Ireland – what to do, what to wear, what to remember

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It’s been two weeks since I’ve been home and it almost doesn’t feel real…but I went to Ireland! It was an amazing trip that I never want to forget, so I thought it would make a great blog post that I can always look back on. We spent a week in and around Dublin and although the foreigners let us know plenty of times how crazy it was that Americans get so little “holiday” time, it was the perfect amount of time to see the sights and then get back to my boys. Shout out to my husband for holding down the fort with ease!

I know that I personally spent way too much time on Pinterest and blogs leading up to the trip to find out what to do and what
to wear—so if you’re here for that, check out my lists below after all the pictures.

It’s fun for me to remember that this whole trip started off at the table of a Missouri winery while celebrating my sister’s bachelorette party. Honestly if the sangria pitchers hadn’t gone down as smooth as they had, we may have never taken this trip! But, as fate would have it, we had wine, we had sangria, and the cousins had a fun hypothetical discussion about surprising our moms at Christmas with a trip to Ireland…the rest is history!

I still get excited thinking about our corny little rhyming clues on Christmas. Is there any feeling better than giving what you feel like is a good gift?! I think not!

Pictures don’t do it justice, but here are some sights we saw:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral was gorgeous on the inside but no photos allowed. Surprisingly (to us) it’s not Roman Catholic! Who knew?
The Brazen Head–oldest pub in Ireland–dates back to 1198!
Hiking in Howth was probably my favorite day! We had pretty nice weather and amazing views.

The Guinness Storehouse is a really nice museum that was so well done–beyond my expectations for a brewery museum! The 360 bar at the top was the perfect spot to sip my first Guinness. Acquired taste….but when in Rome!
Shameless sheep selfie. Rural pub tour in the Wicklow mountains! The scenery was just as picturesque as you would imagine–it was like a movie!
In Glendalough I just couldn’t get over how old everything was. Our country is so new comparably. To walk through ruins of churches and graveyards well over 1000 years old was surreal.
Pictures really don’t do any of it justice…
So maybe all the locals know it’s a tourist spot and the drinks are twice the price…but I really enjoyed Temple Bar! The Irish, of course, offered Irish coffee everywhere but this was a delicious take on an iced version
St. Stephen’s Green was like the Central Park of Dublin

WHAT TO DO – A list of some of my must-do things would have to include:

1. Visit Howth – I think the majority of our group ranked this as one of the best days. Howth is a fishing community about 30 mins outside of Dublin by train. The scenery was incredible and fresh seafood restaurants line the marina. We hiked for hours and basically logged the best days
anyone’s fitbits had ever seen. I could spend much longer than a day trip in Howth!

2. Guinness Storehouse – This was a really nice, really interesting museum. Who knew that Arthur Guinness had something like 20+ kids and that he signed a 9000 year lease for the Guinness factory?! There are plenty of neat things to see here and the 360 bar at the top with your complimentary Guinness had an amazing view!

3. Rural pub tour – this was such a memorable experience! We booked a small pub tour and our guide picked us right up in Dublin. He then drove us up the mountains to 6 unique rural pubs. We learned traditional Irish music and met with locals at locations we never would have found on our own.
We felt like this was a very authentic Ireland. They are truly a sing-songy people, but it was more genuine than I would have imagined. I don’t think they just sang corny “Irish songs” for the tourists…we got to visit some real hole-in-the walls and the live music always consisted of the same handful of folksy songs.

4.  Glendalough and Kilkenny day tour – this was a bit of a trip (around 2 hours) outside of Dublin, but we saw some amazing things. Glendalough is an area with ruins so old and history so rich that I truly felt dumbstruck around structures built that long ago! Kilkenny was a charming little town complete with a castle, of course, and fun shopping. We were even surprised by what appeared to be an impromptu marching band parade upon walking out of a shop!

WHAT TO WEAR – because I struggled with this and repacked my bag twice:

  1. Boots – It rains a lot, so we learned, and the one time I wore flats for an hour I regretted it. Tennis shoes just get soggy. I wore either riding boots or these super inexpensive duck boots 95% of the time with really thick, cozy socks. I kind of ran out of time and took a chance on them and I want a second pair now since Amazon has so many colors/options.

 

2. Scarves, layers- scarves are easy to pack and often times saved me when the sun set and a cold wind came in. Layers are a good idea too because if it warms up or you warm up from hiking, you don’t want to be too bundled up!

3. A hooded coat (and/or umbrella) – I didn’t follow this advice that I read so many places. I bought a cheap umbrella while there and it died within an hour along with many, it seems. The streets were lined with broken umbrella stuffed trash cans! Get yourself a good one and a coat with a hood in case you get caught in the rain!

4. Comfy/cute – for me it was a legging and tunic heavy trip, but I didn’t want every picture of me taken on this once in a lifetime trip to be so casual and, dare I say, soccer mom-ish.  Dresses were easy too and, with flat boots, still practical enough for exploring. This is an affiliate link coming up, but probably my favorite Amazon clothing purchase ever so definitely check it out! this dress I ordered for the trip is now a favorite and I’ve ordered another color. Affordable, super flattering and comfortable! I love a good Amazon find because I tried on at least 5 that did NOT work.

WHAT TO REMEMBER (so maybe this part is for me):

1. Our rush to come in out of the rain one afternoon while lost and tired from hiking only to stumble upon a pub with quaint live music and the best atmosphere, a happy accident!

2. Meal time – our group didn’t separate often, but the whole 9 of us sitting down to lunches and dinners all week really made the trip.

3. How happy we were to find that pub on top of the mountain in Howth! Lord knows we had hiked our hearts out and didn’t pack drinks or snacks.

4. Those three old men in a pub somewhere in the Wicklow mountain area, singing  old Irish music, singing in Gaelic, reciting poetry, telling jokes, sharing sandwiches with us and talking about their parents farming back before the Easter Rising. We felt like we got a really genuine bit of Ireland there!

5. Our hurried shopping off Grafton street in the hours before our flight when we stumbled upon Ohm Diva! We didn’t know where we were going or what we would find but this perfect little store and vintage shop and it’s owners/employees fit the bill. Now I follow them on Instagram and feel like a little bit of me is a Dublin local-ha!

If you can’t tell, I would recommend a trip to Ireland.  Let me know in the comments if you have every been or plan to go!

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2 thoughts on “Ireland – what to do, what to wear, what to remember”

  1. Tay,
    You may have missed your calling. I know Mizzou’s Journalism School is a tough sell, but maybe it sort of settled into you by osmosis.
    Great compilation of your trip. And yes, thanks Sangria……yall all deserved it, Jeanette has spoken of Ireland for so very long. DNA samples don’t lie….our family ( Allens. Cooneys), all have the Irish in them….who would have guessed ha
    Love you
    Dad

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