The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers

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Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena

Well, sometimes life gives you those extra special, delight moments and one should always be ready to revel in them. That moment came up for me when I applied for the UK Visa for my first international, first solo, first backpacking trip (read up on them here, London and Scotland). I wanted to see more than the just UK after I read about the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) that allows you to enter Ireland on UK visa without the hassle of applying separately for Irish Visa and the additional cost for the same. Luckily, I was among the ones whbecame eligible for BIVS. Next thing was to get, set, and plan for the Emerald Isle.

Since Ireland was part of my trip starting from London via Edinburgh, I chose to fly into Dublin from Edinburgh with Ryanair. Ryanair is one of the best low-cost airlines on the route. The only thing that one needs to be careful about is their baggage allowance policy. Try to stick to the bag size measurements in order to avoid paying a hefty amount for check-in baggage. After an exciting night of friends, drinks, and dance in Edinburgh, I took an early morning flight to Dublin so that it would allow me to have an entire day to explore the new city.

The best way to reach the city from the airport is the Airlink 747, an express bus that runs from 04:45 -00:30 at the price of €7.00 for a single and €12 for a return trip. I bought the return ticket as I was flying out to London after some days.

En route Dublin City Center. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena
Day 1

Having stayed in 3 different hostels in the past 4 days, I picked up the hostel culture and was really looking forward to my new abode for the night in Dublin. Having spent hours in researching hostels, I finalized Abigails Hostel. Abigails was my choice because of its proximity to the city center, my next backpacking tour start point, and the famous Temple Bar Street.

View from the room at Abigails Hostel. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Abigails Hostel, Aston Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Abigails Hostel.

Photo of Abigails Hostel, Aston Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Since I reached my hostel before the check-in time, the guy at the reception advised me to take the free walking tour of the city to optimize my time. I quickly skimmed through the city map that he gave me and rushed to the City Hall, the starting point of the tour. These walking tours are the best way to get the glimpse of the city. Our tour guide was 100% Irish-funny guy who showed us most of the places of interest like Trinity College, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, among few others. Dublin gives you the feel of a fun, small city that you can easily explore it on foot. After the 3-hour long tour, I checked into my hostel and chose to rest for few hours.

Henry Street. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Henry Street, Dublin 1, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Heineken Office, Dublin. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Heineken Ireland, Kilmainham, Dublin 8,, Co. Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena

The best thing about solo travel is that you meet so many new people, makes so many friends. I coincidentally met a fellow traveler in Edinburgh a few days back, a student of English from Mexico studying English in Dublin who offered to show me around. Nadya became my favorite person in Dublin later.

With Nadia

Photo of Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Day 2

When you are traveling solo, every day is an adventure in itself. My adventure for the day began with the 3-day Southern Ireland backpacking tour with Shamrocker Adventures. We started the tour from Dublin in the morning at 8:30. It was time to meet more new people. The group had around 16 travelers from Canada, Australia, US, Germany, Chile along with 100% local guide Becks (Rebecca) and our bus driver Mr. Noel.

Our Group

Photo of Shamrocker Adventures, Merchants Quay, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena

The Funny Mr. Noel

Photo of Shamrocker Adventures, Merchants Quay, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Becks made sure that all of us knew each other and arranged for a just-a-minute sort of a session for everyone en route our first stop Rock of Cashel. After our introduction session, Becks took over with the overly fascinating Irish folklore full of faeries and leprechauns, local history and funny stories of AFCs (read locally as Another Fecking Castle).

Rock of Cashel. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Rock of Cashel, Moor, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Rock of Cashel. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Rock of Cashel, Moor, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland by Priya Saxena

View from Rock of Cashel. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Rock of Cashel, Moor, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland by Priya Saxena

We visited the Blarney Castle in the hope of getting the famous ‘gift of the gab’ before heading to our hostel for the night Neptune’s Hostel in Killarney, a beautiful, cute little party town in the Kerry county.

Kissing the Blarney Stone.

Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena

At Blarney Castle.

Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Killarney. Picture Credits: Priya Saxena

Photo of Killarney Grand Hotel, Main Street, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Killarney Grand Hotel, Main Street, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

At Neptune's Hostel.

Photo of Neptune's Hostel, New Street, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Becks took us to Killarney Grand where the night was long and full of real Irish ‘dishco’, Guinness, traditional Irish music and dance, Irish rock band Ruaile Buaile, and hot Irish men. As they say in Ireland, the craic was ninety.

Photo of Killarney Grand Hotel, Main Street, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Killarney Grand Hotel, Main Street, Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Day 3

The next morning started on a calm note when we headed towards the gorgeous Dingle Peninsula with its beautiful beaches and rugged coastline.

