This Lad Tackled Our 'Ultimate 2017 Irish Travel Bucket' In One Week
The trip of a lifetime
Back in January we shared 'The Ultimate 2017 Travel Bucket List For Ireland' with all of you.
It was the most read article on Lovin.ie EVER and provided us with endless wanderlust and motivation to try and reach these famous Irish sights over the next year.
Well, one Irish lad, Oisín Hoy, and an Australian gal, Kate Jones, decided to take on the enormous bucket list — eight days, 2,000 kilometres, thousands of photos, hundreds of conversations and endless memories.
Here's how they got on...
We arrived in Dublin on the same day — Kate from Gdansk and I from Rome.
Stop 1 — Trinity College, Dublin
Stop 1.1 — Trim, Co. Meath
Our first night was spent in the Castleview House B&B in Trim, 45 minutes outside of Dublin which would give us a head start the following day.
We were blown away with the hospitality and amazing full Irish breakfast the next morning.
Stop 2 — Newgrange, Co. Meath
A megalithic burial tomb constructed over 5,000 years ago, before the Pyramids and Stonehenge.
Great tour of the tomb by a very enthusiastic and cheery guide. An incredible feat of architecture and one can only marvel at how it's still standing and waterproof inside.
Stop 3 — Titanic Experience, Belfast
An hour and a half on the motorway and we were in Belfast.
The experience itself was very interactive and one could easily spend 3/4 hours in there. However, we whizzed through the museum as we were aiming to catch the sunset at the Dark Hedges (4).
Stop 4 — The Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim
We made it with 20 minutes to spare.
Recognisable worldwide with thanks to Game of Thrones and it's just as stunning as you'd imagine.
Stop 5 — Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
A must-do for anyone who visits the north coast.
Stop 5.1 — Ballintoy Harbour, Co. Antrim
This isn’t on the Lovin list — but it was recommended to us so we decided to check it out. Also featured in Game of Thrones, there's a lovely quaint harbour at the bottom of a steep incline.
Stop 5.2 – Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
Also not on the list but also a feature in Game of Thrones.
Dangling on the edge of the earth you mightn’t be surprised to hear that the kitchen fell into the sea in the 16th century!
Stop 6 — Giant’s Causeway
Probably the most popular tourist destination outside of Dublin after the Cliffs of Moher (13).
Stop 7 — Glengesh Pass, Co. Donegal
Impeccable view and the setting sun created a magnificent display of colours across the valley.
We couldn’t spend too long here as our sunset destination was still 40mins away.
Stop 7.1 — Slieve League Cliffs, Co. Donegal
One of the most epic places I have ever been in my life — should be on any bucket list for Ireland.
We left the car at the carpark and didn’t realise how far away the cliffs actually were (btw, you can drive most of the way to the cliffs). So we ran as the sun was quickly disappearing. There seemed to be bend after bend but so worth it! Just look at that picture. EPIC.
Stop 7.2 – Strandhill Surf’n’Stay, Co. Sligo
We sorted accommodation in Strandhill Surf’n’Stay.
After soup with the staff and pints in the Strand Bar with an American chap called Zack, we were out for the count.
Stop 8 — Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo
Magnificent views of the island-filled Clew Bay.
A tough climb in testing conditions. Visibility was quite poor and the wind would’ve blown a small child to Narnia.
However, the sense of accomplishment when we got to the summit was fantastic.
Stop 8.1 — Leenaun, Co. Galway
A place I’d never heard of but was on the route to Kylemore Abbey (9).
Stop 9 — Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway
Magnificent feat of architecture in the middle of Connemara, the raw landscape west of County Galway.
The Abbey was founded by Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium in World War I. It later became a boarding school and is now a tourist attraction.
Stop 10 — Cleggan Beach, Co. Galway
A horseshoe-shaped beach nearly at the most westerly tip of Connemara — total hidden gem.
We were greeted by high tide waves as they crashed onto the white beach.
Stop 11 — Kirwan’s Lane, Galway
Galway is a great city — full of pubs playing live music and there’s a great buzz around the city.
Stop 12 – Poll na bPéist, Inis Mór
Up there with Slieve League (7.1) as one of the most epic places I have ever been.
Poll na bPéist is the Irish translation for ‘wormhole’. The wormhole is a naturally carved open-bottomed pool which rises and falls with the waves creating a worm-like motion.
Stop 12.1 – Dún Aonghasa, Inis Mór
Right on the cliff, the ferocious ocean was used as a line of defence back in the day. There's a sheer 100m drop straight into the Atlantic Ocean.
Be careful as there are no signs warning you of the immediate drop.
Stop 13 — Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare
The most popular tourist attraction on the west coast of Ireland — it is truly spectacular.
Take care on the edge of the cliffs, some parts are a bit unsteady.
Stop 14 — Father Ted’s Parochial House, Co. Clare
Stop 15 – The Burren, Co. Clare
A karst landscape of bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone, with cliffs and caves, fossils, rock formations and archaeological sites. Come in the late spring, early summer and you’ll find lots of flora and fauna.
Stop 15.1 — Conor Pass, Co. Kerry
The landscape of County Kerry is a wonder in itself.
Unbelievably picturesque filled with mountains, inlets, rivers and a rugged, raw coastline. Conor Pass is one of the most feared roads in Ireland.
Stop 16 — Slea Head Drive, Co. Kerry
A spectacular drive around the Dingle Peninsula.
Just about caught the sunset here and it was top quality — the first proper sunset we saw.
There were no clouds along the horizon which allowed us to really enjoy the setting sun until it disappeared entirely.
Stop 17 — Lakes of Killarney, Co. Kerry
Stopped at Ross Castle on the Lakes.
Lovely view with mountains as the backdrop. Didn’t spend too long here but definitely somewhere to return to.
Stop 18 — Blarney Castle, Co. Cork
Home of the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you kiss this stone then you will inherit the ‘gift of the gab’ and never be stuck for words again.
Stop 19 – Cobh, Co. Cork
A harbour town on the south coast of the country.
Used to be named Queenstown and was the Titanic’s final stop before setting off on its tragic voyage.
Colourful buildings and lovely promenade — Cobh is idyllic.
Stop 20 — Glenbarrow Waterfall, Co. Laois
Yet another hidden gem.
Lovely nature trails with a number of beautiful waterfalls.
Stop 20.1 — Wicklow Mountains, Co. Wicklow
The drive from Glenbarrow to Glendalough was amazing.
Driving over the Wicklow mountains where there was snow on some peaks, the views were magnificent and as like every other day of our trip we had surprisingly good weather for February in Ireland.
Stop 21 — Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
A beautiful hiking area just outside of Dublin filled with the joys of nature.
Stop 22 — Phoenix Park, Dublin
One of Europe’s largest parks within a city, it is out of this world.
Stop 23 — The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
Ireland’s most famous export, Guinness, has a self-guided tour of its storehouse at St. James’ Gate.
Awarded Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2015, no trip to Ireland would be complete without visiting this place.
The tour finishes with a complimentary pint of the ‘black stuff’ in the Gravity Bar which hosts spectacular views of Dublin and afar.
*The only place we missed was Skellig Michael which would've taken another day, which we unfortunately didn’t have, but sure there’s an excuse for another adventure during the year!
Image credits: all Oisín Hoy and Kate Jones
Phenomenal work by this pair — they undertook in a week what we had hoped to achieve in a year! Fair play lads.