The Emerald Isle – Final Days!

You would think that after 4 packed days, we would’ve decided to relax a little, but that wasn’t the case. We were off to go horseback riding through the hills of Ireland first thing in the morning! This was by far my favorite part of the trip. It doesn’t get any better than being on horseback and being out in the open hills of Ireland! An absolutely amazing adventure that we’d recommend everyone to try in Ireland (How do you think people got around hundreds of years ago)! Once the 4 hour horseback riding adventure was over, we headed out to Curraghmore Castle. It is an estate still owned by the same family that has been passed down through generations. We finally ended the day in Waterford with a delicious dinner before heading back to the villa.

On our last day, we went kayaking in Killarney for 5 hours where we got to explore the Lough Leane and kayaked around Ross Castle. The tour was really extensive and we were able to get a lot of sights in that we normally wouldn’t have on foot. We then headed over to the town of Killarney to grab a late lunch and explore the town a little. It was extremely cute and as always, the food was delicious! Once we were full, we set out to explore Killarney National Park. We first stopped by Muckross House to take a tour of the home. Once we finished exploring the Muckross House grounds, we got back in the car to drive around the National Park. We first hiked up to see the Torc Waterfall and drove up for a glimpse of the Ladies View. We finished the day with dinner and drove back to our villa for the final time.

The horse back riding place had the two cutest dogs that came along for the ride.
I adored the horses we had!
A treat is always nice to give!
My horse’s name was Sweetie. She was the sweetest and gentlest horse I’ve had a pleasure to ride on!
The hills were so vast and you can spot the two dogs in the background!
There’s always a random farm scattered around the countryside!
Our guide was wonderful! We really enjoyed her stories and her expertise with the horses.
We had to get a picture of the two of us in the hills of Ireland before we departed to our next planned adventure!
This is Curraghmore House.
It’s really impressive and the grounds are beautiful. It’s situated in the middle of nowhere amidst a lot of acres.
The butler that takes care of the current family was extremely nice and took us on a tour of the grounds.
There is a shell house situated on the property that was built by one of the wives a long time ago.
It literally contained hundreds of shells that were brought to her and it became a hobby of hers.
We were hungry by the time the house tour was over! We ended up going to Waterford and had dinner at a restaurant called Bodega. Absolutely amazing food!
We were off the next morning to go kayaking.
Even though it was a chilly and cloudy morning, the sights were worth it!
This picture almost reminds me of mountains and lakes in Asia.
We had to kayak through passages!
I just sat back and relaxed while he padded away for us!
Coming up to the castle from the lake perspective was really cool and topped the tour off nicely!
Then we were off to the Killarney National Park and this was the first stop.
Muckross house was really great to explore!
The gardens and grounds around the house were fun to explore!
It’s situated by the same lake that we kayaked on (we didn’t kayak that far though).
The Torc Waterfall was tough to get to.
There were a lot of steps that were well built leading up and down to the waterfall.
Such a pretty waterfall!
The views around the Torc Waterfall allowed us to take a great picture.
Then we drove on to the Ladies View.
Ireland is such a diverse country! So much to see and do!
We couldn’t pass up a beautiful sunset!
We waited for it to set before we headed back to the hotel and called it a night and farewell to Ireland!

The Emerald Isle – 3rd & 4th day

We had no time to spare and were off on more adventures the next morning. Our mornings began really early around 5 or 6 with a quick breakfast in our villa. We ended up going to a local grocery store and figured breakfast would be easy to make with eggs, ham, and cheese between some bread! Simple ingredients, but they were delicious and wonderfully fresh!

I love castles, who doesn’t, right? We visited two different castles on the 3rd and 4th days that took up most of the day. On the first day, we visited Blarney Castle and Gardens. This castle has a famous ‘Blarney Stone’ that is meant to be kissed for good luck. Many line up at the top of the Castle to kiss the bottom of this stone. The grounds of the castle were beautiful and easily took up several hours of exploration! We then headed to the city of Cork and visited the English Market. The second day, we visited Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This was a special castle in that it was mainly intact with representations of what it may have looked like at some point. It was attached to a folk park that had a little village and other houses representing the time during the Castle’s period. Lastly, we were able to squeeze in a hike in Sheepshead way that offered breathtaking views!

