Pony and trap ride through the Gap of Dunloe. Photos courtesy Meghann Landry.

Travel Journal: Southern Ireland

Who went: Meghann Landry and Kerri Heil

We went because: Of the Spice Girls reunion tour! We wanted to see them live and planned an entire vacation around the concert.

Hotel recommendations: Options were limited in the remote areas we visited, but we had the best experiences with Airbnb. We even stayed in a renovated stable house on an operational Irish dairy farm.

Where to eat: Templars Inn in Templeton, Fethard-on-Sea

Favorite dish on the menu: Crab claws (or anything seafood!), and they had an amazing goat cheese tartlet.

Item of clothing you shouldn’t leave home without: A rain jacket! Even though the locals refer to it as “Irish mist,” the rain is pretty constant.

Favorite historic landmark: The Rock of Cashel, dating back to the 12th century, is truly something to experience. The enormity of the site as you walk up the hill is breathtaking.

Local attraction worth a drive-by: The Cliffs of Moher on the edge of the Burren and the 111-mile drive around the Ring of Kerry. It’s hard to pick a favorite.

A great experience off the beaten path: Sea cave kayaking off the Hook Peninsula! Neither of us knew what to expect, but we enjoyed the day out on the water.

Inside the cathedral on the Rock of Cashel

Worth the splurge: We experienced Killarney National Park by jaunting car. We hired a pony and trap to take us off the beaten path through the Gap of Dunloe. Our guide was a local sheep farmer who gave us a personal perspective of the area and its history.

Something surprising we learned on the trip: Navigating Ireland was easier than we expected, but it helps that there are more sheep than people!

Insiders’ tips: Renting a car and driving is the best way to see Ireland! It allows you to tailor your experience and explore areas off the beaten path. Smaller cars are better since you’ll be navigating narrow roads while driving on the opposite side.

We would suggest this trip to others because: We fell in love with the beauty of Ireland, the hospitality of all the wonderful people we met and their culture. It really felt like home away from home, and we can’t wait to go back!