I went to Ireland for a 4-day weekend at the end of April. I seriously lucked out with the weather because during those four days, I barely got rained on… and it was only for half an hour. I didn’t really need the umbrella that I had remembered to pack!
I decided to spend one night and day in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. I wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher while I was over there and experience the smaller city of Galway. The other three days would be spent in Dublin.
I thought I had everything perfectly planned out for the first leg of my trip. I was going to finally stand in awe of the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are an 8 kilometers stretch of beauty that faces the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve wanted to visit them for quiet some time now, so I was excited to have the opportunity.
They’re a bit complicated to get to if you don’t have a rental car (and being by myself, I didn’t). So I joined a tourist group that was taking a trip to the cliffs for a few hours. I elected Galway Tour Company to be my guide… I checked in with a bus driver and he directed me to an area with other tourists waiting to get on a bus for the journey. We climbed aboard and started towards the countryside. We spent the first part of the morning stopping at various onlooks to check out the fjords and the sheep and the lush, green fields. Our midday stop was at the beautiful Kylemore Abbey to check out the abbey, the gardens, have lunch and stretch our legs. I didn’t remember reading anything about Kylemore Abbey when I was researching this guided tour to Cliffs of Moher. But I happily ate my lunch and ignored my confusion.
We continued our journey to see the largest fjord of Connemara (they’re famous for their Abalone molluscs). We spent some time exploring some really cool monastery ruins. But when we began our journey home and I still hadn’t see the Cliffs of Moher, I began to get worried. What had happened? Why the change of plans!?
Apparently there was no change of plans. I was on the wrong bus. My bus was on schedule with zero itinerary changes. Everyone else on board expected to see Kylemore Abbey, the monastery ruins, Cong, and the city of Connemara. I was the only one lost and confused. I felt absolutely silly. But I learned a valuable lesson… pay attention and don’t always rely on the bus driver to properly check your ticket!
Despite my Cliffs of Moher fiasco, I had a great time in Galway. The city was just the right size. I made two new friends at my hostel (which doesn’t always happen.. depending on how social I choose to be on my solo trips). I enjoyed the hearty Irish meals. It was super easy to find vegetarian options. My personal favorite was the veggie curry pie from The Pie Maker. The place was tiny and the menu was very affordable.
After my frustrating day not seeing the Cilffs of Moher, I decided to see some live Irish music to cheer me up. My hostel receptionist recommended a place on the other side of town. I invited my new friends (one of which was Spanish actually haha). We all had a great time.
The next morning, I caught an early bus to Dublin. Fingers crossed nothing else would go wrong.
I arrived and checked in at my hostel. I had so many things to do. Dublin isn’t huge, but it’s busy! I decided to get a lay of the land by going on a walking tour with Next City Tours of Dublin. My guide, Keith, was hilarious and really knowledgeable.
Over the next few days the weather was sun-shining perfect. I visited Trinity College, the Long Room (Trinity College library), Ha’Penny Bridge, the Guinness Storehouse tour, Dublin Castle, Dubliner Museum, various cathedrals, National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. I ate a hearty vegetarian chili at the Brazen Head with Stephanie Shire and her cousin. I had some hot chocolate at my roommate’s favorite Dublin coffee shop (she lived in Dublin for two years and she doesn’t like coffee, so hot chocolate it was)!
So many fun things in such a short time. It definitely made up for the fact that I didn’t see the Cliffs of Moher. I’ll definitely go back to Ireland and next time I’ll pay closer attention to where my driver directs me.