My 2017 Summer Adventure took me on a whirlwind journey to The Emerald Isle. Home to Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and James Joyce.
Compared to my Paris vacation, Ireland was a joy. Everything from the hotel and various tours to the new friends I made was wonderful and exciting. It’s weird, but I knew I would have a great trip the moment I booked my airline ticket.
While researching ticket prices, Aer Lingus was by far the cheapest ticket on the market, but I was a wee-bit skeptical since I’d never flown on a non-US based airline. However, with a ticket priced more than $600 cheaper than any U.S. airline, better to take a shot and have more spending money in my pocket. I’m happy to say now my doubts were all for not.
Aer Lingus treated me with kindness and respect the entire trip. No, I didn’t receive any special treatment, nor expected any. What I received was the same basic and decent customer service treatment I expect from every airline — something my regular U.S.-based airlines are having a tough time with these days. The flight was smooth and there were no issues. The only reason I can’t give them a 5-star rating is because of the food. The choices could’ve been better, but I flew budget, so I wasn’t exactly surprised I got budget food.
Speaking of budget, I chose the Roxford Lodge Hotel, a nice luxury boutique style hotel in a Victorian townhouse, located in the heart of Ballsbridge. I’d decided to avoid hotels within Dublin City Centre proper. No matter how much I want to be in the centre of the action, I always need a good night sleep.
A quick note on the room: I booked a single room and I read some of the “terrible” reviews this hotel received for their single rooms. I laughed. I mean those reviewers actually thought they were getting a king-size suite for the price of a single room. Some people were actually upset because they were under the impression it was one “single” hotel room big enough for two people. A single room means “single” — 1 person only. My room was small, yet it was comfy, cozy and relaxing.
After a quick rest, I walked to the city centre via St Stephen’s Green. I found a nice restaurant for a healthy bite to eat, then spent the rest of the day souvenir shopping. Since I had an early check-in time for my tour the next day, I called it a day and headed back to the hotel, but not before spending ninety minutes walking around St Stephen’s Green. What a beautiful and relaxing place to spend time.
I started the next day with a delightful breakfast then headed out for my Kilkenny & Glendalough day tour. I decided to take the bus to the check-in point, but I got off the bus two stops too soon and ended up a wee bit lost. Lucky for me a nice Irish gentleman who’d gotten off at the same stop was kind enough to escorted me to the right place. Nothing seedy or sinister – just a gentleman helping a lady. What a sweet man!
The tour of Glendalough and Wicklow was a delight. It was such a wonderful tour I couldn’t help but laugh at how my friends didn’t want to come with me to Ireland because it wasn’t “Paris” or “Venice,” or some other place Hollywood has deemed glamorous.
Nevertheless, my tour continued to Kilkenny. What a beautiful city filled with wonderful people. When I win the PowerBall jackpot, I plan to move to Kilkenny. I had a quick lunch at the The Fig Tree Restaurant, described as “one of the nicest places to eat in Kilkenny.” This was certain true. Nice and quiet, with great customer service. After lunch, I visited the grounds of Kilkenny Castle. Beautiful!
The next day I ventured to the majestic Cliffs of Moher. Another early morning, full-day tour. The four-hour bus ride to the Cliffs was so relaxing I fell asleep, though I did wake up long enough to view Leprechaun Castle and tell the King of Leprechauns to “Póg Mo Thóin.” Haha!
The rest served me well as I was full of energy and able to hike up the walkway to get the best view of the Cliffs. And what a view it was, despite the fog. Yet another highlight of my Irish adventure.
My Emerald Isle visit came to a close with a tour of Malahide Castle.
I didn’t care much for the castle, but the tour included a trip to the harbor. With Dublin experiencing a rare heat wave, a nice, relaxing day at the harbor was a real treat.
Now, it may have been a heat wave for Dublin natives, but for this Cali girl, 80° Fahrenheit is a normal day in the Golden State. Nevertheless, I joined the natives, grabbed some Gambas Tempura and Chips from Crabby Jo’s Restaurant, then sat, enjoyed the sunshine and reminisced about the fun I had during my Irish adventure.
To some folks, Ireland isn’t one of the “coolest” places to visit. I say to those folks – don’t knock The Emerald Isle, it is truly a jewel in a world-traveller’s pocket.
As always …
HAVE PASSPORT, WILL TRAVEL!