I wrote this while I still had a couple weeks left, but I was getting low on cash and homesick! After visiting Dublin a second and third time I will say that I love Dublin and I think that you just have to find the right place to hang out. Enjoy!
December 2013 //
Places you should visit in Ireland:
This was my favorite part of Ireland and I think that a lot of people leave it out of their travel itinerary when they come to Ireland. While I was there I visited Donegal, Sligo, Bundoran, Dunfanaghy, Killybegs, Dungloe, Letterkenny, and many towns in between. I spent most of my time in the small town of Dungloe and if you are in that area I highly recommend seeing the beaches while you are there. Get in good with a local and see if they will show you around the beaches. There was a guy Thomas that took me around to some places and I couldn’t tell you the names or even if they had names, but it was beautiful especially all of the little islands. If you want a good place to party go to Arranmore where the bars might even be open all night long! The only place I didn’t get to see in this area that I would have liked to was Derry. Bundoran is a cute little surf town and Killybegs was a huge fishing town back in it’s heyday.
In my opinion this is the most beautiful part of Ireland and should be visited by more people. There’s a lot of really interesting history in this area if you are into that like I am. There are a couple of Workaway and Couchsurf hosts in this area, but not a lot. I would recommend requesting hosts in this area as much in advance as you can.
I was going to put this all in sections based on regions until I realized that I really had only spent time in a couple other cities apart from the northwest area. Since this is my blog and I can do what I want I will separate it out how I want. Galway is absolutely wonderful and a great city to spend time in. I couchsurfed with some friends I had met in Dungloe and spent time in Galway City Hostel. If you want an inexpensive place to stay in Galway I recommend Galway City Hostel. The staff there is really friendly and helpful and most of the people that stayed there while I was there were great to hang out with. The only bad experience I had here were with a couple of Americans! I recommend seeing the college and taking a walk along the river and you can’t miss out on Shop Street. The street performers were plentiful as was their talent. If you are a lover of a great fish and chips you shouldn’t miss out on McDonagh’s. It’s a great family restaurant and the food is to die for. I have tried fish and chips in multiple places in Ireland and America and these were by far the best I have ever had. The drive from Galway to Sligo or Donegal is a very scenic drive and another that I would recommend.
The only thing that I missed out while I was in this area was the Cliffs of Moher and as it was the only thing I had planned on seeing while I was in Ireland it does come as a bigger disappointment. Even though unforeseen circumstances kept me from seeing them I still recommend them to anyone that is in this area and if you stay at Galway City Hostel you can even get a discount on the trip. I will be visiting them for sure on my next trip to Ireland even if I am just coming for a trip to Europe!
Now when you come to Ireland it’s more than likely if you mention or ask about Limerick that you will be told not to bother visiting there. Don’t make that mistake! With the exception of Northwest Ireland, Limerick was my favorite place to see in Ireland. I Couchsurfed with some great guys here and had some hilarious experiences. It’s also a beautiful place to sight-see. I recommend walking along the river (as always). I saw multiple churches and a castle while I was there. It’s a great place to see some of Ireland’s history and has a great nightlife as well. Don’t miss out on this great little town just because everyone outside of it doesn’t seem to like it!
This is a great little town with a lot of friendly people. I enjoy it most because as the last stop on my trip to Ireland it has given me a place to relax for the last couple weeks of my trip. I am staying at Castle Hostel and the hosts here are very friendly and welcoming. I would recommend staying here if you are just visiting or if you are wanting to do a Workaway here. I think one of the best things about this city is it’s proximity to other cities around it. Cork, Killarney, and Dingle are all within and hour or two by bus or train and make for great day trips.
Now I want to start this out to say that I have spent less than 24 hours here and so my review of it should be taken with a grain of salt. I didn’t like it at all. It’s a very dirty place and I was really shocked when I got off the plane and took the bus through town to the train station. There were shopping carts, tires, and a stroller that I hope wasn’t still occupied in the river and that’s just what I saw in the few minutes we were driving along it. Possibly the only place I wouldn’t suggest walking along the river! Most of the people I have talked to in Ireland have said that they don’t like Dublin either. I just want to say when you come to Ireland please don’t judge it solely based on Dublin. It would be like judging America on NYC!
Overall I think Ireland is a great place to visit and has some of the friendliest people in general that I have ever come across. Not to say I’m a huge world traveler, but it’s worth mentioning. If you are going to visit Ireland just realize that even though it is a small country there is so much to see and experience that even being here for three months I couldn’t see it all!