We welcomed the slower pace of Ireland, driving the narrow roads carefully and stopping often. We circled the Ring of Kerry through Killarney National Park and wandered through the gardens & grounds of Muckross House, then pulled off at Ladies View to admire the scenery. We drove the rental car down Inch beach and hid from the strong winds, amazed and cold.
After arriving at our airbnb in the cutest little town of Dingle, we walked past the rows of colorful shops and pubs to the end of town for firewood and chocolate and gathered at the pub for a typical Irish dinner.
I slept in late and woke up to the sounds of sheep in our backyard. We lingered by the fire, sipping french press coffee before heading out through the blue door with overgrown ivy to the field behind our flat. The cows and the sheep immediately scattered upon our arrival, while the most beautiful white horse trotted our way. We called her a unicorn and fed her Nutri-Grain bars.
Once again we loaded in the car, this time for a drive around the Dingle Peninsula, following signs for Slea Head Drive. We stopped more times than I can count, walking around the Beehive Huts and roadsides for incredible views of the dark cliffs and teal water. We saw one of the oldest Christian churches at Gallarus Oratory and climbed rocks by a random boat dock. We stopped at hole-in-the-wall cafés to sip coffee and eat potatoes and buy postcards.
After learning about the current filming of Star Wars (Episode 8) on the Dingle Peninsula, we researched and followed google maps up to the set location. We got as close as possible, driving through the recently constructed houses for the cast and crew, while noticing the big cranes and metal ramps and village huts used for the set. We asked the security guard if anyone had ever tried sneaking up there in a cow suit, not that we were considering it or anything.
We walked through a field of sheep and played in the ruins of a castle called Rahinanne, which we quickly renamed Rihanna castle without hesitation. We drove to Conor Pass and lingered at the best views before spending the last night in Dingle by eating delicious homemade ice cream at Murphy's and wandering the cobblestone streets.
Once we made our way to Dublin, the boys dropped off me and Brittany at the beach outside the city for a fun bridal photoshoot. We ran late and asked sweet locals for bus directions (while looking like crazy, lost Americans) and finally met up with the boys for a musical pub crawl, where we listened to traditional Irish music and watched loud Irish dancing, tapping our feet to the music in the crowded pubs.
I fell in love with Ireland all over again-- with her little yellow flowers and incredible views and farmlands woven together like a patchwork quilt, dotted with sheep and old farmhouses and deteriorating stone walls. Maybe it's the rosy-cheeked locals or the ridiculous, beautiful aspects of God's creation, but I think Ireland has always been the kind of place that welcomes you with open arms-- allowing you to be part of her wonky patchwork, if only for a little while.
Kevin's favorite spots: Dingle Peninsula, Downtown Dingle & Musical Pub Crawl
Alex's favorite spots: Conor Pass, Exploring Downtown Dingle
Read Part One of our Europe trip here (London).
Read Part Three of our Europe trip here (Rome).
See Brittany's awesome video of our trip here.