Leaving the sweltering heat of Turkey behind we made our way to one of the greenest place I have ever seen, Ireland. We arrived in Dublin the day before our tour started, giving us time to run to Primark and pick up a few Irish ‘summer’ essentials – gumboots, long-sleeve tops and a rain poncho. The next day we joined Shamrocker Adventures on their 7 Day All Ireland Rocker, which as the name suggests covers a lot of ground.
Now, I’ll admit, I’m not much for organised group travel as I prefer to go solo or with friends, but as far as this tour is concerned I had an absolute blast and could not recommend it enough. Not only was it amazing value for money, it was also a great way to see so much of the country and the tour guides, authentic Irishmen, certainly had the gift the gab – filling our days with fascinating Irish history, hilarious local legends (for which the Irish are famed) and giving us lots of tips and tricks to enjoying each town. If you’re looking to explore the Irish country side and tick off a few of the main sites, such as Giant’s Causeway or the Cliffs of Moher then this is a fantastic tour. If you’re looking to spend a bit more time in cities such as Galway or Belfast you’re better going back to these in your own time before or after the tour, as the days are usually filled with lots of adventures and you don’t arrive in town until quite late and you generally leave early.
Images (L-R, T-B) 1) My friend Tess and I at Blarney Castle 2) Ballintoy Coastal Walk 3) Atop the fort on the remote island of Inish Mor 4) Dingle Peninsula 5) Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, Ballintoy 6, 7, 8) Ballintoy Coastal Walk 9) Cycling around Inish Mor
STAY Barnacles Temple Bar, 19 Temple Ln S, Dublin 2 / +353 1 671 6277
The perfect base in Dublin for before/after your tour. Of the three other places I’ve stayed in Dublin this is the only one I would recommend for location, value and cleanliness. Tours kick off from right outside your front door (super convenient) and there are lots of bars (including the infamous Temple Bar), restaurants and cool shops around.
EAT Bunsen Burgers, Locations Ireland Dublin (Try 22 East Essex Street, Temple Bar / 01 5599532)
The best burgers in the entire world. The end.
PLAY Sandeman’s New Europe – Free City Walking Tour, Dublin
The tour doesn’t cover much of Dublin, the historical capital of the country – so it’s a good idea before or after to tag along on one of the cities many from walking tours (I used the company linked above and really liked it). It’s a great way to learn not only about the many nooks and crannies of the city, but also the fascinating history of The Troubles.