If you are looking to splurge and have a luxurious vacation where you are treated like a king (or a queen) then Ireland is the spot for you. Ireland has the best hospitality in the world and that is not an overstatement.
I fell in love with Ireland during my recent vacation there in February 2017. I can honestly say Ireland is one of my favorite places, and here is why:
1-Ireland is luxurious but understated. The buildings and many historical sites just make you think of the times of kings and queens and it feels so grand but to go along with that you have simple people walking everywhere, who are always smiling and being super friendly. I love that!
2-You get to experience the best of nature – the country is sooo green and you just get an opportunity to reconnect with mother nature every time you step put of your hotel room.
3-The Irish people are for sure the friendliest people I have ever met (mind that I am from Brazil and we are considered pretty friendly). I swear the friendliness of the Irish made such an impact on me.
I left the country a changed man. I was more open and willing to get to know new random people. Every encounter I had with someone was so authentic and I felt that people were genuinely interested in me as a person. This was one of the best parts!
4- You get to dress up. I think because of the cold weather people dress up more and that was super fun. Definitely pack your fur.
5-Great party scene. I can’t even begin to tell you how many pubs I saw, and how packed they were. The party scene is great every day of the week. Pubs and great restaurants are everywhere. Age wise you see everything (20s to 60s). If you are in Dublin you can walk to a lot of places as well and not have to worry about drinking and driving.
6- You feel very safe walking around the cities. By the way, cops don’t have guns in Ireland, how about that? I am not getting in a political debate here but lets just say I think that is pretty awesome.
7-Ireland is the best country for a road trip (as long as you are ok with the challenge of driving on the opposite side). I rented a car and drove around the country and never have I have seen better roads and better views, it was breathtaking.
8- The food is amazing everywhere. And there is a lot of natural locally grown food. You will see lots of small farms if you explore the country.
9- Ireland is a lot cheaper than other Europe countries (in my personal experience).
10- Last but not least: You see A LOT of beautiful men and women.
So now that I gave you the MANY reasons why I think you should visit Ireland, here is a guide with all the details from my vacation:
Cities and sites in Ireland that you must visit:
Where to Stay in Dublin:
I love staying in nice hotels when I travel because to me that is one of the best parts of traveling. You get pampered, you eat extravagant breakfasts and you have your bed made by somebody other than yourself; just perfect right?
The Merrion, a 5 Stars hotel in Dublin, was all that and more! It was exceptional! I already talked about Irish hospitality but the staff at The Merrion go above and beyond to make you happy all the time.
Created from four Georgian townhouses, it is located in the city center opposite government buildings. There are 142 bedrooms and suites overlooking the most beautiful gardens.
The location is perfect. I was able to walk to most places that will recommend to you in this post. Everything was close by and my walks were never longer than 20 minutes. You have a BUNCH of amazing restaurants within a 5 min walk. Of course, you can also eat at the hotel.
The Merrion has a 2-star Michelin restaurant called Patrick Guilbaud and there is also another restaurant on the premises called The Cellar Restaurant and Bar. They are both very good and The Cellar they have a very nice full bar/lounge.
I also recommend you get breakfast included when you book your room. Breakfast there was sooo good. The food choices were very similar to what you get in a 5 Star American Hotel but you can also pretty much ask for whatever you want and they will make it happen.
For example, I wanted a green juice (I was missing California) and they didn’t have it on the menu or on the buffet and I asked Daphine, who was our amazing waitress everyday, and she was like “absolutely, what do you want in it? what else would like? we can make whatever you want to eat”. I was very impressed by the service! And it was like that with the rest of the staff all the time.
There is also a spa, the Tethra Spa, which has a huge 18m pool, steam room, fully equipped gymnasium and two private treatment rooms. I worked out almost everyday during my vacation (I am sure you saw my IG updates), thanks to amazing hotels like this, that understand our needs.
So bring your swimwear for the pool but in case you forget to bring it they can sell you one right there at the spa. They are in the business of finding out what you will need before you even need it, my kind of service!
The rooms are luxurious and well decorated with a very classic and elegant style. Our room was very spacious and even had a sofa, work desk, huge bathroom and a very comfortable mattress covered with very good quality linen.
Honestly, they were the best. There is nothing negative that I can say. They anticipate all your needs and make you feel very welcome. Everyone smiles and greets you. Irish hospitality is topnotch.
Internet/WiFi at The Merrion
So I thought this was worth mentioning because with my job as a blogger I really need the internet to work really well all the time. And I can’t even tell you how many times I have stayed at hotels where the internet sucked or I had to pay a super expensive daily fee for crappy internet service.
Their internet service was better than mine at home, super fast!
Restaurants/Bars/Lounges in Dublin:
Fire Restaurant – fine dining with great food and atmosphere. It also has a pretty big bar and lounge area with a very young vibe on the weekends. This place is located right next to the mayor’s house, which I thought was cool. I highly recommend it.
Cafe en Seine – super trendy bar/restaurant, a must! The place is huge with many different ambients/rooms each with its unique over the top decor. It gets super crowded during the weekend, lots of beautiful young people.
