Ireland and Scotland Travel Guide
Ireland and Scotland -- I Will Be Back!
This is a bit of a throwback, but my constant desire to go back to Ireland and the daily routine of flipping through old photos of our trip, has been making me want to do a travel guide on this amazing country.
Growing up in the Midwest, I have always had a strong love for Illinois and Indiana. I was lucky enough to travel to some pretty cool places with my family, but I was always ready to get home after exploring new places. There is no place like home right?! But something was different about Ireland and within the first few days, I was thinking to myself that I not only would have to come back, but I could see myself living there.
Both my parents, my brother, his fiance, my boyfriend, and my brother's best friend and girlfriend all came along for this amazing adventure! Family vacations are one of our favorite things and this one tops the list as one of the best yet.
How we did it:
- Rented a van for 8 people.
- Booked our flights.
- Booked some bed and breakfasts and hotels across the country -- A new one for almost every night.
Yes we did do some research on what to do before we left, but we didn’t make anything for sure until we were there, in the moment. This was our first trip where we have done something like this, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We had the opportunity to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted and just explore the beautiful places around us.
If we were driving and saw a cool place we wanted to stop, we stopped. We met locals along the way, almost died driving up the most narrow mountain on the opposite side of the road, conquered our fear of heights (Okay maybe that was just me), and had a blast with the people we love. What more could you ask for?
I am going to go city by city to give you the details of everything we did and with each word and photo you will be wanting to book your flight. These are out of order as I couldn’t pick just one favorite place or thing that we experienced:
- Dublin: Low key city that reminded me a lot of Indianapolis vibes. Indy has always been an easy to get around city, not too noisy and very upbeat city. Dublin was very similar, just a little bit louder and most people didn’t seem to sleep. The culture and energy here was amazing, and the Guinness beer didn’t disappoint.
- Glenarm: A tiny tiny town that we stopped at along the coast. We ended up staying a lot longer than we expected due to the good beer and amazing conversations with the locals. Yes, I am absolutely missing a Guinness from Ireland right now.
- Ballycastle: Rope Bridge from hell. Okay maybe that’s just because I am truly afraid of heights. While this was a very cool experience, I saw my life flash before my eyes at least three times.
- Giant’s Causeway: Absolutely breathtaking. I am still not sure what this all even was, but it was one of the coolest places I have been able to explore. Whether the science behind the insane rock structures are true or the legends, I want to go back for another day to just walk around and take it all in.
- Antrim: Castle on the rocks (Dunluce) that looks absolutely badass in photos!
- Sligo: ONE OF OUR ALL TIME FAVORITE PLACES! We went straight to a bar where locals told us there would be some live music. 2AM rolls around and we are signing American Pie at the top of our lungs with a new group of Ireland friends. We learned about the curfew rules in Ireland at this bar. They must “close” at 10:30 PM during the week, so the bars will shut all of their blinds and lock the doors and continue the party as if they shut down! If you leave a bar and want to get back in, they would have you knock on a window. Not sure why but this made staying out late, singing and drinking together even better! There is this beautiful canal that goes through the center of the town and our hotel sat right on it. It had the cutest coffee shops, stores, and restaurants up and down it.
- Galway: I fell in love with life all over again when we went here. The lights, the people, the food, and Mike. It was all just beautiful! We sat along the canal and watched swans, and explored the little shops.
- Cliffs of Moher: Remember when I said I didn’t like heights...well yeah this was heightened here! **Pun intended** While I was freaking out every 5 seconds, I do have to admit, this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I mean look at these photos!
- Limerick: One of the friends traveling with us, had family who lived and owned and a bar so we had one hell of a time with them. Hospitality is taken to a whole new level in this country. From a welcome party with friends and family to amazing food and music all night long, we couldn’t help but want to stay a little longer...But sadly it was onto Scotland the next morning!
- Edinburgh: WOW. I have heard so many things about this city but nothing compares to actually being here, walking the streets, and hanging out with the locals. We climbed a huge mountain (Arthur's Seat) that overlooked this beautiful city! And while I want to say I could have sat up there for hours just taking it all in, I thought I was going to get blown away by the heavy wind that was happening so it was probably for the best that we didn’t stay too long.
- Roslin Chapel: If you have ever read or watched the Da Vinci Code, you would understand why visiting this Chapel was out of this world exciting for me. I walked around for over an hour, admiring every little detail that I could take in.
I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I know that sounds cliche but I truly did! I learned how much other people’s genuine love and friendliness can turn your entire mood around. I learned that traveling without limits and guidelines can leave you feeling fresh, while the constant smell of fresh air and ocean of Northern Ireland will leave you breathless.
Maybe one day I will find myself back in Ireland or Scotland. I want to say hopefully living there, but we’ll see where life takes me! In the meantime, I will be reminiscing over all of these photos, videos, and damn good memories.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” -- Miriam Adeney
Good Vibes and Travel Adventures, Del