Travel Journal: Ireland

Mizen Head

Seen through the eyes of: Denise Schroeder

Who went: My husband Eric and I

We went because: Our daughter Caroline moved to Dublin after finishing LSU and we had not seen her since May 2020.

How our plans changed because of COVID: We were supposed to go in June, but they were locked down tight and would not give a firm reopening date, so we made other plans. They started lifting restrictions in July so we replanned everything for late August.

Eric at the Giant’s Causeway

Where we stayed: We were in Dublin on the front and back ends so we could spend time with Caroline. But we took a week to circumnavigate the island, spending nights in Cork, Killarney, Dingle, Galway, Donegal and Belfast. We definitely tried to cram too much into that week and didn’t get to do everything we wanted.

Where we ate: The best food experience was the Galway Food Tour. We thought it would be a few small bites here and there and we’d pick up a late lunch afterward. There were so many stops and we had a huge serving at each stop. I’m pretty sure we ate more than the cost of our ticket price.

Favorite dish on the menu: Squid toast

Medieval church

Favorite historic landmark: I love medieval castles and churches. I get excited when I see one even when I have already seen 20 others that day.

Attraction worth a drive by: Slieve Liag, a mountain with some of the highest sea cliffs on the island.

Fun experience off the beaten path: The Giant’s Causeway, an area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns on the northern coast.

Worth the splurge: Hayfield Manor, a hotel in Cork that was first built in the early 1800s and rebuilt in the 1990s and features beautiful walled gardens.

Hayfield Manor in Cork

Not worth the splurge: Not a splurge, but I was so disappointed with St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s beautiful on the outside and still has Sunday services, but most of the inside space is used for museum exhibits on Irish war history and a souvenir shop. Eric loved it, though.

Something surprising we learned on this trip: Belfast is a wonderful city full of life, great food and fun! I really didn’t want to go because I always thought of it as dour and full of unhappy people (I guess from movies?). It was lovely and very British.

We would suggest this trip to others because: Mountains, beaches (not that you’d want to swim), a system of walking paths with beautiful scenery, friendly people and great local culture.