While I was studying abroad, my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary together. They wanted to celebrate that milestone by traveling to Europe for the first time. So, I met them in Dublin where we stayed. AND WE HAD AN INCREDIBLE TIME!
We spent time in Dublin doing touristy things- going to the Guinness Brewery, visiting old churches, walking around the university, we did some guided tours, we ate at old pubs (especially the Brazen Head and The Stag's Head), we sought out live music, and when in doubt we found a pub to sit in and drink a Guinness.
We also did a couple day trips to Wicklow National Park, Cork, and Blarney Castle. Wicklow was most definitely my favorite. It’s where the movie P.S. I love you was filmed- the park where they met for the first time. It was so beautiful and I could actually spend weeks there just walking around and seeing everything the park has to offer. In fact, I plan on returning in the future as they have a hostel in the are you can stay at. When they call Ireland "The Emerald Isle," they aren't kidding. The land is the most beautiful color of Emerald Green.
We only spent a couple hours in Cork, but it was really cute and I would love to go back to explore more. We were only able to stop at some shops and visit an old church before we had to get back on the bus.
Ireland is full of centuries-old castles you can go and visit. We visited Blarney Castle, where the famous Blarney Stone sits. The legend says that s/he who kisses the stone will be gifted with the gift of gab/storytelling. So, of course, we all kissed the stone. Not so sure about that gift of gab, though :).
In Ireland, I ate a ton of traditional Irish food: fish and chips, Guinness Beef Stew, etc. And, of course, I drank Guinness. Guinness in Europe is 100 times better than Guinness in the U.S. If you know me, you know I love a good beer. And Guinness in Ireland is the best. It's like drinking water, except it's delicious.
Ireland felt like home to me. Who knows, maybe I lived there in another life. Either way, I can't wait to return!