Some favorite photos from my trip to Ireland last summer, read more details and our itinerary at the bottom!
Ard Na Greine
Tom & Eileen’s bed & breakfast
Visiting Ireland was truly a dream come true for me. As a little girl, my grandma told me stories of Ireland and our cousins there. I looked through her pictures of the beautiful green hills and my great grandma Ruth kissing the Blarney stone. So, when I heard that my Irish relatives were planning a Delaney family reunion, I knew I had to go. I’m really thankful I got to share this experience with my sister, Jessica.
Jessica and I used Dream Seller Travel to book our trip and we couldn’t have been more impressed with her service! We decided to fly into Dublin a few days before the reunion and rent a car so we could explore the island at our own pace. Driving a car in Ireland was a very bittersweet experience. As you may know, they drive on the opposite side of the road, which can be a challenge. The roads are also narrow, winding, and the locals drive very fast. Needless to say, driving was a test on our nerves and our relationship, but it also allowed us to stop and take pictures, have freedom over our schedule, and bond as sisters. So, we think it was worth it.
Once out on the road, the first stop on our list was Blarney Castle. On the way we found the cutest little restaurant. It was called Delaney’s, so we figured it was a sign we should eat there. Blarney Castle was a special experience for us. It’s fairly “touristy” but, we have always wanted to kiss the Blarney stone. There’s many legends surrounding the Blarney stone and we really enjoyed learning about it and touring our first real castle. That evening we stayed at the charming Ard Na Greine bed & breakfast near Clonakilty. It was fun to walk the country roads and explore their dairy farm.
After breakfast the next morning, we set out towards Killarney where we shopped and drank coffee for a couple of hours before continuing on to Castlemaine where we dropped our bag’s off at Tom & Eileen’s Farm and got directions to Dingle from our kind hostess. We spent the afternoon exploring Dingle and taking Slea Head Road around the Peninsula. It was so incredibly beautiful! We finished the day with a sunset dinner at Sammy’s on Inch Beach.
The next morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and chatted with other travelers in the dining room and took a walk around the farm. We hugged our hosts goodbye and drove towards Clarinbridge to finally meet our cousin Mary. We stopped and strolled around the cute town Adare before heading to our cousin’s home. We enjoyed tea and visiting her creche and cows. Thankfully, her husband offered to drive our car to the reunion and were relieved to be passengers for awhile!
The rest of the weekend was spent meeting new family and catching up with old at the reunion. It was so much fun talking with our Irish cousins and getting a peek into our family history. Highlights included drinking our first Guiness at a general store/pub, seeing the grave of our great, great, great grandparents, walking the path they walked to town and school, and singing at a special mass in the church where they got married. Jessica and I were especially drawn to learning about the agriculture in Ireland. When our cousin Martin found our we were “farm girls” he took us on a tour of his cattle farm, let us drive his tractor, and took us shooting. We made some really special memories and were sad to see our time in Ireland come to an end, but we had to catch a flight to Paris (blog post coming soon). We can’t wait for our Irish family to come visit us so we can show them the same hospitality in Illinois!