Ireland by car and the Wild Atlantic way

Ireland from Dublin all the way around and back in 7 days!

I ferried into Dublin on March 16th, 2018 on Irish ferries from England and the port of Holyhead. The ferry cost around 40-50.00 Euro and not a bad price and it docked in the Dublin harbor. The ferry was very large and nice equipped with a bar, restaurant, store and various other things to do. You could go upstairs onto the deck and see Dublin as it approached and smell the Irish sea! After docking in Dublin as the sun was setting I decided to head into the city center before going to my Airbnb so I could get something to eat. The city was busy with the anticipation of Saint Patrick’s day coming the next day!

I decided to stop in this sort of American Icon place with racing bikes and Harleys! They were playing 80’s music outside and inside and it seemed to have a nice menu. It was called I believe Thunder road. This was where I ordered my first Guinness in Ireland and wow how good that tasted!! So creamy and rich and full of the flavors I love. I have had some good Guinness in the states but this by far was at the top of the list! With the Guinness Brewery just minutes away I would expect nothing less! I ordered the wings which were also amazing and they came with Chips (fries).

I then went to my Airbnb and met Ronald and his wife who were amazing people and very welcoming. They lived north of the city center and the taxi was roughly around 25 Euro from the city center. After getting settled in it was time to go to bed for the big Saint Patrick’s day to start!

The next morning I woke up to a lovely breakfast of eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit and more. This was all included in the price of the Airbnb and it saved on money for a meal! I then headed downtown by bus for Saint Patrick’s day! What a crazy excitement on the streets and people dressed in all kinds of costumes! Laughing and smiling and having a great time! People from all walks of life enjoying each other! I walked pass the iconic Temple Bar (which all the locals told me not to bother) I went into the Nordic pub and a few other places I am afraid I cannot remember the names. It was just walking and stopping into a pub and having a drink and then out to the next pub. It was an amazing experience and one that I recommend for everyone to do at least one time! The night ended with rain and cold… I decided to get a cab and I left my phone in the cab! That is a whole other story but I ended up getting it back the following day!

The next day I woke up to SNOW!! YES SNOW!! Lot’s of it! I headed out to get my rental car and also get my cell phone back from the tax driver! So thankful I got that back! I was going to head to my friend Billy’s who lives in Carlow but with the snow he told me to stay one more night in Dublin. I booked a hotel near the Guinness brewery so that I could take the tour. My plan was originally to take the tour when I returned to Dublin in a week. So things worked out as they should like they normally do while I am traveling.

The next day I went to take the tour at the Guinness store house! One of my bucket list items for sure! Check this off the list! What an amazing adventure through the brewery of my favorite beer of all time! The tour was well worth the 25.00 Euro and the free tasting and also the free pint! I drank mine at the top in the gravity bar! The tour took you through the history of Guinness and how it has become what it is today! After drinking my pint in the gravity at and taking in the 360 view of Dublin I decided to have some dinner at the Guinness restaurant. This is where I had some lovely smoked trout with Irish brown bread and some of the best Guinness Irish stew I have eve had!! WOW!! The flavors were amazing and spoiling myself for this dish was the best idea I had! Well enough of the Guinness store! You will see a lot of it in the video!

I left Dublin after the Guinness tour and drove to my friend Billy’s to stay a couple days and spend some time. Let me tell you, getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road and making weird turns took me awhile to get used to! About three days in I think I got the hang of it! I got to Billy’s late and met him at a local pub/hotel for a few pints before heading back to his house. He has a beautiful house in the Irish countryside and Billy was so accommodating! From breakfast to buying the pints and more. I will forever be thankful for him helping me out! The following day we drove down to Kilkenny, Ireland only about 30 mins away. We went to the castle and walked around downtown. Stopped and had some lunch that was delicious and then for a pint at a local pub I believe called the bank! Eventually I ended up leaving Billy’s and headed to the Rock of Cashel that has some great history! It was about 8.00 Euro to get in but a nice lady that owned a café in town gave me a coupon to get in free as long as I went to her café after for a café or sandwich.

The Rock of Cashel is a beautiful place but the castle itself is fairly run down. Missing it’s roof and some other sections. But the grounds and scenery are beautiful. If you are near Cashel it would be worth a quick stop and the little village and the café is nice also.

