The clock is quickly tickin’ down – less than one month and we are bound for the Emerald Isle. We are excited to explore top Ireland attractions, live in some cooler temperatures (I am sitting in a pile of sweat as I write this), and of course, beginning a new culinary adventure.
Lately, we’ve been endeavoring to learn a little about our new home. A careful balance must be struck when gathering information though – we don’t really like to learn too much about a new place (preferring instead to experience it first hand), but we don’t want to go in totally blind either.
So, in order to just find out what we are really dying to know, we decided to do most of our research by approaching several people who have already been there. Not only do we want to learn about what to see/do/eat and other important Ireland facts, but we also want to confirm or dispel some of the stereotypes about the Irish.
Our Ireland Facts experts:
- Craig and Caz from the indispensable ytravelblog
- Jade and Bob from the terrific website Vagabond3
- The lovely Christine from Christine In Spain
- The daring redhead, Ms Suzy Guese
- And finally, a very close friend of mine, Taryn Albizzati of the Calgary Albizzati’s, who, upon marrying an Albizzati, convinced Mr. Albizzati that in order that she take on the name Albizzati, she must be rewarded with four vacations of her choice, of which Ireland was the first. (To our unmarried girlfriends, please take note of this brilliant strategy).
Question #1 – What is your favorite spot in all of Ireland?
Craig & Caz: After living there for a year and exploring all over that’s a very tough question. We could mention a dozen things. And it depends on what your interests are. But since you asked for one place, and Ireland is known for it’s scenery, we will go for the Dingle Peninsula. We found the scenery driving around the Dingle Peninsular more spectacular and beautiful than the Ring of Kerry. And the town of Dingle is great too.
The reason the Ring of Kerry is more well known, I believe, is because the roads around Dingle Peninsular are narrower so the big tour buses can’t navigate them, so they focus on the Ring of Kerry. But if you have time do both.
Jade & Bob: Our favorite spot would definitely be Howth. It’s a small fishing village about 30 minutes by train south of Dublin. It’s the perfect mix of coastline, gorgeous mountains and small town. Oh, and they had the BEST ice cream, believe it or not!
Christine: I’m a big city kind of girl, so I’ll have to stick with Dublin. I loved the energy there, and the friendliness of the people is unbeatable. The countryside was absolutely beautiful though!
Suzy: Teelin in County Donegal is a nothing town, but it is where my family is from and somewhere so green, you can’t believe it’s real. There is only a pub and a few homes scattered about, but Teelin sits on one of the most spectacular vistas in Ireland, Slieve League. Slieve League is said to be the highest sea cliffs in Europe, but they don’t receive the attention the Cliffs of Moher do.
Taryn: This is hard. The City of Galway ‘cause it’s walkable and cool and a university town and has a great central square, and it’s a jump off point for Connemara. Connemara is a postcard, for reals. It’s what you picture when you go to Ireland. But I also LOVED Belfast. It was just – cool, and less touristy. It was being reinvigorated and has a really interesting story.
Ed note: I LOVE that everyone gave different answers! We’ve got some serious exploring to do!
QUESTION #2 – We’re Canadian, so we can usually hold our own in a drinking contest with most people. We’re a little scared to go drink-to-drink with the Irish though. What can we expect during an evening booze-fest?
Craig & Caz: It’s true the Irish love a drink, and a pub is basically their second home and rain, hail or shine you won’t be without company. You can expect a cozy atmosphere with lot’s of tales, plenty of good craic as they like to say, and if you’re lucky enough some traditional Irish music.
Enjoy a few pints of Guinness, but our favorite is actually Kilkenny.
Jade & Bob: The thing is- the drinking never really starts and never really stops! I feel like people were drinking the whole day! Good luck- it seems like the Irish have it down pat!
Christine: Drinking with the Irish is a whole different beast. What can you expect? To wake up feeling shitty.
Suzy: The Irish pub scene is a place that doesn’t make sense but strangely does at the same time. I would park myself in pubs, only to find my fellow drinkers covered all ages. From babies to crusty old men, you can expect the Irish pub to keep you entertained even without all of the pints. Although, all of the pints help.
