Exploring Southern Ireland, Day 1 and 2
If you are an American and want to explore a foreign country that is fabulously gorgeous and where the people love America and Americans there’s no better choice than Ireland.
Ireland is a land of unsurpassed beauty, about that there is no doubt. What always surprises guests on my escorted tours in Ireland is the adoration of Americans by the Irish.
America has always been seen as the land of milk and honey to the Irish. There are more Irish living in America than there are in Ireland, and going to America remains the dream of many Irish people to this day.
Our Pub and Folklore tour of Ireland delivered a huge punch of local culture alone with lots of chances to interact in an authentic way with the locals. It was terrific.
Our tour began as most do, in Dublin. Dublin is a gorgeous, spotlessly clean city of almost two million people in the city and surrounding area. Dublin was founded by the Vikings in the 8th century on the River Liffey and enjoys a robust economy due to large investments here by foreign corporations. Dell, Pfizer, Google, Facebook and more enjoy corporate benefits like no other place on earth in Dublin and have revitalized the Irish economy.
You can’t go to Dublin and miss a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. Talk about the national drink; did you know over 10 million pints of Guinness are consumed daily in Ireland, a country of less than 5 million people? Guinness is sold around the world and is the pride and joy of the Irish, along with a couple of great whiskeys.
We enjoyed our introductory tour of Dublin and by the end of day one we were all in love with our tour conductor, Mark Mulvey, who has escorted previous tours of Ireland for The Joy of Travel and is always a huge fan favorite.
Our hotel was located near Croke Park Stadium which holds nearly 80,000 people. Gaelic football as well as Hurling events and musical concerts takes place in front of capacity crowds here.
We walked a block from our hotel and enjoyed some of the finest Italian food I’ve ever eaten. Best of all prices in Ireland are extremely affordable so we had a great meal in a restaurant with excellent service and ambience all at a low cost.
On Day Two we had the profound pleasure of exploring Glasnevin Cemetery. Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum is the national necropolis of Ireland and home to the who’s who of modern Irish history. The grave of Michael Collins, the nationalist leader who was killed in the Irish Civil War in 1922, is among the most visited sites in Glasnevin. Around him were buried at least 183 soldiers of the Irish Free State. In 1967 their names were recorded on memorial around Collin's grave.
Daniel O’Connell lies within the most impressive monument in the cemetery. Known as the Irish Liberator or Irish Emancipator O’Connell worked tirelessly to free Catholics in Ireland from harsh oppression by the Protestant English. You can actually reach inside his sarcophagus and touch his coffin for luck, which of course we all did.
We headed south to Kilkenny and enjoyed a wonderfully entertaining guided walking tour of the Medieval Mile before entering Smithwick’s for a tour and a delicious sample of their fine Irish whiskey. We met a local lad out on the mile carrying a hurling stick, so our guide stopped him and he gave us a firsthand account of hurling that left us all smiling from ear to ear.
We had lots of time left over for a walk through of Kilkenny Castle built in 1195. This imposing structure is in fine condition and was the symbol of Norman occupation during its powerful reign over the region.
We met back at our hotel for dinner and to prepare for day three which I’ll tell you about next week.
Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel. Contact Joy at 918-339-4805