Our original honeymoon plan was to hop on a plane and head to Barbados for a couple of days of rest and relaxation. Between wedding planning (and the drama that came from it 🙄), to finding out we were expecting and then having an awful first trimester – a few days on a beach sounded like absolute bliss to me. Thank goodness for Mike and I’d procrastination though, because thanks to Mother Nature the plan of sunshine and virgin pina coladas was halted last minute. Hurricane Dorian hit the Caribbean with a vengeance, thus throwing our beach plan out of the question.
So, I got to brainstorming. We only had a few days to work with so it couldn’t be anything too far or with too long of a flight. I toyed with the idea of just renting a cottage up north for a few days, but when I saw that the prices were similar to an all-inclusive trip I said, oh heck no. The idea of heading to California was discussed, but I refused to spend my honeymoon in Trump’s American. Sorry, not sorry. So, it was back to the drawing board.
Neither Mike nor I had ever been to Europe, and I thought now would be a great chance to have an adventure just the two of us because the baybay will be making their appearance in no time and then this lil party of two will be a steady party of three for an extended amount of time. So, the next question was – where offers a short-ish flight from Toronto and where is somewhere we both want to visit?
Insert – Ireland!
Mike’s father is Irish, and it’s a place we’ve both always wanted to visit. I’ve heard it absolutely stunning and that there is no shortage of things to do. You can explore the city (we chose Dublin) but you can also head to the country within just a few hours and explore castles and cliffs. This meant we could jam-pack each of our 4-day schedules and get the most out of our time there.
Boom, the plan was made. The Daly’s were heading to Ireland!
Within a week of the idea coming to light, we booked our flights and hotel. I started researching what to see and do while there and came up with a general outline of a plan for our 4-day adventure. I wanted to make a note of the specific things we wanted to see and do, but I also wanted to leave enough open time for us to make our own adventures while there.
We flew Air Transat overnight and arrived in Ireland at about 11am. This was perfect because we were both able to sleep on the plane, which gave us pretty much a whole day to explore the beauty of Dublin. And that’s exactly what we did! We checked in to our room at the brand-spanking new Marlin Hotel in downtown Dublin and then put on our walking shoes to hit the roads. We walked and wandered and anytime we got a little too turned around, we just pulled out Google Maps and sorted ourselves out. Thankfully, we were able to use our data without worry because of our Rogers INFINITE plan. And believe you me, that came in handy every single day that we were away.
When it came time for dinner, we ended up at an unplanned dinner spot, Di Luca. Sometimes those unplanned spots lead to very pleasant surprises and that was the case with Di Luca. It was one of the best meals we had in Ireland! The restaurant was so quaint and beautiful, and the food was ridiculously good!
We were up bright and early on day two. And by bright and early, I mean – like, 6am…which is like 2am Toronto time. So..yeah, bright and early. We had to be up early because we had booked a day trip to explore the country-side. One of the things both Mike and I wanted to see in Ireland was castles, and that’s just what day two was dedicated to. We met our group at the Maggy Malone statue in downtown Dublin, which was thankfully only a 10 minute walk from our hotel. From there, we boarded the bus and hit the road for a few hours. We checked out the historically significant monastic site, Rock of Cashel, as well Cahir Castle and the Blarney Castle and Stone.
This was by far the longest day we had while in Ireland, as it was go-go-go for about 13 hours…but, every second of it was worth it. Even the effort it took to climb to the top of the Blarney Castle to attempt to kiss the Blarney Stone…after which it took 3 people to help my pregnant-ass get up. But that’s a whole ‘notha story. LOL The history and cultural significance of each of these stops was well worth it. The beauty of the sites and surrounding country-side was like no other. But by the time we finally got back to the room, we had zero energy to go anywhere for dinner – so we just ordered in some pizza (which was trash and not worth mentioning) and called it a night.
Our third day in Ireland was dedicated to more city exploring, but with a little more structure and planning. I knew we wanted to check out St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Guinness Tour…and get some shopping in, of course. The great thing about Dublin is that pretty much everything you’d want to see in the city is within walking distance from the city center (downtown). We explore the Temple Bar district, crossed over the Ha’penney Bridge which lead to an amazing shopping area – where we saw the Spire of Dublin. After dropping our many shopping bags back at the hotel, we ventured in another direction towards St. Patrick’s Cathedral and ending up at the Guinness Storehouse. The tour itself was interesting, but at the time, I was 4 months pregnant, so it wasn’t as much fun for me as it was for Mike. LOL The two parts that really stuck out in memory for me were the Stoutie (they take your picture and then imprint it onto the head of a pint of Guinness) and the Gravity Bar (top floor of the Guinness Storehouse with 360° views of the entire city through floor-to-ceiling windows).
Our last full day in Ireland was another day full of sightseeing outside of the city. We planned a day trip out to Howth, and instead of going through a tour company like we did for the castle trip – we decided to venture out all on our own. We took a local train out to Howth and hit the trails. Howth is a sea-side boating town, with 6 different cliff walks you can embark on. It’s a choose your own adventure type, in where you choose the trail that best suits your desires and ability. There are easier ones to walk, that’ll last a total of 1.5 hours…or much more intricate trails that can last upwards of 6 hours. Obviously, we chose the easier one, however we made a wrong turn somewhere along the lines and ended up on one of the more difficult trails. The wrong turns lead up to some pretty spectacular views that took our breath away more than once, but again – as a pregnant gal, I had to throw in the towel. I needed to put my feet up and I needed to eat.
Luckily, Howth has some of the best fish and chips ever so I knew exactly what I was going to get when we got down from the cliffs! That night, when we eventually got back downtown, I started looking for local pubs within a short walking distance from the hotel (my feet were so sore!) because it being our last night in Ireland, we knew we wanted to have an authentic Irish meal. Lucky for us, one of the highest rated pubs, The Hairy Lemon, was literally a 3 minute walk away! After having some delicious Traditional Irish Stew and Famous Dublin Coddle (and many, many Jameson for Mike) – we took our time strolling back to the hotel…just soaking everything in.
While our honeymoon was short, it was absolute perfection. We got to spend a few days exploring a country that we had both always wanted to visit…and we got to do it together. And really, what else could you ask for?