I’m not a fan of ferries or any boat but getting across to Ireland would involve taking a 2am ferry from Pembroke to Rosslare. After arriving to the wrong terminal, we blame Oliver’s mom for that one! Finally at the right one, we hunker down for a long wait and ferry ride. Arrive in Dublin a little hungover (no alcohol consumed) and set out to see the city even though all we wanted to do was sleep. It was the 100 year anniversary of the Irish Resistance where independence was won from the British Empire, so the city was decorated with posters, flags and various events throughout the city….. a reminders of their history. A visit to the National Museum of Ireland gave us a good understanding of Irish heritage and also their struggle.
One of the highlights of the visit to Ireland was Cliffs of Moher. We decided to park further from the visitor centre on the far end of the cliff in a lot run by a family home at a cost £2. A far cry from the £6 per adult at the visitor centre. The cliffs run about 8k along the coast and the views are magnificent. Its a windy and chilly walk along the cliffs with shifting clouds and breaks of sun that add a constant changing scenery. Its an amazing sight of intimidating cliffs and crashing waves, we get sense of how small we are compared to nature. The loads of tour buses are visible as you get closer to the visitor centre, so we decided to stop for a picnic and head back the same way we came.
Lisvandorne, an old spa town missing the thermal water, it was a little strange. We went looking for it as most travel brochure still advertise…..nothing! Like a ghost, pumps were stopped a long time ago as we were told by a waitress at a hotel. A little disappointed at no waters we found that this small town also has a speciality for smoked salmon with a great little gourmet shop….unexpected but good. The hostel owner recommended a local pub for drinking and listening to Irish music where we spend the evening.
The Harbour hotel in Castlegregory in Kerry County complete with large Newfoundlander dog named Lucy who at 10 years with multiple bypasses, the onset of blindness and going deaf, was everyone’s favourite resident. This was our first adventure into the frigid Atlantic….with wet-suits on it lasted maybe 5 minutes. A beautiful setting but the rain and wind came in and didn’t stop.
Dingle Peninsula was where we spent the next week with some of Oliver’s family friends, best part of the trip as we had a chance to explore the area with their local knowledge. Most time spent at Inch, a long beach with a great sand break and the waves were consistent so we managed to body board for a few days, good job I had my $20 wetsuit! The clouds and sun are ever changing and being warm one second can turn to a shiver the next. With great views of the peninsula, a mix of locals and tourists walking the beach, a local surf school and small cafe…a pretty good place to spend our days.
We also made it to the Skellig Micheal, after a rough sea ride and a couple of gravol. Absolutely beautiful! And for the die hard fans this was where Star Wars was filmed, which ruined the feeling of such a beautiful place to see people with lightsaber and robes reenacting scenes. Nevertheless an impressive place with abundant bird life and spectacularly preserved beehive monk houses where a community of Irish monks lived between the 6th-13th centuries.