When Casey and I found out that his friend Kenny was getting married in Ireland, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to make it happen, but we were definitely determined to try! Our plans for Italy had already been in the works, however, it was early enough in the game where our itinerary could be adjusted slightly. Traveling to Europe twice this time this year was not really an option, so the only way we could make Ireland work would be by adding it on to the beginning of our planned Italy trip. So that’s exactly what we did.
If I’m being honest, Ireland was not really on my list of places I needed to visit. I’m not sure why, it just wasn’t. BUT, after we were committed and flights were booked, I started doing a ton of research and reading about it and immediately started to feel stupid for not knowing how much Ireland has to offer.
Unfortunately, mostly everything I wanted to see in Ireland was a bit out of the way from where we’d be staying for the wedding [Castle Durrow]. We had less than two full days to explore on our own which is like no time at all! Because our Italy trip was 10 days, there was no way we could possibly justify spending more than two weeks total in Europe, away from Harley. Two weeks is a long ass time to be away from your two year old! So, with that being said, we had to make the best of the situation and come up with an itinerary that was doable for our 72 hours in Ireland.
The ONLY request Casey had was to stop at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. I’m not a beer drinker and I’ve been to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. Guinness, Heineken, same thing, right?! We flew into Dublin and technically had to drive through the city [passed the Guinness Factory] to go on our journey, so I granted Casey his wish and made this the first stop on our Itinerary.
Oh, and I should mention that we landed at 7 am, so clearly hitting up a brewery/beer factory early in the morning made total sense! [I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice]. We purchased our tickets ahead of time and got there before they were officially open. The woman who worked there suggested we grab breakfast at Mannings Bakery & Cafe, just down the road. It was such a cute spot and the food was delicious!
The Guinness Storehouse was fine. I personally could have skipped it, but Casey was into it and happy we went. I was more impressed with the fact that Mrs. Arthur Guinness [Olivia] birthed 21 children!! 21 CHILDREN!!! In a time when epidurals most likely did not exist! My body hurts just thinking about it. Anyway…that’s my fun fact for the day. 😉
That was the extent of our time in Dublin. There were so many mixed reviews when I polled our friends and family who had traveled there before. Some said it’s their most favorite city and others were less than impressed. Again, we didn’t have much time in Ireland, so I just made the executive decision to skip Dublin and spend the little time we had in a different town.
We then drove to the Powerscourt Estate & Gardens in Wicklow. It’s a little over an hour drive from the city of Dublin, but keep in mind that driving in Ireland is NOT the easiest, so figure everything takes a little longer than what the GPS says. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and they drive on the left side of the road, so it’s completely opposite of driving in the United States. And obviously we were unfamiliar with the roads and signage, so it was intimidating for sure!
The Powerscourt Estate and Gardens was really beautiful. We walked around the property and ate lunch in the Avoca Terrace Café, looking out at the gardens. It had been raining on and off, but was light enough that we sucked it up and went outside.
Kilkenny was the town we [ehem, I] decided to stay in for the first night and following day. If time allowed, I would have loved to visit Galway for a few days, then drive south along the west coast, eventually making our way to Cobh and Cork. After researching and gathering friend’s opinions, Kilkenny seemed like a great choice based on location and what we were looking for. While it’s technically “a city,” it feels more like a large Irish town. There are tons of bars, restaurants, and shops in the cutest colored storefronts. The city is filled with historical buildings, public gardens, and museums.
We stayed at the Breagagh View, a bed and breakfast just a few minutes away from the main streets and Kilkenny Castle. Since we were only staying one night, we wanted something that was clean, inexpensive, and close to town. This met all three requirements.
After a much needed nap, we started our night at Kyteler’s Inn, a restaurant that dates back to 1263! 1263 people!! Unfortunately, by the time we got there the kitchen was closed. The sun was still out so we were a bit confused, but it was 10pm! The sun literally set after 10pm which is insane!! Our only other option at that point was eating fast food which we decided against.
The band started to set up 10 minutes after our arrival. We sat at a table in between the bar and the band…best seats in the house!
Kyteler’s Inn was a blast! The band played traditional Irish music and the whole bar was dancing, singing, and having an awesome time! We ended up meeting two local girls who took us out to a nearby bar/club where we stayed until closing. I wish I knew the name of the place, but I don’t…I’m sorry!
Hunger started taking over and we caved and ate late night sandwiches at Abrakebabra which were freaking delicious! Worth every calorie!
The next morning, we woke up early to eat breakfast. Our intention was to get to town right away, but honestly, we were so exhausted and jet lagged, we had to lay down for another two hours before checking out. These are things you don’t really plan for when creating an itinerary.
We had about four-five hours to explore Kilkenny.
It took about 35 minutes to get to Castle Durrow, where we’d be for the next and last two nights in Ireland. I don’t think there’s a whole lot to do in Durrow, but the venue was absolutely beautiful and the perfect spot for the bride and groom to spend quality time with their friends and family, celebrating such a special occasion.
Dress: Zara [Shop other floral midi dresses here] // Cork Envelope Clutch [On Sale for $34!] // Earrings [shop more Vanessa Mooney earrings here] // $30 Heels [see 19 color options to an identical heel here]
Our trip was a bit of a tease! I really wish we would have had more time. If you have any plans to travel to Ireland, I’d recommend going for at least a full week or more if you can swing it. There is just so much to see and do! The people are super cool, friendly, and laid back. The food is good… the night life is great… and the country is filled with gorgeous landmarks and tourist attractions.
Ireland, I am a fan!