Please enjoy a recent travel review from one of our agents here at Travel Brokers, Jeanette Williams.
A few weeks ago I traveled to the beautiful Emerald Isle with its lush rolling green hills. The poet William Drennan first referred to Ireland in this way with the poem “When Erin First Rose.”
This is just a snippet of the poem:
When Erin first rose from the dark swelling flood,
God bless’d the green island and saw it was good;
The em’rald of Europe, it sparkled and shone,
In the ring of the world the most precious stone.
In her sun, in her soil, in her station thrice blest,
With her back towards Britain, her face to the west,
Erin stands proudly insular, on her steep shore,
And strikes her high harp ‘mid the ocean’s deep roar.
This was our second time visiting Dublin, such a fun vibrant city, full of history, great food, and
music. The Irish people are so friendly and willing to help you with anything. Some of the best
food is served in the pubs and most nights you will have a local band to entertain you; your feet will be tapping.
One of the most famous places to visit in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse. Its seven
floors of history depict the signing of the 9000-year-old lease by Arthur Guinness in 1759, to
the full experience showing how grains became the iconic Guinness drink full of flavor and body.
In my opinion, the only place to drink Guinness is in Ireland!
After your experience in becoming a master of the brewing process, head to the Gravity Bar at the top of the building, from there you will have a great view of Dublin.
Our next stop was the iconic Jameson Distillery on Bow Street, founded in 1780, where John
Jamison purchased a run-down distillery and started to perfect the fermenting process of the
triple-distilled whiskey we all know today. Even though the whiskey is not distilled at the Bow
Street location anymore, the history and legends are all around the building. Showing how this
family-owned business was run and passed down from one generation to another. My
suggestion is to take one of the tours with a very informative ambassador and learn about the
Dublin has many things to offer and is such a walkable city that there is no need to ever use
your car to get around, in fact, a better option is to use the Hop-On/Hop-Off bus. This stops at
pretty much all the main attractions around Dublin. Check out Dublin Castle, Trinity College,
Grafton Street, and stroll along Temple Bar where you will walk the cobbled streets to find
restaurants, pubs, and cafes. Do a little shopping on O’Connell Street, the main thoroughfare of the city, and don't forget to eat a good old Irish breakfast.
Our next stop was the lovely city of Kilkenny, one of my favorite places, located about 1.5 hours S.W of Dublin. Such a beautiful city and very convenient to be able to drive to other towns. We stayed at a beautiful hotel called The Butler House and Gardens, built in 1786 as the Dower House of Kilkenny Castle. The castle, built in the twelfth century is well worth checking out.
Explore the Medieval Mile museum or take a walking tour of the city. Check out the architecture, stories of witchcraft, and much more; tours run daily, There is also a riverboat ride down the River Nore.
Our next city was Limerick, located about 1hr 40 minutes from Kilkenny by car, there is also a
direct train from Kilkenny to Limerick. In Limerick, you will find the 13th-century castle of King John surrounded by a small and very walkable town with lots of old buildings. We did a self-tour of the castle which was very interesting. We were able to climb up to the turrets and from there you could see all of the city plus the beautiful River Shannon.
The second part of our trip was to my homeland England. We took a short flight with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Manchester, England. After renting a car we headed to our Airbnb at Hermitage Farm Cottages which overlooked the Churnet Valley just minutes from the Peak District. Our cottage for the next 7 days was a 500-year-old converted stable on a former working farm. The cottages are so cozy with everything you need for a perfect relaxing stay. You wake up every morning to the beautiful English countryside and even a few cows like to say hello.
Our Airbnb cottage was close to Alton Towers theme park, Churnet Valley Canal (if you are
lucky, you could see a barge go by), and the Churnet Valley Train. We had afternoon tea at
Hetty’s tea room, breakfast at Denstone Hall Farm, visited the local outdoor markets and took
a walk on the many trails.
I mentioned the Peak District, which covers a very large area with the center being in Derbyshire. It is famous for its hiking trails, pretty villages, beautiful valleys, and much more.
This kind of vacation is for those people who like to get off the tourist path and make their own path to travel. You will need to be comfortable with driving on the other side of the road, but believe me, it's worth the ride..!!