Before I was writing about my travels, we spent two weeks in Ireland and covered nearly every square mile of the island from Dublin to Belfast to County Clare, all while driving a tiny car on the left side of the road. In honor of Saint Patrick's Day, I'm sharing my five favorite things from our trip way back in 2013.
1. The Cake Café
This almost-hidden café in Dublin was the subject of my first-ever travel post on this site, and everything from the branding design to the mismatched china patterns had me smitten. Go for brunch or tea on their sunny patio, and don't miss their homemade bread!
2. Literary Pub Crawl
Even after reading all the glowing reviews, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl was better than I expected - and that's coming from a non-beer-drinker. Depending on where your meeting point is, visit Trinity Library before the pub crawl begins. If you're very lucky, you'll make a few new friends on the crawl, and end the evening with a midnight trip to Leo Burdock for fish & chips.
3. The Little Museum of Dublin
In a row house on St. Stephen's Green, The Little Museum of Dublin is easily the most charming museum in the city. Their publicly-donated collection chronicles the the last century of life in Dublin, and the tour is honestly fascinating - not to mention their perfect choice of kelly green wall color, and a sitting room where you could easily sit for hours.
4. Driving the Countryside
Driving out of Dublin was a little chaotic for me, but out in the countryside it was just fun to drive a little car on the left side of the road - sans traffic. Whether we were headed to a popular spot like the Cliffs of Moher or Giant's Causeway, or just to our next hotel, we quickly learned to factor in plenty of extra time for photo stops. You just can't ignore all the beautiful views and adorable sheep along the way!
5. Irish Castles
After a week in Dublin and Belfast, the second half of our trip was spent at four Irish castles. Our favorite stop was Ashford Castle - we loved it so much that it's still on my list of top ten hotel crushes! The castle itself is incredible, with hundreds of acres of grounds to explore, and a neighboring village that's home to the best chocolate muffin I've ever had. I would plan a return trip for their annual New Year's Eve fête, or in the fall to see the changing leaves.