Monday, August 16, 2010

Road trip through Ireland Part 1: From Dublin to Waterford

Last month my girlfriend and I set off for a little 10-day road trip through Ireland. More precisely, we covered everything south of Dublin starting out there and travelling clockwise until Galway, after which we headed back to Dublin again.

We started our holiday just as there was a heat wave in the Netherlands/Belgium, with temperatures being above 30 degrees Celsius for a week or two. This was in stark contrast with the weather in Ireland, which was pretty much between 15 and 21 degrees, including lots of rain.

To be honest, it was my decision to take a summer holiday in Ireland, especially because of the not so tropical temperatures, as I am really not very good with heat, to put it mildly. In other words, I was well aware of the kind of weather we would be having, but it was still a surprise and of course I managed to complain about it quite a bit. On the other hand, we did discover that even 18 degrees and a little bit of sun is enough to wear shorts.

I hope all this weather talk doesn't bore you, because I am sure I'll be talking about it a lot more in the upcoming posts. For now though, I want to share with you some of the stuff we got up to the first few days.

Ierland 2010 - 0016

The view from the plane

We travelled by plane to Dublin and arrived at our hotel in the evening. We were happy it was a very decent hotel and also not such a long walk to the city centre.

I'd been in Dublin about a decade earlier, but it was Unfolder's first time. We spent our first day doing the touristy thing, walking around the city centre, shopping for souvenirs and looking at the sights. Beforehand I found it strange I couldn't remember any of the sights from my previous trips, but being back there it made a lot of sense as they weren't very memorable.

Don't get me wrong, Dublin is a great city, with nice shops, pubs and restaurants. They also had a nice park, and plenty of other stuff to entertain you. Exciting sights just isn't one of them. We first discovered in Dublin that every town has a "castle" but they are hardly ever very impressive.

Ierland 2010 - 0103 O'Connell Street in Dublin

We did enjoy some very good food while we were there, including some lovely salads, sandwiches and baps. I have to say, Ireland's great if you love bread and having sandwiches, Panini's or Baps for breakfast or lunch. I also loved their coffee. Hot, strong and lots of it!

In Dublin I also had my mandatory pint of Guinness. I am not a really big fan of Stout, but I felt I had to drink at least one while I was in Ireland.

On our third day we picked up our rental car and travelled to our next destination Waterford. We hadn't really planned anything and just decided to look on the map and drive from A to B, which we did along the coast.

This was quite an adventure as neither of us was used to driving on the left side of the road. It was quite a weird experience, and my girlfriend had the hardest time keeping the car in the right lane. Apparently, it was especially hard to guess how much space the car took up on the left hand side, resulting in us driving into a few hedges and almost hitting an older woman.

Ierland 2010 - 0189 "Regular" Irish roads

Just on day one, after that the driving went just fine. That's easy for me to say though, because Unfolder did all the driving. And Irish roads are something else. There are hardly any freeways, and all the regular roads are very small, curvy and going up and down hill all the time. In fact, it felt pretty much like being on a rollercoaster and I had to take some pills not to get any motion sickness.

The roads might have been bad, or at least a challenge at times, but it was definitely worth it for the beautiful surroundings. Everywhere you looked there was green…green grass, green trees. Lots of meadows, lots of hills and even mountains. Very pretty.

Ierland 2010 - 0125

Ierland 2010 - 0141

Pretty scenery

We also stopped at the coast a few times to enjoy the views there. It was all very nice, beautiful even, and at that point we didn't even know yet what was waiting for us on the West coast.

I was reading the road map along side the navigation system we were using. When we were almost in Waterford I pointed out to Unfolder that there was no road and a lot of water the way we were heading.

Just as we were curiously wondering and speculating how we were going to get across (Unfolder suggesting "bridge" hopefully), we found out just how we were going to have to cross the water: by ferry.

Ierland 2010 - 0202

Uhoh, a ferry crossing

The funny thing is is that the navigation system never gives you any options or a warning. You are just driving along the road and all of a sudden you are in front of a Ferry and it says "Drive onto the Ferry." At that point there really isn't anything you can do but drive onto it. Seeing it was only the second time in her life Unfolder had been on one, it was quite exciting. Needless to say, we did make it across the water in one piece.

When we arrived in Waterford it was raining and the receptionist let us know the weather would pretty much stay like that for the rest of the week. Oh well, at least we had found another great hotel to stay at, overlooking the marina.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Irish road trip.


unfolder said...

Great times! <3

19th green said...

Pictures are so stunning & beautiful. You had a great trip……
Killarney is very nice place like full of life.......must take a