Back in August, I spent 7 days on the road with Shamrocker Adventures exploring all over Ireland, including the Giant's Causeway, Derry, Galway, Inis Mór, the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, and Blarney Castle. You can see a full map of our route below!
The first day of the tour, we made our way up to the small town of Ballintoy, home of the famous Carrick-A-Rede. You've probably seen the rope bridge in photos before. The bridge forms a link between the land and the island of Carrickarede and is 20 meters long and 30 meters high above the Atlantic. It's a photo opp you just can't miss in Northern Ireland. On the way there, we made a stop in Belfast, where we did a Black Cab tour of the Peace Wall and Protestant and Catholic districts where the conflicts occurred. We also saw the Dark Hedges road, made famous in Game of Thrones as the Kingsroad.
Day two started off with a personal highlight of mine, the Giant's Causeway. Made up of 40,000 basalt columns, the Causeway is a geological wonder that is a can't-miss of any trip to Northern Ireland. From there, we spent the night in Derry, learning a bit about the troubles that have plagued the region and the political situation that led to Bloody Sunday.
The next stop on the tour was Galway, which we used as a base to take the ferry for the day to the island of Inis Mór. The weather was not on our side, but some people still rented bikes to go explore the island (I chose the drier option of a bus tour). The highlight of Inis Mór was Dun Aonghasa, a 3,000 year old fort sitting on the edge of 300 foot high cliffs. I can only imagine how stunning it must look on a sunny day. Other attractions included the ruins of the Seven Churches, the Wormhole, and the seal colony. Of course, the Aran Islands are most famous for their wool sweaters and other items, so it's the best place to go shopping for an Aran Sweater.
After spending a second night in Galway, we journeyed down to the Cliffs of Moher, stopping by Dunguaire Castle along the way. For me, the most exciting part of the trip was definitely our visit to the Cliffs of Moher. We were very lucky to get a clear day and mostly sunshine for our few hours at the cliffs. These impressive cliffs are 5 miles long and 702 feet high at their highest point. On a clear day, you might even be able to see the Aran Islands in the distance. Also, if you're there between May and July, you may be lucky enough to see puffins nesting along the cliffs.
After our time at the cliffs was over, we headed to the small town of Ennis for the night. Ennis is in County Clare and is renowned at the home of traditional Irish music. After dinner that night, most of the tour group went out to the local pubs to see "trad" music played live. From Ennis, we started our journey down to Killarney, exploring the beautiful Dingle Peninsula along the way. We stopped in Dingle for lunch to have some of the best fish and chips in Ireland, and finished off with some famous Murphys Ice Cream, made uniquely from Kerry cows. Venturing along the Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head Drive provides stunning views of the Irish coastline in all its glory. At one point, we even took a short hike to take in the dramatic scenery. It's no wonder that recently they filmed a bunch of scenes for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi in the surrounding area.
Killarney is known as the party town of Ireland, so of course everyone was revved up to hit the pubs and clubs that night. Beyond the partying though, there's the beautiful Killarney National Park in walking distance, or you can take a horse and carriage ride through the park to the 15th century Ross Castle. After dancing away the last night of our tour, we left Killarney the next morning to head to Blarney Castle in county Cork. Blarney Castle is, of course, most famous for the Blarney Stone. What most people don't realize is that in order to kiss the stone, it's actually at the top of the castle, and you have to lean back treacherously and hang upside down in order to reach it. Not to mention, the long queues up to 2 hours long if you arrive at the wrong time. But don't worry, it's worth it, as kissing the stone will give you the "gift of the gab"! Our last stop on the tour was the Rock of Cashel, and then before we knew it we were back in Dublin and had to say our goodbyes. Overall, it was 7 days of adventure and fun and new friendships!
I was hosted on this tour by Shamrocker Adventures. As always, all opinions are my own. To book your own tour of Ireland, including 1, 3, 5, and 7 day tour options, please visit https://www.shamrockeradventures.com/