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I was just leaving the bus from Dublin Airport to the center when an older lady walked up to me: “Howya (Irish slang for how are you) – welcome to Ireland! Where are you from?” We started a nice conversation and she walked me all the way to my hotel. This was the first but certainly not my last experience with the friendliness and helpful attitude of Irish people.
Last July I took 3 weeks off from work to travel across Ireland – starting from Dublin all the way around the Island to beautiful Galway. Dublin is a city that has everything to offer what a capital should have. If you’re into books (like me) you will be most definitely impressed by the famous library of Trinity College with old historic books everywhere. You will be fascinated by the smell and the fabric of these partly 100 years old documents.
If you want to have some really good food you should check out the Farmer’s Market (lots of different street food) and the Market Bar, a huge hall with great tapas and other really good food for small prices. In the evening the real Dublin opens its doors. If you’re into the touristic attractions you should go to the Temple Bar district with one pub next to the other. If you’re more into the real Irish experience I recommend a small pub called Devitts Pub. Directly in the center it is a place where mostly Irish people hang out, play music and sing old traditional Irish songs. If you’re lucky you can even tap your own Guinness at the bar.
After having some great days in Dublin we travelled down to Cork, the second largest city of Ireland. Cork has some nice medieval streets and houses and a huge farmers market where you can buy almost everything. From Cork you can take a short trip to Kinsale, a beautiful small town with a nice harbor. Here you can go on a hike up the Heartbreak Mountain (I think it should be called Heart-stop Mountain) and to the historic Charles Fort. The nightlife in Cork has a lot to offer and you will find folk music and Irish dancers almost everywhere.
The days went by and we travelled to Tralee / Killarney where we spend most of our time. This is just beautiful: You have the ring of Kerry and the Dingle peninsula where you have the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen. Palms are growing due to the golf stream and the meadows are so green like you always see on TV when they show commercials. Cows and Sheeps are everywhere so be attentive when driving by car.
The Killarney National park is beautiful and a great place to go by bike. Along the Ring of Kerry you can stop and go for a hike, between sheeps and cows and up the cliffs to have the best view you ever had. There are also quite a few beaches where you can rest and have a picnic. Everyone who visits Ireland should have seen the ring of Kerry and what it has to offer. The towns are quite small but Killarney for example tries to show their guests a good time. Every year in July the locals are throwing a mid-year party and celebrating Christmas once more. They have Santa clauses and snow machines so I am sure you will have a blast.
We also went to the famous Cliffs of Moher – only in my case there was a cliff of nowhere: Most of the people are staying in this area for a week just to get one day that isn’t misty to actually see the beautiful cliffs. I had bad luck that day but great weather the whole trip so I was okay with it. After spending a great time in the southern part of county Kerry we went all the way up to Galway. I have to admit I liked Galway the best: It’s a small student town with a harbor and the ocean right in front of you.
There are medieval streets and houses, beaches, parks – simply everything you need to have a great time. Most people you will find on the main street St. Augustine. There are pubs, shops and restaurants real close to another. You will find street artists everyway and the nice thing about it is: they are really talented! You can find interesting and fun people everywhere as there are students from all over the country going to the National University of Ireland, located in Galway. Also you can travel from Galway to the Aran Islands by ferry and discover a great countryside with wild horses and cliffs. Galway is definitely worth a trip! My three weeks went by really quick and it was indeed one of my nicest, funniest and most beautiful vacations I’ve had so far.