Summer Trip to Ireland (Part 1 of 2)

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Hi Friends!  I published a post a few months back that was kind of about our recent Ireland trip (it was a style post sharing 7 ways to wear the white sneakers I wore pretty much the entire time), but I neglected to share any real details on where we visited and what we did while we were there.  So, here is a recap of our trip to Ireland with Tom’s family back in June.

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Summer Trip to Ireland

After 24 hours in Charleston Tom and I flew up to Boston and briefly did some sightseeing (see my Boston post here) and waited for Tom’s family to arrive.  Tom’s parents generously paid for the trip for the whole family (we left Jack and Caroline with my parents in South Carolina) so the travel party included Tom’s parents (Bill and Sue), Tom’s sister (Sarah) and her two grown children (Abbey and Billy), Tom, his two older children (Tommy is 13 and Audrey is 20), and me.  It was a large crew for international travel but it all worked out great and everyone had a wonderful time!  Tom’s mom planned everything through a travel agent (Brendan Vacations) but we were on our own and not with a larger tour group.  (For privacy purposes I’m just going to primarily share photos of myself from the trip.)

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Day 1 & 2: Dublin

We flew from Boston to Dublin and took a private bus to our hotel in Dublin (Radisson Blu Royal Hotel).  We arrived super early in the morning so we had an entire day to explore…although I must confess that I took an epic nap because pregnancy and traveling can be a doozy sometimes.  This hotel was in a great spot and lots of things were within walking distance (and omg the breakfast spread was amaaaaaazing).  I had been to Dublin before (in 2012 with my parents and we stayed in a hostel haha), so it was fun to visit again and see some new things.  We stayed in Dublin for 2 nights and while we were there we did the Hop on Hop off City Tour (great way to see a city, learn a little history and get around if you want to visit different areas), walked through St. Stephan’s Green (a beautiful park), visited a beautiful rose garden, ate dinner in Temple Bar, ate another dinner at The Hairy Lemon Pub, I discovered Dunnes Stores which had a raincoat I ended up buying 2 of because they were so cute and I loved the blue and white striped lining.  (This one from Joules USA is very similar and available in the US!  They sent it to me for a recent Instagram collaboration and I like it even more than the ones I got in Ireland because the fabric is more versatile.)

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Day 3: Dublin to Kilkenny

We rented two vehicles and Tom and Sarah were the drivers for the duration of the trip…not for the faint of heart and I’m so glad I didn’t have to do it.  The roads in Ireland are incredibly narrow (when you aren’t on the highway) and they also drive on the left side of the road, so there were a number of close calls (kidding, kind of) and lots of nervous driving.  I sat up front with Tom and felt like I could never relax because having a second set of eyes was always so helpful.  If you rent a car in Ireland I suggest 2 things: first, get the rim insurance they offer.  We declined it because we didn’t understand why we needed it, but quickly realized that because the roads are so incredibly narrow once you’re in the countryside you often end up with the left side of the car brushing up against bushes while you’re driving and someone is coming in the other directly.  We ended up having to pay extra because the rims definitely got scratched.  Second, get the pocket wifi that you can rent through the rental car company.  We were able to save money and not use our phones internationally (just used wifi) and only relied on the pocket wifi for navigation, communication, etc.  We could get about 4 people linked on each one (we had one for each car) and then brought them with us while we were sightseeing on foot.  These are incredible little devices!

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From Dublin we headed to Kilkenny and stayed at the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel.  I toured the beautiful Kilkenny Castle and gardens in the rain with Audrey, Sarah and Sue and it was interesting to learn about the area.  I’ve always enjoyed touring castles and this was no exception.

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I’ll continue the rest of the Ireland trip content in part 2 next week!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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1 Comment

  1. Maureen
    October 30, 2019 / 3:47 am

    Wow, looks like a great trip.
    It has been quite some time since I was in Europe–let alone Ireland.
    Hopefully I will be able to go again.

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