European Trip: Getting Out of Dublin for Amazing Sights

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European trip to London and Dublin: Planning

US Airways Envoy Suites to London

Getting To and From London Airports

Sheraton Heathrow

Aer Lingus to Dublin

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

Things To Do in Dublin

Get Out of Dublin for Amazing Sights

We loved visiting Dublin on our recent trip to London and Ireland, but honestly we loved getting out of Dublin even more. The one thing I asked my husband to plan for this trip was what we would do in Ireland. This was “his” country, and I was totally hands-off in this process. I’m used to planning almost everything when it comes to our travels, so it was very nice (and a little scary) to have someone else take care of this part.

He did some internet research about different things to visit outside of Dublin and decided to surprise me with a chauffeured private day tour that would take us to some great spots outside the city. I choked a little on my Cheerios when I heard the price (€400), but this was his deal and I wasn’t going to cause a fuss. Even if that amount makes you choke as much (or more) than me, this post can still be helpful to point out some sights you may want to get to via another mode of transportation.  In the end, it was absolutely worth it for us as we had a great guide and saw a ton of stuff in a short amount of time. We used a guide named Tony Kennedy who is associated with Chauffeur Ireland. He was a very nice and professional man from Ireland (who did take credit cards). He also had some great stories, and I think is the type of guy you would want if you ended up in a bad situation as well. 😉

He asked what we had done so far during our time in Dublin and then worked with us to plan where we would go for the day. He also took the weather into account since it was a chilly and overcast day that saw rain off and on. First, he recommended we start our day at Kilmainham Gaol. This was the highlight of what we did within Dublin and was covered in the previous post in this series “Things To Do in Dublin”. Next, he took us through Phoenix Park on the way out of town. That was also covered in the previous post.

Coastline views:

We then saw some spots of gorgeous coastline and made a quick stop to see where some hardy folks actually swim.

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I was shocked to see people swimming (for fun) in the freezing and rough water. I am 100% a wuss compared to this!

Powerscourt Gardens:

Next up we headed to Powerscourt Gardens and did a self-guided walking tour of the gardens. The gardens are located about 20 minutes south of Dublin.  Here is a link to some different ways to go to the gardens.  We practically had the place to ourselves the afternoon we visited and it was gorgeous. So green and so lush, even in February.

The cost to visit the gardens is Adults €8.50, Student/OAP €7.50, Child (U16) €5.00, Child (U5) Free, Family Ticket €25.00 (2 adults & up to 3 children).

From their website, Powerscourt Garden in County Wicklow is one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland. The gardens have been around for over two and a half centuries. The charming walled garden, the striking terraces, fine statuary and varied trees are linked by carefully designed walks and set in the magnificent surroundings of the Wicklow mountains.

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There was a small tower (which totally reminds me of Rapunzel)

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Some tucked away small streams and waterfalls

20130326-101031.jpgAnd a very interesting pet cemetery dating back over 100 years (read the tombstones)

20130326-101040.jpgWe wandered around the paths for almost an hour – which is actually a long time for us as we usually move pretty quickly.  If I were a kid this place would have been like a fairy tale come to life with all of the trails, large trees, and the feeling of magic.  I’m not a “gardeney” person in the traditional sense, but would absolutely return here on a future visit to the area and would not hesitate to bring my kiddo as well.

Johnnie Foxes Pub:

A highlight of the trip for my husband was lunch at Johnny Foxes Pub.  It is touted as being located “in Glencullen on top of the Dublin mountains.”  Johnnie Fox’s is one of Ireland’s oldest and most famous traditional Irish pubs.  Due to the location, they are one of the “highest” pubs in Ireland and are located approximately 25-35 minutes drive from Dublin.  It was founded in 1798 and was even used as a meeting place for leaders of the 1916 rebellion (which you will learn about at Kilmainham Gaol if you aren’t already familiar).

Johnnie Foxes has traditional Irish music every night, as well as on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There are large bands that play through the year on selected dates. You can also see one of the top dancing performances in the country at the famous ‘Hooley Night‘.

We went there for lunch on a weekday, so there was no music, but there was pretty darn good food.  Somehow I neglected to take any photos of the food, but the Irish Smoked Salmon, Irish Lamb Stew, and Fox’s Famous Whiskey Gateaux dessert were all delicious.

One of the easiest/cheapest ways to get to Johnnie Foxes is via the Express Bus that charges €10 for a round trip ticket.  Of course, you are then at the mercy of the bus schedule in terms of when you arrive and depart.

Glendalough:

Glendalough is described as an area renowned for its natural beauty and history and it is one of the most visited places in Ireland.  The Glendalough Valley is located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park and has many attractions to entice, entertain and enthral visitors, from its world famous Monastic Site with Round Tower (pictured to the right) to its scenic lakes and valleys, as well as a selection of walks and trails in the area including The Wicklow Way.

This was our last official stop on the tour, and admittedly I was very tired and it was getting pretty rainy.  However, it was worth the effort of getting there and walking around.  We saw the Gateway, the Round Tower (in the background below),

20130326-101102.jpgthe Cathedral, the Priests’ House, and other small buildings in the area.

20130326-101121.jpgAs was true everywhere we went that day, the views surrounding us were spectacular. The gloomy sky contrasted with the green grass in almost a haunting way.

20130326-101137.jpgAfter a while in that area we hiked toward the Upper Lake.  We crossed streams, fields, and grazing sheep on our way to the Upper Lake.

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20130326-101204.jpgThe Upper Lake itself was extremely windy when we visited and extremely eerie.  Even my dinky iPhone camera did a decent job capturing how eerie the lake appeared.

20130326-101213.jpgThose were the main stops we decided on for our private tour, but we also did a few others things like saw a small castle, cruised by Bono’s house, and just got told gobs of stories and history along the way.  Some of the stories might even have been true.  It didn’t hurt that we were in a fancy pants Mercedes Benz S Class with warm heated seats.  I might have fallen asleep in the car more than once that day.

I would have probably never spent the money to book a tour like this myself, but I am very glad my husband made that decision for me.  We got so much out of the day and covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  If our budget allowed, I would absolutely use Tony Kennedy and Chauffeur Ireland again on a future visit.

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Comments

  1. “Some of the stories might even have been true”.
    Tis’ Ireland, after all…

    I think some of the stories my Irish Grandfather told me might have been true as well. But I’m not really sure. 😀

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