We’ve had an exciting first week of adventuring in Europe! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe this is real life.
Our wifi signal up until now has been spotty at best so forgive me for a bit of a long post. We’re staying in the tiny Irish farming village of Doolin right now and have the best wifi we’ve had yet (who would have guessed?) so I’m taking advantage and will do my best to recap what we’ve done this far as succinctly as possible. It’s been an action packed week!
Last time I wrote, we had just arrived to the Isle of Skye in Scotland after a Harry Potter filled trip day of travel (if you missed that post, you can read about it here).
These were some of the highlights from our day on Skye. The pictures just don’t do it justice…
1. The view of the Black Cuillin mountains from Elgol
We picnicked here for lunch and were only attacked my biting midges a little. Well, mostly I was attacked. They pretty much stayed away from Blythe. I am always a favorite for all sorts of bugs and animals. I’m basically a Disney Princess.
But check out this view! I’ve seen a lot of pretty places in my life and this one goes down on my favorites list.
2. Overlooking the ocean at Kilt Rock
This was my second time to visit this site and it was even more beautiful than I remember.
3. The most hobbit like bridge outside of Middle Earth
These sorts of things are everywhere on Skye. This island looks and feels other-worldly. And check out the pretty Scottish heather!
And speaking of heather…
Holy purple heather! This stuff is everywhere in Scotland right now and I’m not complaining.
4. Getting to see all of these incredible places with my wonderful husband!
Just look at that smile. He’s such a catch!
The next day was our travel back to Edinburgh day, but of course it wasn’t a boring express trip back. We made some awesome pit stops along the way.
We visited the famous Eilean Donan Castle
If these pictures look familiar, you’ve mostly likely watched any of the following movies: Maid of Honor, James Bond-The World is Not Enough, Highlander or many more. It was cool to see in person! It was pretty rainy when we were there, so we spent most of the visit admiring the castle from inside it’s warm, dry coffee shop.
A Loch Ness lunch break!
We’ve been to Loch Ness several times, but have yet to take a Nessie hunting tour! We’re saving that special experience for when our parents visit Scotland with us in October.
We were lucky to get a break in the rain and I snapped a few quick pictures while the sun shown.
The area around Loch Ness is so flowery and beautiful, a passerby would probably never guess that there was some kind of ancient beast dwelling in the waters…
Or is there?
The great Scottish debate… People on both sides are passionate about the topic. I’ll leave you to your own conjectures.
We also made two short pit stops in Inverness and the cute town of Pitclochry. We spent one last night in our lovely little flat in Edinburgh (whaa!) before flying to Dublin!
Anyone who knows me knows that Ireland has been at the absolute tip top of my travel bucket list for years. My sadness from leaving Edinburgh was lessened tremendously by the knowledge that Ireland was our first Europe stop.
Dublin is a town passionate about beer, music, and a good time. We had a blast.
We started our first morning with church at the ancient St Patrick’s Cathedral
Founded in 1191 (that’s a number that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around), we were honored to be able to attend a Sunday service in a place where people have worshiped for nearly 1000 years.
We spent the rest of the day sightseeing!
We loved the Trinity College Long Room
Just wow. I don’t think words can accurately describe the beauty of this library. It’s any bookworm’s dream.
Blythe wouldn’t leave.
But I was finally able to convince him because next on our list was…
The Guinness Storehouse!
As I said before Dubliners (and the Irish in general) are passionate about their beer and Guinness definitely tops the list as their favorite.
So naturally, next on our list was to drink some Guinness.
For this tremendous milestone, we chose the most famous pub in Dublin…
If you go to Dublin and don’t have a Guinness at Temple Bar, did you really go to Dublin?
Fun atmosphere, great folk band, and a delicious beer surrounded by locals and tourists alike. This is the essence of Dublin.
The next day, we took a tour bus to Northern Ireland (which is part of the U.K.). After all my tears on the plane as we left the day before, we really weren’t gone that long before setting foot on U.K. soil again.
On our day trip we saw:
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
An old fisherman’s bridge that you can pay to walk over.
Also, that’s Scotland in the distance! We we were only 19 miles away!
We opted to get a few pictures, then walk the other direction to get some sea views (and Scotland views) instead.
Ireland is so green!
The Dark Hedges
If you’ve seen Game of Thrones, you’re likely familiar with this site.
As you can see from the massive crowds, they’re a very popular thing to see. I did my best to get a shot without a tour bus in it.
The Giant’s Causeway
Our favorite stop of the day! I can’t say enough how much we loved seeing this. It’s been at the top of both of our lists. Volcanic activity creates some amazing formations.
We also stopped by Belfast along the way.
Once we got back to Dublin, we visited a pub called the Brazen Head which has been around since 1198… gah! How is that even possible?!?
We, of course, enjoyed another Guinness while listening to an Irish folk band.
Dublin showed us a great time.
A much as we’ve grown to appreciate cities, these country bumkins still feel more at home in the peace and quiet of the rural areas. The next day, we took a bus to beautiful little Doolin on the west coast.
Like many before us that have visited this tiny town, we are in love!
This is the hostel we’re staying in along the Allie River.
We spend our evenings drying out next to this roaring fire.
We’ve had ample time to relax, read, and soak in the peacefulness.
And, of course, we’ve been soaking in the views!
Doolin is close to the famous Cliffs of Moher on Ireland’s west coast. A local farmer is building a hiking path all the way along the cliffs from Doolin to the cliff’s highest point at 700 feet. He leads a walk every day and it is absolutely phenomenal!
If you ever find yourself in the area, go walk with this man. No one will show you the area or tell you about Ireland as well as a local. Also, the best views of the cliffs are not from the visitor’s center, they’re from the farm land.
If you want to experience the Cliffs of Moher, let Pat show you his world.
He was kind enough to share his flag with us so we could play Irish for a moment.
And that brings us up to the present!
If you’ve made it this far, kudos to you! You deserve some kind of a reward… maybe like adding some money to your travel fund?
Heck, I feel like I deserve a reward for keeping track of all these things! I am on vacation after all! I think I will reward myself tonight with another Guinness in a pub while listening to an Irish folk band. If you’d like to join us, it sounds like you need to start planning your own Irish get away!
Until next time,