Traveling through the countryside of Ireland is nothing short of magical. The narrow roads are surrounded by hovering trees and vines, and the rolling hills are SO GREEN. I kept comparing to the scenery to all different movies. One second it would look like Lord of the Rings, the next Harry Potter, the next Princess Bride, and then the next it would look like Snow White and the Huntsman. I was getting pretty carried away.
We started our morning by first stopping in Portlaoise, about an hour outside of Dublin. It's a really small town, but after seeing the movie Leap Year, I knew I wanted to stop at the fort that they explore (while waiting for the train, if you know what I'm talking about). The Rock of Dunamase sits at the top of this ginormous hill, overlooking Portlaoise and the Irish countryside. We drove up this tiny one lane dirt road, and we ended up being the only people in sight for like, miles. This ginormous fort, with a beautiful church at the bottom of the hill, and we were the ONLY ones exploring it. It was honestly the best morning of my life. We had a blast looking around and climbing on everything. The views were breathtaking and the air was so clear and fresh. It was misting a little bit and I honestly felt like I was in a movie. Magical, I say.
Our view from the top
Wouldn't have wanted to explore with anyone else
For lunch (and our halway point), we made our way to Limerick, a big city smack dab in the middle of our route. We ended up spending some more time there (we ate dinner downtown there again later in the week), and we wanted to try a restaurant I had read about called Zest. It sits in the Limerick City Gallery of Art, and is known for it's fresh cafe food and modern atmosphere. It was a great meal and I'm still dreaming about the cupcake we had.
Before heading down to Dingle, we made one more stop at Killarney National Park, which sits right on Lake Leane nestled into some misty mountains. The views reminded me SO MUCH of a Harry Potter movie, and we could pretty much hike wherever we wanted, which ended up being a blast. The park's woods and views made my jaw drop. Could you imagine going in the summer and being able to swim in the lake? I would die.
After a few mixups trying to find our bed and breakfast (it was in a parish of a tiny tiny town, making it basically off every map ever), we finally made it to Dingle. Our bed and breakfast had a perfect view of the ocean, and with a little bit of daylight left, Chin and I decided to make our way down to the beach. We passed lots of sheep and cows on the way, all who gave us funny looks.
The beach was chilly and a little rainy, but sometimes that can be the best kind of beach.
The next morning we woke up to blue skies and sunshine (and the best waffles I've ever tasted from our B&B innkeeper), making Dingle one of my favorite places on earth.