This isn’t my typical blog post featuring a love story, or wedding planning advice. Instead, I want to share with you about my recent experience in Ireland.
Recently I was taken abroad to Ireland to document an amazing love story’s next chapter, S + A’s surprise proposal. You can read about that here. During my time there, I explored around Ireland as it was my first time visiting the amazing country. The people were incredibly friendly, which took me by surprise. I always assume a bustling city will be relatively cold in terms of social interaction, only because people are busy and living their lives. I’m not mad about this, I get it. I’m a pesky tourist to most. So the inherent friendliness of the Irish took me by surprise.
The food was absolutely amazing. (Much better than my experiences in rural Britain.) Here’s a list of all places I dined at while in Dublin (in no particular order):
+ Xian Street Food (On Anne St)
+ The Lincoln’s Inn
+ Petit Cafe
There were so many places I wanted to see in my limited time there and I wasn’t able to check them off my list, so a return visit is absolutely required.
I stayed right in downtown Dublin for the majority of my stay, at the Buswells Hotel.
The Buswells is an older hotel. Intentionally so to keep that historic charm. And because it’s located in the heart of downtown Dublin, things like Trinity College, The National Library of Ireland, Grafton Street, and St. Stephens Green are less than a 5 minute walk away. Honestly, the majority of Dublin is walkable and if you plan on visiting, there will be no shortage of things to see or do in the city. (Such as getting a fry bag from Xian Street Food on Anne St at basically any time.)
The rooms are a relatively standard size for European hotels, and I was given a room on the first floor. Even though it was late March, the rooms tended to be on the warm side, and AC is not a common feature in historic hotels. I had no issues with check-in, or check-out. But do be aware that if you plan on coming and going, this hotel has a policy that you leave your room key at the front desk. This is because they have older locks on the doors and likely have a limited number of key copies.
My biggest advice regarding this hotel you’re traveling alone is to ask for a floor on the second floor or higher. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the window open because there were no stops in place to keep someone from the alleyway out if they attempted to get in. The American in me didn’t place enough trust in keeping an open window into my hotel room while sleeping or out adventuring (with valuables left behind). So this resulted in some uncomfortably warm nights of sleep.
The hotel staff was kind, and one of the bartenders of the in house restaurant helped me put together a special reservation for my couple of strawberries and champagne. I sadly did not get to sample the food offered, but it was because I was eating at different places around Dublin each day.
I rented a car and ventured out to the Northern Coast for a day. And the 3 hour drive on the left side of the road was absolutely worth the experience. Driving in Ireland was not my first experience driving on the left, thankfully. On the way to the Northern Coast, I stopped at The Dark Hedges, which I didn’t realize was featured in Game of Thrones?
But because of this, there were tour buses full of tourists that would come through on regular intervals, which made getting some of the shots you’ll see below of The Dark Hedges a waiting game. A waiting game in the rain, no less.
The road is closed to through traffic (meaning local traffic only), but in my time there, that didn’t stop other tourists who had rented their vehicle from driving down the road themselves. (Quite rude, if you ask me.)
At first glance The Dark Hedges doesn’t look like much, but it’s amazing to see that trees intentionally planted over 200 years ago have become this beautiful, ethereal place. With it being late March, the trees had not come into leaves yet, but I think that adds a haunting touch and I love the shots I got.
There is a small gift shop/restaurant not far from the parking area. And I made sure to stop there to get a hot chai latte, and a magnet to add to my fridge back home.
After taking in the sights, sounds, nature, and getting relatively soaked, it was time to visit Cerrick-a-Rede. Here, the rain worked to my favor, as there weren’t near as many visitors. So I was able to get a ticket to cross the bridge without issue.
The walk/light hike to the rope bridge from the parking area is about a third of a mile, and does have some incline/decline areas. But even in the rain, which got heavy at times, were easy to travel.
The sights leading up to the bridge are like no other I’ve experienced. The bridge itself takes a bit of bravery to cross, as it covers a 65 ft chasm that drops 100 ft to the rocky ocean below. It’s not a modern bridge. Let me be clear. This bridge was originally erected by fishermen in 1755. Granted it’s upkept to ensure safety, and there are park staff there to keep eye in need of emergency, but the design remains as close to the original as possible.
To cross the bridge you have to come down a really steep flight of stairs first, and I got to the top of the stairs, saw the incline, saw the bridge and noped tf out. The park staff there laughed and offered to carry me across, and I respectfully declined. So I went around to get a few photos of the bridge from the side and watched a few other brave souls cross.
After a bit of time watching others, and when the bridge was clear, I decided it was my turn. The park staff laughed again, and asked if I had changed my mind about his offer. I told him I was good going it alone. Definitely worth the anxiety.
If you’re thinking about visiting Ireland, absolutely do it. And if you want someone to tag along to take photos of you, reach out and let me know. I’m definitely interested in visiting again.