We started out at Blarney Castle
It was intact from the outside
It’s astounding to see up close like this!
The interior was captivating as well
There was a fireplace still intact even though the floor fell away!
Really cool to explore all over!
The views from the top showed beautiful fields
The skeleton of the castle that is left over gives a good image of what castles were like.
We then started exploring the grounds and came across various things
There was a fern garden on the grounds as well
The steps were intricate on the way down!
There was a beautiful waterfall mixed in with the fern garden
There was also a cave located on the grounds
We were actually able to go inside and explore! Pictures inside didn’t turn out great due to how dark it was.
This was a picture from the other side of the castle grounds. Extremely impressive!
Beautiful gardens and stone walls throughout
More beautiful gardens
Absolutely lovely to walk around!
More waterfalls spread throughout!
There were walkways built among gardens
Lovely walk through trellis
We just had to take a picture inside of it
The wishing steps were fun and one of the last attractions to see!
The drive to Cork was interesting full of colorful houses! Even though it was raining, we were able to get some good pictures!
The English Market had a lot of fresh produce, meats, seafood, and locally produced goods.
Such cute cobble stone alleys that led us to a pub and then we headed home.
Bunratty Castle was impressive!
The setting was done well to really depict the right times!
This was the great hall.
This was a common area.
The staircases in the castles were difficult to climb.
The rooms were surprisingly small!
This appears to be a King’s chamber.
The grounds had a delicious dessert shop that had homemade desserts that were to die for along with tea! A must reprieve after all of the castle exploring.
Interesting period dated homes throughout the grounds!
On our drive back out towards Sheepshead way, we couldn’t help from taking pictures of interesting buildings.
As we began our hike through Sheepshead way, the weather and views were amazing!
It started to drizzle a little bit while we were spotting some sheep!
And then it began to rain much harder as we were deep into our hike with nothing around, but sheep to keep us company!
There were these adorable little lambs feet away from us!
And more gorgeous scenery.
And a final close up of the cutest lamb!

The Emerald Isle – 1st & 2nd day

I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland for many, many reasons. Just to name a few: the country is so beautiful, unique, situated on an island, and has some of the freshest food in the world. Ireland mainly exports goods and does not import that much especially when it comes to food. Due to this, Ireland is a country for foodies who love fresh food that has been sourced from local farms. One of the things that really surprised me on our first day, is how friendly the people are. From the gentleman at the customs window, to the car rental worker, and lastly to the shuttle service man, I was blown away by the smiles and genuine warmth. Stepping foot into a country that was so welcoming made me wonder why I wasn’t currently living there! Even though we took it fairly easy the very first day (jet lag crushed us), we still managed to fit in some excursions around the property we stayed at and explored the little town that it was located in. We stayed at Adare Manor and Villas in Adare, Ireland (close to Limerick). The location was perfect for us since we wanted to explore the lower portion of Ireland and stay in a central location to all spots. I tend to overdo each day by jam packing it with various outings and adventures! When we go back, we may do it a bit differently though! Regardless, the experience was out of this world and the adventure will be with us forever!

One of the things I can say would be done differently is the amount of driving we did. Since we wanted to see various parts of the island, we ended up driving up to 3 hours in one direction some days. When we’d mention this to the locals, they’d act stunned. When an Irish person has to drive anywhere that is over an hour, they make plans to stay the night in that location. Growing up in America, we are used to driving long distances and didn’t think that would be an issue. One thing we didn’t take into account is the terrain that Ireland has. The roads are not the same as in America! Even though there were highways, majority of the roads were small country roads that curved every second of the way. Talk about the stress of driving two hours on that type of county road!

We spent six full days in Ireland in the month of May. We were prepared for cold and wet weather, but were pleasantly surprised with a heat wave! We took advantage of the great weather and took hundreds of pictures! Since each day had many adventures packed to the brim, I’m going to split the blog posts up by two days each. The first day was easy and full of sleeping, while the second day consisted of a 5 hour bike tour of Cong and hiking the Cliffs of Moher.

He is the wonderful photographer!
We were ready for an adventure!

The bike tour started our really leisurely. We went through a monastery that still had a Monk’s fishing hole attached to the outskirts of it as shown in the pictures. We couldn’t believe a lot of these buildings were still in tact and had to take many pictures. As you can tell from the descriptions, these buildings were erected earlier than the 15th century!

We continued on through a nature trail that had some crazy terrain! There were cool underground caves that housed Monks at some point. The last part is a really cool well that had stairs built in to gather water. The water is said to be extremely fresh having to go through various natural filtration systems to end up in a pool at the bottom. My boyfriend ended up trying some and enjoyed it immensely!

Absolutely gorgeous scenery the entire way! We ended up at a castle that was built around the 15th century as well. The tour guide gave us a background of the castle and mentioned that a famous movie scene was filmed right in front of it.. Can you figure out which movie it was? We stopped by a beautiful lake that had limestone rock all around. The limestone rock was eroded from the constant rain that occurs and had holes throughout.

We finally stopped by for lunch and had a chance to see some sheep and horses grazing in fields. Then we passed through the Ashford Castle property. It is one of the oldest fully in-tacked castles in Ireland. Absolutely breathtaking and has amazing grounds! It is now a hotel and caters to some really famous people. Maybe we’ll stay there next time we decide on another trip to Ireland? 😉

Exhausted and ready for the next adventure for the day!

On our drive to the Cliffs of Moher, we were blessed with such a pretty rainbow! We had to pull over and get out of the car to take pictures! So many unexpected delights along the way!

The Cliffs of Moher have to be the most amazing cliffs in the world. They overlook the Atlantic Ocean and offer the best views anyone can ask for! We spent several hours (after the bike tour) hiking the cliffs while the sun set over the water!

These pictures do not do the Cliffs of Moher justice! This should be a must see for everyone at some point in their lives. The majestic cliffs created many photos opportunities for us as well…

Finally.. we got too hungry to continue doing anything at all and needed to find some yummy food to fill us up! I still think of this seafood tower to this day… will never forget how delicious it was!