Last May, I attended a company retreat to Ireland. It was incredible to fly across the Atlantic for the with my teammates, drive past the lush Irish countryside, explore the historical sites, and to be among the humble company of the locals.
During our first evening in Dublin, we witnessed a gorgeous sunset, which would help to set the precedent for the rest of the trip.
Kinsale was a quaint and colorful town filled with an eclectic array of restaurant and stores. I was particularly fond of their use of color blocking and their narrow and winding streets filled with delightful shops. I really wanted to go into the bookshop shown below, but unfortunately, many of the shops had closed by the time we arrived. Overall, I had a delightful experience in Kinsale. The seafood at Fishy Fishy was fantastic, and their harbor view was very peaceful.
The Rock of Cashel was a gorgeous and rustic site to witness. The vastness of the fortress was amazing to take in, and the aged mossy walls contributed to the old world vibe. Since it was sprinkling that day, the crowds were fairly light.
There were moments of my solo exploration of the Rock of Cashel where I was a little bit uneasy, particularly the cemetery. My GoPro decided to malfunction as I recorded my walk, not once but twice, which was enough to get me in and out of there in a jiffy.
The Ring of Kerry was one of the biggest highlights on the trip. Although the 3-4 hour drive was physically taxing, the views were definitely breathtaking. It was the best scenic road trip I have taken thus far, offering sights of the gorgeous coastal landscapes and small villages.
Killarney was my favorite place to stay during the trip. Our room had the best view of the lake, which made waking up early worthwhile. It was a very surreal experience to stand on our bedroom balcony and witness this scenery. So breathtaking.
Two words for you: Star Wars. I couldn't help but get excited when we visited Dingle. Apparently, the cast of Star Wars Episode VIII was shooting their during our stay. There were signs in every shop welcoming the cast and crew, which was so endearing. While we didn't stay there for long, I enjoyed their pub culture and their variety of ice cream.
Hiking up to the Cliffs of Moher was both exciting but terrifying at the same time. The rain was coming down hard that day. I was unprepared that day, and hiked in my oxfords. Really bad idea. While I made it pretty far up the cliffs, I could not join my teammates to the very peak of the cliffs as it was extremely muddy and difficult to walk on the incline. Regardless, it was an unforgettable experience.
Ennistymon was probably the most memorable part of the trip. While the hotel that we stayed at was something straight out of The Shining, the town itself was very lovely. The local speakeasy type pubs were very warm and friendly, and the scenery was so beautiful. There was a waterfall close by, which was both magnificent and exciting.
A few of us went on a mini adventure to check out the nearby scenery in the rain which was scary and exhilarating at the same time. When we returned to the hotel, we were greeted with the utmost hospitality. It was probably the best guest service we received on the entire trip in my opinion. I would give stars for the service, and probably one star for the creepy hotel room and vibe.
In exploring the landscape, I noticed that the rocks for the most part were smooth and level, which made it easy to walk around. The landscape itself was unusual, but nonetheless, beautiful. I wouldn't mind coming back here again one day, because it was so unique.
All in all, I had a wonderful time visiting Ireland. I can see myself coming back here one day on my own and exploring the country further. Personally, I felt that visiting Ireland was a great introduction to Europe. The familiarity of the English language and slight similarities in certain American and Irish customs definitely helped me with my travel anxiety.
Looking ahead, I am excited to be returning to Europe in a few months. With my trip rapidly approaching, I'm currently busy finalizing my plans. I think that it is just as important to enjoy the period of the planning a trip as it is to enjoy the trip itself. What are your thoughts?
Until then, happy traveling my friends!