Go To Ireland! Part I. Cork, Cobh & Gettting There From Dublin

by farrah on July 2, 2013 · 10 comments

Well hey there and happy July everyone! Wow- that sure snuck up on me. I think when you go on a trip at the end of one month into the next that’s going to happen though. This trip my sister joined me and we went to Ireland- the lovely (and really) Green Isle about a hour and a half away by plane. My husband proved once again to be the ultimate hero and stay home with the boys so we could do some jaunting together- and whaddya know, I learned a thing or two on this journey! Especially if you’re going to Ireland (specifically some of the places we went)- so your benefit was my fiasco.

Cork restaurant

First and foremost, what can I say other than this is one beautiful country. We somehow hit the weather jackpot as well and saw blue sunny skies the whole trip. What a delight. We traveled to three main cities in the southern part- with a quick side trip to Cobh- which I refuse to leave out, so I’ll break it down into a few posts so you don’t get sick of me going on and on and on as to how much I loved this place.

Arrival in Dublin (tips)

We didn’t see a speck of Dublin other than from the bus to the train station once we arrived. I did however learn a few things here- which is why I’m including this detail in case you’re going any time soon:

  • If you know you’re going by train BUY YOUR TICKET BEFOREHAND. No kidding- our train tickets ONE WAY to Cork were 65 euros each at the ticket counter. If we had bought them online prior- we would have a) been able to reserve our seat and b) it would have cost us 32 (yes, half) euros. WOW.
  • Make sure you know how long the bus takes to GET to the train station should you pre buy your tickets! So it stank that we paid extra, but we would have missed our train anyhow since I didn’t realize the bus from the airport to the train station took almost an hour (!) due to the stops.
  • Don’t forget your plug adapter. I was being pretty snobby thinking that my EU phone charger would work- but surprise, surprise! It did not. I had to buy one after borrowing one from the first hotel.

Cork

So with those tid bits of info out of the way, we made our way to the lovely city of Cork. I was very comfortable in Cork- I could see myself traveling solo here and not feel lost or overwhelmed.

Over the bridge to Cork City Center

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We chose to stay in the Hotel Isaacs– which is pretty iconic and has (in my opinion) the coolest little waterfall backdrop connected to the fantastic restaurant Greene’s (which serves bar drinks and food in the restaurant, the hotel breakfast and caters to the outside seats). We ate here for dinner our first night (the lamb chops were divine) and had a traditional Irish breakfast our first morning.

Hotel Isaacs

Personally their website gave me a different impression (not bad, just different) and overall I thought it was actually much better in person. A couple of tips though:

  • Hotels in Ireland most likely will not have a hair dryer, and Hotel Isaacs didn’t have much by way of toiletries (shampoo and the shower soap was empty).
  • Our shower in our room was brand new- which of course tells me that some rooms probably do not have new showers in this hotel.
  • Our hotel had a bit of a noisy courtyard, but I didn’t mind. I like sleeping with the (screenless) windows open.
  • The hotel is a bit aged- don’t expect something brand new and up to date. It’s been around a while- which is part of its charm, so be open to that!
  • We did see families with children, although we did not have any with us.
  • I DO recommend a stay here and if I go back, I would choose to stay here again based on location, restaurant and comfort of the room.

The courtyard

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We didn’t really have a plan the next day, so we decided to take a tour that we signed up for in the tourist office around the corner. At 12:15 we left Cork by bus and took and very enjoyable drive around the coast and over to Cobh and Blarney Castle. I am so. so. so. glad that we did! The tour was supposed to bring us back by 5:30pm and it was well worth the trip! Cost of day trip- 28 euros.

Cobh & Blarney Castle Area

Cobh gets its own section because it’s really worth seeing in its own right. As our first stop on the tour en route to the Blarney Castle– Cobh is a port which you’ve probably been aware of your entire life but maybe not known. Cobh is the last stop-port where the Titanic picked up its final passengers.The quaint little port town has charms above the looming memory of the Titanic- although there are exhibits, museums and memorials marking that fateful ship.

Titanic Memorial (which yes, should be bigger)

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Statue of Annie Moore (first US processed immigrant) with her brothers. Same statue is on Ellis Island pointing back.

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Grand church overlooking harbor

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Actual area where the Titanic was docked and picked up her last passengers.

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Blarney Castle is not what I expected. I think I thought I would see ruins, not sprawling greens, gardens, a castle you could climb on and explore- not to mention the Blarney Stone. Additionally, the castle grounds are adjacent to the Blarney Woolen Mills which had an exquisite shop filled with so many wonderful options: cafes, restaurant and hotel. It’s awesome to take a spontaneous trip somewhere and be surprised with so many great things to see and do.

Blarney Castle

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I did not know you had to lean backwards to kiss the stone!

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Grounds around the castle

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We spent two nights in Cork and I have to say I love that town. The people were kind and charming, the food delicious and plentiful and oh boy the shopping was fantastic. I’m oblivious to the difference in Irish accents (which I am told Cork has a very distinct one) but truth be told I could listen to someone from Ireland talk all day long. Southern Ireland did nothing if not make me want to return and see the rest of this beautiful country! Additionally- everywhere we went was perfectly do-able to see with your kids (regardless of age).

To be continued… Waterford and Dublin!

My Instagram kind of blew up with more pics! Follow me there if you aren’t already @Momofthreeunder.

All photos are mine and nothing in this post was sponsored or discounted.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leighann July 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

beautiful pictures, looks like an amazing trip

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2 farrah July 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Thank you friend! It was fun. Once I learned how to not waste gobs of money on transportation ๐Ÿ™‚

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3 Ann July 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm

This sure beats our trip to Ireland… since we were only there for 12 hours or so. I can’t wait to go back in a few months.

Cobh sounds like a great stop.

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4 farrah July 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

That’s right- you’re going! Oh if you have time see Cork and Cobh- it was intense. My last post will be on Dublin, so stay tuned. I learned a few things there as well ๐Ÿ™‚

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5 Gayla July 9, 2013 at 7:20 am

So much green! Just beautiful. And, how ’bout those traditional Irish Breakfasts??? I love Ireland ๐Ÿ™‚
I would love to visit Cobh for it’s Titanic history. We’ve been fortunate to see Halifax where some of the passengers were buried, and in Groningen a while ago, there was an exhibit about the 3 Dutch men onboard. Very interesting.

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6 Mary July 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I don’t know if I could kiss the Blarney Stone. It makes me feel a little bit too freaky germy. LOL

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7 Charu August 26, 2013 at 4:34 pm

We loved our visit to Dublin, but it was so short! Never made it to Blarney Castle but am itching to go!

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