Stone house. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Dingle Peninsula. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Dingle Peninsula. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Few of you might recall the name from the movie Leap Year. Mind you, its just one of the beaches of Dingle that was shown in the movie that was actually Dingle. Star Wars fans may also get to see few filming locations of the movie.

One of the many filming locations of Star Wars.

Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena

We stopped at Valley of the Mad and then at Coumeenoole Beach to enjoy the perfect sunny day before heading to the cute port town of Dingle. There are lots of places to eat but don’t forget to try the amazing ice creams at Kool Scoops.

Valley of the Mad

Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena

Gleann-na-nGealt, the Valley of the Mad. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena

Coumeenoole Beach. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Coumeenoole Beach. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Coumeenoole Beach. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Coumeenoole Beach. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Dingle Peninsula. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Dingle Peninsula. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

With Becks at Coumeenoole Beach.

Photo of Coumeenoole Beach, Coumeenoole North, County Kerry, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Our stop for the night was at Rowan Tree Hostel at Ennis, in the county town of Clare.

Photo of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Friary, Francis Street, Lifford, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Friary, Francis Street, Lifford, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Friary, Francis Street, Lifford, Ennis, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Day 4

Since it was the last day of our tour, Becks added few other places to our itinerary like Brigid's Well and a Leprechaun Wish Well on our way to the mighty Cliffs of Moher.

Photo of Brigid's Well, Saint Patrick Street, Ottawa, ON, Canada by Priya Saxena

Cliffs of Moher-nearly 8 miles of length and 702 feet of height. Cliffs of Moher is quite a popular spot for all Harry Potter movie fans. Check out the cave scene where Dumbledore and Harry apparate to destroy a Horcrux.

Photo of Cliffs of Moher, Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Cliffs of Moher.

Photo of Cliffs of Moher, Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Cliffs of Moher. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Cliffs of Moher, Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Cliffs of Moher. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Cliffs of Moher, Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Cliffs of Moher.

Photo of Cliffs of Moher, Lislorkan North, County Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Later, we explored the eerie moon-like landscape of the Burren county, with folklore of fairies and leprechauns waiting to be found.

Cliffs of Moher. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Irish Craic: 5 Days in Emerald Isle in Summers by Priya Saxena
Photo of Burren, Decomade, Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of Burren, Decomade, Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Becks at the Leprechaun Wishing Well

Photo of Burren, Decomade, Clare, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Our last stop for the tour was the popular Irish city of Galway. Galway was bright, vibrant, fun-filled stop. One amazing place to eat in Galway would be the wood-fired pizzas at The Dough Bros. The rest of the time back from Galway to Dublin was spent exchanging each other’s contact details, Facebook profiles, unlimited photographic memories.

And before I could know, I was back at Abigails in Dublin. The remainder of my evening was spent walking around the city and at Carrolls Irish Gifts for freakishly cute souvenirs.

Photo of Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Dough Bros, Middle Street, Galway, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of The Dough Bros, Middle Street, Galway, Ireland by Priya Saxena

Grafton Street. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Day 5

Back in Dublin, I had half a day with me to spend before flying back to London. The most awaited attraction for me that day was the Guinness Storehouse. I would suggest you buy tickets online to get some discount.

Photo of Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena

My friend Nadya joined me for the rest of the time; I bought my very own Daisy sheep (a soft toy), Celtic jewelry from St. Stephens Green Shopping Centre.

Stephens Green Shopping Center. Picture Credit: Priya Saxena

Photo of St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena
Photo of St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena

With the Spire

Photo of St Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena

It was soon time for me to bid adieu to the good ol’ Ireland. It was time to board Airlink 747, again but with a promise to come back again.

Day 1

Well, sometimes life gives you those extra special, delight moments and one should always be ready to revel in them. That moment came up for me when I applied for the UK Visa for my first international, first solo, first backpacking trip (read up on them here, London and Scotland). I wanted to see more than the just UK after I read about the British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS) that allows Indian and Chinese nationals to enter Ireland on UK visa without the hassle of applying separately for Irish Visa and the additional cost for the same. Luckily, I was among the ones who became eligible for BIVS. Next thing was to get, set, and plan for the Emerald Isle.

Since Ireland was part of my trip starting from London via Edinburgh, I chose to fly into Dublin from Edinburgh with Ryanair. Ryanair is one of the best low-cost airlines on the route. The only thing that one needs to be careful about is their baggage allowance policy. Try to stick to the bag size measurements in order to avoid paying a hefty amount for check-in baggage. After an exciting night of friends, drinks, and dance in Edinburgh, I took an early morning flight to Dublin so that it would allow me to have an entire day to explore the new city.

The Emerald Isle. Picture Courtesy: Priya Saxena

Photo of Dublin, Ireland by Priya Saxena
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