In 2017 my wife Debbie and I took our first solo international trip since getting married in 2015. And we just couldn’t pass up the deal we found going to Ireland through a company we still use to this day and offers a similar deal. This company does not sponsor us but will still share the deals we find. This post is about remembering that trip and our fun times.
First, let me note we are not a sponsor of Great Value Vacations nor do we work for them. We have just used their service over many years and for the most part, have had great success with the trip and experience. So visit the link to find out more and if they ask how you heard about them, now you know.
The first leg
So Phoenix has an international Airport but it’s not a hub like LA, Seattle, or Denver. And the company’s like GV offer the best prices from main International Hub Airports. So when you shop the price it is always best from said Airports, but you can get pricing from any airport so keep that in mind.
On our first leg, we purchased cheap SW airline tickets that got us to LA. We spent a night in a cheap airport hotel and went to Huntington Beach for a quick bite to eat and see the pier.
This leg consisted of an early flight to North Carolina and a transfer onto a flight to Dublin. Then picking up the car rental and driving to our first city which was Kilkenny. The car took a minute to just get comfortable with all the change.
It was a manual transmission, Opel. As the driver you are on the right side driver, left side lane. And the shifter and clutch were opposite as well. But it worked out great and we were off.
The town of Kilkenny( home to Smithwicks’ brewery) is just over an hour from Dublin so we were there in no time. Having been up now about 20 hours we were hoping for an early check-in but it was still before noon. So we dropped off our bags and explored the town a little. Here are a couple of pictures from that leg.
we had a lovely church service while waiting for our room(it was Sunday after all). Then we had a couple of breakfast beers after church. We only stayed one night in Kilkenny so didn’t plan much except to walk around the town and have dinner.
Leg 3in Ireland!
The next day we jump right into the Opel and took off to Blarney Castle in County Cork! It was just a stop along the way to Killarney in County Kerry. There we had our first proper fish and chips with mushy peas. And explored the town a little and the park nearby the hotel. We scheduled a day trip around the Ring of Kerry the next day and had a blast.
We enjoyed the day trip around the Ring of Kerry and would highly recommend it to anyone that visits. The park, the Queens View, and Killarney in general was my favorite stop in Ireland for sure. On the next leg, we head to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway.
Onto Galway through County Clare. We had to go through Limerick but later found it we could have taken a ferry that would have saved some time, but not a lot. Making our way to the Cliffs of Moher I decided my driving had to be tested and hit a shallow curb. And yes, got a flat tire.
Debbie had to instruct me on how to use the mat to lie on the ground instead of laying directly on the gravel. Thank you, love. But we had fun and explored the cliffs before heading onto Galway.
Spent the evening just tooling around town and the next day we went to Kylemore Abby which was great. Definitely, a place to check out and see the area since it was more Mountainous with large sweeping valleys. Here are some pics.
So after 2 nights in Galway, we headed back to Dublin straight away East across the whole of Ireland. We planned a couple of detours along the way to Clonmacnoise and Kilbegging. Which was fun driving back roads like a rally car driver. At one point we had to wait for a giant tourist bus to get through a tight area along a road.
We swore we would never be on one of those buses(that was a lie). Clonmacnoise was a neat area that was a very old Pegan Site that was claimed by the church and built on. And Kilbegging is Ireland’s oldest Disterirey and had a 300-year-old copper still they still used. We tasted their whiskey and bought a bottle to bring home.
Ireland Leg 5!
After getting into Dublin our hotel was in a South end area called Dalkey but was a cool area with a small downtown where we had a lovely meal. We stayed two nights there as well, so we took it easy the first night and then spent the entire next day in Dublin. We went to Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells.
Our first stop was Saint Patrick’s Cathedral then we got on a hop-on hop-off bus and went to Guinness Storehouse and bought skip-the-line tickets which did get us right in through a huge line of people. We had a nice lunch and drinks in a church that was converted into a Bar. Spent time in the Irish Rain. Which was the only time it rained while we were in Ireland.
We got lost down some back ally streets but in time made it back to our car and to Dalkey. We left the next morning which turned into an extra day in London due to a BA system failure.
So our last leg in Ireland was not planned as the British Airways system went down while waiting for your plane in Dublin. What should have been a 1-hour flight turned into 7 hours by the time we got to London and were instructed to leave the airport by BA agents. They handed us a piece of paper that said what they would cover in terms of meals, transportation, and Hotel. Our flight was rebooked for the next day.
We took a minute to relax and get a meal in the airport before deciding to try and get an Uber(which failed) and got a Black Taxi instead which took us all the way down to parliament. Which our hotel was near. Everyone else seemed to book out the airport hotels so we maxed out our budget and went as far as we could.
We got to see and hear Big Ben chime around 9 pm. Which was one of the last times it would for several years as it was going under construction. Enjoyed walking around the Parliament area before heading back and having dinner at the hotel. The next morning our same driver picked us up and took us back to the airport.