_This post is almost 4 days later than what it was expected because in that time my life changed a bit, so I decided to put at the beginning a thought I have in this moment and take the rest untuched…
Travel is a lifestyle choice that put all the others in discussion, don’t take it with lightness and superficiality, travel asks sacrifices, a strong soul and often a heart in half. Don’t take travelling with negligence because it is very easy to share experiences with someone, but instead, is when you find yourself having to deal exclusively with yourself, which is difficult._
Well…after 6 days, 3 cities, 3 trains, 4 buses and almost 60km walking I’m back writing my second post!
Even if nothing changed everything gets completely different after such an amazing experience as my first SOLO TRAVEL.
Let’s start from the beginning.
I’m pretty sure someone of you will have this question in mind <why travelling alone?>. Honestly when I started planning my week-off I was looking forward to go with someone but, unfortunately, with only few days of notice none could join me. Although I really like the city where I’m currently living, thinking of staying one entire week here while I could see places I never been, motivated me sufficiently to convert my holiday in an adventurous solo travel around south-Ireland.
I’m the kind of person that really need to have almost everything planned ahead so, knowing nothing about the matter, I started documenting myself. What really is a solo travel? What situation is better to avoid? What to package and what not? The beauty of Internet is that all my questions had an answer based not only in suggestion but also, the thing I love the most, in other personal life experiences.
Once I had more clear what travelling alone jeans, the real planning began!
I picked 6 cities following the south coast of the country but I understood quickly that 1 city per day would be too demanding and almost impossible because the public transport in Ireland is quite bad, so this is also a suggestion I give to everyone that want to see Ireland: TAKE A CAR! There’s no better way and all the coast and also the midlands streets offer amazing scenarios. I choose to move with public transport only because I really don’t feel comfortable driving in the wrong part of the car and in the wrong part of the road! ((REMEMBER, even if Ireland is not a Commonwealth countries the drive is on the left side!!))
At the end this was my itinerary:
3 nights in Dublin at Gogarty’s Hostel, 2 nights in Cork at Kinlay house Hostel and the last night in Killarney at the Neptune’s Hostel. (If anyone want to know more details about the hostels where I stayed, please ask in the comment!)
The impression the city had on me at the beginning was overwhelming, it took 20 minutes walking form the most central station to the city centre and that led me thinking about a very big capital city, but is not! Sorry for everyone that already been in Dublin and loved it, is not my cup of tea. Amazing city for what concern museum and cultural spots but nothing more. I came in Ireland because in my head there is the image of this pristine country with lovely Irish eager to chat with new people and offer them a pint of Guinness, well…that’s not the case of Dublin. Due to the fact that is the capital city lots of people use it as beginning point for, then, move in other cities and that is the reason why you cannot find a real Irish and this completely pissed me off! Is too multicultural, too hectic and chaotic, too expensive! So, take that into account: Dublin is ridiculously pricey…a pint of Bulmer in an unknown pub, not even in the temple bar neighbourhood, cost me 7€.
Coming back to the sights, those are the think I did while I was in Dublin:
–Duke of Wellington Monument
–City’s Northen part, with a free walking tour (Dublin Spire, Charles Parnell monument, Garden of remembrance, General Post Office and Famine’s sculptures)
–Christ church cathedral
–Saint Patrick’s cathedral
–Chester Beatty library
–Trinity college with Book of Kelly’s and Old Library
–National Library of Ireland
–St. George’s market
I’m not going to speak about all of them but I want to suggest you the best of, because time is money and you cannot waste it while visiting a city!
Chester Beatty library is an amazing on budget thing to do in Dublin because is free, and I swear once you visit it you’ll find it better then most of the Museums that have entry fees. The quality and amount of books, documents and history is imaginable for a free entry library, really recommended.
Trinity college hit me deep inside: MAGNIFICENT, no other words. I did the tour with a very nice and kind last year college’s student through the history of the main square and the buildings around it, the ticket was 13€ for guided tour plus Book of Kelly’s plus the Old Library. I leave you image how much I was gripped by the Old library with is breathtaking Long Room saying that I stayed in almost 2 hours admiring the arches, the library’s books, the wooden stairs and the beautiful busts. It worth every single cent! Do it.
Merrion square offers a very nice spot to relax from the city’s noise and chaos, even if it is still quite central too, with a typical english green and some Irish history scattered all around, such as the Oscar Wild monument. I loved the park and the neighbourhood is also really pretty.