Taryn: Um, wow, for music lovers you’re kind of out of the loop here. See: Irish Drinking Song by Dropkick Murphys (We’ll drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and drink and fight). See also: Dublin Lullaby by Captain Tractor (We’re gonna drink and fight and drink and fight and drink and fight some more). So belly up to the bar, but put tinfoil on your hockey gloves first there, eh?
QUESTION #3 – Help us with our packing list…do we have to wear emerald green clothing all the time, or are different shades allowed?
Craig & Caz: Don’t worry about the emerald green. Go with whatever keeps you warm and dry 🙂
Jade & Bob: Pack what you are comfortable in – if you are going into the countryside, I’d wear more kicking around clothes so you don’t worry if they get dirty if you decide to stop and climb a mountain! For the city, I’d take it up a notch. Especially in some of the trendier areas of town, it seemed like everyone had really good fashion sense.
Suzy: I was in Ireland in March, but it always seemed like the Irish were wearing dark colors. I had this bright floral scarf that I always felt stood out in the sea of black. However you must pack a good trench coat, umbrella and scarves. That was my uniform in Ireland.
Taryn: Only Emerald or you’ll end up the subject of the songs in (see answer to #3). You can borrow my emerald ballet flats and scrunchie to take with you.
QUESTION #4 – How many people named “Paddy” or “Mary” will we meet in a typical day?
Craig & Caz: One or two, with a few Sean’s and Molly’s thrown in.
Jade & Bob: I didn’t meet anyone named Paddy – haha- but definitely a lot of Marys and Patricks!!
Christine: Haha, I didn’t meet any Paddys or Marys during my week-long jaunt there!
Taryn: Eleventy hundred. But stay the hell away from “Paddy O’Mary”. Dude was a scary bruiser.
QUESTION #5 – Where is the best place to go for a leprechaun sighting?
Craig & Caz: Any pub in Ireland, most often spotted on St Paddy’s Day. And ya gotta watch the little buggers, they’ll keep topping up your pints and get you very drunk 🙂
Jade & Bob: Unfortunately we didn’t see a pot of gold – anywhere – even though we were looking pretty hard! If you find one, please share with us!
Christine: Apparently Temple Bar. Met a friendly “lad” there who was short, red-haired and kept bringing my aunt and I (liquid) gold: beer!
Suzy: Somewhere over the rainbow. Driving through Ireland I actually saw a double rainbow. I tried to chase it to the end, but it disappeared before I could get to the pot of gold.
Taryn: Funny, a guy in a bar in Dublin told me he had one to show me and then started to unbutton….huh. So THAT’S why my hubby decked him.
QUESTION #6 – During our two month stay, we are going to attempt to make as many dishes as possible with potatoes. What is your favorite potato-y dish?
Craig & Caz: Potato and leak soup.
Jade & Bob: Bob loves tuna on a baked potato and BBQ sauce on top! I’ve tried it before and it’s a very interesting combo, for sure!
Christine: Beef and Guinness stew…mmm.
Suzy: You can’t go wrong with fish and chips. I think I sampled a few dozen across the country. I seemed to crave potato wedges and the catch of the day on those gray, rainy days. If you can have a pint with it, I imagine any potato infused dish will suffice.
Taryn: Potato ice cream floats. Mash potatoes, freeze, drop into a Guinness.
Ed. note: Oh Taryn. I miss you. xo
I agree about Dingle- it’s wonderful. Great traditional music, fresh food, the ocean and ancient sites. Also The Burren across the River Shannon in Clare. There’s a ferry over neat Tralee.
The entire rugged west speaks to me.
Get a good pair of wellies and a waterproof coat Irish fisherman’s hat and you are good to go.
We are doing a series on Ireland on our blog (http://www.santafetravelers.com. Interesting posts will be going up. Perhaps you’d like to add to them when you’re there.
