Touring Ireland and the Dingle Peninsula
Ireland Is the Place to Go: Always something to see!
By Kristen Richard
The Guinness Factory is the natural flagship of Ireland as it brews the beer has made a well-deserved name for itself worldwide.
While many, including myself, flock to the factory they forget about the tons of tiny towns, some only a street long, that have beautiful sites and a unique glimpse into Irish traditions.
Here is a travel guide to Ireland that will guide you to some of the highlights of this fabled land.
Renting a car:
According to Tripadvisor renting a car is the easiest way to get around Ireland. There are many small beautiful towns that it may take a very long time to get to by public transportation, if public transportation reaches them at all.
However renting a car in Ireland can be quite expensive so look for deals, like Alamo. They recently took over many rental car shops in the country and they should be cheaper than the local rental car places. The roads in Ireland can be quite difficult to manage so stay alert and be careful going around the blind corners!
Travel by Bus
During our one week stay in Ireland, we traveled by a variety of methods. After landing at Dublin Airport we took the Bus Eireann. The trip cost about 15 Euros and took about four hours to reach Cork.
While the journey is long the bus makes a lot of stops in small towns allowing us to see places we would not have been able to see on our own.
Cork is a relatively small town. The bus drops you at the Cork Bus Station which is only a short walk from the downtown area.
We took the same bus line back to Dublin. To learn more about Bus Eireann visit their website.
Taking a tour
If you are like my boyfriend and I and traveling on a tight budget but still want to get out and see a lot of Ireland, tours can be a great option.
While in Cork we took a day tour to Dingle Peninsula with Paddy-Wagon tours. It cost 39 euros however it was a day packed with all different sites and highly recommended.
Our first stop on the tour was Killarney. The quaint shops, all different pastel colors, were packed into the small streets of the town center. Flags from all of the world hung from shop to shop on opposite sides of the street.
The shops offer everything from small Irish gifts, hand crafted candy, and my favorite Murphy’s Ice Cream that is handmade on the Dingle Peninsula. The staff was extremely friendly and excited to give samples of their ice cream.
If you have more then a couple hours head to Killarney National Park. There are miles of beautiful trails through lush green woods and rolling hills, with castles to explore. To learn more about the National park visit their website.
The tour then continues on to Inch Beach. The three-mile stretch of beach had white sands and bright blue ocean water rolled into large waves and crashed down on the sand. The beach has even been used in several movies including Ryan’s Daughter.
From there we continued onto Slea Head Drive. The winding road that lead to these beautiful cliffs went through small but beautiful Gaelic Speaking towns. When we reached the cliffs it was breathtaking to look down on birds swooping into the water as the massive waves crash down on the cliffs.
From there we continued onto Dingle Peninsula. Dingle is a beautiful town with architecture similar to Killarney, bright and colorful small shops and pubs line the narrow streets.
The Dart will get you around the city of Dublin quickly. Travelers can also take the Dart also travels outside of Dublin along the coastline making it a scenic journey. It also has connections to other train lines at various stations
Learn more about the Dart.
The Luas is also a great train to getting across Dublin.
My favorite day in Ireland was biking the Cork Cobh Cycle Loop Route. The Distance is 32 km approximately 19.88 miles. The scenic route takes bikers right along the ocean and through thick dark green forest.
It is mostly a flat path so people of all different fitness levels can enjoy it.
When biking around Dublin one can rent bikes from the Public Bike Scheme. Riders pick the bike up at a station and can return them to any station in the city. To learn more visit the Public Bike Scheme website.
For more information on biking Ireland and bike hires visit Discover Ireland cycling.
W hen spending time Cork, Killarney, and Dublin I found that the towns were very walkable. There are many pubs and restaurants in the city centers.
These pubs are bustling throughout the day but really come alive in the evening. Traditional Irish music can be heard from every pub on the streets that are often lined with street performers.
While renting a car in Ireland is a convenient way to travel and does allow one access to small seldom visited towns it can get expensive. There are plenty of other ways to get around Ireland and never a shortage of things to see.
To learn more about what to do and how to get there in Ireland visit Discover Ireland.
To learn more about Paddy Wagon Tours visit their website.
Dingle Peninsula was the last stop on our tour.
Galway Tour Company takes tourist all over to. To learn more about them look at their website.
Paddywagon tours in Ireland
Kristen Richard writes from Massachusetts. When she is not writing she enjoys photography, running, biking, horseback riding, and finding new places to travel.