14th November
written by Hope

We were totally charmed by Ireland, but for very different reasons than we expected. We thought we would be taken by the Irish landscape—Jeremy loves himself some rolling hills dotted with sheep—but it turns out we were even more taken by the feel of the place. We loved the strong musical culture. We loved the extreme differences between the severe weather and the warm pubs. We loved the people. And most of all, we loved those delicious, frosty pints. All of it conspires to create the most comfortable, cozy atmosphere that keeps you crossing your fingers for lousy weather so you can spend your days in the warm embrace of Ireland’s fantastic pub culture (luckily, the weather delivers, most of the time). :)

not a bad place to graze
Not a bad place to graze.

Days spent here: 7 (August 2-9, 2009)

Highlights: We had a good time in all three places that we visited in Ireland, but the most charming moments to us involved a warm pub, jamming musicians, and a delicious pint of Guinness.

musicians jamming in the pub, dublin
D. All of the above.

Places we would like to visit next time: County Cork

Average daily expenditures (for two people): US$205/day

Prices: No doubt about it, Ireland is expensive. Pub meals are spendier than simple meals in Japan. JAPAN! Accommodation prices are pretty much on par with the rest of Europe (expect to pay between €45-60 for a double ensuite at the budget end of the spectrum), but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. And, of course, a pint of Guinness will put you back about €5—that’s US$7.50 for a pint!

Guidebooks we used: None

Weather: It was cold and rainy in Galway, but pretty pleasant in Dublin. Of course, severe weather makes the pubs seem that much more cozy (after all, you probably wouldn’t want to hang out in a dark pub all day if it was sunny and glorious out), so rain really isn’t that much of a bummer!

rock and sea, the burren
The Burren: a cold, rainy, rocky landscape.

Food: Meat and potatoes baby! It’s all about the carvery lunches: you get your choice of meat (usually a roast of beef, lamb, or ham), potatoes, and veggies, all smothered in gravy. It’s like Thanksgiving everyday!

the bull & castle, dublin
This guy has had one too many carvery lunches.

Accommodation: As you would expect, Ireland’s accommodation is on par with the rest of Europe in terms of comfort and cleanliness. Just watch out for the late night partiers in Dublin. Outside of Dublin, homestays and B&B’s are good value—but this type of accommodation is easier to find if you have a car.

Transit: We were very happy with the bus system across the country (having tried both GoBus and CityLink on the Dublin to Galway circuit)—just be sure to book ahead for the cheapest rate. Our one experience with Dublin’s public transport train (DART) was excellent. Once you get out of Dublin, however, you’ll probably want to rent a car to explore some of the Irish countryside. Too bad rental cars are so unreasonably expensive in Ireland!

Internet: We had wi-fi at Dunaras Village in Galway and at the Christchurch Apartments in Dublin (but not at the Jackson Court Hotel), so we had no problems staying connected.  

Culture: The Irish are laid back, funny, and easy to talk to. You know what? I think the photo below says it all:

for fox sake! galway
Say it again, sister.

In short: You really don’t need to try to “see” too much—all the best parts of Ireland are right there in the pub.


  1. 16/11/2009

    One thing I loved about Dublin was being able to approach anyone and just talk to them…but I guess that definitely is “in the pub!” Reading all your entries makes me want to go back…

  2. Amanda Walton

    Jeremy and Hope, These are fabulous pictures!
    Jeremy, I am a 29 year old friend of you parents- your Dad is my Doctor and we’ve met virtually every week for 8 years- a great and very helpful man of whom I enjoy talking with so much. I consider him my guru. I know your Mom well too, as she is in the office each visit. I hear you and Hope (I love that name) are spending two months here in the Valley. I look very forward to meeting both of you, and would love a mountain descent with you both. Jeremy, your Mom tells me you are spending January and February here, and I bet you cannot wait to have an extended stay here in the Sun.

    Good luck in whatever country is next and I look forward to meeting you both,

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