About a week ago, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Ireland. It was about seven hours before the flight when I clicked “buy ticket.” I went with three friends I had met on the Masa Leadership Summit only two weeks before. Julia, Jamie and Katie are fun and adventurous people and I thought to myself why not go explore part of the world with them?
So here’s what we did:
Day 1: We arrived to our airbnb (which wasn’t exactly the ideal situation) but it was the ultimate bonding experience. We rested then walked around the downtown Dublin area. We grabbed dinner at a heavily Christmas decorated bar. There was live Irish music, great drinks and awesome food. I tried an Irish coffee for the first time and it was absolutely magnificent.
Day 2: The girls woke up to the smell of eggs and coffee all thanks to Jamie! We walked around the Dublin area where we explored Trinity College, a beautiful place to study. The architecture of the buildings was like none other. You walk around the campus and think you’re in a movie, it was that beautiful. I know if I were to go to school there, I would spend most of my time roaming around campus. Next we visited the Dublin castle, a place that is now a governmental complex. Of course, Princess Yari took numerous selfies with the castle! We wandered the area some more and found Saint Patrick’s Park. It was nice to sit down and reflect in such a beautiful area. The grass was greener than any Crayola crayon any has ever seen and the cathedrals were astonishing. After having a nice photoshoot in the park, we took a wrong turn and ended up in a street art corner. There was graffiti all over including messages of love, peace, life and beautiful images that were painted on the walls.
For lunch, we decided on going to Turks Head Temple Bar Dublin. We all ordered a round of soup, beer (I, of course, ordered my favorite- Bulmer’s Apple Cider) and talked about how well our trip was going so far. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, Jamie and I played a round of “odds are.” Odds were I had to buy a round of shots for two older women sitting at the table across from us (let me remind you it’s about two in the afternoon), so of course I lost. I walked up to the ladies and asked them if I could buy them a round of shots. After looking at me like I had two heads, they laughed and said it was outrageous and they wanted to take shots. We started a conversation and they had shared they were from Spain visiting Ireland. They thanked us for showing them no matter their age, they can still take shots in the afternoon and feel young. One of the ladies gave me the advice to “stay young forever” and to always smile. Good advice, I must say.
Night 2: Mid-afternoon we headed over to The Old Jameson Distillery. We arrived earlier than our tour time, so we enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate (spiked with Whiskey, of course). As our tour went on, I began to grow an appreciation for whiskey and the process it goes through. At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to taste three different kinds of whiskey, 1) whiskey distilled once 2)whiskey distilled twice 3) triple distilled whiskey. Fun Fact: Jameson is gluten-free because it is distilled three times! At the end of the tour, there was another bar we could hang out around. It was a great tour and the guide was hilariously hilarious. After a long day of exploration, we went home to light the menorah (it was night two of Hanukkah). We got dressed in our fancy outfits and walked to where we would experience the ultimate Irish dinner and show (Celtic Nights). Amazing is an understatement for the food and the entertainment was wonderful. We enjoyed authentic Irish dance and song and a great dinner, it was really a great way to end our time in Dublin.
Day and night 3: We rented a car and headed out of Dublin. We had about a three-hour drive toward southwest Ireland, near Cork. We got lost in the mountains, we had no cell service and it was raining, but we turned the experience into something beautiful. We stopped to take in the amazing scenery and we stopped in a few little towns for coffee and soup. We arrived to our destination in the middle of the day where we checked-in to our hotel and relaxed for a bit. After lighting the menorah (night two of Hanukkah), we walked over to the shopping center near our hotel. We went bar-hopping, watched street performers and bumped into a group of Irish locals. We headed to a dance bar with them, where we danced the beer off and headed back fairly early. It was a long day of driving, so we decided to take it easy.
Day four: Exploration of Cork, more little Irish towns and The Blarney Castle. After doing some online research, we learned about a food market and, of course, we had to see it! I tried different chocolates and cheeses and enjoyed the view of fresh fruits. After our food market escapade, it was time to cross something off of our bucket list- kissing the Blarney Stone. We made our way to Munster but stopping in a few little towns to enjoy the scenery and see more of Ireland. We arrived to our destination and were amazed at how gorgeous the sight was. After climbing a plethora of steps, we finally made it to the stop of the castle where we kissed the Blarney Stone. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). We then enjoyed more of the scenery the Blarney Castle had to offer.
Night four: THE BEST NIGHT OF THE TRIP!! The entire day we had talked about how it would be nice to have Mexican food for dinner. We didn’t spoil our appetite and went to Cafe Mexicana. The vibe was fantastic and we started off with a pitcher of margaritas, nachos and jalapeno poppers. Of course, the youngins (us) were the loudest ones in the restaurant. The waiter was great and chimed in with funny comments. After an amazingly satisfying meal, we headed over to Oliver Plunkett where beers were on deck and a round of Kemps. The music was delightful and the Irish jigging was a great accompaniment. The night was still young. We went over to the night club of Cork, danced the night away and headed back around sunrise. It was absolutely an amazing night.
Day five: It was time to say goodbye to Cork and make our way to The Cliffs of Moehr. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a trip to see the cliffs. It was like we were in a scene of Twilight. I couldn’t believe my eyes at how beautiful the cliffs were. It was a bit frightening at how deep down the ocean was from the top, but it was breathtaking.
Night five: We headed to our airbnb, in Clare, which was so homey and perfect. It had a fireplace, holiday decorations and a great vibe. We decided to make dinner together and watch a movie after having a long day.
Day/Night six: We left at nine am sharp to drive all over Ireland a little more. We stumbled upon the oldest cave in Ireland, the Aillwee Cave where we saw the numerous stalagmites and stalactites. To end the night, we drove to Gallway and walked around the area where we bumped into three Israelis who had finished their army service and were also traveling. We grabbed some more beer, reminisced, and headed back to our temporary cozy home in Clare.
Day seven: Five thirty am sharp and we were on our way back to Dublin. It was the day I flew back to Tel Aviv.
All in all, it was one of the most amazing trips I had ever taken. I highly recommend a spontaneous trip and if it’s to Ireland- go for it! The only thing to consider when traveling is the weather. Being a Floridian, the cold, rainy and windy weather was a bit much for me. But after layering up and a couple apple ciders, everything was a-okay!
I have to give a shout out to Julia who was the designated driver of the trip- Julia, thank you for sacrificing your rest to drive all over Ireland. And thank you for being the brave one to drive on the other side of the road! I also want to say thank you to Katie, who built most of the itinerary for our trip and was the perfect guide to showing us Ireland! Lastly, Jamie, thanks for always daring us with your odd “odds are” dares and making sure we were laughing the entire trip. I had such a great time with the three of you and I hope we will travel together again soon!
To my dear readers, I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Ireland. Until next time, slán (goodbye in Gaelic)!