Next the trip took me from there to the Dingle Peninsula where I stayed in a nice B&B called The Old Anchor B&B in Annascaul, Co Kerry. You can contact them at www.oldanchorinn.com. A beautiful little place in a small village just off the wild Atlantic Way. They offered a beautiful breakfast included in your stay. Their names are Brian and Beata Lucey and please tell them Backpacker Mike sent you. Beautiful people and very nice. Brian will explain to you all about the Wild Atlantic Way and how you can walk part of it or drive it. He will also give you maps and suggestions. Thank you for the wonderful stay.

The next it was off in the rental car driving the narrow country roads again and along the Wild Atlantic way. The wind was blowing strong and the misty rain of the Atlantic felt like needles hitting your skin from the strength of the wind. Driving the cliffs of the way on the narrow roads proved to be stressful especially when passing cars approached you. some spots where it was most treacherous there were pull over spots to give the other cars room to get around. At one point I got out of the car to look at a memorial of a cross with Jesus and other figures and the wind was so strong it almost blew me over! The way lead through beautiful farms and rolling hills on one side and high cliffs that lead to the Atlantic ocean on the other. After driving the way around the Peninsula I headed back past the Inn and down to the 1 inch strand to walk to beach. Not the most pleasant beach walk but I could at least say I touched the Atlantic on the coast of Ireland! The wind was so strong I couldn’t even get my DJI SPARK drone off the ground. I imagined how beautiful the video would have been from the drone on a beautiful day on the 1 inch beach!

I stopped in the small café there on the beach to warm up and get some café. I then got back into the car and continued on to Limerick and Gallway and eventually to Killybegs, Ireland in the North east coast. I got in late and it was a beautiful fishing village where I could see the catch of the day being brought in on the fishing boats. The smell of a fishing village was in the air and hit my senses as soon as I got out of the car. After I checked in I went down to the hotel pub and enjoyed a Guinness and a glass of Jameson to ease some of the tension from a long day of driving on narrow roads and the wrong side of the road for me. I was getting more used to this driving though with each passing day! The next day I arose with the sounds of seagulls screaming through the window as they flew around the marina searching for scraps of the fish mongers as they prepared the catch from the night before. I looked out my window and saw the beautiful glistening of the sun on the bay and the smell of the ocean air filled my lungs. It was truly a beautiful morning! I then headed down to a local café for something to eat and then I headed on my way. 30 mins south of where I was lied the Donegal castle and one I thought would be a beautiful castle to visit. After arriving it was around 8 Euro to get in and I found that it was more of a family residence castle. It had been destroyed a few times so that the English could not use it as an outpost. It had been around since about the 8th century but only part of the original structure remained. After leaving here I headed north east towards Belfast to the Giants Causeway and then the birthplace of the Titanic!

Arriving at the Giants Causeway I had an idea of what to expect but those expectations soon gave way to the realization that this was larger than I could have ever imagined! The vast beauty of this place is unspeakable and bigger than life! The views were amazing and I could only wish I had more time to explore this beautiful area! You could literally spend all day here walking and exploring! The rock formations were amazing and the cliffs were so high it almost made you feel like you were looking from the perspective of a small ant. The video clip in this video of my Ireland short film does not do it any justice!

The time was getting late and the sun was setting! It was time to head to the Airbnb! While driving to Belfast in search of a nice Airbnb I booked just north of Belfast I drove through a park region that was surrounded by high mountains and streams. It was a beautiful drive and the roads were wide. I then approached a sign that said checkpoint ahead. This was an old sign that had not been removed when the UK dissolved the border crossing from the republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland. Not long ago you would have gotten stopped and asked for documentation and e subject to possible searches. This no longer exists and as I kept driving I could feel the influence of England on the roads and in the structure of buildings and more. The round abouts were more wide. The streets were wider and stop lights on the round abouts were actually a welcoming sight. Finally reaching the Airbnb late around 8:00pm I was greeted by Lilia who was very nice and then shown my room. A few particulars she showed in the room and also the wifi password. I then left to find something to eat for a late dinner. The Airbnb was a pleasant place with a nice bed and in room bathroom. Breakfast was included and she cooked to order whatever you would like to eat. I chose the full Irish breakfast the morning and she definitely delivered!

