A two-week blitz through Ireland
Around the Emerald Isle in fourteen days
Photo gallery of tour of Ireland: Click here
A traveler to any country always faces the same dilemma: what to see and do in a limited amount of time. So, for my first trip to Ireland, was it going to be Dublin or the Ring of Kerry? And how does one choose between the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway?
In a land with such enticing options, selecting only a few sites was going to be tough. So when my Irish boyfriend, Declan, proposed a two-week vacation to his home country and suggested I pick out the places I most wanted to see, I told him I had to see them all.
I’ll admit I’m one of those enthusiastic (some say annoying) people who travel, guidebook in hand, trying to check off every tourist site on the list, do or die. And by doing a whirlwind loop around the country (with a quick excursion to Northern Ireland) we were able to take in just about every site on my list and make time to visit my boyfriend’s family and friends on the way.
As I discovered, Ireland is too beautiful to miss any of it. So how do you cram nearly every tourist site in a country in two weeks? Plan your itinerary ahead and don’t sleep until you make it back home.
Reports of rain in Ireland several weeks prior to our visit were worrisome, but when we landed at Cork Airport , the morning sun was out and the day was clear. We had a lot to squeeze in over the two weeks, including our first stop, a friend’s wedding in the picturesque and historic maritime town of Kinsale in West Cork.
The morning after the marathon festivities, we slept past both breakfast and our check out time. We were unceremoniously kicked out of our B&B, and fortuitously stumbled upon Café Blue. Adjacent to the Blue Haven Hotel on Pearse Street, this comfortable and elegant café serves a wickedly delicious French toast.
After breakfast, a long, pleasant hike through the village of Summercove took us to Charles Fort, a 17th century star-shaped coastal fort.The guided tour depicted military life at the fort, which was occupied by the British until Irish independence in 1922.We happened to be visiting during the annual Kinsale Arts Week, and the windows of the fort were filled with multi-colored panels as part of an installation.
After wandering back towards the medieval center of Kinsale, where the streets were crowded with revelers and street performers, we stopped to watch another art “happening” as women dressed in long red gowns and encased in large bubbles were set loose to float in the harbor. The huge bubbles drifted into the water to the soft strains of classical music while the elegantly dressed women struggled comically to stay upright.
We had an early morning flight to Belfast the next morning, so we moved on to Cork for dinner and a walk before retiring to the spacious but very convenient and budget-friendly Cork International Airport Hotel.