There's no reason why you can't visit Ireland on a solo trip!
Have you always dreamed of a trip to Ireland but your friends and family just can't seem to just get themselves together to go with you? Or are you simply looking for a solo adventure where you're the only one to make the decisions on what you do next and don't need to compromise your own enjoyment for what somebody else wants to do?
Ireland is a great option for solo travel, especially for women. Here's a look at some of the top sites on this gal's solo trip to Ireland.
Read more: Traveling in Ireland you're never alone
MOURNE MOUNTAINS | KILKEEL, CO DOWN
This is a must-see on your trip to Ireland.
As soon as I landed in Dublin I picked up my rental car and headed to the Mourne Mountains. I suggest not renting a car from the airport. Yes, it’s convenient, but it is way more expensive! I wish I would have known. Take a taxi to the next closest rental company.
The drive was about an hour and a half from Dublin to the Mourne Mountains. I was so nervous about driving on the opposite side of the road but just focus on following the flow of traffic. You adjust quickly. I suggest watching a video on road rules before you leave so you know what to expect. (That’s what I did).
Driving in more rural areas was so much easier than cities! The roads are super narrow, but less to watch out for obviously. Just take it easy around corners! There may very well be a massive tractor who will need to squeeze by. Somehow it always works.
As if the drive alone wasn’t beautiful enough, the hike was more than I could’ve imagined. The Mourne Mountains are the highest mountains in Northern Ireland. It was drizzling most of my time there, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest. Bring a raincoat & you’ll be golden.
Because I went during the offseason, I felt like I had the whole mountain to myself. Parking wasn’t an issue. I entered through Silent Valley. The sweet man working the booth didn’t make me pay to enter. They will give you a map of all the different trails. If you can handle the cold, I highly recommend visiting in the fall. You’re not guaranteed great weather, but when are you ever in Ireland?
CARLINGFORD, CO LOUTH
After my trip to the Mourne Mountains, I checked in at my Airbnb located in a small town outside of Newry, Ireland. The sun made an appearance, so my host offered to take me into Carlingford, another small village with a big view. You won’t want to miss Carlington Abbey. I would kill to take a couple’s wedding photos there. Walk along the greenway, a path that has some incredible views.
Don’t be surprised if you get caught talking to a complete stranger for 20 minutes. People in Ireland are very warm & less likely to be in a rush. I’m on board with their concept of time!
That evening I grabbed food at a local pub, where I realized I was the only person below the age of 50. They were quick to make me feel right at home! I even met a lovely fellow who at one point lived in the states. I asked whereabouts and he said, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. There is no way...Y'all, that is my hometown! What a small world it is.
What’s so wonderful about solo travel is you’ll find yourself spark conversation with people you may not have if you were in a group.
KINBANE CASTLE | BALLYCASTLE, CO ANTRIM
My favorite place.
I found Kinbane Castle on accident and I’m so glad I did. I was headed towards the coastal route when I saw a sign for Kinbane Castle and decided to stop.
I could lay on the oddly plush/pillowy grass all day and listen to the waves crash. It was like nothing I have seen before but dreamt of often. I felt so childlike exploring. Honestly, I was running and tripping on rocks like an idiot to ensure not to miss a thing.
As if the view couldn’t get any better, a massive rainbow formed. I couldn’t take anymore. The tears started welling up! I pulled myself together as I spotted a girl and flagged her down to take a photo of me in front of the rainbow. That’s where we had our, “did we just become best friends?” moment. She took me to Springhill Bar in Portrush the next evening to listen to Traditional Irish Folk music. I also enjoyed tasting local whiskey. Yum!
After exploring Kinbane, I went to Anglers Arms to warm up and unwind. Order a Guinness. The pub only takes cash, so make sure to get out some pounds sterling if you can at the airport. (Don’t always rely on your card.)
I met the sweetest locals here who were more than happy to give suggestions on what to do. The bartender even called her friend who owned a B&B up the road and that’s where I ended up staying that night. She so sweetly charged 40 Pounds as opposed to her original listing, which was 60.
I lucked out in this situation. I was booking lodging last minute because I wasn’t sure where the day would take me, but I recommend giving Airbnb hosts at least 24 hours to respond.
Ballycastle was by far my favorite town. The people are just as wonderful as the sights.
GIANT’S CAUSEWAY | BUSHMILLS, CO ANTRIM
Lauren, whom I met under the rainbow at Kinbane Castle told me to make sure I took the red trail when I got to Giant’s Causeway. The views were insane! The trail was leisurely and not too many people around, so if you wanted to stop and take an overly excited selfie to send to your family and friends you won’t feel judged, hehe!
I was lucky enough to catch the sunset over the viridescent countryside while at the Giant’s Causeway. The cliffs along the coastline are stunning!
SLIEVE LEAGUE | CO. DONEGAL
In Irish, it’s Sliabh Liag.
Before my hike at Slieve League, I stopped to walk around a beach in Malin Beg, a small Gaeltacht village. The beach is called the Silver Strand. I almost hit a sheep on the way there, but I’d say sheep are a huge contributor to the Irish village’s charm, so it’s worth having to dodge here and there.
Slieve League has a trail that leads to the top of the peak. I didn’t hike that far, because it was super windy…but you should definitely do it! I saw pictures and it’s an epic view! You will also have bragging rights since you hiked farther than me.
Read more: 32 hours along County Antrim's coastal route
DUNLUCE CASTLE | BUSHMILLS, CO ANTRIM
I could drive for hours along the coast of Ireland. One of my favorite drives was the route to Dunluce Castle. I drove into the town of Portrush after my visit here.
You had to pay to get into Dunluce, but seeing the castle remains from afar was enough. You’ll miss out on learning about its history, so if you’re into that pay a few pounds to go explore inside.
WHITEROCKS BEACH | PORTRUSH, CO ANTRIM
After Dunluce Castle, hit Whiterocks beach. It’s only 4 miles away. There is an easily accessible (free) car park. Walk along the limestone cliffs or go horseback riding! I would have loved to bike along this beach. Maybe during my next visit...
Have you visited any of the spots below? Have recommendations for women traveling Ireland alone? Let us know in the comments section below.
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