Ireland is a-calling…

Ireland gets into your bones. It seeps into your pores. You feel warm and fuzzy inside when you think back on your time there and all that you saw. You immerse yourself in all things Ireland. You download an app to your phone so you can watch Ireland TV. You download a music app on your phone so you can listen to live Irish radio stations.

Wait, am I the only one that does that?

My wife and I went to Ireland for 2 weeks last September. It was our ‘delayed honeymoon’. We flew into Dublin, drove to Belfast, then Bushmills, then Sligo, then Killarney then Kilkenny then to Dublin. Basically, we overdid it but it was our first trip and we learned from that.

So what is on our agenda for 2018? After a lot of thinking and planning and entertaining the idea of maybe Iceland or Croatia or France or Belgium-we chose Ireland-AGAIN!

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Listen, I was excited for Ireland as we planned our first trip. But I had no idea that I would be SO enchanted with this beautiful country. We ran out of ways to describe the beauty of it. We started comparing it to famous supermodels. Was this area a Gisele or was it a Cindy? We would be driving in the countryside, turn a corner, and have the most magnificent views. There really should be signs on the side of the road to be careful when you come across these views. I was worried we would drive off of the road.

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The plan this next trip (September 2018) is to slow down. We want to spend a few days in Northern Ireland and drive the Causeway Coastal Route. Then head to County Sligo and stay in Strandhill for a few days. My wife really wants to surf so that will be on the agenda for those days. We didn’t realize that surfing was a ‘thing’ in Ireland and Strandhill seems to be a good spot for that. From there we are going to Dingle and will stay in town and see the area from there. Let me just say-in all of the places we visited last year Dingle was my number 1 favorite area. Driving on Slea Head was a highlight. I’ve never seen a more gorgeous area in all of my life.

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It was cold and windy and a bit rainy but that didn’t spoil our time there by any means. I wish we had more time there. I wish I could have explored Dingle town a bit more and photograph the colorful houses and spend some time in the pubs and the bookshops and explore. We took a boat tour and we were able to spot Fungie the dolphin and I was able to get some beautiful shots from the boat.

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I really just can’t wait to slow down and see Ireland. Really see it. Talk to more locals. Sit in a pub or restaurant or bookshop/cafe and chill. We found an apartment we’d like to stay at while in Dingle. It is right in the centre of town. We can park the car and then just walk the town, walk down to the harbour, see Fungie, have beer in a pub and not worry about driving after. I want to be on Slea Head as the sun rises and as the sun sets.

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If I can recommend anything when it comes to Ireland I’ll recommend this-really truly slow down. Don’t try to do it all. Pick a few areas and focus there. Talk to people, drink some beers (or in my case-some soda as I don’t drink), and do a lot of slow strolling around the cities you pick.

Most importantly-ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Ireland truly is majestic. I always use that term to describe it but it truly is. You won’t regret a trip to Ireland-EVER.

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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

My friends.

We survived Ireland.

For 2 years we planned, changed plans, revised plans, and we made it. We finally made it to Ireland. We spent a fabulous 2 weeks, driving around the Irish countryside. Ireland is as majestic as you would imagine it to be. Driving along the narrow roads, feeling like we were soaring through the mountains, waving to passerby, praying for fog just to capture a brilliant picture. You see Ireland in movies, in photographs but until you are there and breathing it all in you have no idea. Before our trip, I had so many people tell me that Ireland gets in your bones, that you’ll want to go back again and again and what do you know? They were right. I will be breaking our trip up into parts. None of which will be in order. I had to start with my favorite area, an area we only spent 1 day in, but an area I can see myself retiring in.

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On our way to Slea Head

The Dingle Peninsula.

It is the nothermost of the major peninsulas in County Kerry. Our way to Dingle was, of course, on Slea Head Drive. We woke early to drive from Killarney to Dingle. The first order of business though was to see Slea Head before the tour buses arrived. So we were on the road by 7am. We were staying in Killarney. It took us roughly 2 hours, mainly because we kept stopping to take pictures of the area. For future reference, when Google maps says it will take you 30 minutes to get anywhere in Ireland, I recommend you add another 30 minutes to that, you will stop for pictures-frequently.

I will admit to all of my readers that I did not drive in Ireland, my wife did. I can’t drive a manual, she can and it was cheaper than an automatic. So I had it good, I helped navigate (which wasn’t hard with a GPS) and oohed and aahed at the scenery while she tried to avoid driving off of a cliff while taking in the views.

While driving in Slea Head I was so amazed at the rough beauty of it. It was cold and windy the day we were there. Living there probably isn’t easy but it has its perks. There were times I felt like we were on the edge of the world. I was in awe.

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On the edge of the world-Slea Head

There were parts of the drive where we would stop to take it all in and we literally couldn’t get our doors open because of the wind. I’d roll down the window, hoping that I could keep my camera steady. I so badly wanted to take beautiful pictures of this awe-inspiring place. If you want to feel inspired, go to Slea Head. You won’t be disappointed.

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Photo from the car-Slea Head

After driving along Slea Head for what felt like hours, we made our way to the town of Dingle. What an adorable little town. Packed to the gills with tourists but we paid no mind. We had lunch at a little hole in the wall restaurant. I asked for vegetable soup, that is not what I got but I just ate some of my wife’s food and then we were on our way.

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Dingle Ireland

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Dingle, Ireland

We booked a boat tour to spot Fungie, the dolphin that meets the boats in the harbor. We went with the Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours, we booked them through the tourist office right near the pier. We were ‘guaranteed’ we’d see Fungie. We were not disappointed. Our boat only had about 8 people on it and I think that made it even more fun. Yes, we did see Fungie. A lot. He seemed to be teasing us. Other than Fungie, the views from the boat are outstanding. Incredible. Beautiful. Amazing. The boat ride lasted an hour, Fungie spottings throughout and incredible views. It was rainy and windy and cold but we had a blast. I think every single tourist on that boat was thrilled with the experience.

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Blurry picture of Fungie-Dingle

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The incredible view from the boat-Dingle

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The view from the boat-DingleĀ 

I was sad to leave Dingle. I was sad to drive on Slea Head again, knowing we were leaving and wouldn’t return during the trip. I know that the next time we go to Ireland, Dingle will be a spot we stay in for a few days. One day wasn’t enough. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of that beautiful area of Ireland.

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Slea Head

 

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I made a friend on Slea Head