You might say this whole trip to Ireland was an attempt to ignore turning 30 years old. You might also say it was an attempt to finish every glass of Guinness served on the island for a week. Both are very true.
When it comes to traveling, Ireland is in many ways my “first.” I originally went to Ireland in 2014. So technically, a return trip wouldn’t have actually added any new countries to my experiences. And if I’m not doing anything new, what’s the point? It turns out, Guinness can be the point. Plus Ireland is fantastic, why should I not go back? What was I thinking, what’s the point? Let’s go!
This trip probably didn’t need to add Northern Ireland into the itinerary. But hey, if it’s only a few hours away by bus from the Dublin Airport, why the hell not? It’s not like we ever set deadlines on these trips…which is how we ended up missing the Titanic Exhibit, unfortunately.
Belfast ended up being the most wild of pub crawls (until possibly Valencia, but hard to say) that I’ve ever been on. We fell in with a group of strangers from the US and UK, learned about the very dark history of the city’s struggles from the guide, and spent the night getting double Jamesons and greasy, late-night take-out.
Galway, Connemara, and Dublin
With half our life drained in two days, we got back on a bus to head back into Ireland itself. The next stop would be the first city I ever promised to return to: the beautiful and unassuming city of Galway. Sincerely, if you should ever find your way near the United Kingdom, Galway is always worth the time to visit.
Not only is it scenic, green, and filled with the truest-of-the-true Irish men and women; it’s also the nearest city to the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands can only be accessed by ferry, and are perfect for biking (and eating…and drinking). I spent my first day in my new decade biking around the largest island, and ending the night back in the city Galway, at a gin bar called The Roisin Dubh.
One night we spent on the outskirts of Connemara, visiting pubs and sleeping through a very intense thunderstorm.
Naturally we spent a few nights in Dublin. Although by this point in the journey, we were pretty soaked, tired, hungover, and had probably shaved years off our lives – so it was relatively uneventful, compared to the beginning of the journey.