Why We Chose Ireland
My husband and I decided to take a special anniversary vacation this year. Where to go and what to do? Before we set out to answer these questions, we knew we might hit a snag, mainly because we often have different ideas of what a vacation should be. He always wants tropical and relaxing, and I want mountains and hiking. How were we going to compromise on this?
The short answer — we didn’t. We both did a little reading on popular destinations for 2015 and stumbled upon Ireland as a completely unique choice. And now I’m going to share with you why we are so happy we did.
- The People
The Irish people are wonderful. They are friendly, welcoming, and fun. They seem genuinely happy that you have chosen to vacation there, and they are interested in taking the time to chat with you. It’s of course helpful that they speak English, so you don’t have to worry about difficulties conversing. Well, this is actually not completely true.
The Irish accent is beautiful and lyrical sounding, but it can be tough to understand at times. Luckily, the Irish are not lacking in patience, and when we had to ask them to repeat something, they were happy to oblige. Also, they use different words to describe things than where do here in America, and we enjoyed learning their lingo.
- The Scenery
I cannot say enough about this. We drove across most of the country, and all of it is beautiful. Every time you round a corner, there is another breathtaking view waiting for you. Here are a few of the highlights we saw:
- Dublin — The city has green spaces, historic and modern bridges with interesting construction, incredible architecture, and new trendy areas as well.
- Rock of Cashel — This includes several medieval buildings which sit up on a hill. We spotted it while we were still several miles away.
- Cliffs of Moher – This was definitely our favorite. Check out the photo above to see why.
- Ring of Kerry – This is a beautiful drive around the Iveragh Peninsula.
- Blarney Castle – Yes, we kissed the Blarney Stone. The grounds are stunning, and the view from the top of the castle is amazing. Take note that you are pretty high up while waiting for your kiss. The lady in line in front of us had a panic attack due to the height.
Cool Old Stuff that Appears out of Nowhere
This aspect of the scenery amazed me the most, because it’s so different from the United States. Compared to Ireland, the U.S. is a relatively young country. In Ireland, you will find yourself driving down a road, almost any road, and then all of a sudden you are approaching the remnants of a medieval castle or fortress. They are frequently just sitting on the side of the road. You can walk through some of them. Others are chained off and don’t allow admittance. When we came across the first couple of structures like this, we stopped to take pictures, but if we had done this every time, we never would have reached our destination.
Before leaving, we were told not to get excited about the food in Ireland. This was completely erroneous information. We had incredibly delicious food the entire time we were there. That’s not to say that there were not a couple of Irish dishes that we didn’t rate very high, but honestly I can really only think of two.
The first dish is mushy peas. These are typically served with fish and chips and are exactly as described. They are green peas that have been mashed up. We weren’t fans.
The second dish is black pudding. This is a type of sausage that is served with a traditional Irish breakfast. It is black in color, due to the fact that it is made with blood. It also contains oatmeal and some spices. Again, I wasn’t a fan.
Let’s talk about the good stuff! This includes traditional Irish bread, a delicious vegetable stew were ate at a medieval banquet, yummy smoked salmon, and other wonderful types of fish, including monkfish, shrimp, and salmon. The seafood was often cooked in wonderful sauces, accompanied by delicious vegetable options and some of the best salads I’ve had anywhere. My favorite dish was Irish Fish Pie. I know it sounds weird, but it was flavorful and melted in my mouth.
This is a tricky one. Ireland can have quite a bit of rain, so you need to do your homework if you want to go when you will have the greatest amount of sun. That’s normally June through July when it’s fairly warm. The nice thing about Ireland’s weather is there are never extremes in temperature. Head out the door with a light jacket that repels rain, and you’re good to go.
During our trip in June, the temperature was usually in the upper 60s during the day. For us, this was perfect weather for trekking through castles and across the countryside.
I would be remiss, and my husband would be really disappointed if I left this one off the list. Even if you are not a beer drinker, you have to try the Guinness when you are in Ireland. It’s not like any other beer you will ever have. For some reason, and this seems be shrouded in a bit of mystery, the Guinness in Ireland tastes better than anywhere else in the world.
I am not a beer connoisseur, but I can honestly report that the Guinness in Ireland is more flavorful and smooth than any other beer I’ve tried. If you don’t believe me, conduct your own taste test when you get home. We did, and hands down, the Guinness in Ireland wins.
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