Going to Ireland
Nastia Shafranova lives in Kiev, she does IT recruiting and every 2 months she goes somewhere. This year she has already managed to visit Prague, Minsk, Odessa, Thailand, South Africa, Portugal, Azores (San Miguel Island), Croatia and Ireland – about the latter Anastasia tells 34travel.
The trip to Ireland occurred to us spontaneously and unplanned, which in the end we are very happy. In fact, the reason for going to Ireland was our desire to see and hear Chemical Brothers live for the first time in Kiev at a music festival. But not only the music motivated us to visit this unusual country, our love for Halloween also played its role.
How do I get a visa?
To get a visa to Ireland (and not only) you have to prepare in advance, which we didn’t do and were very nervous whether we would get an answer from the embassy in Moscow in time. If you are not in Moscow, then I advise you to collect a package of documents at least a month, not a couple of weeks, as we did, as the embassy takes time to review the visa from 10 working days (5 days documents go to the Embassy + at least 5 days to consider them). But if you do hand over the documents, as we did, in a rush, it makes sense to call and write to the embassy to expedite the decision on the visa.
If you have a current UK visa, you can fly to Ireland as long as you’ve traveled to the UK before and have a stamp of visit to that country.
The good news if you are in Ukraine: there is an Irish consulate in Kiev and you do not need to go directly to Moscow for a visa, moreover, during the review period you can surrender not a passport, but only a photocopy of pages and fly somewhere else in the meantime. The cost of an Irish visa: single entry – € 60, multi-visa – € 100.
We bought tickets in July through the Orbitz website for the end of October – beginning of November. We flew there from Kiev via Paris (Air France) and back via Amsterdam (KLM) and home. If we were flying in May 2019, of course we would fly on Ryanair, as there will be direct flights from Kiev to Dublin, besides it is much cheaper.
Upon arrival at the airport, we found a car that we had previously booked through the RentalCars service and drove to our hotel in Dublin.
It depends on what you want to get and exactly where you’re going. So, if your plans include just Dublin, then any time of year will do for this city, as it’s full of great pubs where you can spend many, many, many fun evenings. But if your goal is to travel around Ireland and you want to visit as many places as possible in a small amount of time, I don’t recommend going in the fall and winter. We didn’t have time to see everything we originally wanted to because it was already dark at 5pm… and we could only drive towards home.
Since the concert that originally caused us to go to Ireland was in the middle of our trip, it was decided to spend three days in Dublin and three more days traveling around Ireland.
“In Dublin, you can always find a cozy little café or pub where you want to warm up with a cup of coffee or a glass of beer.”
Dublin is a city in which we immediately felt comfortable. Here you can always find a cozy little café or a pub where you want to warm up with a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. It is not overcrowded with tourists, street musicians always delight you with a good voice, and showmen with a great sense of humor. It’s a city that’s pleasant to wander through and where you can meet a leprechaun and Oscar Wilde.
Places I fell in love with or my masthead to visit in Dublin:
St Stephen’s Green, a very cozy and green old park where you’ll find a great playground and a small lake with lots of feathered residents.
Iveagh Gardens (Clonmel Street, off Harcourt Street) is another park, quite green and cozy, but the most notable thing about this park is the waterfall. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working during our visit, but if I were in Dublin again, I would definitely try my luck again.
St Patrick’s Close, Wood Quay – I’m not a big fan of all sorts of cathedrals and temples in principle, but this is one of those where you could easily spend an hour or two. First of all, it’s a very beautiful place, and second, here you can learn a lot of interesting facts about Irish history, such as who St. Patrick was and Jonathan Swift’s role in Irish history, and you can also look at his tomb right inside the cathedral. So plan to stay here for at least an hour and a half.
Dublin Castle (Dublin Castle, Dame St) is a beautiful place which will be interesting to see for history and architecture lovers, but not only. Unfortunately, we didn’t get inside the castle, but you can obviously feel like a king or queen there.
Polpenny Bridge – if you like beautiful bridges, this is the place to go.
Dublin’s Little Museum (15 St Stephen’s Green) – a museum where you’ll learn a lot of unusual and interesting facts about Dublin and its residents. For example, you can be told about who Bram Stoker was and what might have motivated him to write a book about Dracula.
The Guiness Beer Museum (St James’s Gate, Ushers) is a place worth visiting to see all the nuances of beer making, taste it, and learn the history of how the Guinness empire came to be. Trust me, it’s quite a sight to behold. It’s better to get your ticket online in advance to save time.
Places we didn’t make it to, but we’ll be sure to check them out on our next trip:
The Book of Celts (The University of Dublin Trinity College, College Green), a book written by monks and over 1200 years old, is now in the Trinity College library. I recommend getting a ticket to the museum in advance, as we didn’t get to see the book just because we hadn’t thought it through.
The Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery (Bow St, Smithfield Village) – Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a whiskey fan, but we never made it to this museum. I don’t think it’s much inferior to the Guiness Museum.
