Ireland may sometimes be known for leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, the color green, Irish coffee and Guinness but to me Ireland is a country of great history and fabulous writers. My husband and I went to the land of where about 30-40 percent of his heritage comes from, this past July. Our trip consisted of visiting the cities of Dublin and Galway.  Below are a few things I think are a must-see besides the amazing pubs, which are everywhere.

Must See:

 

My lovely husband always has to break the rules.

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Cliffs of Moher: Yes it is a huge tourist site but if you want to see the true green hills of Ireland you must go to the Cliffs. The walk is breathtaking. I stopped so many times and exclaimed, “This place is so beautiful”, and “Thank God for this place”. It’s also good exercise, the path is about 5 miles long, and you will need that after all the heavy Irish food you consume. You can get here by tour bus but if you rent a car it’s just two hours away from Galway.  You can drive through the countryside and see all the cute villages and towns along the way.

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“So, when do I get to rule this country? I mean you got me here.”

Dublin Castle – Take the guided tour! You will learn so much history of Ireland. Plus who doesn’t want to play in a castle? It’s only 4 Euros I believe, or was it 3 Euros,?…whatever…it was cheap. You can get a student discount as well. Also this castle is right in the middle of the tourist section of Dublin. Think Union Square or Time Square area, so it’s easy to get to by foot and there are numerous pubs nearby.

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My dream room. Books…Books..Books…and my Nicholas to take a million photos of me.

 Writers Museum – As you can tell from my creation of Epifania, I love art. I love the written word. So naturally I had to go see the Writers Museum. This place cost about 5 Euros. You learn so much about Dublin writers and the creation of the Abby Theater. Fun fact, I had no idea the author of Dracula was Irish and an accountant. Maybe you did, but I didn’t. See you learn fun facts like that.

 

The writer in me found this so beautiful.

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Guinness Store House – Yes another tourist spot but why would you go to Dublin and not see where Guinness is made? It’s like coming to California and not visiting the beach. You learn about the history of Guinness and my favorite part…what the Guinness family did for the city of Dublin and for Ireland. It’s easy to get to. Take a tram from Dublin city center for about 20 minutes and then walk for about 10 blocks. Side Note: Guinness has this stout called Foreign Extra Stout and it’s amazing! I would seriously love you to the moon and back if you can find that for me here. Thanks!

Pros:

Beauty – I mean this country has been around for hundreds of years. You see it in the architecture, statutes, and city parks, everywhere.

Life is grand.

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Student Discounts – Nick and I are in grad school and we rarely get student discounts back home because it’s meant for young students. Every site you want to visit has a student discount and no questions asked. Just show a valid school ID, so take your school ID with you.

Walkable – Both Dublin and Galway were very walkable cities. Coming from SF, I realize how much I love walking in cities that have no hills. That alone made the trip. Plus, they were both small for cities so it made it easy to get from one end of town to the other.

People – The people were beyond friendly. I have never been somewhere where people were generally helpful and kind. Side Note: This does not mean they are a Chatty Cathy. Most of the time the locals, and this includes servers and bartenders, were pretty quiet. You may think they are mad at you or rude but its just that they are not ones to ask a million questions. It’s up to you to start the conversation and then they open up.

Cons:

Food- Food stops being served at every pub and restaurant at 10 p.m. I am naturally a night owl and with the time change this was horrible for us. By the time our bodies were hungry it was always around 9 or 10. There are fast food places but who wants to eat fried chicken when you are in Dublin? Luckily some of the Italian restaurants do stay open later. God bless the Italian lady that stayed open for us. And yes we did eat pasta in Ireland and it was delicious! Thank you Steps of Rome, Dublin! So the lesson here is to eat early.

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Without Wi-FI you must be somewhat good at reading maps to get around.

Sunday – Sunday in Dublin, like in most European cities, is closed all day. This wouldn’t bother us too much but we were traveling to the Cliffs of Moher that day and got lost so many times. Plus if you are hungry most of the pubs in the small towns are not serving food.

Notes on Dress Code:

Last note is about dress. Dublin and Galway are cities. Remember that; so do pack some nice dresses and a button ups. If you are from San Francisco just think about how you would dress for a first date in the Mission District on a Friday. For people not from SF, um…think Hipster who actually can put oil in their car. Pack one outfit like that for the weekend.

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Oh you may find a church that is named after you…grant it was built hundreds of years before you were born but oh well.  I couldn’t resist visiting this beautiful church.

We went during the summer and I pretty much wore dresses everyday. It was overcast but humid. Do pack pants for those days that it does rain and also comfy shoes. Ladies, like I mentioned pack dresses but ones that you can wear with flats or sandals everyday because you will pretty much be walking everywhere.

May you have a chance in your life to see this beautiful country!