9.4.2015 – 9.12.2015 || Shannon | Lahinch | Galway | Clifden | Derry | Belfast | Dublin
Dougherty’s go to Ireland! We had a window of opportunity to take a vacation before embarking on a new job so within a matter of a couple of weeks a 7 night trip to Ireland came together. Below are some highlights and recommendations from our trip!
Over the course of the week we drove 1,065.2 kilometers. We spent 7 nights in 6 different locations marked on the map below in pink. We flew into Shannon and flew back home from Dublin, driving counterclockwise on the map below.
Frankly, that was a little too much driving but well worth it to cover the amount of ground that we did . We were able to see some notable sights, Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, both Belfast and Dublin for contrasting cities, while also getting a chance to see where the Dougherty family is from way up north in County Donegal.
The trip started with a later than anticipated arrival at the Shannon airport so immediately upon picking up the rental car we drove towards the Cliffs of Moher. It was a picture perfect day!
Throughout the course of the trip there were several striking churches and other landmarks that were worth pulling over for.
Driving from Lahinch to Galway.
Driving from Galway to Clifden
Crazy narrow roads along Sky Road and into Roundstone
Greeted by quite a few tagged sheep on the way back into Clifden
Our lodging, The Quay House, in Clifden is worth a shout out for its quirkiness and amazing photo ops!
The Quay House was a short walk into town for dinner at Mitchell’s.
A friend recommended Lowry’s pub in Clifden as a post dinner pub stop. We watched a soccer match and stayed for some live music.
We spent the entirety of the next day driving to County Donegal in Northwestern Ireland to explore the towns of Moville and Greencastle where the Dougherty Family originates!
Driving into Greencastle
Quiet spot along the water in Greencastle
After all of that driving we were now well positioned to head into Northern Ireland.
Giant’s Causeway was stunning and really incredible! Great audio tour, several trails and paths with various ability levels to get a bird’s eye view of the incredibly scenery that is below. We walked the entire yellow trail and the red trail carved into the cliff/mountain.
Tip: take the red steps back to walk on top of the Giant’s Causeway back to the visitor center.
If you walked through the entire audio tour and take the red trail back to the visitor center, you will be rewarded with quite the view of the other trails that you just covered.
Next up was the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge about 7K from Giant’s Causway. It is a short walk to the bridge from the parking lot and visitor center. It was rather windy so I found it to be a somewhat terrifying 20m walk across the rope bridge that is 30m above the rocks below.
Just look how far away the rope is from the right side of the plank, it was windy, I swear!!
The bridge itself is the attraction but there is a little island on the other side to take in the view of the coast from partway out in the water.
Next up was Belfast. One of our favorite outings of the trip was the Black Cab Tour that we took in Belfast. We drove around in an old London taxi cab while receiving a history lesson as told by an Irish man from the North. A few stops included murals, gates/walls, the peace line, and a tribute to the Queen of England.
Sitting in the Black Cab learning about the gate in front of us.
Active gate still in use today and one of the many commissioned murals
Next up was Dublin, the final leg of the trip. We were unable to see the Book of Kells due to heating and cooling issues that day but we could explore the Trinity College library and walk around the campus. I would have spent more time at the library in college outside of mandatory athlete study hall if it looked like this!
We had more time to explore Trinity College and pretend it was our first day of school.
We walked ~3km from Trinity College to Kilmainham Gaol, a prison museum where many of Ireland’s political prisoners were incarcerated, tortured and executed.
Our Irish luck ran out on the 7th and final full day of the trip. Once it started raining it didn’t stop so we spent the remainder of the trip exploring Irish pubs and staying out of the rain.
- Cliffs of Moher
- Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
- Carrick-A-Rede in Northern Ireland
- Black Cab tour in Belfast
- Trinity College in Dublin
- Kilmainham Prison tour in Dublin
Notable Food Experiences
- Sea Salt Cafe in Doolin near the Cliffs of Moher – has since shutdown
- O’Looney’s in Lahinch
- ArdBia @ Nimmos in Galway
- Mitchell’s in Clifden
Notable Drink Experiences
- Blake’s Brasserie in Galway
- Lowry’s in Clifden
- Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast
- Bittle’s in Belfast
- Kehoe’s in Dublin
Below is a snapshot of our day by day Ireland itinerary and where we stayed.
Question: We covered the top part of Ireland, what did we miss on the bottom half of the map?