Our first stop was the place, which on Google maps is labeled as Ballinastoe Car Park (I recommend searching for this name directly on Google maps). We actually didn’t know about this observation point, but when we saw the beautiful view through the car window and the opportunity to stop, we took a break and were surprised, to say the least. From the mountain we had a view of Lake Tay. It’s hard to convey the beauty you see when you stand high above the lake and watch the reflection of the sky in it.
After Lake Tay, we drove to Glendaloch, a valley where in addition to the beautiful nature you can find a medieval monastery that was founded as far back as the 6th century. The monastery is for the amateur, but it was interesting for us to look at. Near the monastery there’s Glendalough Upper Lake, where the ducks graze and wait for some kind person to share a piece of bread with them.
After contemplating the monastery and the ducks in the lake, our next destination was a small but very cozy and pretty town of Kilkenny. Here we found the Castle of Kilkenny (XII century) and St. Mary’s Cathedral (XIX century) and we wanted to visit the Cathedral of St. Canis (XIII century) but didn’t have time to do it. Overall impressions of the city were very positive, although we were there for a very short time. The town is very nice, with lots of little stores, cafes, with attractions, which are located close to each other, and a beautiful park near the castle.
After Kilkenny we tried very hard to get to Cashel Rock, but unfortunately we arrived when it got a little dark, in addition, it was impossible to get closer to it, because the museum was already closed. So plan your trip taking into account the working hours of the museums and the sun. And in general, the place is very interesting and I would like to go back to normally walk on this very rock. A few words about it: the rock is also called the rock of St. Patrick, as Patrick lived here in the V century. The rock has also served at various times as a residence for kings and churchmen of Ireland.
The last point of the trip on this day was the town of Killarney. This is where the famous Ring of Kerry route begins. Near the town is Killarney National Park – the largest nature reserve in Ireland, which was included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO, and it also borders with lakes, which have glacial origin. Within the park, in addition to nature, you can find the Macross House Manor Museum (19th century) and Ross Castle (15th century).
On the morning of the second day we woke up cheerful and happy and hit the road, but, as usual, on the way we saw something beautiful and decided to stop. It was Inch Beach. Here we stood for a while, got a taste of the Irish rain, watched the waves and drove on.
After the wet beach, we drove around the Dingle Peninsula for a bit and made our way to Dunquin Pier, a place where the ocean, the mountains, and the greenery around it merge together. By the way, there was grass near the pier that reached almost to the knee – like a very soft carpet in which you sink a little.
The next stop on the day were the cliffs Moher . This is such a cliff height of 120 meters, which is located above the Atlantic Ocean. Since we drove long enough and came to the cliffs only at 16.00 and at 17.00 is no longer visible, we had only one hour to enjoy this natural wonder and enjoy the sunset. But it was worth it 100%. In general, you can easily come here for a walk for a day or at least for half a day, there is everything you need: beautiful nature, cafes, stores and even a room for meditation. In the evening we arrived in Galway and went out to celebrate Halloween.
“We stood around for a while, got a taste of the Irish rain, watched the waves and drove on.”
The Ring of Kerry is the most popular route in Ireland
Ireland’s crown jewel is the Ring of Kerry, a scenic and most popular route of some 179 kilometers that runs through County Kerry. The route is a large cluster of ancestral palaces, old mansions, lakes, churches and pastures. This splendor is set against a backdrop of the always turbulent and turbulent Atlantic Ocean. Part of the route passes through fishing villages and secluded, sandy beaches. If you feel like a change of scenery during your journey, stop by one of the pubs and try a nice, foamy Irish beer. So, off we go on the Ring of Kerry route, stopping at the most fascinating sights.
The Ring of Kerry is the most visited route for travelers in Ireland. It is more than 179 km long and during this time, travelers enjoy many historical, architectural, cultural sights:
The entire route can be traveled with a tour group in a comfortable bus. However, locals and experienced tourists recommend renting a car. If you prefer an active holiday and like solitude, rent a bike – there are bike trails all over the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.
Good to know! Biking is only possible during the summer months, when rainfall is minimal. In the other months, the roads wash out during the rains and it is dangerous to ride alone.
The route of the ring begins in Killarney, and bus 280 leaves from here. The cost of the tour is about 25 euros. To travel in a car, be sure to buy a map of the route. They are sold in every bookstore.
The road loops, descending to the ocean coast, rising into the sky, along the route are organized observation decks, which offer beautiful, fabulous views. A special highlight of the route are the authentic fishing villages with colorful houses. Each village has a typical Irish pub where guests are sure to be treated to a delicious beer.
The starting point of the Ring of Kerry itinerary in Ireland. Even if you don’t have time to visit other fascinating places, set aside a few hours to visit this interesting place. The locals call Killarney the epitome of coziness, making it feel “like home.” Listen to soulful Irish folk tunes in Killarney’s pubs. Nearby points of interest include Macross Abbey, Ross Castle, and of course the National Park and Lakes of the same name.
Interesting fact! Three of Killarney’s lakes – Lower, Middle, and Upper – appeared during the Ice Age.
The largest lake is Loch Lane, its depth reaches 13.5 m. Nearby there are mines which operated 6 thousand years ago for copper mining. Between the lakes grows a picturesque, tranquil yew grove. On Lake Killarney there is a platform with the romantic name “Lady’s View”. One story has it that passing by ladies would gasp and sigh as they admired the picturesque views.
