For our first travel post, we’ll write about the Republic of Ireland, more than four-and-a-half years after visiting the gorgeous island. This one’s probably not going to be too long as there are probably many things we don’t remember which means what’s in here are the things that made our trip memorable.
This was a relatively easy trip as far as planning goes since we bought a airfare-accommodation-car rental package. This was also our very first international trip together (we were dating back then) and we’re still together so I guess it worked out just fine.
We flew in and out of Dublin from San Francisco where we had a rental car waiting, it was a Clio if I remember correctly. Also, I remember that the typical Credit Card Collision Damage waiver did not work in Ireland so we needed to purchase insurance from the rental company. As far as phone service, we used our trusty T-mobile which has free international text and data with a really minimal call charge (something like 20¢ a minute).
We were in Ireland for about 8 days and got lucky with the weather. It only rained one day when we were in Kylemore Abbey. Man it pours when it rains (unlike up here in Northern California). From Dublin, we drove via Limerick to Killarney and up to Galway via Connemara and back to Dublin. In Dublin, I remember walking down Grafton street, William Street and Stephen street, the Rock store on Grafton (and no, we didn’t go inside! and yes, I remind Shayan of it every time I reminisce about Ireland!), oranges from Spain, shopping at Tesco market, miles and miles of greenery as we drove out of Dublin, the narrow, narrow ‘country’ roads, driving down Corkscrew hill, farm animals everywhere, gorgeous (but thorny) yellow flowers on the side of the highway, the outside of the Dunguaire castle (unfortunately we got there after closing but fortunately the outside was stunning), the Ross Castle in Killarney, the disappointment of not finding any ice glacier anywhere along the Gap of Dunloe hike (the hike itslef was spectacular with sheep, ruins and water bodies everywhere but I was expecting a Glacier at the end of the hike!), the Garderobe a.k.a the Castle potty at Bunratty castle in County Clare, the magnificent Cliffs of Moher (and no we didn’t spot any Puffins!), the Kylemore Abbey (especially the trek up the tea room in the pouring rain). We’d booked a boat ride to go up to Skellig Michael which unfortunately didn’t pan out due to rough seas.
Foodwise, I miss the Lemon Cake at Brudair’s bakery in Limerick, bread (& butter pudding) at Kiely’s in Tipperary, my favorite candy store – the ‘Olde Sweet Shop’ in Killarney, the best orange cake at Ivy Cottage near Cliffs of Moher, the drool-worthy pies at The Pie Maker in Galway, the best falafels at the Galway Open Market and most of all, I miss the fresh creamy pot of milk that you get when you order tea.
This was the first and only time we booked a all-in-one trip which included flight-accommodations-car rental. We flew into Dublin and picked up our rental car, a Renault Clio, from Dan Dooley Rent-a-car. We usually decline the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) from the rental agency as our Credit Cards cover it however, there was no CDW coverage for car rentals in Ireland thru our Credit Card provider so we had to purchase that separately.