Happy Christmas Eve Eve everybody! (Gosh I cant believe Christmas is already here.) I received a lot of questions about our itinerary in Ireland, so I wanted to recap our trip on the blog today. We visited Ireland in early December, and it was beautifully decorated for the holidays – a Christmas wonderland, really! We used Noken to book our trip – they are a travel service that plans everything for you, and then organizes all of your travel plans within the Noken app that you download to your phone. Within the app, you’ll find information on currency, maps, hotel confirmation numbers, restaurant recommendations and MUCH more. It is a godsend, really – especially when traveling in a foreign country! I have used Noken once before, on our trip to Iceland last year (you can read all about our Iceland trip here!).
The start of our Ireland trip was pretty eventful – due to bad weather, I ended up getting stranded in Philadelphia for a full 24 hours with my friend Shea Leigh (and Noken was awesome – they booked us a hotel room in Philly right away!). We actually had a lot of fun in Philadelphia for the day – we worked from a coffee shop most of the day, then got hair blow outs, haha. 🙂
By the time we arrived in Dublin, we were a day late into our itinerary! Shea Leigh and I met up with our friends Dani and Peyton at their hotel and we all headed out for lunch and some quick exploring before we had to catch our train to Killarney. The Noken app recommended we visit Grafton Street in Dublin, so we headed there for some beautiful lights (and we stumbled upon this beautifully decorated mall, below!).
We made it back from exploring just in time to catch the train from Dublin to Killarney. The train was sooo much fun – we ordered some wine and a bunch of snacks and played games the entire time. Our hotel was just a block away from the train station, so we grabbed all of our luggage and traversed the cobblestone streets of Killarney with our bags – we must have been a sight for the locals! (Someone told us the next morning that all of Killarney heard us getting into town lol.) We checked into our hotel, Killarney Park, which was absolutely beautiful and decorated perfectly for Christmas! I was exhausted this night because I hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours, and I think I passed out right when we got to the room. I don’t remember much other than the bed being super comfortable!!
The next day, Noken arranged a driver for us girls since we weren’t comfortable driving on the left side of the road. We all loved our driver, Mick – he has four girls of his own and he acted like a second dad to us, haha! We drove the famous Ring of Kerry and the weather was absolutely perfect – it was sunny and beautiful, and not too cold. Our driver showed us some of the best spots along the Ring of Kerry, including Torc Waterfall and Ladies View. The Noken app recommended taking a pit stop in the town of Sneem for lunch – we ate at Murphy’s Pub and it might have been my favorite meal of the entire trip! I ordered a stew (it had mashed potatoes in it) and a Guinness with Blackcurrent (our driver recommended this because it makes the Guinness takes a little sweeter and lighter – I really liked it!). The rest of the afternoon entailed a stop at a chocolate shop and more sightseeing – the Ring of Kerry took us around six hours to complete before we got to our next hotel in the town of Kerry. We were all still tired from the flights and feeling jet lagged, so we grabbed a traditional Irish dinner from the restaurant at our hotel and then all got in bed for some ZZZ’s!
The next morning, our driver picked us up again for our second day of road tripping. I was really excited because we were supposed to see the Cliffs of Moher this day! Unfortunately, the weather in Ireland is a bit unpredictable, and the wind, fog and rain was really strong (so strong that when we arrived at the Cliffs of Moher, they advised us not to go out because it was so dangerous!). Since we couldn’t see much from the windows of the car, we headed straight to our next hotel in Galway, Glenlo Abbey. We weren’t going to let a little rain get us down, in fact, this ended up being my favorite night! We all got ready together in our hotel rooms and dressed up for a fancy dinner – Noken had made us reservations at Pullman Restaurant. Comprised of two original Pullman train carriages and converted into a fine dining experience, we all felt like we had traveled back in time. The dinner was outstanding – I had some local, wild-caught fish with lemon butter and vegetables paired with white wine (I can’t remember the specifics but it was delicious!). We all had so much fun that we were the last ones to leave the restaurant – oops!
The next day, we changed our travel plans around a little bit so that we could stay in Galway for the day and explore. A bunch of you guys told me that Galway was a must-see, and we were not disappointed. There was an incredible Christmas market right in the middle of town where they were selling hot chocolate, handmade goods and lots of baked treats. We all grabbed hot chocolates and walked around the Christmas market feeling like the girl in Ed Sheeran’s song “Galway Girl.” All of the streets were lined with real Christmas trees and beautiful lights – it was truly a sight to see. We stopped in at a pizza shop and then had just enough time to do a little shopping in Brown Thomas before catching our train back to Dublin.
All of the girls exploring Galway!
The next day was our last day in Ireland! I was excited to be back in Dublin since we didn’t get a chance to explore on our first day (since our flight was delayed by a day). Shea Leigh and I headed to Grafton Street again to see the pretty Christmas lights, and then took the Noken app’s advice for lunch before heading to the airport.
Overall, I LOVED our trip to Ireland. I do wish that we had stayed a few more days, especially since one of the days we had such bad weather (and I really wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher). The people were so nice, the food was fresh and delicious, and the Guinness never-ending (lol). Our driver Mick was incredibly knowledgable and taught us so much about the history of Ireland and all of the background behind the sights we were seeing. And Noken was INVALUABLE – since we didn’t have to lift a finger to plan the entire trip! We simply logged onto the app each day to see what the recommendations were and what we would be doing next.
If you have any questions, leave them below and I’ll get back to you! 🙂