Travel Journal: Dublin + Northern Ireland

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Last spring, Patrick’s sister Mollie studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. We were so excited for her and wanted to share the experience so we planned a trip for a week in March. Lucky for us, our siblings have studied in some really cool places and we always make sure to visit them. Of course, we would visit them if they weren’t somewhere beautiful, but it’s worked out well so far :) Carla spent a semester in London and Patrick’s brother spent a summer in Nicaragua (where we got engaged!). The memories we have from the time spent together on those trips is invaluable.

Patrick and I had been to Ireland for a few days, but it was a whole new experience with Dublin’s newest “local!” Mollie had the lay of the land and we got to do all of her favorite things. Isn’t it relaxing to be a on a trip when you’re not in charge? We ate fish and chips, saw the Trinity College Library, went to a basement comedy club, and toured and tasted at the first new whiskey distillery in 125 years.

After a few days, I took over as tour guide as we ventured into Northern Ireland. As a surprise for Mollie, I had mapped out a road trip of sites that were featured on one of her favorite shows, Game of Thrones. If you’ve watched the show, you might recognize a few of the places below. The whole time, we stopped at as many beautiful spots as possible. Patrick was a champ driving on the wrong side of the tiny roads. Irish drivers would come flying around corners and it felt like there was an inch between us and the stone wall along the side!

Below are a few of my recommendations. Enjoy a few snaps from our trip! (p.s. It was chilly and rainy the entire time we were there so I edited these images to be a bit darker and moodier than my usual light, bright style :)

Do: Tour Teelings Whiskey Co. Distillery. You get to try the whiskey in a seasonal cocktail at the end of the tour. Ours was delicious! Visit national landmarks like Flagstaff Viewpoint Newry, Mourne Mountains, Murlough National Nature Reserve, and Mussenden Castle. If you’re into Game of Thrones, visit Cushendun Caves and the Dark Hedges.

Stay: We stayed with Mollie in Dublin and at a cozy Airbnb cottage in Northern Ireland, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. There aren’t a lot of options in NI so we ended up with much more room than we needed, but it was still very reasonable. It was right outside of town with a fireplace, the entire Harry Potter series on the bookshelves, and we arrived to a big basket of goodies the hosts left for us.

Eat: Two places that were really neat, aside from the charming local pubs, were The Church (across the street from where C. S. Lewis dreamed up Narnia) and Strandfield Cafe + Floral Shop. Both were highlights of the trip and offered lighter options than pub fare. I did make the mistake of drinking an Irish coffee late one night, not thinking about the caffeine, and was awake until 3 am. I would not recommend that, haha!