Ireland: Our Rental House

More and more, I love renting homes or apartments with kitchens. In Ireland, my friend had previously stayed at this stone cottage and recommended it. I trust this friend, and so booked it without any worries that we'd arrive to a 1-bedroom shack with a rat infestation when we'd booked a gourmet kitchen and beds for 8 people. The home was absolutely gorgeous and even with 8 people, we could all find space and alone time. The only downside was the location in that you had to drive an hour to get anywhere where you'd want to be. Galway was an hour, the coast was a little over an hour, etc. But the price ended up being around $140 a person for the ENTIRE week. So I'd say the pros definitely outweighed the cons. I'll always treasure the memories of walking near the house and hearing absolute nothing except for cows moo'ing.

About 15 minutes from the house is the tiny town of Terryglass and this restaurant, The Derg Inn. While it is known for live music, it was pretty empty when we went (many of the towns in Ireland seemed deserted in some way). But still - how CUTE!?

Ireland: The Cliffs of Moher

If you go to Ireland, you're probably going to at least two places, Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher. Ireland is so much more than these two places, but the Cliffs of Moher (3 hours from Dublin, on the west side of the country) are still absolutely breathtaking. This was my third visit (!!) and the windiest one yet. I am so glad I got to be there with my entire family. Save 15 minutes for the gift shop - they sell some interesting, authentic items, along with the usual assortment of junk.

With my dad

All siblings

Ireland: A Walk in Glendalough

I just spent a week in Ireland with my entire family: my parents, three brothers (and one girlfriend), and one sister. There were highs, lows (happens when you have 8 completely different personalities traveling together), and memories that will last a lifetime. And that really is the point.

On Day 1, we went straight from Dublin airport to Glendalough in County Wicklow south of the city. You park at the Visitor's Center for free (we skipped the movie inside) and take a beautiful hike through the "valley of the two lakes." Allow a couple of hours to walk to the Upper Lake, and to explore the monastic settlements that have stood at Glendalough for over a thousand years.

Pick up the Military Road outside of Dublin to reach Glendalough - it is one of the most charming 30-minute drives through picture-perfect Irish farms, lakes, and little towns. You'll be driving on the "wrong" side of the road if you're an American but it's easy to get used to. Brush up on your manual driving skills - the cars are cheaper and smaller than the automatics!

Follow signs for Upper Lake from the Visitor's CenterThe perfect stroll

Near Upper Lake