Ireland Part 1
Our Ireland trip began by me having no idea where we should vacation for the following year and googling good vacations with kids and Ireland came up. So, on a whim I thought I’d see what ticket prices would cost and found tickets for 600$ round trip! I’ve paid close to that to go to California so Ireland it was!
I am a big time planner and love researching all the things to do and see and roads to travel by and just 2 weeks after booking the trip I had our entire itinerary planned. Here’s what we did and the AMAZING food we ate!
We landed at about 1030am and I wanted everyone to be able to transition to the new time zone as quickly as possible so we rented our van and got on the road to Kilkenny. It was about a 1.5 hour drive from Dublin and thankfully all highway. As I’m sure you can imagine my husband was super thrilled about being on a plane for 8+hrs and then having to drive 1.5 hours to our first stop…he loves me.
We arrived in Kilkenny and only had a few hours of day light so we checked into our hotel, which is walking distance to town and then went to Kilkenny castle. We did a self guided tour followed by a walk through the beautiful gardens on their property and topped it off with dessert from the ice cream stand on the grounds. There are some shops across the street that sell a variety of items actually made in Ireland, so if you want to get some souvenir shopping done early it’s the perfect place to go.
For dinner we ate at Kytelers Inn, which is walking distance from the castle. And we enjoyed our first Irish dinner of lamb stew and bangers and mash while listening to a guy play a Bodhran. The food was delicious and what better way to start your first day than eating in a building that’s been there for over 800 years!
We got up, ate and got some coffee for the road at the cutest coffee shop in town called The Fig Tree then we were on the road for some more castles. First we stopped at Rock of Cashel. It has tons of history and known for being the seat of the kings of Munster before being converted by St. Patrick. All of the roof is gone but most of the main structure still stands and it sits atop a hill overlooking the city and surrounding land. It is a short walk up a hill to get to the castle from the parking lot and thankfully the castle and grounds is stroller friendly with some slight maneuvering. After rock of Cashel we went into Cork to enjoy lunch at Market Lane on Oliver Plunket St. At first I was unsure how kid friendly this would be but it was perfect. We were able to get a seat outside and enjoy some people watching. I’m not one to ever get salads but the salad I ordered had a fried soft boiled egg on top and oh my gosh I don’t think I’ll ever have a more delicious salad in my life ! The food was delicious the atmosphere of being on a cobblestone street outside of a café was perfect. I don’t think we could have asked for a better second day. Once we were finished with our meal it was off to Blarney Castle. You can’t go to Ireland without kissing the stone!
Blarney castle grounds are probably some of the prettiest I’ve seen for a castle. There are gardens everywhere you turn with beautiful pathways covered in trees. You could spend most of your day just touring the grounds.
When we got there it was about a 45 min wait to get to the top of the castle to kiss the stone. The nice part is it moves throughout the castle so you can tour the castle as you are waiting in line. The castle itself is not stroller friendly but has stroller parking available right outside the castle entrance. The kids actually did quite well standing in line until we got to the steep stairs that the railing was just a rope running up the middle of the stairs.
(worst picture ever but shows the stairs of death !)
In my mind they would hit each other and we’d all domino down the stairs. Thankfully that didn’t happen and we made it safely to the top of the castle, which is slightly dodgy with its gapped flooring. The stone kissing was a little scary but so worth it! Someone is there to guide you backwards as you have to lay on your back and slide about 2.5’ off the edge while hanging onto bars as you kiss the stone…sounds fun, right? It was a fun little experience and glad we did it. After the stone we made our way down and out into the poison garden to enjoy more of their beautiful landscaping. By now the kids were losing their mind now that jet lagged had hit them hard and we had ran them all day long. We made it back to the car with me stopping to take some more pictures of the property while my husband dealt with a 2 yr. old throwing his shoes and socks out of the stroller and my 2 girls having meltdowns because they were TIRED! Needless to say they were out within moments of driving away. We headed to Killarney and lucky for the kids it was a 1.5 hour drive so they got a good nap in to help them catch up from all the traveling.