A road trip around Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, from Belfast to Dublin
  • Day9

    Howth

    July 6 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    We get picked up by our friend Clodagh, who has just arrived back from holiday in France. She takes us to her mums in Clontarf, north Dublin, where we get freshened up, have tea and biscuits, before taking Joss to the nearby Dublin Airport for her flight home.

    Clodagh then gives a tour of Clontarf and nearby Howth. Just north of Dublin, its a lovely little harbour town where we went for a lovely sunset and fish & chips.

    A fantastic end to a wonderful road trip around Ireland.
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  • Day9

    Guinness Brewery

    July 6 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    After the whiskey distillery we visit the massive Guinness brewery at St. James Gate to do the tour. Straight away this is a noticeably bigger operation, with a small queue at the doors.

    Once inside, you realise the size of the operation, with a huge shop, and seven floors of history of Guinness, beer making, their advertising history, transportation, and finally a tasting of their famous black stuff in the almost 360 degree glass walled bar overlooking the whole of Dublin on the seventh floor. Tbe beer is actually a dark red when you hold it up to a bright light. We spent a good three hours doing this tour.Read more

  • Day9

    Pearse Lyons Whiskey Distillery

    July 6 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We find this distillery fairly close to the accommodation, and the fact it was inside an old church intrigued us. We get a video history of the church, before getting a tour of the church yard, church and finally a tasting.

    St. James’ Church dates back to the 12th century. The present church was constructed in 1859–1860 in a Gothic design with a cross shape, a tower and a spire at the southwest corner. In 1948, the top 30 feet of the church spire was removed due to structural problems, after it was hit by lightening. The church was deconsecrated and used for several things, but fell into disrepair.

    Finally in 2013, Pearse Lyons an Irish entrepreneur and his wife Diedre, who had been running a bourbon distillery in Kentucky, returned to Dublin to renovate the church into a whiskey distillery. They replaced the missing spire with a glass one that lights up at night, and opened their doors in 2017. The brought two small batch copper stools with them from Kentucky. They have been christened Mighty Molly and Little Lizzie in honour of the Lyons family’s distant relatives.

    We get a tasting of three of their whiskeys, as well as a gin produced for them.
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  • Day8

    Temple Bar area

    July 5 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Time for the pub tour 😉😜 and a quick stop in Rick's Burgers, the best handmade burgers in Dublin or even everywhere.

    Ended up in Lundy Foot's initially we thought for a couple of beers. We were seated on what turned out to be the dancefloor for a couple of traditional Irish dancers. Excellent.

    Returning from the toilet, I noticed there was a bit of a jamming session in the upstairs bar. So sat near and enjoyed it. The guys eventually invited us into their circle. Turned out to be a group of current and ex-council workers who meet every six weeks, and have been doing so for the last eighteen years. Felt honoured to join them.
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  • Day8

    Gin & Tonic Bus Tour

    July 5 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We met an old-fashioned London Routemaster bus outside the Hugh Lane Gallery on Parnell Square and after being handed a very decent-sized gin & tonic, we headed upstairs to take our seats. There are a number of tables of four laid out along the top deck, as well as a pair of two-seaters at the very front which give you some great views during the tour.

    There’s no food as such, although each table comes with various nibbles and a bowl of popcorn which is refilled throughout as needed. The staff come upstairs every now and again to check that everyone is happy but besides that, you’re left to enjoy the tour while music is played over the speakers.

    Each tour lasts around an hour and a half, where you’re taken on a route through the city centre along Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square and James's Street, before making a pitstop in the Phoenix Park where you're served a second round of gin & tonics.

    The looks of jealousy on the faces of passengers on the other tour buses as we toasted them was hilarious. 😂🍸🍹
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  • Day8

    Walking around Dublin

    July 5 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Continuing on we pass through Merrion Square and St. Stephens Green Gardens and briefly the shopping centre to see the glass roof and huge clock. We also walk through Grafton Street pedestrian area and over the Liffey on the Ha'penny Bridge.

  • Day8

    Walking around Dublin

    July 5 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We arrive in Dublin early evening, get refreshed, have some food and a few drinks. The next morning we return the hire car. We had travelled 863 miles (1380 km) around Ireland, not bad going.

    Walking back into the centre we walk around Parnell Square Garden Of Remembrance, before walking down O'Connell Street and along the north side of the River Liffey to the east.

    We return via the south stopping in Trinity College
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  • Day7

    Rock of Cashel

    July 4 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Another hour north of Mitchelstown Caves we again turned off the main road to The Rock of Cashel. As we drove through the nearby village, the Rock stood towering over it.

    The Rock of Cashel (Carraig Phádraig), more formally St. Patrick’s Rock, it is also known as Cashel of the Kings. Reputedly the site of the conversion of Aenghus the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD. Long before the Norman invasion The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the High Kings of Munster, although there is little structural evidence of their time here. Most of the buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries when the rock was gifted to the Church. The buildings represent both Hiberno-Romanseque and Germanic influences in their architecture.

    Being one of the most visited Irish visitor attractions, its also very busy, but not unbearable. There's plenty of land around the site for everyone.
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  • Day7

    Mitchelstown Caves

    July 4 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    Heading north out of Cork towards Dublin, after an hour we turn off to visit the Mitchelstown Caves.

    There's a small car park next to a farmhouse, with the ticket office the sitting room window 😊 It turns out the same family discovered and have looked after these caves over the years.

    Mitchelstown Caves was discovered on the 3rd of May 1833, by Michael Condon who was quarrying limestone when he accidentally dropped his crowbar into a crevice. He stooped down to pull out a few boulders to retrieve the bar, next minute he found himself looking down into a vast series of underground chambers, passages and caverns.

    Michael was determined to explore his discovery, accompanied by two boys named Sheely, using only candles, a rope and a burning turf tied to a string to judge depths of crevasses, they cautiously entered the cave. After spending hours exploring, the cave turned out to be far bigger than they were expecting and in attempting to return to the safety of the entrance their candles burned out leaving them in complete darkness for twelve hours before the father of the two boys found them. This is how this astonishing phenomenon of nature was discovered, which might otherwise have remained unknown forever.

    In the early 1960’s the decision was taken to develop the cave in order to make access easier. Electricity and footpaths were installed and completed by 1972, making it the first show cave in Ireland developed for the public. During development great care was taken to retain the character and natural beauty of the cave and environs and let nature speak for itself.
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  • Day6

    Cork at night

    July 3 in Ireland ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    We arrive in Cork, and are staying at another friend from the Cuba Tour, Clodaghs flat. Unfortunately she's on holiday in France, but here friend and fellow Cuba Tour member Veronica let's us in.

    She then gives us a tour of the city, which has a lot of English influences due to it being their Navy base for a long time. We finish the evening off with a meal, some pub visits and another night time tour. Thanks Veronica 😂Read more