I’ve had Ireland on my ‘bucket list’ for quite some time. So when my boyfriend who lives in the United Kingdom was on course to perform a couple gigs there, had invited me to join him and then take a week vacation exploring the coast, it was an offer I refused to decline. Both him and I had never been to Ireland, albeit he lived so nearby and me thousands of miles away. I blew the dust off my passport, secured my plane ticket, and packed my bags. Getting away is not always easy, especially for me due to the fact that I work 2 jobs and both are government. Mark (my boyfriend) travels as much as I do for work and it is so hard for us to ‘come together’ without work getting in the way. Not to mention long distance relationships are hard enough on their own. It had already been 3 months since he left America to head back to the U.K. to perform sold out shows across Europe. We were dying to be in each others arms one more time. And with the Christmas holiday near by, it was nearly the perfect setting.

It was absolutely breathtaking.

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Watchtower ruin

Not to mention COLD. And I don’t do well in the cold. I arrived safely in Dublin where I met up with Mark and we secured the car rental for the week. It was very interesting driving on the opposite side of the road and from the passenger seat! Although I’ve been to England around 3 times, I had never driven there. This was an experience all of its own. There was no way in heck I was going to drive in Dublin but I got behind the wheel while driving along the coast. Mark was a true gentleman as he never minded once when I’d want to stop and pull over the car just to snap a photograph of the scenery, be it a broken castle wall, foreign cows I’ve never seen before, or a boat stuck in the mud from the low tide.

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We had no set itinerary and thus we had no pressure to be someplace at any given time, allowing us the opportunity to really explore and ‘see’ Ireland. Because we visited during an off season, it sometimes took us 3-4 hours trying to find lodging for us to wind down before the sun set. But we found some amazing coastal B&B’s and hotels along our trip. Places you would not find booking online. We wound up in Doolin, Ireland where we spent a couple days there exploring. And found a very “green” hotel, which had their own greenhouse and chicken coop! If you want to visit a really cool area in Ireland, I reccomend the city of Doolin and checking into The Hotel Doolin. You can visit their website here: www.hoteldoolin.ie

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Doolin, Ireland
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Doolin, Ireland

And we drove along the coast until we came to the Cliffs of Moher.

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Cliffs of Moher, Ireland- 2013
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland- 2013

And I really enjoyed all the animals I encountered along the way. =)

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And sampled some fine cuisine

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Mark

And strange signs..

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If you’ve had it on your list to visit Ireland, you’ll have to take into consideration if you want to visit when it’s warm and has a lot of tourist, or when it is off season, quiet and cold.

And if you want to visit the countryside, or stay in a tourist zone.

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We did a bit of both but enjoyed the countryside more as we were able to discover nice little gems, like the Dunguaire Castle along the coast.

Dunguaire Castle
Dunguaire Castle

We even picked up a friendly hitchhiker named Fredrick who was from Sweden if I recall.

Friendly hitchhiker Fredrick
Friendly hitchhiker Fredrick

The mountains were such a sight to see!

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And watchtower ruins…

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We even saw Rainbows!

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When the sky wasn’t grey. =)

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Mark, Dublin, Ireland - 2013
Mark, Dublin, Ireland – 2013