My Long Lost Ireland Post

I can’t believe I’ve already been back from Ireland for a month. I meant to write a post about my experience as soon as I came back and kept forgetting to sit down and write it. So here is my severely delayed post. It is really stilted and not well written, so bear with me…

We took a red eye flight to Ireland and landed around 9:30 am. So where would our first stop be?
The Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate of course! The tour was pretty extensive, teaching you about the ingredients, the history of Guinness marketing, and much more , but the best part was learning to pour the perfect pint.
Waiting for the beer to settle
It’s all set to be topped off
The Perfect Pint
My boyfriend and I, jet lagged but enjoying the perfect pint
Guinness really does taste different in Ireland (and definitely for the better!). I am actually a fan of Guinness, but since tasting it on this trip, I’ve been reluctant to order it in the U.S. because I know it won’t taste the same. Sigh.

The next stop was to grab some food at a pub down the street from our hotel.

Only the Irish would serve Shepard’s Pie (meat and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes) with a side of more potatoes. The meal wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was our first meal in Dublin so I had to include it.
While in Dublin, we also went on a tour about the 1916 Easter Rising, which was really interesting.  The Rising, although unsuccessful, got the ball rolling on Ireland’s independence from Great Britain. The tour brought us down O’Connell Street where the majority of the Rising took place. You can still see damage caused during the Easter Rising on the statue at the beginning of O’Connell Street.
Bullet hole on bottom right
The sword has been blown off
I had my first Magners/Bulmers at a pub off of O’Connell Street. It was tasty, but I can’t really imagine drinking more than one of those in a sitting, it’s really sweet!
We then traveled to Belfast. While there, we went on a bus tour of Belfast, which included a lot of information about the Troubles. They even showed us the peace line and a lot of the murals around the city.

Before leaving, we had to make sure to go kiss the fish! They say if you kiss the fish, you’re sure to return to Belfast.

Little fun fact: The Titanic was built in Belfast at the old Harland and Wolff site. We went to see the dry dock where the titanic sat before her maiden voyage.
Close up of the dry dock
And yes, I did take photos of photos. It shows you the Titanic actually sitting in the dry dock.

Belfast is very proud of the Titanic, but many people always ask them why. Their response? “She was fine when she left here.” Hehe.

We then drove up the Northern Coast of North Ireland, which is absolutely beautiful.

In North Ireland, I had my first Ulster Fry! An Ulster Fry is the North Ireland version of an Irish breakfast. All that food below it for one person. A traditional Ulster Fry includes rashers (bacon), 1 egg, bangers (sausage), grilled tomato, potato bread (which is more like a hash brown to us Americans) and mushrooms.

Imagine eating this every day. Whew.

Continuing our touristy trip, we went to a rope bridge that used to lead to one of the best locations for salmon fishing. But it’s been over fished so there really aren’t any left.

This bridge used to be only a single handrail and large gaps between the slats. Eek.

This seems much safer!

It’s 23 meters above the water, and and 20 meters long.

So after that little adventure, we needed a drink. Off to the Bushmills Distillery!
The distillery was unfortunately shut down because of the August holiday, but it was nonetheless an interesting tour. We were able to taste at the end, and I have to say I am still not a whiskey aficionado.I did enjoy the hot toddy though.
We also stopped at Giant’s Causeway.
Legend has it that the Irish warrior Finn McCool built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner.
Giant’s Causeway was actually formed by an ancient volcanic eruption, making 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea.
See how they look like stepping stones?

We wanted to check it our from above, so we headed up.

So. Many. Stairs.

But the view was worth the effort!

Next stop: Dunluce Castle.

The castle dates back to the 13th century.

It is so close to the edge of the cliff that parts of the walls have fallen into the water below.

We stopped in Donegal and headed to the hat factory: Hanna Hats.

We picked up a few souvenirs.

We spent the night in Kinsale, what a gorgeous town!

Here’s a (modified) Irish breakfast. A traditional breakfast has rashers, bangers, 1 fried egg, black and white puddings, tomato, mushrooms and baked beans. I really wasn’t a fan of the black and white puddings, so I started asking for my breakfast without them when I could.

We then ended up in Limerick to visit some family and visited Adare Manor while we were there.

We also visited the Cliffs of Moher. What wonderful views!

One of my cousins, Aisling, baked this beautiful cake for our arrival. She is ten, and bakes better than I can ever hope to! Just look how amazing this looks!

We once again headed to North Ireland to visit the farm that my grandfather grew up on.
View from the farm

It is still in use today, and is primarily a dairy farm.

When I last visited (I was about 10), I was asked to go collect the eggs from the hen house with my cousin. She dropped an egg, but they blamed me, the American!

We also went to see my grandfather’s old school. Yes, that is a tree growing straight through it.

Sadly, we were at the end of our journey. We flew out of Dublin, so we spent our last night in Ireland at the iconic O’Donoghues.
I had an absolutely wonderful time in Ireland. My family was so accommodating and were fantastic tour guides as well. Although it took me 15 years to return from my original trip, I hope the next time I visit is much sooner than that!


  1. says

    Ahhh so jealous of this trip! My mom’s grandparents came over from Ireland (we have their immigration certs hanging in her bedroom) and I would LOVE to adventure over there. :) I didn’t think this was poorly written at all!

  2. says

    Definitely agree that in 2 years I have yet to find a Guinness in the US as good as it was in Ireland – although I’ve stopped trying I may start again in Boston…

  3. says

    What a great trip! Thanks for sharing all the photos! I love the traditional English fry breakfast (that’s what I call them) the tomatoes, eggs and meat…YUM!

  4. says

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog, I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  1. […] 2012 by Kaitlin With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching I have been thinking back to my trip to Ireland quite a bit. I had such a great time that I wanted to relive a little piece of it, through food of […]

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