Ireland: Day 1 and 2 (Kilkenny)

The Ireland trip came about so quickly, which is so much different with how we usually plan our trip - that is booking at least 6 months in advance. It was one of those limited time deals that arrive in one's email, and since Ireland is the destination that I wanted to see, the first ever, as a child, it was a no brainer that we had to do this trip.

So we learned the reason why it was "cheap" was because it was the off season. The trip was from January 11-19 this year and since it is the off season, it is easier to get vacation time from work too.

The 10-hour flight from San Francisco to Heathrow passed quickly - because I was asleep for most of those 10 hours. Three and a half hours in Heathrow were spent browsing in duty free shops. Another hour in the air and we arrived in Ireland past 7 pm, and seeing that it is winter it was very dark and wet.

We managed to find the shuttle that would take us to the car rental office and was given a German coupe. Since this was going to be a DIY trip, we added on a portable wifi hub for an extra fee.

Now everyone at church was telling us that be careful with the roundabouts, which is quite puzzling. We have one roundabout here nearby and we manage to maneuver ourselves around it well so. Anyway, in Ireland there are roundabouts every block it seems and that was an experience.

It seemed everything was against us that first night. The hubby was going to drive on the other side for the first time. In the dark. In a downpour. In a foreign country. Good luck to us. And if that is not enough challenge for the day, our hotel for the night is not in Dublin, but in Kilkenny, a little under 2-hour drive away.

We had to figure out first how to drive this darn car. Then when hubby felt a bit comfortable with it, we had to solve the puzzle that is roundabout and so having hurdled all the challenges, we easily found the motorway and from there it was just driving straight and for hubby to get acquainted with driving on the other side. We were both so excited at this point, and despite the downpour and some road closures that necessitated a detour before getting on another motorway, we could only feel this was going to be some kind of trip.

Our hotel was located on the fringe of Kilkenny town and not far from the motorway. Since it's off the town, there wasn't anything going on. There is a restaurant off the front desk and a bar, but nothing was happening. We got a pint and nothing to eat, I think the restaurant was already closed. We were told that we could, if we want, pay for a full Irish breakfast for tomorrow. Since we're skipping dinner tonight, we might as well power up with a full Irish breakfast tomorrow.

#ireland #travelaroundeurope #travelaroundtheworld #guinness #beer #foodanddrink

A post shared by Maria Roy (@airam94564) on



irish breakfast
No lunch needed.

I love the coffee machine at breakfast. It makes all the fancy coffees that I wanted. I think I may have at least 3 cups and I didn't want to stop.


The heavy breakfast served us well this morning. We did a whole lot of walking. Our first stop was Kilkenny Castle. Finding a parking a few blocks away enabled us to see some parts of town that we would not see if we parked nearby, although all the street parking around the castle have been taken.

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We did not visit the interior of the castle for lack of time and we were still battling jet lag big time. You'd think given the drizzle we would want to go inside and stay dry, but we chose to walk around the city center and peek at the stores. We kept on walking without a destination until we ended up in St. Mary's Cathedral.

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On the walk back to the car, we passed by a grocery store. You know us and grocery stores in foreign lands, we have to go in and see what the locals eat. We stocked up on some necessities and walked in the rain towards the car.



  1. Pity about the rain. I can't think of anything worse than driving on a different side of the road in the dark and rain. Well done you.

  2. Thank you for this marvelous virtual tour! Thoroughly enjoyed it! :)

  3. Hell, beautiful images from your Ireland trip. I do not think I could drive there, maybe a guided tour. Thanks for sharing.
    Enjoy your day,

  4. I am SO ENVIOUS. Ireland is top of my list, next only to Antarctica and Iceland. The visa is just so difficult to get as I'm a freelancer. :'( Great pics as always. Do you think it's possible for me to go around there given I'm solo and don't drive?

  5. Wonderful photos of Ireland ~ fond memories of the Guiness, Irish breakfasts ~ not so much the
    'roundabouts' ~ (twisted my conditioned brain too much! ) ~ Beautiful country, though!

  6. It looks beautiful - definitely a country that's on my must-visit list. Rain is not a surprise!

  7. off season can be good, as for the Guiness I've tried our version here in NZ and it tastes like liquid marmite, I"m sure the real Irish version is probably different.

  8. You are a very experienced traveler, a good photographer, navigator, writer, etc. etc. and i am always envious. I am the opposite of all that, hahaha! Sometimes in a foreign country even already looking at the map i can't discern if i am going left or right, embarassing! Anyway, that area seems to be so calm, can't see anybody, wonder why! Where is everybody!

  9. Your trips are always so nice!
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful images!

  10. How fabulous, Maria, for being so spontaneous. You finally got to see your dream place. I LOVE Ireland and can hardly wait to go back again one day!

  11. I love the castle! What surprises me is the bright colors of the other buildings. I don't think of Ireland as colorful, so obviously I've been wrong. It's interesting to hear of your arrival. Otherwise we think travel is made up of only lovely sights and fun. When I drove a rental car in England and Scotland, the roundabouts made me groan every time. Then we met an American couple at our B and B who said they spent all afternoon on one, going the wrong direction off it every time. Ha ha! Looks like you had a fabulous time after your dark and rainy arrival!

  12. I get so many deals to visit Ireland that I feel like jumping to the country any of these days. Plus, 10 hours from San Francisco (or LA in my case) is not bad (my coworkers think I am crazy when I say things like this). How did you like the country in the off season? That full Irish breakfast looks out of this world. If we go, my husband would drive. I am sure he would figure out (and would ask me to stay quiet since I am a nervous wreck).

  13. The rain seems to have made these parts clean and green and dreamy for you guys. :)
    The Irish breakfast looks inviting.

    Loving the pictures! :)

  14. Kilkenny was one of our stops too, but unfortunately most of the shops were closed as it was on a Sunday. We did have a nice lunch and some Murphy's ice cream after we walked around a bit. It appears your trip was similar to ours except we went in the opposite direction! I have really enjoyed your photos.


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