Wicklow Mountains | Ireland 2017

Before starting on what happened in the Wicklow Mountains, the five of us got together for the first time on the 14th July 2017, when we had dinner at Veginity, my current favourite restaurant in Dublin… in Ireland… oh well, in the world! I have only been there this one time but you can be sure I will return.

On the 15th July 2017 we hit the road, even though late that night we came back to Dublin to spend the night before starting the main road trip. We went to Wicklow Mountains in this first day, including The Great Military Road, Glencree and Glendalough Monastic Site.

 

Our path in the Wicklow Mountains with a little history…

Wicklow Mountains National Park was established in 1991. Originally covered with forests, it was cleared by neolithic farmers.

The Great Military Road (R115) was constructed between 1800 and 1809 to open up the mountains to the British Army to help them put down insurgents from the 1798 rebellion.

Glencree includes the barracks (used by the British Army from 1800 to 1815, then as a reformatory school, then to house german prisoners during the WWI, then to house german pilots and agents who planned anti-British activities who crashed in Ireland, and finally to care for german and polish war orphans), the German War Cemetery (which includes 134 graves of mostly German personnel and civillian from WWI) and Glencree River.

We have only seen Lough Tay, a lake shaped like a guinness pint, from up above because it was a long way down to see it and it was freezing (not literally)!

Lastly we went to Glendalough Monastic Site, a christian monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. We saw the gateway, the round tower and the cathedral, but my favourite part was the lake we explored afterward.

 

On our way back to Dublin we passed through Blessington, even though we did not actually stop there. Back in Dublin, we went to a place called Yogism, where we ate amazing pancakes and crepes, since we were too hungry to settle for a frozen yogurt.

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The travellers | Ireland 2017

Even though this may not be the most exciting thing I have got to tell you about our road trip around Ireland, I think it is important to take time to consider the people you are going to travel with beforehand. That may avoid problems further down the road.

There were five of us traveling around Ireland back in July 2017. Alexandra (me), Diogo (my ex-boyfriend), Hector (our friend who lives in Ireland), Camille (our friend who lives in the USA) and Betty Marsha (Mil’s mom). Each one of us brought something to the group and I think that is what made the group work.

I was the initial organizer of the trip, and Hector helped me a lot later on when I got tired of making most of the decisions. I believe we made a great team when it came to leading our trip and deciding what to do. That being said, it is not fair to exclude Betty Marsha, since she would be the deciding element whenever no one else could do it.

Hector was the driver and I must admit he is the best driver I have ever met. We would always feel comfortable in his car.

Mil and Betty Marsha were the peaceful people in the car. They were never upset, which helped to keep the general good mood.

Betty Marsha was the link that would ask everyone questions about themselves. That trait helped in the development of relationships between the five of us. We ended up knowing a lot about each other.

I am not going to lie and tell you that everything went according to plan. Unfortunately the final days were ruined by my break-up. Nevertheless, I think the group was great in several aspects. There was a driver, two leaders, a third decider, two peacekeepers and a moderate chatter. Those are ingredients I find essential in a road trip team (because that is what you end up being – a team).

All the planning payed of | Ireland 2017

We did not plan that much ahead for our road trip around Ireland and, most times, we ended up discovering what to do a day prior actually getting to do it. Here are some aspects that may be useful for you to know before starting to plan your own road trip, even if you are not much of a planner.

Before getting to what we actually did, you ought to know why we did it. I am dietary vegan and Mil is vegetarian. Due to our dietary specifications, we would always need to plan where we would go to eat in advance. Some days we would plan what to do basically based on where we were eating.

Our notebook

I brought a notebook wherever we went. I wrote down where we went each day (we would only know where we would go the day before), some of the main attractions that could be interesting for us to visit there (including some facts about their stories), where we could eat and where we were going to stay for the night. I found it important to write everything down since that allowed us to have a quicker view of all our possibilities and which one would better suit our current schedule.

Housing

We knew where we would be staying beforehand since we booked all the places we would be staying in prior to the trip. I found that comforting since we did not know where we would go the next day but we always knew we had somewhere to sleep.

Food

I researched possible places to eat the next day using Happy Cow. The problem we faced was that there were places that were not open for business anymore and others where the opening hours differed from the ones shared online. It was very important to have several possibilities in several different locations along our planned path. We were never forced to skip a meal but there were times where we would have to eat far too late.

What to see

It was very easy to decide what to see since everyone was quite open for suggestions (most of them mine). I would find some places we could visit the other day and the group would give their thoughts on them while we were already in the car. That proved to be an effective system since we did not feel restricted to a previous plan but we still managed to visit interesting places, unknown to the main public, places we would not have seen if we had only relied on our impulsiveness.

 

I hope this is useful for anyone planning on traveling. Even though I believe we ought to leave time open for pleasant surprises, and simply to relax whenever needed, I think planning ahead may save you unpleasant moments and help you go to places you would not discover just by traveling around. It is specially important if you have dietary needs that differ from the norm in the country you are traveling to, since most places you will find along the road may not sell the food you want to eat

 

An apology | Ireland 2017

So… I should have written something about my trip to Ireland before, shouldn’t I? I am so deeply sorry I did not but you will need to understand my life was a mess since the last post I shared with you.

Even though I did not take you with me along the process, I will now share my experiences in Ireland – day by day – with you. I will share both facts and my feelings, along with awesome pictures taken mainly by Hector.

I hope you enjoy the posts I will share and I expect to be more consistent with them. Talk to you soon!

A trip is coming! | Ireland 2017

Me and Diogo, my boyfriend, are going to travel to Ireland in July! We’re going to be there from the 14th to the 27th, which means we’ll have plenty time to travel around the country.

SOME CONTEXT

I’ve travelled quite a lot in my lifetime, even though it wasn’t always outside Portugal, my home country. I’ve never been to Ireland and I’m afraid I won’t be able to understand their accent and that they won’t be able to understand mine!

Diogo left the country once, to our neighbour Spain. He’s never been on a plane before and that’ll certainly be a high point of the trip!

We’re going to stay with a friend of us that’s living in there and that’s going to drive with us around the country!

A friend of mine from the USA is also arriving there with her mother. They’re both used to travel and they’ve been to Europe before but not to Ireland. We all know each other by now, excepting from this friend’s mom.

GENERAL PLANS

A post dedicated to our plans for the trip is coming but I’ll advance with the general information!

We’re leaving Dublin just a day after arriving there for a 9 days trip around the country. We’re only going to travel south of Dublin since we want to have enough time to really savour everything. After the trip we’re going to spend some days in Dublin as well, in order to get to know the capital city too.

Our american friends are going to stay in different accommodation than me, Diogo and our friend from Ireland, since the three of us are going to camp! Diogo has never done it before and so he’s very excited about that as well! There may be some days in which we’ll stay in hostels but we haven’t figure that out yet.

I’m vegetarian and, therefore, it may be harder for us to find cheap places where we can all eat. I’ll probably have to cook ahead, in our night in Dublin, for me to have some food for the first days. Hopefully I’ll be able to cook some more in some of our accommodations!

It’s going to be a cheap trip, we hope, and that’s my main concern by now, when I’m trying to plan everything out.

I’m going to share every step of the planning with you as well as every step of the trip afterwards! Stay tuned for it 🙂