In the park of national importance, be sure to visit the Torque Falls, with which a beautiful legend is associated. A guy named Thor was put under a spell – he would remain a man during the day and become a boar at night. People found out about the terrible transformations and banished the boy. The young man turned into a blob of fire and threw himself off a cliff. There appeared a rift where a stream of water gushed in. That’s how Thor Falls came to be 18 meters high.
What else is there to see in Ireland in the Ring of Kerry? A small village called a tourist box. The main attraction is the fort of An Steg, built of stone. This ancient structure is a candidate for inclusion in the list of UNESCO.
An Stegh Fort
The fort was built around 300 BC without using lime mortar as a defensive structure for the king.
Interesting fact! The main feature of the fort – a unique system of stairs and passages.
The attraction of the Kerry Trail in Ireland is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This resort village is located in a picturesque place – between the ocean and Lake Curran. For a long time there lived here the representatives of the most ancient aristocratic family – the Butlers. Charlie Chaplin used to come here to rest. The famous comic actor is commemorated by a monument in one of the streets of the village.
Good to know! Waterville Village is a quiet, secluded place steeped in tranquility, a pleasant place to indulge in melancholy, a glimpse of the ends of the earth.
The family estate of the O’Donaghue clan sits on the shores of one of the most beautiful lakes, Loch Lane, within Killarney Park. The castle was built in the 15th century. To this day, the structure is considered the most impregnable in the country, so the locals revere it as a symbol of the struggle for independence and freedom.
It is believed that a good castle just has to have a few legends, and Ross in this respect can challenge any palace. According to one legend, the owner of the castle was destroyed by an unknown force that literally dragged a man out of his bedroom window. But there is a continuation of the legend – this unknown force dragged the man to the lake and threw him to the bottom of the reservoir. Since then, the owner of the manor lives in the lake and controls everything that happens in the castle.
The manor museum is located 6 km from the Killarini National Park. The structure is a luxurious mansion built in the 19th century. The manor house is located among picturesque vegetation. The owners of the castle were Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, Balfour Mary Herbert. Construction lasted four years – from 1839 to 1843. The design of the castle provides 45 rooms – elegant state rooms, kitchen. Externally the manor looks like an old English castle.
Interesting fact! In the mid-19th century Macross House was visited by Queen Victoria of England. The visit was expected for 10 years.
The royal visit depleted the castle’s coffers, so the owners sold the house to the Guinness family. However, the new owners lived in the castle from 1899 to 1910, then Macross House passed into the possession of the American William Bourne. After 22 years the manor became the property of the Irish nation, thanks to the efforts of the authorities the castle became one of the best museum complexes of Ireland. According to statistics, about 250 thousand tourists visit the castle every year. A beautiful garden with rhododendrons blooms around the estate.
Useful information! Next to the manor is the Macross Farm, which was built especially for travelers so that they can see and learn the life of local peasants from the inside. Here you can visit the workshop, blacksmith shop, home of the peasants, saddler.
Also next to the castle is a Franciscan monastery, built in the mid-15th century. Most of all tourists are attracted by the ancient cemetery, still active today. Here are buried two famous poets of Ireland – O’Donoghue and O’Sullivan.
- You can cover the entire route in one day, but if you have time, take two days to enjoy the Ring of Kerry for some of the best views and sights.
- The village of Waterville is a good place to stop later for a round of golf.
- The best time to travel around the Ring of Kerry is summer. The only thing that can mar the trip is the large number of cars. Traveling at other times of the year is also possible, but it’s important to study the weather forecast carefully to avoid rain. There is almost no snow on the peninsula.
- It’s best to start the Ring of Kerry route counterclockwise, so you’ll be more comfortable driving on narrow roads.
- If you want to enjoy the scenery of the Atlantic Ocean and relax on the beaches, stop in the fishing villages of Glenbay or Kahersiwin.
- Want to be at the ends of the earth? Head to the Skellig Islands, specifically Valentia Island. It’s best to start your journey from the settlements of Portmagi or Ballinskelligs.
- Before returning to Killarney, visit Mols Gal Pass, which offers the most scenic views.
- Be sure to take an umbrella and sunglasses on your Kerry route, as the weather on the peninsula changes in a matter of minutes.
- According to official documents, the Kerry Road is a 179 km long horseshoe that runs through the Iveragh Peninsula. However, a 214 km loop is used for hiking trails. If you are traveling by bicycle, follow the Kerry Way hiking trail.
The Ring of Kerry route is a true delight in the natural beauty of Ireland. As you travel, you’ll see sharp cliffs with traces of the Ice Age, deep lakes, dense forests where elves live, fog-shrouded peatlands, sandy beaches, and the choppy Atlantic Ocean. The Ring of Kerry is a place for true romantics. Many sources recommend setting aside 1-2 days for the trip, but the longer you stay, the more you can immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. No matter how much time you spend on the peninsula, it’s a trip you’ll remember for a long time.
Video: 10 things to do in Ireland on the Ring of Kerry.
Author: Julia Matyukhina
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