6.26.2018

Travel Guide for Ireland

I am so excited to be sharing my Killarney, Ireland travel guide with you guys FINALLY! I had an amazing time in Killarney with my husband and we got to experience so many things. Before going, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I hadn't heard a whole lot about Ireland prior to our visit, so I have to admit that I went in kind of nervous about the culture and just the unknown. If there is one thing that traveling abroad has taught me, it's to have an open mind because you seriously just don't know what you're going to experience until you're there! You can read about some other things I learned traveling abroad here.
 
Alright lovelies, let's dive right in! Bare with me! There's so much to talk about and so many photos. Hope you enjoy! XO

Where Did We Stay?
We stayed at The Europe Hotel and Resort and oh my goodness, it was beautiful! First of all, every single room in this hotel has amazing views because they are all facing the beautiful world famous "Lakes of Killarney". Literally every morning I woke up to the mountains looking totally different because of weather changes and what not. Our hotel room was huge; we had a sitting area, desk area, and a huge bathroom with a tub and walk-in shower. I loved how our bed faced the window because I could just wake up in the morning and see the views. It was so relaxing!

This hotel had restaurants and an AMAZING spa (I had a great facial and my husband got his very first massage that he said was great also). Again, all facing the amazing views of the lake. The spa had an outdoor heated disappearing edge Jacuzzi facing the lake and I could have spent an entire day just in that Jacuzzi. Everything about this hotel just screamed serenity and relaxation. If that is something you're looking for on your vacation, I'd highly recommend this hotel!
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WHAT SHOULD WE EAT?
If you read my London Travel Guide, then you would already know that the dining in Europe isn't something I would rave about. Now, Ireland does have some signature dishes that they partake in (black pudding, boxty, Irish stew, Barmbrack, etc.), but I am just not that adventurous when it comes to food. Google what black pudding is and you'll understand what I mean! So, when I am traveling, yes, I do desire to try new things. However, if it is too unfamiliar, I probably won't be eating it.

Now there is one Irish food that I LOVED and I cannot wait to try to make it here at home: SODA BREAD. It is so delicious and I actually had the pleasure to try some homemade soda bread when we went to dine at a traditional Irish family's home (more on that later). I was told that many families have their own recipes for soda bread, but the way it is eaten remains the same across the board: sliced with butter (homemade butter if you're lucky!).
This scone was very very tasty and of course, the tea was amazing too!
I forgot what this pasta was called, but it was delicious. Across from me, they are having a ham and cabbage dish; another Irish traditional.




What Should We Do?
So many cool things to do in Killarney! I'm going to start with the highlight of my trip in hopes that if you skim through everything else, you will actually read this part!
Have Dinner With An Irish Family
This was by far the BEST part of our trip, in my opinion. We were able to get a true feel for what life is like in Ireland because we were able to go to an Irish family's home and dine with them. To be completely honest, I thought I was going to hate this experience. I was so afraid of what was to come that I almost wanted to play sick to get out of going. You see, as I mentioned before, I am not all that adventurous when it comes to food. So, going over to a traditional Irish families home without any knowledge of what we would be eating scared me to death! I didn't want to come across as a rude American. Anyway, it turned out great. :)
So here's how it worked. Maureen, which was one of our hosts, picked us up along with two others from our hotel and drove us to her home which was about 20 minutes away. She lives on about 180 acres and it is just beautiful greenery as far as the eyes can see! Her husband John met us at the door once we got there and welcomed us with open arms. We then got a quick look at their farm and their many goats and we learned that John had actually built their home from the ground up, as well as his parents home that was on their grounds as well. We met their children and then we mingled and talked a bit while drinking a glass of wine. After that, it was time to sit down for dinner.

It was funny because Maureen started telling us about how she was upset because the program did not allow for them to be as traditional as they would have wanted to be with the food due to dietary restrictions and different things like that. Me on the other hand, hearing that made me so relieved! I was able to enjoy dinner and great conversation and we had an amazing, beyond words time. John was very insightful and he offered many gems of advice to myself and Marcus. Maureen was one of the sweetest people I've ever met and she had many insightful things to say as well. After dinner, we had tea and dessert and then John and Maureen took us to a small, quirky pub in their community because they said they serve the best Guinness in ALL of Killarney. I believe they were right because I didn't really like Guinness (I'm not a beer drinker anyway, but when in Ireland...you know the rest), but when I tried some at this particular pub, it was so smooth and almost had a coffee taste to it. Anyway, it was a great life changing experience all around and I would highly recommend if you're able to do something like that. I don't know what company we went through to book this, but I did some research online and it looks like you can book something like that through this website

All great food that I wasn't afraid to eat. :) Most of the veggies they grow on their farm!
Tea and dessert. :)
John, myself, Maureen, and Marcus. I seriously love them!

