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Friday, May 13, 2022

Our Trip to Ireland Part 3: SO MANY CASTLES and the Cliffs of Moher :)

 Hello there friends and happy Friday! Today I am rounding out the remainder of our trip to Ireland. If you missed my previous posts about Ireland you can read them here:

Ireland Trip Part 1: The flight and Dublin

Ireland Trip Part 2: The Town of Killarney and Killarney National Park

For my third and final Ireland post I am calling it "SO MANY CASTLES and the Cliffs of Moher" because in one day we saw 3 different castles! Spoiler alert: they were all incredible. 

On Monday morning we woke up in Killarney and had some breakfast in our hotel. 

This picture is from Food Network because I kept forgetting to take a picture until half my plate was gone. Oops!

If you are lucky enough to know the weirdness/wonderfulness that is an Irish breakfast, then you probably know that A) we were really confused by the baked beans at breakfast, and B) kept wanting baked beans for breakfast once we got home. πŸ˜‚ It's so NOT what we do here in the US, yet it was delicious and filling. I loved it. If you've been, you know what I'm talking about right? I loved the mushrooms and tomatoes too. Not traditional here, but those Irish know what they're doing. 

 After breakfast and checkout, we hit the road for our next destination! Our final stop on this day was the Inn at Dromoland Castle, but since we couldn't check in until 3 pm we thought we'd make a couple pit stops near Limerick. We started with King John's castle right in the heart of Limerick:

The museum was very kid friendly and had a lot of medieval games for the kids to play. Liam had fun shooting some cannons:

While Lily Grace had fun trying on various pieces of armor:

I would definitely recommend this castle, with or without kids! It was interactive and fun for all ages. 

It was just a liiiiiittle bit windy at the top!

The view from the top of King John's castle was stunning. You could see the mountains off in the distance in one direction, then the river and city of Limerick in the other direction. We had a quick lunch at a nearby pub and then headed to off to our next castle, Bunratty Castle

Now, one of Devin's Irish coworkers knew that we would be traveling with young kids and highly recommended this place. I would say, if you are traveling with young kids it was great. If you are not, you could probably find something more big-kid or adult friendly. The teacher in me kept thinking "I bet this is where Irish kindergartners come on field trips." πŸ˜‚ So for our little ones, it was perfect. 

We were able to explore Bunratty Castle:

and then the kids had a blast exploring the grounds. They had a playground, farm animals:


And then the biggest hit with our kids... the fairy gardens!


The Irish sure do love their fairy gardens (we saw multiple while we were there) but this one was the best by far. 

If you take this girl to a fairy garden that has a wishing well, good luck ever getting her to leave. πŸ˜‚ Liam loved helping Lily Grace look for fairies too. These two were happy to be running around outside hunting for fairies. I'm sad to report no actual fairies were seen. πŸ˜‰ 
Now our kids want us to set up a fairy garden in our backyard so we can attract our own fairies. 

After our afternoon of fun at Bunratty Castle, we headed to Dromoland Castle. It was absolutely breathtaking. All four of us, Liam included, said a collective "Oh, WOW!" when we pulled up. 
Isn't incredible that people can actually stay in a real castle? I kept thinking about Downton Abbey and how the family is trying to find a way to monetize their manor in order to pay for all the upkeep. Whoever had the idea to convert this to a modern hotel was a genius. Other people can share the appreciation for it now and it helps with the tremendous cost of upkeep. 

Now, full disclosure, our family did not actually stay at Dromoland Castle but instead stayed at the Inn at Dromoland Castle which is a more modern day hotel on the castle property. It was kinda like having a regular Marriott on a Ritz Carlton property and then the guests from the two different hotels could use each other's amenities. It worked out very well for us to stay at the Inn because it had multiple playgrounds (indoor and outdoor), a putt putt course, an indoor pool, etc. But then we could walk the path that connected us to Dromoland Castle...
And then explore their grounds too!
We walked around the public areas of the castle, then explored their archery area...
their gardens...
and their fairy garden. 
Then it started to pour down rain, so we took the kids back to run around the indoor playground. 
I would recommend Dromoland Castle and the Inn at Dromoland to anyone traveling to that area. First of all it's beautiful and a wonder to see in person, but they also have plenty of activities for people of all ages. We were there two days and hardly scratched the surface of things to do. 

We were initially going to wake up early and go see the Cliffs of Moher first thing in the morning, but Devin suggested it might be really nice to see at sunset. I thought that was a great idea and since we had a car, we were able to go whenever we wanted. The drive was a little less than an hour, very easy to get to unless you count the really narrow winding roads. There were a couple times I had to close my eyes and say a prayer while we were driving!! Those roads are narrow and the speed limit felt so crazy high to me!
The views driving in to the Cliffs of Moher area were beautiful, but we had no idea what we were in for. Prior to leaving for Ireland several friends who had been to Ireland before kept telling us how incredible the Cliffs of Moher were. Everyone kept saying how the pictures do not do it justice at all, you just have to go and see it for yourself.  
Friends, they were not wrong. This was hands down one of the most naturally beautiful sights I have ever seen.
I had been worried about the safety of visiting the Cliffs with two young kids, but read online that if you stay on the main path it is safe. Do you see the little wall behind me in the picture below? 
There was no way our littles could have gotten anywhere near the edge. The wall was high enough to keep people back, but low enough for people to be able to take in the views. 
This was the perfect way to spend our last full day in Ireland! If you are wondering about visiting the Cliffs in the afternoon vs the morning, I definitely suggest the afternoon. We went about an hour before sunset, which meant the sun was off to the West (the right in the picture). Because of the placement of the sun, the sunlight illuminated the cliffs and we could see them better. If the sun had been in the East (the left of this picture), there would've been a shadow and we wouldn't have been able to see them nearly as well. I say if you're going to take the time to go see them, see them when the lighting is at it's best. 

Thank you so much for reading along with our trip to Ireland!! It was without a doubt one of my favorite trips we've ever taken. When we came back I told everyone that while not a single minute of it was relaxing, it was hands down one of the most fun vacations we have taken. But that's life with young kids, right? Definitely not relaxing, but an awful lot of fun. 😊

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!!

4 comments :

  1. Oh wow; all of those castles do look amazing! I can not get over those cliffs; I bet they are so awe inspiring in person.

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  2. What a wonderful experience! My family visited England, France, and Germany back in 2015 and I would love to visit Ireland someday! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Seeing your pictures makes me want to get on a plane this afternoon and head back to Ireland. I told my husband that I want to go for a month and see EVERYTHING we didn't see plus everything we did see (again). I loved the beans at breakfast every day!!

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  4. Wow! Wow! Wow! What a way to wrap up your trip! The castles and cliffs are beautiful.

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