IRELAND

 

I feel really lucky to get to travel to Ireland so often for luck. Which is fitting, because has a bit of a reputation with luck. Anyway, you'll either need a four-leaf clover or this guide to get you to the best spots that the Emerald Isle has to offer.

Read my posts on Ireland here.

 

DUBLIN

Find my full travel guide to Dublin here.

 

Belfast

HOME: The food in Ireland can be a bit heavy, to be honest. Check out HOME if you’re looking for healthy, plant-based options in a great, airy setting near city hall.
22 Wellington Pl, Belfast BT1 6GE | +44 28 9023 4946

JAMES STREET SOUTH BAR & GRILL: If you’re looking for a swanky lunch out or a nice date night, James Street South’s Bar + Grill is a good option. Think good meats, handmade pasta presented with attention and artistic display. 
19 James St S, Belfast BT2 7GA | +44 28 9560 0700

SAWERS: This is a place that will be a favourite for ours for years. It’s the perfect lunch spot for us- as it has so many good options for everyone, fabulous surroundings being sat alongside the heaving shelves of this this delightful international deli, and the food is a great value. If the weather is nice, sit outside under the awning for a good view of local Belfast life passing by. (Oh and definitely get a cup of tea and one of the homemade Malteser traybakes. My favourite!)
Fountain Centre, College St, Belfast BT1 6ES | +44 28 9032 2021

KAFFE O: This Scandi coffee shop (in the young area of town near the gorgeous Queens University) makes really good coffee, has delicious coffee and healthy-ish sweets like an espresso traybake featuring a date crust in lieu of the classic crushed biscuit layer. Staff is nice and the atmosphere is bright and serene. 
411 Ormeau Road, Belfast, BT7 3GP | +44 02890 642434

 

WICKLOW NATIONAL PARK 

GLENDALOUGH: If you can get out of Dublin, it's worth the hour-ish drive out to to Glendalough: home of good old St. Kevin and his (once) famous monastic community. The ruins of this long-lasting community are in impressive shape, considering how long they have been around. There is a small museum at the Welcome Center that will brief you on the history of the site and then you can head out to see the ruins in person. {I always like getting some context before heading out to a site. Who doesn't though?} After you've looked at all the old rocks, ruins & graves your heart can handle, head out to the lakes for the real treat. There are two lakes... the first is about 5-10 minutes away and it's really pretty. But keep going on the path until you reach the second lake {about 20-30 minutes from the ruin site} so you can see this.
Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow | +353 404 45325

WICKLOW HEATHER: If you're in need of a great place to eat, right up the road from Glendalough is the charming Wicklow Heather. Not only is the food delicious, but the restaurant is a literary-nerd's heaven showcasing first-edition works by famous authors such as James Joyce & Yeats in their Writer's Room. {Editor's Note: Remember in P.S. I Love You when Hilary Swank mets Gerard Butler on the road in the Wicklow National Park... yes, these are those Wicklow Mountains.}
Glendalough Road, Ballard, Laragh, Co. Wicklow | +353 404 45157

 

CLIFFS OF MOHER

CLIFFS OF MOHER: ...or "The Cliffs of Insanity,"as you Princess Bride fans may know them} are on the Western Coast of Ireland. It takes several hours to get out there and making it out there will take up a day of time. But is it worth it? Oh yeah, baby. Because after you get there, you have a view that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

There is a small cafe & a restaurant at the newly refinished visitor's center that you can find warmth in once those coastal breezes get the better of you. Rangers can lead informational walks, but from my personal experience, it's not anything to cry over if you miss out on making the tour. Apparently, there's not much to say about these cliffs other than that they are really old and that puffins come to nest there in the summer.

To reach the famous cliffs, you have two options: you can take a tour with a group like McCoole Day Tours or you can drive yourself. If you drive yourself, will you promise to stop in the town of Ennis for lunch? It's a tiny little Irish village complete with an adorable town square and it will make your day trip all the better. You have the Aspiring Kennedy's word on it. For what it's worth, Galway is more than worth visiting when you're out that way.