I can’t deny that this article will be a defiantly British perspective on our neighbours. I can’t help but have a somewhat glorified and close to romantic view of Ireland, like some time-warped Victorian. I arrived with the realist notion that it wouldn’t be true but also with the optimistic hope that it would be. In truth, I discovered that Ireland was, in fact, a pleasant remix of my own British experiences, with a few charming added extras thrown in…
My trip began in Dublin, as I imagine many of these trips do. Within a day I had pinned down the city and low and behold there was a Victorian novel involved. During the day, this infamous city provides any number of historical attractions and family venues to entertain an entire army of children, including the cryptically named Vaults and Lambert Puppet Theatre.
But by night, it overcame a Mr Jekyll/Hyde type transformation as the lights dimmed and the pubs and restaurants around the city opened their doors with an amber glow. When it comes to eateries, Dublin takes not only the biscuit but the entire cheeseboard. Every evening required more than one establishment to explore and experience, which was very doable considering many offer a delightful show to enjoy during dinner. If I could fill a paragraph with names, I still wouldn’t have done justice so I’ll recommend a select few knaves, particularly The Brazen Head, which samples from traditional folklore, and The Irish House Party, which just from the name you know will be excellent.
Leaving Dublin was like leaving a new friend with not enough time spent together and only a slightly scrawled phone number on a napkin, but my journey was not yet done. Next, I crossed the stomach of the country to visit Galway, the rugged brother of Dublin. Where Dublin is smart, Galway is savage; where Dublin is metropolitan, Galway is cultural. Galway is a place straight out of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.
Galway is a whole other beast to the capital and provided the perfect second act to my trip. Being in a more mountainous area, Galway is ideal for the ramblers amongst you and even I was quite taken by a walking tour in the Connemara National Park, complete with hour bus journey (prices vary).
The location and facilities of accommodation in Ireland really does depend on the individual budget, but one of the nicest surprises I came across was the high standard of B&Bs I came across in the two cities. I stayed in the Amber Hill Bed and Breakfast which offered the full range of rooms and prices, me being on the student budget, but with central location who could complain?
I was as devastated to leave Galway as I had been to leave Dublin but these two cities provided only the drop in the ocean of experiences that is Ireland. Plus returning home meant showing off the memorable and slightly off the wall souvenir of my trip: a bone that I carved myself from the Bone Carving Studio in Galway. Now, I’d better stop there…before I start quoting Frankenstein!
Author Bio: Matilda Lambert
Matilda Lambert is an English university student who is lucky enough to travel the world with many unusual adventures. Though often seen on long-haul flights, her true love is for Scandinavia and hopes to move there after her studies.
Have you visited Ireland? What in this country were you most fascinated by? The cliffs of Moher? Belfast’s turbulent past? Dublin’s cosmopolitan feel? The prairies? And if you haven’t been there, is it a place you’d like to visit soon? Why? Share your thoughts below, and this post too if you liked it!