Have you ever visited a place that feels so right? Where, from the moment you step off the plane, it’s like you’ve arrived somewhere that you could see yourself never leaving?
For years, I had dreamed of traveling to Ireland and finally this past fall, had the chance to. It had been nearly a decade since I visited Europe, so it should come to no surprise that my excitement level was at an all time high when venturing to Dublin last fall. And while it was unreal city, I was often asked, “But aren’t you traveling to the west coast?” And when I’d answer with a “no,” I was told that I wouldn’t truly experience Ireland without doing so.
Now, ten months later, my husband and I are boarding Norwegian Air‘s new super affordable routes from Providence, RI to Cork. And when I say affordable, I’m talkin’ $99 one-way flights.
YUP. That’s right. This summer, Norwegian launched several new routes to Ireland & Scotland from New England (specifically Providence), making it that much easier to get across the Atlantic for some European fun.
Five hours after taking off from Providence, we touched down in Cork, Ireland, ready to start our five-day road trip through the west coast of Ireland. Within moments of grabbing our luggage, we picked up our rental car at Hertz (quick tip: book in advance, make sure you have car insurance, and reserve an automatic car… I would imagine driving on the left side and manual is definitely tough.)
With our car keys in hand, we were off!
Luckily, as I was grabbing cappuccinos for Jeff and I, while he was handling the Hertz rental, a local noticed me scanning a map. Because Irish people might be the NICEST people I’ve ever met in my life, he cheerily suggested we start our trip in Kinsale, followed by a drive along the Wild Atlantic Way.
About 30 minutes later, we were pulling up into the cutest seaside town of Kinsale. And to make it even better, the sun, which had been hiding behind a few clouds, was full on shining. The water, the boats, the tiny village… goddamnit, why didn’t I live in Ireland?!
Of course, Jeff was on a mission to find a pub for our first Guinness of the trip. It took us about 10 seconds to stumble upon one and with a quick cheers, we celebrated our good fortune with a brew. After a walk through the village and along the harbor, lunch at Fishy Fishy (order the seafood chowder & local oysters), and about 230923 pit stops to take photos, we hopped back in our rental car and began our trek to Killarney.
Once we were back on the road, we trekked through the narrow coastal roads. One moment we’d be surrounded by farms on each side of the road, and the next, we’d make a turn and be cruising by another stunning beach. Each cove would be filled with beach goers, boats, or even kite surfers… along with little beachside shacks clustered together.
About an hour or so later, we pulled up to our bed & breakfast in Killarney, ready for another pint, a traditional Irish dinner, and a walk around the town. One of my favorite realizations was that the sun sets much later during the summer in Ireland than it does in Boston. Therefore, it was 10pm, and as Jeff and I were walking back to get in a good night sleep before our next day of travel, it was still so light outside (the sun set at 9:50pm).
Stay tuned for Part II, where we highlight the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula.
Part III will feature our trek to the Cliffs of Moher, our stay in Doolin, and the final leg of our trip in Dublin.