Thanks for the tip on The Burren – I love how we have gotten so many great (and different) suggestions on places to go! We will watch your blog for posts on Ireland (but not to learn TOO much, you know!) 🙂
Thanks for including us! It as fun to particpate and read everyone’s answers. I am so totally jealous that you are going to be living in Ireland. You are going to love it
Caz Makepeace recently posted..Kingscliff NSW- a hidden gem of a surfing beach town
Thanks SO much for participating Caz! I am pretty sure we are going to love it too – 2 months isn’t going to be enough, I fear!
Don’t even think about going 1 for 1 with an Irishman (or woman). You will surely lose! I have 🙂
Roy | Cruisesurfingz recently posted..The Tallinn Report
I dunno. I think I have to take that challenge. For better or for worse, I think it’s just something ya gotta do, no?
Jack’s parents love, love, love Ireland. I can’t wait to hear your take on the place, you guys. And maybe we’ll be able to meet up with you there as well 🙂 !
Funny story about your friend, Taryn, btw. I’m keeping my last name but maybe for a 4 (or 10) vacations of my choice I’m willing to let it go. Maybe 🙂
jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..Beautiful Valle de Cocora – A Photo Collection
We are both getting super excited to get there. I hate to be wishing the days to speed up, but, well…
Oh man, Taryn got married a couple of years after me, and a bunch of us girls who got married before her were SO JEALOUS of this deal she struck. Sheer genius! And I *almost* didn’t take Pete’s last name (and kinda wish I didn’t, sorry Pete), I wish I would have held out longer… 🙂
You GO girls *snap snap snap*
Dalene, it’s probably not too late to get some trips out of Pete. You could likely convince him that you guys should quit your jobs, sell your house and move down south 🙂
Thanks for having me over to your blog. Great company and lots of comfy places to sit. I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures and see your lovely photos.
I still think your strategy is brilliant. If not travel, maybe I can still get something out of Pete… 🙂
Thanks so much again for participating! 🙂
Such a great group- thanks for including us! I love that we all answered different places too! You guys are going to have so much fun- it’s a beautiful country with so many places to explore. Have fun!
Thanks again Jade for your answers and your photos!
Paddy O’Mary!!! hahahahaha
When I visited Ireland I was only there for a few days in Dublin and I had a day trip to Cork and to kiss the blarney stone, everything I saw was wonderful and there really are a million shades of green there 🙂
I’ll teach you your first irish gaelic word too! “Cailin”!! thats right, my name is the gaelic word for “girl” 🙂
But there it has an accent on it over the second i “Cailín” and is pronounced more like Colleen 🙂
Cailin recently posted..Naked in a Foreign Country
Thanks for teaching us our first word! I hope we have enough time to get to see everything. Green is my favorite color, that is *life* to me. Can’t wait.
I’m heading to Ireland for the Month of March 2010… with a name like Paddy Patrick, how do you think I’ll get on? :O)
Haha, I think you’ll get on just fine…but there may be some confusion with all the Paddy’s you meet there!
Yeah.. You don’t want to go drink for drink with us Irish.. jussayin’
Lookin forward to living vicariously in Ireland with you!
Justin Hamlin recently posted..How I Earned 200k Miles Without Getting on a Plane
Hmm. I think I could take ya, drink for drink… 🙂
they call those “famous last words” 🙂
Justin Hamlin recently posted..How I Earned 200k Miles Without Getting on a Plane
Haha, bring it on, my friend… 🙂
I recommend a trip up to Belfast as well; so much dramatic, recent history. Evocative city.
Sophie’s World recently posted..The longest place name in the world
We really, REALLY want to get to Belfast. The only thing we wonder about is how easy it is to get back and forth between Ireland and Northern Ireland? Either that, or we’re heading to Glasgow immediately afterwards, and could always swing back that way.
When we went, the only way we knew we were in N. Ireland was the currency exchange booth. No border (or signage) to speak of. Major highway runs from Dublin. So easy-peasey.
Ok, cool. I thought it was going to be harder then that for some reason. Thanks, love!