After eating my full Irish breakfast it was off to Belfast to the Titanic Museum and after getting lost on the Google maps a few times with the strange roads I finally found my way to the museum. The tour was very nice and explained a lot of the history of the Titanic. We walked out to the dry docks where Titanic was built. I learned that the workers only made on average about 3 pounds a week. They had no health insurance and didn’t get paid if they stayed out sick! So they continued to work through illness and injuries! The riveters would go deaf from the constant pinging of the hammers on the rivets. Some would get shards of hot metal from the rivets in their eyes and had to pick them out and keep going because there was no eye protection. Some workers would climb up to 400 feet to work on giant beams that were fashioned as ladders. They had no safety harnesses either. Amazingly enough through all this there was only 9 deaths during the construction of the Titanic. This number pales in comparison to those who lost their lives when it sank. The day was filled with history and also sadness. I felt as though the crew of the Titanic were a little more “cocky” so to speak than other ships because they believed the Titanic was unsinkable and therefore didn’t worry about icebergs as much as smaller ships. This would be their demise…

The next morning I woke up to another beautiful breakfast and headed to the Carrickfurgus castle in Carrickfurgus, Northern Ireland. What a beautiful castle this one at one point taken possession of by King Robert the Bruce in the 7th century from the Norman’s it became a major trade port and also a castle that was attacked many times through out it’s history. It was a beautiful stop on the way back to Dublin to finish out my trip of Ireland.

After the castle and a bite to eat at the local café it was off to Dublin again! A beautiful drive on mostly wide roads and highways. It was nice to finally get back to Dublin again. Sad that the trip was coming to an end but happy that I was able to accomplish so much in a short time! A trip that will not soon forget!

Arriving back in Dublin I checked into my room and parked the car. Went to a nice little pub for dinner and went back to the room for some much needed rest and video editing and more. The following day I turned in the rental car and got a taxi back to the Jameson experience. What a lovely tour this was and worth the money of roughly 20 euro to go through that includes 3 shots of whiskey for tasting that included Johnny walker black, Jack Daniels and of course Jameson. At the end you also got a free Jameson tasting of your choosing. It was a beautiful experience and I recommend also trying their whiskey that is only made and sold for the distillery and one you cannot get anywhere else in the world.

After Jameson I wondered down the Dublin streets to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and when I entered this church I was amazed at the details and architecture of this church. Built I believe in the 12th century it held a rich religious history, sculptures and amazing paintings. I highly recommend this visit also and the cost is fairly in expensive. I believe 5-7 Euro.

The next day I had to pack up and head by Taxi to the airport as I was headed to Amsterdam but my beautiful Journey will never be forgotten around Ireland. The beautiful people, culture, Country roads and farms I was able to see and experience were amazing. My great friend I met on the Camino Billy and his generosity to put me up and show me around was very gracious! I would love to make it back some day to spend hopefully 30 days exploring more of Ireland and during better weather! A more detailed trip to experience the depths of Ireland and it’s beauty!

Thank you for reading and watching and joining my journey! I thank you as always for the support!

Let’s experience this world together!

Backpacker Mike

#livingthedream

 

 

4 replies
  1. Adria Martinez
    Adria Martinez says:

    What a beautiful and thorough trip that was Mike.
    Yes you have taken us along, thank you!
    A beautiful country to visit for sure and during St Patrick’s it does not get any better!

    Reply
    • backpackermike
      backpackermike says:

      Thank you so much! I am glad I was able to make you feel like you were along with me! Thank you also for the kind comment! ❤

      Reply
  2. Dylan Wright
    Dylan Wright says:

    Looks like you had a good time! I’m going to visit Ireland with my friends in late summer. I wanted to ask what kind of transport did you use? We would like to travel by public transport but we were advised to take a car here 14Cars Ireland Tell me how convenient is public transport between cities? And will not it be a problem to rent a car if we are less than 25?

    Reply
    • backpackermike
      backpackermike says:

      Sorry it took so long for me to respond. Was having some issues with logon info from my design team. Had to regenerate a new password. But I actually rented a car in Ireland because I heard the public transport was a little difficult to work through. The only issues with renting a car is the hold on the credit card. If you take the lower cost insurance they will put depending on the company a $1400.00 USD hold on your card until you return the car and then it is returned almost instantly. But renting the car was so worth it! I drove the whole country in a week. But 2-3 weeks would be better. If you have any other questions I should be able to respond a lot faster now! 🙂

      Reply

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