During my time time abroad, I made sure to see as much as the world as possible (and what I could afford!). I made sure to travel throughout the beautiful country that I called my home for three months as much as I could. In no particular order, these were my top seven favorite places to visit.
- Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are exactly what they sound like. Located on the west coast of the country, these cliffs face the Atlantic Ocean. The views are astounding. The beauty of nature will simply take your breath away. Going on a nice sunny day will make the experience much more enjoyable. You have to hike on uneven ground to get to the best views. It can be very muddy and slippery on an overcast day. Because of how high up the cliffs are, you must be very careful. A strong gust of wind or placing your foot in the wrong spot, can easily lead to one falling. Besides that danger, it is an absolute must for all to see if you visit Ireland. I’d just leave the young children at home. During the summer months, you may catch whales during their migration. Puffins occupy the rocky bases of the cliffs and can be seen during the warmer months as well.
- Dublin City
I’ve recently written about my trip in Dublin, highlighting my favorites of the day. In Dublin, you can find something to do that will peak everyone’s interests. There’s Phoenix Park with it’s elegant gardens. Dublin Castle for the history buffs in your life. Dublin Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. The MGM lion actually lived at Dublin Zoo – it’s one of their claims to fame! There’s several old churches and cathedrals. You’ll also find museums for almost everything – wax figures to viking findings.
- Blarney Castle
Blarney Castles hold the famous Blarney Stone. If you kiss the stone, you’ll leave the castle with great eloquence or skill at flatter. Kiss it twice, you’ll have twins with your next pregnancy. Three times and it’s triplets. So kisser beware! To get to the stone, you must climb the stoney, slippery, and uneven spiral staircase. At certain points, my friends and I almost crawled up the stairs, not wanting to misstep and fall. In order to kiss the actual stone, you lay on your back and bend backwards over the side of the top tower. They have two men up there to assist you and hold onto your legs. They also have bars for you to hold onto as you bend back. If you’re afraid of heights, I don’t recommend looking down while you do this!
- Rock of Cashel
The buildings and graveyard of Cashel are built on a stony plateau. The Rock of Cashel was the seat of the kings of Munster until 1101 when the fortress was donated to the church. The oldest building is the round tower, dating from 1101. The tower cannot be accessed due to safety reasons. In 1127, Cormac’s Chapel was built and still stands. Because of the chapel, the grounds are covered in gravestones, dating from 1101. Some of the stones are so old they cannot be read. Inside the visitor center is a tiny museum with artifacts found during renovations and excavations. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Rock Of Cashel. Her guestbook signature and the pen she used are on display in the museum as well.
- Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth
These three burial mounds lay in close perimeter to one another. These are the largest, still standing Irish burial mounds. Newgrange is the most popular and you can take a tour to visit the interior. Knowth was used by Irish kings to set up their fortresses. Yes, people used to live on top of and in old burial mounds. At Knowth, you can climb on top of the mounds and even army crawl through the one. Now Dowth, is the least visited tomb of the three. The first two are owned by the state. Dowth is on a farmer’s property and has been left to nature. Newgrange and Knowth have been preserved throughout the years. Dowth has been overgrown by nature and its entrances have been overgrown by shrubbery.
The name Glendalough means “Valley of two lakes” and it is exactly that. The nature trails take you to two gorgeous lakes, the higher and lower lakes. The upper lake is the second most photographed nature site next to the Cliffs of Moher. As you walk the trails along the lake, you can find hidden monuments and small buildings in the woodlands. Along with the lakes, there is a monastic settlement founded in the 6th century. In the settlement is the round tower. The tower stands 30 metres high and the entrance is 3.5 meters from the base – you’d need a ladder to get inside.
Kilkenny is a beautiful small town in Ireland. It is home to the Smithwick’s brewery
for those of you who are beer lovers. As for historic monuments, in Kilkenny you can find historic Kilkenny Castle, Canice’s Cathedral, Black Abbey, and the Rothe House. You can also visit the Butter Slip. This small alley was used to make butter. For some reason, regardless of the time of year, the air is always a constant cold temperature. Just perfect for making better. The city also has its own history with mysterious witches who were able to escape from prison without a trace.