The Brew Chef Travels - Ireland
Who doesn't love a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson? You love it even more when you get to taste it in Ireland!
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I am thinking about our first trip to Ireland. David was able to visit Ireland once before we met and always wanted to go back. One of his favorite things to order at a restaurant with a Guinness tap is a pint and a shot of Jameson. He is convinced he is part Irish. We even got kits from Ancestry to find out if we were part Irish. I knew I had some Irish in my blood thanks to a family member that has done some genealogy work. When we got the tests back I had more Irish than David! I think he is really more than me, but it was fun to see. David wanted to celebrate his birthday in Ireland, so we made some plans. We wanted to see more than just Dublin, so we took about 10 days to see more than just the capital city.
We arrived in the morning and went to the Aloft Dublin where we would be for the next couple days. We were jet lagged and sleepy but dropped our luggage and went and found a place for breakfast.
We planned a trip to the Guinness Factory and a Connoisseur Experience tasting at the factory mid-morning. Guinness and its marks are everywhere around Dublin. It is really interesting to see how much of an impact that business has on the culture as a whole. During the tasting you get to learn why and how to pour a proper Guinness. We got to give it a try. I will never not critique pours going forward. David loves a good Guinness poured right from the tap. I preferred the Hop House 13 Lager. After our tasting it was great to go up to the Gravity Bar and enjoy our drinks and views of the city. I highly recommend this over the brewery tour.
We walked back toward our hotel in the section of town called the Liberties. Right near our hotel we found a distillery. No – we didn’t plan that. We went into The Dublin Liberties Distillery and were able to walk into an Explore Tour. Overall the process is similar to what we saw when we were in Kentucky. The whiskey was amazing! Even better, we started chatting with a couple while we enjoyed our cocktail and it ended up, they were named Dave and Tiff too! What are the odds? If you get the chance to visit this part of town and the distillery, make it part of your trip.
On our next day we wanted to go visit the Book of Kells at Trinity College. We slept in to get over our jetlag, so we got a late start. We decided to walk to the college and find some Irish food on the way. We found a great place for fish and chips, The Norseman. The fish was as big as my head, I literally have never seen a dish that big! Good thing we had a walk ahead of us! We walked over to Trinity college and queued up for the tour. The history of the campus is so interesting, and the library was amazing. The amount of history in that building in all those books is stunning! This was such an amazing place to visit.
We walked back toward the hotel along the River Liffey. We stopped at the Teeling Distillery and did a tour and a tasting at their facility. We made it back to the hotel and chilled for a bit before heading out for dinner. We had seen a restaurant on our walkabouts and had to try it. We went to The Bull and Castle, it was amazing! David had a smoked whiskey with dinner. You have to try it if you are there. The food was amazing too.
We left Dublin and drove to Cork. We got checked in to our hotel – The River Lee Hotel and headed out for another walk. There was a lovely little park and path that took us over the River Lee and into a little neighborhood.
We found the Franciscan Well Brewery and stopped for lunch. It was a great location with an amazing patio. The beer and whiskey pairing tasting was amazing. We wandered around the downtown area a bit more and when the bars started to open, we stopped into a few to catch the local musicians. Irish music has always been so fun but seeing it live in Ireland is something very different and amazing.
The next day we had a tour scheduled at Jameson. We took an Uber to the Midleton main street near the distillery and wandered a little before about our tour. We found a cute little place for lunch, The Greenroom at the Sage Restaurant and were able to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. The food was so amazing. Definitely find this restaurant if you have the chance. We headed over to Jameson and did the distillery tour. It was a beautiful property and a great history.
The next day we headed to Blarney Castle. If you are going to Ireland you have to kiss the Blarney Stone, right? The grounds of the castle are amazing. It was the perfect spring day and flowers and trees were blooming. We wandered around for a while and then made our way up and took our turn kissing the blarney stone. Being that I am not a big fan of heights it was a little frightening, but I can say I have done it. Overall this was such a beautiful place to visit and learn more about the amazing Irish history.
After our castle stop, we headed off to our last over night city in Limerick. We stayed at the Limerick Strand Hotel. When I was looking for places to stay this was the only place that people recommended. I got us a suite since this was a birthday trip and it was so amazing! The best part of the room is the glass enclosed balcony with super comfy furniture where you can look out and enjoy the river view. It was so pretty we didn’t want to leave the hotel! We did make it out because the weather was again beautiful. We made it over to the King John’s Castle and wandered around the grounds. The castle also had a great view of the river and the city.
When we were at the top of the castle we looked over and saw a church and cemetery. After we left the castle, we stopped over to see if we could track down any of my relatives. The nice folks at The Bishops Palace looked through the archives and found that some of my family was in the cemetery but didn’t have grave markers. It was so amazing. We celebrated the find by sitting on the patio at the Locke Bar and having a few drinks. The perfect end to an amazing day!
Our last stop before we headed back to Dublin to fly out was to see the Cliffs of Moher. At one of the pubs we stopped by, we ran into a couple and told them the Cliffs would be the last stop on our visit.
They highly recommended a gentleman named Pat and his walking tour of the Cliffs – The Doolin Cliff Walk. We got his contact info from them and emailed him, and it was setup. We were to meet at Gus O’Connor’s Pub in Doolin. This was the best thing we did in our entire trip to Ireland. Pat is a local farmer and he gives this walking tour daily after taking care of his family farms. Pat has grown up on the land and shares all of the history and the unique and interesting things about the cliffs and the area. DO THIS TOUR!!! It was amazing and beautiful and full of history and passion that Pat has for the land and his country. I would go do this again in a heartbeat.
Overall, we had an amazing first trip to Ireland together getting a glimpse of our Irish heritage and we can’t wait to go back for a Guinness and a pint of Jameson as soon as possible. Let us know what we missed or what you would recommend for our next trip. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!