After rescheduling once, my next adventure is almost here. When WestJet announced that they were starting a direct route between St. John’s and Dublin, complete with a stupidly awesome seat sale, I booked a ticket first and planned later. So where will I be going?….
Ireland is a perfect destination for solo female travelers looking for natural beauty, rich culture and a friendly atmosphere. From the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry, to the historic cities of Dublin and Galway, to the traditional Irish music and warm hospitality of the locals, Ireland offers a diverse array of experiences for the solo female traveler to explore and enjoy.
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Even though I just landed in South Korea I couldn’t pass up the chance to reminisce about my time in Dublin, Ireland in 2011. The only plan for every evening was to find a pub and hopefully some live music. Thankfully, both are about as easy to find in Ireland as sheep. Trust me, that’s easy. I couldn’t decide on just one photo since it seems like a good number of my favourite memories involved both beer and tunes. It was a special moment when I was invited up to play bodhran with the pub’s musicians. My knees were shaking and my mouth went dry but I think I got away with it without embarrassing myself. I learned how to pull a proper pint at the Guinness brewery. I’ve since put this skill to use in airport lounges. Doing shots of Jameson’s with my dad on…
My dad and I were racing, well, anxiously puttering – I didn’t dare go above 65 km/hr – through the twisty, turny road over the Kerry Mountains in Ireland trying to get to Killarney before dark but as we crested a hill I had to stop and try to capture the setting sun streaming through the clouds. Between driving on the left, sheep grazing on the side of the road and this landscape I had one of those “Oh my God, I’m actually in Ireland!” moments.
It was only by chance that I stayed at the Listowel Arms Hotel at all. The fog in Dingle had canceled my plans to drive around the peninsula so my dad and I decided to push on towards Galway that afternoon and stop when it got close to dark. That lucky town was Listowel, Co. Kerry – “the Literary Capital of Ireland”. I noticed a plaque outside noting that the hotel was associated with Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator, and also with C.S. Parnell. If it was good enough for them, it’s certainly good enough for us.They had a twin room free for a rather princely sum of 60 euro each but where else were we going to go in the dark? This was the only game in town. The price did include wifi, full Irish breakfast and parking until 9am, so there was that. When I got to the room I noticed that, while the room had two twin beds, they…
Sometimes it’s the simple, unplanned things that leave an impression, like the lunch my father and I had in Mullingar, Ireland. It wasn’t a planned stop. We had no list of things to see or places to eat or have a pint. We were simply on our way from Galway to Belfast and in need of food and Mullingar was in the right place at the right time.
Blarney Castle and its famous stone weren’t originally part of my plan when I took my dad to Ireland. However, once we realized how close it was to Cork we thought “What the hell, even if it’s cheesy let’s check it out.” I’m glad we did. We arrived early in the morning and almost had the place to ourselves. Climbing the very narrow spiral staircase was a little nerve-wracking and our moment with the stone was a blur, but we spent lots of time exploring the other rooms and castle grounds. Even if you think the folklore surrounding this castle is a load of blarney, I’d still recommend making a visit if you’re near Cork.
Kyteler’s Inn is a truly medieval pub In St. John’s we like to think we have some old stuff. Founded in 1497, we’re the oldest city in North America. We’ve got nothing on Europe, however. Our oldest pub is only 35 years old for Pete’s sake! Something’s just not right there. I love old buildings steeped with history and imagining all the things those walls have seen. They make me feel connected to the past and all the people who’ve stood on that same spot. So when I was planning my trip to Ireland and learned about a 687 year old pub I knew I had to visit. Kyteler’s Inn was established in 1324 in Kilkenny, Ireland’s medieval city. You just know that a pub that old is going to have a colourful, dark past and this one doesn’t disappoint. Dame Alice Kyteler was born in Kilkenny to a Hiberno-Norman family….
Ireland can be fun and enjoyable if you like narrow winding roads, averaging 60km/hr and remembering to flip all your left/right instincts. Oh my God, the roads. I think I know why the Irish drink. A pint was just what I needed to soothe my nerves after a day’s drive. These are some tips I’ve picked up for how to not drive around Ireland.
I saw this topic being passed around by travel bloggers awhile ago and I thought it’d be a great framework to get me started. A little get to know me post, if you will. A: Age you went on your first international trip It may have been before, but the earliest I can remember was when I was 9, being in Ontario for my birthday and crossing the border at Niagara Falls into Buffalo. I don’t remember much about that short day trip other than goingfor wings. Buffalo wings in Buffalo…it just had to be done. B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where My first ever pint of Guinness in Dublin. It’s hard to beat a pint served right at the brewery. Second runner up: Goose Island’s Honker Ale. Chicago totally counts as foreign to this Canuck. C: Cuisine (favorite) Southwest followed by Indian. If someone invented a butter…