Posts Tagged With: Ireland

Every king needs a castle and every castle needs a backpacker.

There are over 30,000 castles and ruins that cover the beautiful country of Ireland. Some small and quaint, others massive and grand. Many are tour sites that take you throughout the rooms and several allow for self guided roaming. Some you can host weddings in and it’s becoming more common to stay overnight (even in the self-claimed haunted ones!). Once Hayden heard that it was possible to sleep in a castle, there was no discussion. This went directly on the “must-do” list. You can imagine how the price ranges quite a bit and I’m sure you can also imagine what this did to my “backpacking mind”. I’m used to sharing meals in order to save on waste and hitch hiking to avoid costly cab rides and now… now my travel partner wants to stay in a castle!? Thankfully it’s true. Without him, I would not experience some of the things we’ve done and for that I’m grateful. 

After much research, we narrowed it down to the gorgeous Kinnitty Castle Hotel located at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Offaly. The price was right considering we got a 4 course dinner, full breakfast, an over night stay and a complementary bottle of sparkling wine all for less than your average New York city accommodation.

How do you get to this wonderful palace? You can take a bus to the edge of the city and then catch a cab into the villge where the castle sits.  Or there’s our choice, rent a car and stop wherever and whenever you want to! 

 
Hayden and I teamed up as driver and navigator. I gave clear instructions as he focused on keeping us on the left side of the road (opposite to America). Success! We stopped a few places a long the way like this  adorable fresh fruit stand. I think it’s a great idea to support local businesses that are driven to provide a quality product! I went for some blackberries. Delicious.

 
After a 3 hour drive leaving Dublin, we finally arrived to our accommodation made of gothic architecture in the middle of this open green pasture.  From the road it looks like the setting from a fairytale, including the horses that greeted me when I jumped out for a photo!

   

   
We made it! Judging from my face, I’m not excited at all.

        
 Like several of my recent posts, photos have been speaking for themselves. Lets just look around!  

   

   
     
 
My personal favorite was this court yard. It’s primarily used for wedding receptions but we used it as a breath of fresh air with some great photo opportunities.  

    
   
Our room made me feel like an old fashion princess… Well, excluding the available running hot water, electric fan, alarm clock and television mounted on the wall.  So, ignore those things and it’s like we were really back in the 1800’s! 

     
 
After we checked in and snooped around, it was time for our 4 course dinner.  (Way beyond my typical dining). On the menu were options like steak, fish, pasta and a few other quality dishes. All of them of course topped with some type of fancy nut-crusted, herb infused sauce to make it more appealing. Each table was served a platter of grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes along side a bread basket. Dessert gave a list from sorbet’s to cheesecake and delicate chocolates. 

 

The morning began with an Irish breakfast that consisted of several options. People love variety so you can imagine how well suited it was to find porridge, fruit, natural yogurt, meat, cheese, a variety of breads, granola, cereal, eggs cooked to your style, sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, juice, milk, coffee and tea.

 
Saying goodbye to our room was yet another bitter-sweet.  Who would want to leave a castle? Maybe two backpackers ready to see a different county! Farewell Kinnity Castle, it’s time for a new adventure. 

We were in no hurry to get back to Dublin, so we decided to check out several of the villages along the way.  Here are some snap shots from the road! 

    
   
The last bed and breakfast we stayed in was a home called Heatherview ran by Maura and Jim.  We were there in order to rest and freshin up over night before our early morning flight and it was perfect! A sweet spot, welcoming hosts and a tasty breakfast sent us on our way. Thanks Jim for your “special ingredient” in my Irish porridge! 

  

Backpack on, rental car returned and tickets in hand… Scotland, here we come!  
   

Would you rather spend a year living 200 years in the past or the future?

Categories: Accommodations, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Telling the locals that you’re not a Guinness fan, is like telling Rudolph that you don’t believe in Santa.

On that note, off to the brewery we go!  
 Talk about Santa, Hayden was like a kid at Christmas getting the tickets.  I had more fun watching him than experiencing the actual tour! 

 
I’ll take you on the condensed version of this self guided maze through the brewery in Dublin. Grab a pint and enjoy the ride! 

    

    
    
    
   
Reaching the end of the tour meant for a spectacular view and a complementary pint! 
   
Thank you Hayden for helping me with my drink as I’m sure it’s against some unspoken law to leave a full pint at the Guinness brewery! 

 

Beer not your thing? Well, in courtesy of you I wanted to show the whiskey side of Dublin.  Come along during our lesson through the Jameson distillery!   

    
    
     

    

So there you have it, two of the most famous tours done inside the capital of Ireland.  Unfortunatly this was all the time we allowed for in Dublin as we were eager to spend the rest of our time in the country side.  Lace up, take a walk, cross your fingers and buckle up… 

 
Random thought for the day:

If you were offerred unlimited adult beverages for 10 years at no charge, but you had to drink the exact same thing every time, would you do it?  

Categories: Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I traded my flip flops in for walking boots

I gave my hugs to the wonderful hosts in Trinidad as they dropped me to the airport. This was would be the last of my island days (for now) as it’s time to meet up with more friends for a journey north!  
Imagine going from months of this…  

  To the sight of this! 

 Why on earth would I do such a thing? Today I’ll give you three reasons.

1. To visit my girl Bree! You’ve got to remember this angel from years past. We met on the unforgettable flight from Malaysia, found each other in Cambodia, ate our way through Thailand, reunited for Kadooment in Barbados and now, for the first time… we connect state side!  

2. To meet up with my go-to travel buddy!
 Hayden is coming from California to meet me on the east coast! For those of you that have not heard of him (welcome to my blog), here’s a recap on our moments around the globe! 

  
 3. This is the main hub for most transfers heading over seas.  After our brief stay in New York, Hayden and I are off to the land of Irish porridge and green pastures (or in our case, Guinness and castles).

Pretend I say the next portion of this post all in one breath because that’s what it felt like! Inhale, pause… and begin!

Since Bree is getting ready to move, our accommodations were wherever we could squeeze in thanks to her generous friends and their floor space. The first place was an adorable apartment with plenty(ish) of kitchen room for a blow up mattress. Care for a midnight snack? Sorry. Living quarters number two was a bit larger with a few creative space-making techniques. Check out there utensil rack! 

  
Pillow number three was a treat after admiring the floors above. Since Hayden, Bree and I pitched in for an Air B&B, it was like our own little flat for the last day of the trip. (I forgot to take a photo, oops!) This is also where we celebrated Bree’s birthday with scissors to her lovely locks.  Check out this transformation! Happy birthday my friend, glad I could be a part of it!  

   
 Here are all the photos I took from our 72 hours together in the Big Apple, yep… a whirlind.

 Leaving friends is always a bitter-sweet feeling not really knowing the next time we’ll meet, however excited for the next chapter. Our outbound flight was a direct red-eye straight into Dublin, the capital of Ireland. Impressive that we look more vibrant after the flight? Here’s a before and after… 

 

Next up, Dublin!

With just a day to scoot around, we wandered the popular neighborhood of Temple Bar and outer edges. These are the streets that confirm that Dublin still holds the record for youngest by population in all of Europe. Nealry 50% of those who abide here are under 25 years old!

   

    
   
   
   
    
   
Thought of the day: For one year, would you rather live…

A. On the top story with a roof terrace in New York 

B. A studio bungalow on a beach in the Caribbean

C. Above a historical pub in Ireland

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