Go On a Pub Crawl
This was a lot of fun and we almost didn't do it because I don't drink all that much and I just thought it would be a waste of time. However, the pub crawl was more about the experience than the drinking. Our guide gave us a lot of cool information about Ireland and we got to see a traditional Irish dancer plus hear some traditional Irish music. All while on the tour! I enjoyed myself for sure. Then of course we went to a speakeasy bar and learned how to make traditional Irish coffee (which is so good) and I even learned how to pour Guinness the right way. It's a very eye-opening experience and I think if you're in Ireland you should try it.
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Go to A Traditional Irish Pub
So this was fun also! It's kind of like their version of a club or a bar here in the states. We ate good food and then a live band was performing some great music so people were up dancing and having a great time. They had these super long glasses of beer and people were trying to chug them and that was a sight to see because it was A LOT of beer. The pub we went to was called The Jarvis Rest and I believe it is one of the oldest in Killarney.
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Go Into Downtown Killarney for Shopping
We had fun this day as well! It was cool to see all of the shops in downtown Killarney that had homemade items as well as different candy shops and coffee shops. The VAT tax that I talked about here applies in Ireland as well. So go ahead and shop shop shop!



Fun fact: it actually is good for you. We learned that they used to give Guinness to pregnant women in Ireland because of the source of Iron it provides. Go figure!

Visit Ross Castle
 Ross Castle is beautiful and we actually did not go inside, but they do allow you to so you guys should go inside if you ever visit! We rode a horse and carriage to Ross Castle and then we rode a little speed boat back to our hotel via the "Lakes of Killarney". Again, beautiful views all around. I seriously can't say that enough!









Visit "Ladies View"
Ladies View is a scenic panorama view on the Ring of Kerry. It was given the name "Ladies View" by Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting back in 1861 during their royal visit. They were so in awe of the view that it was named after them. We had to take a bus to get here and we had to go on scary roads also. I mean at one point, I seriously thought the bus was going to tip over the edge because the road is narrow and has many twists and turns. However, once we got to Ladies View, it was definitely a sight to see! The wind was at an all time high the day we went and I'm not sure if it's like that all the time, but be careful if it is! The wind almost whisked me away!





Phew! Okay this is pretty lengthy, but there was so much information I wanted to share and I didn't want to leave anything out that I felt was of importance! A couple quick tips:
  • It rains more here than it does in London, so always be prepared for rainy weather. It doesn't really stop much because the Irish look at the rain as their friend!
  • Be kind. The Irish are some very nice people and it is the sort of thing that is refreshing. We don't want to go over there and make them think their kindness is wrong. Let's spread the love!
  • Wear comfortable shoes when doing any of the activities. Ireland is pretty much all fields of greenery and you don't want to be uncomfortable.
  • Try the Guinness! I told you guys I'm not a huge beer drinker, but you can't go to Ireland and not try the Guinness. You should really try Irish coffee too! :)
 Okay! I think I have covered everything I wanted you guys to know about Ireland. I hope this post will inspire you to visit. It is truly life changing! Have you ever been to Ireland? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments! :)





Thank you so much for reading! XO

Please Note*: Photos marked with please note* do not belong to me.

21 comments:

  1. That is such a beautiful place..thanks for sharing!

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  2. The pics are beautiful, and it sounds like you had a great trip! I would have been scared to try dinner at someone's home as well, but I'm glad it turned out well!

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  3. This looks like such a fun trip! I would love to visit Ireland one day

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  4. SUCH a fun trip! I need to add some of these things to my list when I hopefully visit next year!

    Rachel
    www.hello-her.com

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  5. I have always wanted to go to Ireland. It looks like you guys had so much fun!

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  6. I think Ireland is next on my bucket list. I hear such good things about Galway and Dublin!

    Megan | www.pipmegan.com

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  7. This was the mother of all travel guides and now I need to plan my trip to Ireland asap! And holy yum, that pasta looks delish haha!

    xo, Sara

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  8. What a great guide! Ireland definitely looks like a dream!

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  9. Love this guide. I have been wanting to go to Ireland for a while now. It's on my bucket list. Definitely have to check out a few of these spots.

    oxo,
    Iesha aka Lesh
    LivingLesh.com

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  10. Ireland is on my list- it looks like you had such a great time!

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  11. The grounds on your resort and all of the spots you visited look so breathtaking!

    xx, Danielle | Pineapple & Prosecco

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  12. Ireland is definitely on my list of places to visit!!

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  13. This looks like such an amazing trip!! I'm dying to visit now!!!

    Brittany,
    www.lawyerlookbook.com

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  14. It looks like you two had a fabulous time on your trip!! Thanks for sharing all your travel tips!

    xo, Laura

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  15. Thanks for sharing! I'll def add Kilarney to my list for the next time I'm in Ireland! I was there 3 years ago but only in Dublin!

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  16. This looks like such a fun trip! I love that you were able to meet and visit a local family. That sounds so amazing to be able to eat in their home! I love your trip-thank you for posting!!

    XOXO
    Cathy

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  17. My fiance and I literally JUST booked our first trip to Ireland for next month! Thanks for sharing so many great recs!

    xx Mollie

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  18. Looks so amazing - I'm bookmarking this post for future reference...my hubby & I would love to go someday!

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  19. Everything looks and sounds so amazing! I am super jealous as I have been dying to go to Ireland. Glad y'all had such a great time!

    xo Laura Leigh
    www.louellareese.com

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  20. I have been dying to go there! Looks amazing!

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  21. It's always been a dream of mine to visit Ireland. It looks just so magical and beautiful! Even if it's misty and rainy a lot of the time, all those rolling green hills have my heart. And the accents? Swoon! Plus the food is divine! I'm glad you got a chance to eat with a local family! I bet that was such fun! Thanks for sharing everything about your trip!

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