I have to admit I am a little jealous. Hope you have a great time in Ireland. Should be a lot of fun to explore. And with all the answers you got for the best places, there should be no shortage of sites to see! Great round up of travelers to interview!
Thanks! I’m really grateful for everyone who participated – I couldn’t have asked for better contributors!
We have always been thinking our time in that neck of the woods (however short it may be) would be England and Scotland, but this post has put up a VERY convincing case for Ireland…. nice job guys!
Skott and Shawna – Get Up and Globe recently posted..We Bought Our New “Homes”
We’d love to share a pint with ya if you make it over there! I think that your 15 (?) months are gonna get stretched anyways, don’t you? 🙂
Such a fun group of interviewees — with these tips, you’re going to have a blast!
We think so too! Now, just to find the time to do it all!
This was useful information for me with some great tips. I’m actually on my way to Ireland in a little over two months and can’t wait. I hope you have a good time there.
Steve recently posted..4 Characteristics Interesting People Have
Thanks Steve! Same to you, maybe we will cross paths?
Haha – loved your questions (and the answers)! This is a great post for us, too, ahead of our three-week trip. Really looking forward to catching up with you in Dublin. We’ve decided to hire a car and drive the entire time – going to be a fun road trip =) Be sure to try Caffrey’s beer – that’s John’s favourite!
Andrea recently posted..6 Things That Surprised Us About Argentina
Ohhh…there will be plenty of beer sampling, I am sure! Looking forward to meeting up with you guys too! 🙂
You HAVE to go to the Bull & Castle beer hall in Christ church, just around the corner from Leo Burdock’s. Beer’s to sample – O’Hara’s Red Ale, Clotworthy Dobbin (bottled) and Galway Hooker. Guiness is all very well but those are proper artisan Irish beers.
I probably won’t forgive you if you don’t do this.
Well, we don’t want to be unforgiven. We will do as you wish. 🙂
These are awesome tips! We just spent a week in Ireland for St. Paddy’s Day this year and really only got to see Galway City, Cliffs of Moher and Dublin but we really loved it.
Guinness and Fish & Chips, seriously ’nuff said. Connemara was beautiful in the photos but we didn’t get there so you definitely should.
Can’t wait to read your adventures, I miss Ireland already!
Annie recently posted..Enjoying Italy to the Last Drop
Cheers Annie, we are really looking forward to everything. We are certainly going to try and get as much in as we can for those 2 months. Being there for St. Paddy’s Day must have been crazy!
If you are in Dublin, take the tour of the Guinness factory. It’s really a fascinating tour where you learn how to correctly draw a Guinness, then you get a coupon for a free Guinness. You go to this fabulous bar on the top of the building which has glass all around and absolutely the best view in all of Dublin. You will love it!
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Free Guinness!!?? I’m there.
Hey, Dalene! Just saw your post linked on cruisesurfingz. Let me know when you make it over here — and be sure to put Cork on your list. The south of Ireland is AMAZING!
Awesome Katrina! I will for sure! 🙂
This post is important, especially meeting up with a leprechaun is high in our list of things to do in Ireland. Especially if we can stop him on the bottom of double rainbow. Then we can spot 2 of them at time!! in each rainbow leg.
Double leprechaun! What does it mean?
Dina recently posted..Best of Australia by Travelers Around the World
Haha!! A double leprechaun could be scary stuff!
Don’t miss any of County Donegal! I’ve been volunteering and living near Dunfanaghy for 3 1/2 months and I’m still in awe of the scenery here. You can see a lot of pics of the area on my website. The 2nd day I was here I saw a double rainbow and could actually see where it ended on the ground. I just couldn’t get over the fence to it, but I’m sure there was a pot of gold!
I just went and took a look at your pictures – awesome Erica! Can’t wait to get there to find our own pot o’ gold! 🙂
oh! we loved being in ireland last fall. i learned the most from IrishFireside.com and IrelandYes.com. so much great information out there! i am so excited for your new adventures!
Thanks Jessie – as are we! 2 more sleeps!
I have checked out Irish Fireside, but thanks for the address to the other – will check it out!