Potatoes, Seafood chowder and breathtaking vistas…

In New Zealand Lachlan flatted with a couple of Irish Lads for a year, back in 2011, around the time that NZ won the Rugby World Cup. One of the lads (Phil) now lives near London and so we had caught up with him while living there; however, we had not seen the other guy (Tomás) since 2015. As we started our road trip we found ridiculously cheap flights out of Newcastle to Dublin and jumped on the opportunity to both explore Ireland and catch up with Tomás!

Everyone says that it rains constantly in Ireland, after our five days there we think that this must be a lie to keep people away! All we experienced was blue skies, sunshine and epic scenery!! After arriving at Dublin Airport late on Wednesday night, 5th of April we spent all day Thursday as well as Friday morning exploring the city, or more to the point, getting to know Guinness a little more intimately. The following were highlights of our wanderings around the city.

Pub where we first came face to face with Guinness

Guinness Storehouse

Jamesons Brewery

St Patrick’s Cathedral

We finished the day boy walking past the “Spire of Dublin” – Originally there was a monument at this location call Nelson’s Pillar, which was a statue of the English General Horatio Nelson. As the Pillar was for an English General it was blown up by the IRA in 1966 and it was replaced with the Spire in 2003.

On Friday morning we explored the area around Tomás’ house a little more & found a cute little coffee shop for some flat whites & a cheeky sausage roll (sage, pork & mustard), it was tasty! Tomás finished work early so that we could drive to County Clare (where he is from and his parents still reside).  County Clare is located in the West of Ireland and is the home of a number of unique landscape features and has a rich history, which extends back to at least the Neolithic area (3800BC).

We took off on Saturday morning on a Grand Tour of Clare under the capable Hands of Tomás.  The highlights of the tour were as follows:

Castle of Dungaire

Castle Lemanagh

Inside the ruins of “Castle of Lemanagh”, it is believed that this particular castle is haunted by a wicked lady, named Red Mary. As she inherited it from her first husband who owned it by reportedly bloody means. She then re-married and the second husband came to a similar grisly end. It was also reported that in a fit of rage she threw one of her children from the top of the castle. After the throwing of the child the towns people had had enough and decided to put an end to her. Rather than shutting her up the normal way they locked her into a hollowed out tree and left her there to perish; hence, she is now said to haunt that castle!

The Poulnabrone Dolmen

This is a tomb from pre-historic people that lived in the Burren area (limestone kast landscapes) of County Clare. The bones from the people buried here have been dated to around 3800BC!

We also visited the following artisan food factories; Hazel Mountain Chocolate is a local artisan chocolate factory; try the Venezuelan cocoa with roasted hazelnuts! and the Burren Smokehouse, which specializes in smoking organically farmed salmon from just off the coast of Clare.

We ended the day drinking beers and eating smoked salmon on the Cliffs of Mor overlooking the Atlantic ocean and watching the sun set. It doesn’t get much better than that!

We had planned go surfing on the Sunday and visit a number of other sites around Clare and on the way back to Dublin. Unfortunately we ate a suspicious Seafood Chowder on Saturday for lunch when Tom chose to have mussels. We awoke on Sunday morning at 3am to severe food poisoning. We took turns in the bathroom all day Sunday therefore missing out on seeing these attractions.

With the exception of the food poisoning we had a blast in Ireland and can highly recommend it as a destination to put on your bucket list! Thanks Tomas for putting in the huge effort to show us around your beautiful piece of the world.

We will be back!!!