For what concern the nightlife I’ll suggest The Merchants Arch a good temple bar pub where I stayed my last night in Dublin with lovely live Irish music, less crowded than the (real) Temple Bar but more authentic.
Nevertheless my general suggestion is: explore, keep new challenge and do something different, as my vegan supper in a temporary restaurant in Dublin, not really an Irish experience but at least a completely divergent one!
The second biggest city in Ireland after Dublin, but as I said before the capital is no so big and so, also Cork is very easy to visit, in just 1 day and half you can see everything. I completely enjoyed every single moment in this lovely and cute city that I strongly recommend.
Those are the things I did:
–Crawford Art Gallery
–Holy trinity Church
–St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral
–Franciscan Well tour
My hostel was 5 meters to Shandon Church that from my room’s window seemed only a church as lots of others, really sorry, I like visiting church but at the end I find them quite similar and so I’m all the time little reluctant about them but this one was different. The beauty of it was that the church was for free and paying 5€ you could ring the famous Shandon bells. It could sounds odd and maybe dull but it wasn’t! I felt like a 5 years old child listening the sound the bells did once I pulled the ropes. In each floors there is something interesting to see or do and going upstairs and upstairs is a little challenging for who like me suffer of claustrophobia because for the last step, to the top of the panoramic tower, there is a very narrow hole but, apart of this it is a very nice thing to do in Cork.
Blackrock Castle is the other memorable thing I did. Just to clarify: is not a castle, but an observatory indeed there is an interesting interactive science museum with a huge and technological telescope at the top of the main tower for have a look at the sky. It is a tiny place so, I’ll suggest to check in advance the availability of the day, before go; I took a school trip and it was pretty a nightmare trying to listen to the videos with lots of screaming children around. The entry price is 6,50€ but there is a plus (4€) because the site of the observatory is 15 minutes out of the city and you’ll need a bus to reach it, that is 2€ for a single.
Franciscan Well tour started at 6.30 PM and finished at almost 8! I was so lucky to find such a kind and patient guide because at the same time I was unlucky to have as only companions two Italians that knew so small the language that I had to translate every single words. I don’t like Italians, and yes, I’m Italian! However the tour costs 10€ and includes the brewery with its history and than 3 tastes of their most famous beers. I swear that once you go out of there you’ll appreciate more beer and you’ll feel a little taster because they show you all the passages to do to understand deeply which is the beer’s taste. Moreover the brewery has a lovely wood-fired oven that serves pizza from 8€ and this is how I ended my night.
I stayed out one night in Cork doing something different as: a 2 hours of traditional Irish dance lesson at Clancy’s Bar and Restaurant for 5€! Not to say how much I loved it, I was laughing all the time, and how much I was sweet at the end of it. For being the second week of November the affluence was very high, there were almost 20 person and this made it even better and funnier.
The city of the Killarney National park entered straight away in my heart. Such a pristine and fertile land, just the nature and I, those are the thing I need. Killarney is definitely a MUST to see at least once in Ireland. Unfortunately for the season the most of the park was flooded so I could explore a little part of it and I had to took an hop on-hop off bus, even if I was trying to avoid them because the most of the time they are just a tourist trap, but at the end I liked it and it gave me the possibility to see almost everything without spent much more in taxis.
The tour was:
-A panoramic view of the Lower Lake
–St. Mary’s church
I want to recommend you the ENTIRE PARK and I’m not spending any words for it but I’ll let you judge the beauty of the place with some photos…
That was my amazing and sensational first SOLO TRAVEL.
After feel it on my skin I just want to spend the last words about some general tips for travelling in Ireland:
– Shops and markets close at 5/6 PM.
– From the end of October till March is the non touristic season so take into account that the main guide tours will probably undergone changes, so call or mail before.
-Remember that the sun sets very early in the winter time.
-It is ok to have a plan but do not over-plan, I did it in Dublin and my stay wasn’t so good. Just lose yourself in the city and appreciate every single city’s face.
-Have a raincoat, an umbrella and waterproof shoes at least, having the feet wet could change your entire day.
The end!!! Yes, this very very long post is finished, I hope you enjoyed it.
[Your opinion is very important, let me know in the comment box whatever you would like to know more detailed or if you liked the post. All photos are taken by me.]
The adventure is out there!