Kilkenny, a colorful little town with cobbled streets is quintessential Ireland. Adare is another must see the town, think thatched roof cottages, black and white timbered houses, ivy-covered churches. The Rose Cottage here in Adare is a little cottage with roses climbing all over it and it’s a wonderful restaurant. Reservations are required. Neither is very big but so picturesque and so Irish!
Cliffs of Moher, 760 ft. tall and 5 miles long, these steep limestone cliffs plunge dramatically into the sea surrounding County Clare. Bring binoculars because bird watching is spectacular here. Don't forget a jacket, it's windy.
Book of Kells in Dublin, hand-illustrated copy of the four Gospels dates back to 800 AD and was created by monks in Kell, a town north of Dublin. But since the 19th century they have been housed in Trinity College in Dublin and the work is remarkably vibrant for its age.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, The castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Small in size, but with lots of winding staircases and small rooms in addition to the Great Banquet Hall which still hosts Medieval Dinners. The folk park is a recreated 19th-century village. Stroll around the charming village complete with school, post office, doctors house, hardware shop, printers and, of course, the pub! It’s a wonderful experience for adults and children alike with something for everyone.
Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim and Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Both are fun and worth the time but only if you appreciate whiskey or Guinness!
Donegal Bay Coast To the north of Donegal Town, the coastal scenery is breathtaking, especially once you pass the little town of Killybegs. The mountains reach right to the sea, creating the breathtakingly rugged coastline for which Donegal is famous. Not far from Donegal Town in Rossnowlagh you'll find Smuggler's Creek and if you're lucky enough to get a table with a view you can watch the most beautiful sunset as you enjoy a great seafood dinner.
Giant’s Causeway, this one is off the beaten path but worth the trip. Walking here is like walking on the moon. Created by unusual volcanic activity, it looks like a stone honeycomb. You’ll never see anything like this anywhere else. Located near Antrim, on the north coast of Northern Ireland, about an hour and a half from Belfast.
Skelling Michael, This is an incredible crag of rock named and dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Hidden in the grass, among the craggy stones, is a monastery dating to the 6th century. Bring your binoculars because here you can spot the colorful puffins off the Iveragh Peninsula.
Kylemore Abbey, is a photo op you can't miss. Located in the stunning landscape of Connemara it is the oldest Irish Benedictine Abbey. Still run by the nuns, it is worth seeing. Formerly a private girls school it is situated on a lake and originally built by a romantic aristocrat for his bride.
Kinsale, in County Cork, south of Cork, it’s narrow streets lead down to the sea. Walk from Kinsale through Scilly to Charles Fort and Frower Point and you’ll know it must have difficult for all of the Irish emigrants to leave this beautiful country. Lots of good restaurants here.
Kenmare, if you are doing the Ring of Kerry drive (recommended) let Kenmare be your base. This town is picture perfect with stone cottages, colorful gardens and flowers overflowing from window boxes. There’s a museum dedicated to Irish lace in this town and the nuns still make the lace!
Although Limerick is a good-sized town, it’s actually a bit rough and there really aren’t a lot of things to do here. But there are 2 excellent restaurants, pricey but worth it. The Mustard Seed and Wild Geese. Reservations required at both.
Killarney. This is a great place to settle to see the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula. Hike or take a Jaunting Cart through Killarney National Forest that sits adjacent to the city.
Adare One of Ireland's picture postcard villages and home to Adare Manor. One of the most beautiful manor houses in Ireland and is a 5-star distinguished hotel. Walk the grounds, stop in for High Tea, truly memorable.
The Burren, this is one of those panoramas you just have to see. Rugged, craggy landscape covered with wild flowers and grassland. Lots and lots of butterflies.
Even if you aren’t into gardens, see Powerscourt Gardens! South of Dublin in County Wicklow it is set in the Wicklow Hills. A perfect break from the noise of the city.
Irish Coffee. We have people tell us all the time, even if you don't like coffee and you don't like whiskey, you'll like Irish Coffee! It's the best thing we've found to take the chill out of the breeze off the Atlantic ocean. When in Rome......
South of Dublin you’ll find the Wicklow mountains. They are beautiful rolling hills, waterfalls and hiking trails. In the middle is Glendalough the site of an ancient monastery. The scenery around this whole area is just breathtaking, rolling hills to rugged mountains, gorgeous valleys and lots of ancient sites. Very popular on weekends. Go to http://www.visitwicklow.ie/ for more information on various routes through the mountains that are really worth seeing.
While in Dublin, stop for a drink at The Clarence, a luxury hotel owned by members of the band, U2. Sleek and sophisticated. For music and a good brew stop in Abbey Tavern, near Dublin center.
Don’t be surprised to find yourself with a map in your hand in English and street signs in Gaelic. Just ask anyone. Anyone that speaks Gaelic also speaks English.
Always check the menu before you order to determine if service (tip) is included in the price. It’ll say so if it is.
If you have the time, stop on the roadside and check out a little woolen shop. You can find beautiful Irish woolen sweaters for a fraction of the cost of the pricier shops in towns and cities.
If you are staying at Bed & Breakfasts take advantage of the friendly nature of your hosts. They would love to tell you where to get a bargain on a specific item or what is worth visiting in their area, even the best route to the next city!
Note: Discover Cards are not accepted in Ireland, so if that is your credit card of choice, be sure to bring another for transactions in Ireland.
One last tip, save this website: www.aaroadwatch.ie. This is a route planning feature of the Irish Automobile Associations site and is so simple. Gives you accurate distances between points and driving times.
PS. A friend from Ireland offered this tip for driving on the "wrong" side of the road.....Keep your shoulder to the line and you'll always be fine!