Exploring Southern Ireland
The stunning beauty of its natural landscape and the famous charm of its culture and people make the south of Ireland a much-loved vacation destination for all. Here’s what you need to know before you go:
Must-See: Powerscourt Estate (Dublin/Co. Wicklow) for the most beautiful and varied gardens with trees and flowers from around the world, impressive estates and mansions, and Ireland’s highest waterfall. The Jameson Distillery in Dublin, and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
- Ring of Kerry for the most stunning views of Ireland’s untouched, rugged landscapes.
- Killarney National Park for a horse drawn carriage ride through forests and fields viewing the surrounding mountain ranges, the three lakes, and the abundance of native wildlife.
- The Hairy Lemon in Dublin for a great pint and a heaping plate of fish and chips!
- Murphy’s ice cream in Killarney for the best, and most interesting flavored authentic Irish ice cream (try the brown bread ice cream in a sticky toffee pudding sundae, or the Dingle gin flavor for something different!).
Here’s where I stayed:
The Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin ($$$), The Brooks Hotel Dublin ($$), The Killarney Plaza Hotel ($$), Dromoland Castle Co. Clare ($$$)
- The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Dublin: Beautiful 5-star eclectic boutique property with views of St. Stephen’s Green. City center, walking distance to many attractions, bars, restaurants, and activities. Comfortable rooms (standard European size) with a spacious bathroom, including a beautiful oversize claw foot tub, and a private balcony (in some room categories) overlooking St. Stephen’s Green, perfect spot for a cup of tea after a day of traveling!
- The Brooks Hotel, Dublin: Perfectly located 4-star property, close to many popular sites and shopping as well as some great pubs (The Hairy Lemon is just a few doors down). The rooms are large compared to most European hotels. The breakfast buffet in the morning is wonderful, and if it’s too early to check in, they have a lounge downstairs that is a comfortable spot to hang out.
- The Killarney Plaza Hotel: Great city center location, four-star quality with a gorgeous expansive lobby, and large rooms by European standards. The hotel is walking distance to great shopping, dining, and you can catch a horse-drawn carriage right out front to go for a ride through Killarney National Park!
- Dromoland Castle: If you’re looking for a luxurious castle stay in Ireland, this is the place to do it! The grounds are impeccably kept with lush gardens all over, and the castle itself is something out of a fairy tale. The rooms are huge, and elaborately decorated, the halls were modern enough to be comfortable, but full of antique artwork conveying the rich history of the castle and its famous guests. I highly recommend dining on property, their multi-course dinner is gourmet and the service is wonderful! If you can’t make it for dinner, be sure to stick around for afternoon tea which is an elaborate full-service tea.
Insider Tip: While Dromoland Castle isn’t walking distance to many points of interest, they offer a wide range of exclusive activities on property that are sure to entertain you, my personal recommendations would be for horseback riding through the grounds, falconry (SO cool, and such a unique experience), and clay pigeon shooting. After a day of activities, retire to their intimate cocktail bar (which used to be the O’Brien family library) for an Irish whiskey or a craft cocktail made by one of their friendly bar-keeps.