Planning an Ireland vacation || Honeymoon

I have always wanted to travel out of the county, and so when it came time to plan our honeymoon, when my husband asked, my only request was that it include some international travel! We went back and forth for weeks trying to decide what country we should visit. With my husband just beginning a new job, we knew we wouldn't be going on our trip until summer and tried to look at locations that would be great to travel to then! We knew we wanted to go someplace that spoke English, and was relatively easy to traverse for our first international trip, and once we found out about our little on the way- someplace safe! We decided on Ireland, and I'm so glad we did!! 

We researched for weeks, and talked to numerous friends and family that had traveled there. After much debate, we decided to plan our own trip and forgo a touring company. I looked at other's itineraries and did my research, and came up with a 9 day loop across the southern portion of Ireland. We flew into Dublin, and then took the train for the next two days, finally renting a car for the remainder of the trip. 

The cities we visited were: Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Cork, Midleton, Dingle, Killarny, Doolin, Ennis, Quin and Howth. It sounds like a lot, but keep in mind the entire county is only about the size of the state of Indiana! We are so thankful for all the people that helped us planned, and so to pay it forward I've tried to link all the places we went and the things we did. For anyone else planning a trip, I'd also love to send you our entire itinerary including all the places we stayed; a mix of castles, bed and breakfasts and hotels. Just shoot me an email for the info! In the mean time, if you happen to find yourself planning a trip, here are some of my tips for an incredible experience:

Stay in castle, but also a bed and breakfast. The castles were so fun, and such a treat, but really the b&b's were our favorite. We met and stayed with some incredible people. They gave us tips for our trip, and without those encounters, I don't think our trip would've been the same! Just a note, the Irish are some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met. It was like being back in the south while there!

Eat all the food. We ate at nice restaurants, and pubs alike. Both offer a unique glimpse into Ireland's culinary scene. Some of the best food I've ever tasted was on this trip! Everything we ate was local, fresh and delicious. Try the black and white pudding that is served with a "full Irish breakfast." It's really good! Just maybe don't research what it's made out of first. You should also try and find a pub with some live music. And try the Guinness! It taste so different there, being fresh. 

Rent a car and take the train. We loved the train for it's ease of getting around. Especially when we were leaving Dublin, and just getting used to the country. If, however, we had limited our selves to only public transportations, we would've missed out on seeing a lot. Y'all if I can drive on the left side of the road down those tiny narrow roads, and confusing cities, any one can do it! Also, get a GPS! There's no way we could've done it with out one.

Do your research, but be flexible. For everywhere we went, I had a list of things to do and see, and some days we followed it to a 'T', others we found new things I didn't know about or just didn't get around to everything. If we had totally winged it, I think we would've wasted too much time trying to figure out what to do next, but if we had scheduled it too densely we would've been exhausted, missed out on other things, and just not enjoyed it as much.

Last thing, I took almost 2,000 photos on my camera + who knows how many more on our phones. I narrowed it down to around 100 photos taken on my "big camera" for this post, but know it isn't a complete story. Missing are most of the places we stayed, the food we ate, and the people we met along the way. I also spared you from the selfies. Know we took lots of those too though! I hope you enjoy the photos below and that they help you plan your own Ireland adventure someday! Now I'm off to sort more photos, create a photo book, and daydream of our next adventure!

Day 1 Dublin: Trinity College Library, Guinness Storehouse tour and wandering around near our hotel

Dublin Ireland by Rachel K Photo

Day 2 Kilkenny: Medieval mile, including a tour of St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower.

Kilkenny Ireland by Rachel K Photo

Day 3 & 4: Waterford, Midleton Jameson tour, Blarney Castle, Cork Old English Market and University College Cork to see the Ogam stones.

Middleton, Blarney Castle and Cork Ireland by Rachel K Photo

Evening of day 4: Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head Drive.

Dingle Peninsula Ireland by Rachel K Photo

Day 5 & 6: Killarney Ross Castle and Innisfallen Abbey and Cliffs of Moher.

Killarney, Innisfallen Abbey, Ballyseed Castle, Cliffs of Moher Ireland by Rachel K Photo

Day 7: Doolin, The Burren, Ennis Friary and Quin Abbey

Doolin, Wedge tombs, Ennis Friary, Quin Abbey Ireland by Rachel K Photo

Day 8: Trim Castle (where Braveheart was filmed!), St. Mary's Abbey, Kilmainham Gaol back in Dublin, and Howth coastal village at sunset.

Trim, Kilmainham Gaol, Howth Ireland by Rachel K Photo