of Ireland.
Flights – British Airways : We booked Premium Economy seats & are SO glad that we spent the extra $$. 10 hours on a plane is a long time & with a 6’2″ husband, extra legroom is a MUST. The meals were the best airplane food we’ve ever had, the seats were comfortable, & we had substantially more legroom than regular economy. We flew from Seattle direct to London (LHR) & then had a 1 hour flight to Dublin.
We posted a lot of Instagram photos throughout our trip & I had multiple people ask me what our secret was to having SUCH an amazing time. You know? I think the best part is that we went in without an agenda. Besides our hotels – which were in 3 different places across Ireland – we didn’t have a set itinerary. We of course had some bucket list items, but woke up each day & decided on things as we went! It was so nice to not be rushed & to be able to work with the weather. I am not naturally a spontaneous person, but I loved being spontaneous in a completely new place.
Restaurants : WE HAD THE BEST FOOD. We relied a lot on Trip Advisor for recommendations which we were very happy with! Along with some recommendations from our concierges, TripAdvisor was our guide. We had breakfast included with our room rates every morning & all 3 hotels did not disappoint. A traditional full Irish Breakfast is a LOT of food, but they allowed us to customize to make sure we had what we needed without needing an immediate nap. What did we eat in Ireland? Well, just about everything. Okay. That’s a lie. But we had a LOT of pub food, which was code for sandwiches, soup, stew, lots of French fries, and I ordered every Beet Salad I could get my hands on. Kyle LOVES lamb, so he ordered it multiple times. We had lots of fish & chips, perfectly cooked steak, curry, fried chicken, burgers, etc. We are total foodies, so we wanted to make sure to try lots of different things. One thing is for sure. IRISH BUTTER WINS EVERY AWARD EVER. We are not 100% addicted to Kerrygold butter, straight from Ireland. It comes from Grass Fed Cows & it is so rich & delicious. You would think it’s worse for you than traditional butter, but news flash, IT’S NOT! Just one more reason we love all things Irish.
Favorite Restaurants : Cullen’s At the Cottage, Crackbird, Bricin Restaurant, The Hungry Monk Café.
We absolutely loved our time. The people we met. Laura & Sinead from Cullen’s at the Cottage. Ashley & her husband who own The Hungry Monk Café, Mary Mac from The Malton, Brian from the Lodge at Ashford Castle, Claire – the photographer who took photos of us on the cliffs, we met some friends who are thoroughly missed now that we are back on this side of the world. So grateful to social media which can keep us connected – even from afar.
Now, for the images.
The first set is what we took on our Cameras. The second set is from our phones! 🙂
TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.
THE CONG ABBEY.
THE CLIFFS OF MOHER.
THE GAP OF DUNLOE – KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK.
NOW, FOR SOME iPHONE PHOTOS!