Eathos – great cafe for treats, pastries and also good variety of healthy foods like salads and acai!
Temple Bar – this is actually an area of Dublin with lots of great traditional Irish pubs, little shops, live street music and great for people watching. You can basically go there every day and night and try a different spot.
Dublin’s Must See Historical Sites:
- Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
- Stephen’s Green
- Dublin Castle
- Trinity College
- Guinness Storehouse
- The Book of Kells and the Old Library Exhibition
After you enjoy and see all that you want to see in Dublin, I recommend that you rent a car (they drive on the left side) and drive to the City of Cong where you will find The Ashford Castle and you will also be only about 45 min from Galway, another must visit city in Ireland, and only about 2 hrs from Cliffs of Moher.
Watch my Travel Vlog:
Cong is a very cute small town about 3 hours drive from Dublin. It is where The Ashford Castle is located. The town has everything you may need like gas station, restaurants, markets etc. But it is very small and the main reason I am recommending it is so that you can go stay at The Ashford.
Where to Stay in Cong:
The Ashford is the oldest castle in Ireland, dating to 1228. It was owned by the Guinness family at some point in history. It is a medieval dream sitting right in front of Lake Corrib.
And guess what? You can stay there and sleep your Irish nights in one of those dreamy medieval rooms. It was such a special experience. The Ashford is a real castle that today is owned by The Red Carnation group of hotels. It opened as a hotel in 1939.
As I mentioned previously, it is about a 3 hr car drive from Dublin. It is located in a pretty strategic location I think, because you can drive from there to Galway and to Cliffs of Moher. And plus it’s not too far from Dublin and the drive is so easy and the scenery is to die for. It really is a fun drive. Don’t be scared; just rent a car and go for it.
Th castle also offers many ways for you to get there, including a private shuttle.
When you stay there you don’t need to go anywhere else; they have all the entertainment, fun, food, nature, spa, basically all that you may need right there. Just so you get an idea here is a list of some of their activities:
Golf, Tennis, Cinema (I mean they have a real movie cinema inside the castle), Horse Riding, Falconry, Boat Trips, Spa with a swimming pool, Full Gym, Live Music at night, Clay Shooting , Kayaking, Cycling and the list goes on. You really need to visit their website to find out more about everything they have (https://www.ashfordcastle.com).
We went horse riding, clay shooting and also enjoy the pool at the spa. It was such a cool experience to ride the horse around the castle. They had a lot of horses by the way. They also have wolfhound dogs that come to visit everyday. That was so unique. You will love this place if you love animals and nature.
The castle also has many dining options including one fine dining restaurant. You guys know I am big on breakfast and similar to The Merrion in Dublin, they cook whatever it is that you want, pretty awesome! I had the best omelets of my life there for sure.
The rooms and suites have a traditional design, with a lot of original features but also with all the luxuries of our century. The rooms are freshened up twice per day. The bed is super comfortable and everything was clean and impeccable.
Ok I am gonna keep repeating myself but again best hospitality I have ever experienced was in Ireland. The castle is super overstaffed so that you dont have to wait for anything. They are always right there ready to help you with whatever you need.
And again they really anticipate all your needs. The people/staff really made a huge impact in how much we enjoyed our experience there. Kudos to the staff!
Very good! Nothing to worry.
Galway – day trip
The nightlife there is great. There are pubs everywhere, lots of small shops and restaurants. When we visited, the cobblestone streets were packed with students and artists playing music out in the open . This is perfect for night fun when you are staying at The Ashford.
Ireland is the perfect country for road trips and hikes. You have so many options but I think driving to Cliffs of Moher is the best choice. I have no words to describe its magnificence. For lack of a better word the Cliffs are super powerful. It made me stop and think of the Creator of everything. Maybe you don’t believe in God like I do but still you will know what I mean if you get to go there. It’s overpowering and just really takes you back.
This would be such a cool place to propose to your girlfriend…just thought of that …just saying. It’s very romantic I think.
It’s about 2.5 hrs from Ashford and it’s a must see! And again the drive is beautiful. We actually stopped many times to take pictures on our way there, so worth the drive. Please do not leave Ireland without seeing the Cliffs of Moher.
FYI: there is a restaurant at Cliffs and the food is pretty good and very affordable (I was shocked).
At this point in the trip after visiting the Cliffs of Moher and spending another day at the Ashford castle, we drove back to Dublin and then went to Germany. We spent 1 week exactly in Ireland and usually that is more then enough time for me but not this time. I could have easily spend the next week there instead of Germany.
There is just so much to see and to do in Ireland, especially if you are an outdoor person. The people also make it really hard to leave. Everyone is so nice and friendly and you become so open after only a few days there. It was an incredible trip and I can’t wait to go back.
I recommend you follow what I did. It worked out pretty good and we were never tired. Start your vacation in Dublin, spend a few days there and then travel through the country (Ashford, Galway, Cliffs of Moher) and then come back to Dublin for a few more days and end your vacation there.
I hope this is helpful to you guys. I also made lots of videos that I shared on youtube. Do travel. I have my best memories from my many trips through out the world. And yes visit Ireland, it’s freaking amazing.