After a week in Dublin, I took a bus to Killarney to start the road trip I had been dreaming about for years. It was a pretty compressed road trip – only 2 days of actually renting a car, but I packed a lot into those two days and it cut costs on the car rental and gas, so I felt like it was a perfect compromise.
Arriving in Killarney in the afternoon left enough time for a little wandering around before heading out to a pub with folk songs and great craic (an Irish word for fun or enjoyment, which is especially found in a pub and may be enhanced by music or alcohol. We had all of the above 😉
After picking up the car in the morning, we started the drive around the Ring of Kerry, which is a tourist route that offers stunning views and scenic stops that are perfect for photo lovers. There are plenty of cafes to stop at along the way to grab a scone and coffee, and to just soak in the scenery.
As a life-long chocolaholic, I tend to seek out chocolate everywhere I go. I’m not much of a fan of candy bars, but I go bonkers for quality local or handmade chocolates. And by bonkers, I mean I get ridiculously giddy and start grinning from ear to ear anytime there’s a prospect for a melt-in-your-mouth truffle or salty, chewy caramel.
As you can imagine, when I heard about Skelligs Chocolate Factory in the Ring of Kerry, I knew I had to go. You could watch the handful of local Irish women making the chocolates, and have a generous sample of every flavor available to help you pick a favorite (or in my case, many favorites). We settled on a couple of bags to last us the rest of the week with some left over to bring home, but I don’t know who we were kidding because they were devoured in about 3 days. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. They were that good.
I’m convinced I found heaven because not only was the chocolate divine, the views from inside the factory were lovely and a beach was only a few steps away. A chocolate factory and a beach in the same spot…what more could you possibly want in life?!
After a lovely, albeit quiet, night in Doolin we set off early in the morning to see the Cliffs of Moher before making our way to Galway. We were lucky that the sun was shining, but the bitter cold cut right through my jacket and I could only bare it for about 10 minutes before I sought shelter inside.
A short drive down the road from the cliffs of Moher we found a perfectly secluded beach that was free of other tourists (score!) Don’t you just love the thrill of stumbling upon an amazing site while traveling and feeling like it’s yours? I assume I just got extremely lucky that day, but it was beyond perfect.
As we made our way towards Galway, we we lucky enough to find a garden cafe decked out in bright, fragrant flowers and serving some of the tastiest food I had during my entire stay in Ireland.
Finding hidden countryside gems like this really solidified my affection for Ireland!
The brown bread/Irish soda bread was the perfect combination of dense, moist and was even more delicious when dunked into some warm tomato soup. The raspberry crumble tart was mind-blowing. Be ready for a dessert-gasm if you make it to this restaurant; it was nearly impossible to choose just one dessert because they all looked so unbelievably scrumptious!
I had been looking forward to Galway since I arrived in Ireland, but I loved this road trip so much that by time I got to Galway I was wondering if I made a mistake by choosing to spend only 2 days on the road and 3 days in Galway. Luckily, Galway impressed me even more than I ever imagined it would. More on that soon 😉
Do you think you would enjoy taking a road trip in Ireland? Would you prefer to spend more time on the road, or more time in one spot really getting to know the area?
As always, comments, likes and shares are very appreciated! 🙂