Ireland – Day 4

Join us for our “Free Day” where we had absolutely no plans whatsoever!

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Day 4 Itinerary for Tuesday, February 23, 2016:

  • Free Day!
    • Spa?
    • Afternoon Tea?
    • Explore?
  • Hotel: Kilronan Castle Hotel

This is how the day ACTUALLY unfolded:

I am a planner and I like things to have a plan, so this day was primarily for my husband so that we didn’t have every single minute of every single day accounted for by some activity. I have to admit, however, I thoroughly enjoyed our unplanned day and will definitely be adding an unplanned day into all of our itineraries going forward!

We slept in and woke up a bit grouchy and in need of coffee. The problem is we didn’t know where we were headed! So we decided to try to find Nolan’s Castle (because my husband’s name is Nolan). On Trip Advisor it says it’s near Sligo but it definitely is not where the map says it is. So we were even grumpier because we couldn’t find the castle AND we still needed coffee. Thankfully we found a nice little place in Ballisadare called the Village that advertised breakfast all day! Hooray!

At this little cafe, we had the most delicious lattes and breakfast and we met some people who knew where to find Nolan’s Castle (aka Enniscrone Castle). They also told us where to go to find sheep in the road! Apparently this is one of the more annoying parts of driving in Ireland for the locals, but it was on my bucket list to see sheep in the road!

After we finished our lattes and breakfast, we drove around for quite some time in search of anything and everything! On our roundabout way to Enniscrone, we saw some breathtakingly beautiful views, talked to a local driving a tractor whose land we were actually trespassing on (he was super nice though and told us we could park and take a walk around – we didn’t because it was quite muddy and there was a mean looking dog), a stream with waterfalls, a bog and peat drying, and… SHEEP IN THE ROAD!!!

We finally made it to Enniscrone Castle and we hiked up to see it. Nolan was super excited to see “his” castle so we took lots of photos! Enniscrone is also right on the water so we headed down to the beach to take some photos there as well.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped into two different pubs that each didn’t serve food so we ended up getting some snacks from a convenience store and then stopping to get some fast food at a place called Hot Rods. I have to say, Americans definitely do fast food burgers better than the Irish.

On Day 5¬†we are heading toward the Cliffs of Moher! Don’t miss it!

~Thankfully Exhausted

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Ireland – Day 2

If you think our first day was fun, wait until you hear about Day 2!

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Day 2 Itinerary for Sunday, February 21, 2016:

  • 6:00 AM: Breakfast at Hotel
  • 7:00 AM: Leave Hotel
  • 9:00 AM: Visit Rock of Cashel Castle
  • 10:30 AM: Visit Cahir Castle
  • 1:00 PM: Visit Blarney Castle & Blarney Woolen Mills
  • 4:00 PM: Kilkenny
    • Black Abbey
    • St. Canice’s Cathedral
    • Roth House
    • Nicholas Mosse
    • Kilkenny Castle
    • Medieval Kilkenny
  • Hotel: Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel

This is how the day ACTUALLY unfolded:

We woke up after the most amazing sleep ever! Okay, maybe it wasn’t the most amazing sleep, but after being awake for so long, sleep was very welcome! Breakfast at the hotel was lovely, a wonderful assortment of familiar and unfamiliar (puddings) foods awaited our salivating mouths.

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We left the hotel right on schedule in order to get to the Rock of Cashel as close to opening time as possible. The Rock of Cashel was absolutely beautiful! It seemed to be having some updates so there was a bit of scaffolding around it, but that really didn’t take away from the majesty of the castle. This particular castle is situated at the top of a very steep hill that you must walk up in order to visit. On this particular day it was relatively cold as well as VERY windy, so we made our way up the hill slowly while holding onto our hats!

Our next stop was Cahir Castle which was wonderful as well! Where the Rock of Cashel had no roof and was very weathered, Cahir Castle had beautiful white washed walls and the roof still firmly attached. One of my favorite parts of Cahir Castle was the light up display that told you the story of a battle by pressing various buttons showing you how they were invaded. It was fun going back outside and picturing how it all happened.

On our way to our next destination, Blarney Castle, we ate some sandwiches in the car. I got a kick out of the open tab on the ham that says “Release the Ham” and though the ham, cheese, and bread had a bit of a different taste than we’re used to in America, it was a great meal! We even had enough to eat the next day too! This was a very cost-effective way to eat while staying within budget. Oh and I must mention the chocolate, Ireland has the BEST. CHOCOLATE. EVER! It is so creamy and delicious!

Onto the Blarney Castle…

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The Blarney Castle was AMAZING! I wish I would have known how much there is to see besides the Blarney Stone. The complex is gigantic with gardens and houses and caves and so much more! We didn’t get to explore as much as I had hoped we would since we had so many other things we wanted to see that day, but we did get to kiss the Blarney Stone and receive the gift of gab!

After this we decided to forgo going to the Woolen Mills and head straight to Kilkenny in hopes to get to see at least a couple of the attractions. What we hadn’t learned yet is that in Ireland everything closes really early. Like 5:00 early. So when we got to Kilkenny almost everything was closed. We did happen to find a Carol’s gift shop where we proceeded to spend a crazy amount of money on gifts for our family.

The other thing we learned quickly is that not all of the Pubs serve food in Ireland. So if you want to eat, you should definitely make plans to eat early or at your hotel! On our way back to our hotel we searched and searched for a place on Trip Advisor to eat (we got the in-car WiFi which was AMAZING and absolutely worth its weight in gold) and we finally found a place not too far from our hotel called McLoughlin’s Bar. It was an Irish Pub that did serve food, hooray, and good food at that!

And that’s the end of Day 2! Stay tuned for Day 3 as we head north to Belfast and Northern Ireland!

~Thankfully Exhausted