About Me

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Right now I am living in Ireland and I am enjoying the countryside, with my blog I decided to show you the beauty of this country

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I have moved to Ireland five years ago from the Czech republic and I am so loving this country. Join me for discoveries of all these beautiful places

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Connemara loop - a drive through Joyce county

The Connemara loop is just a really beautiful way how to get to know the Joyce county. You can do it in one day but you might feel sad driving through all the beauty only for one day. Anyway this is the map of the Connemara Loop , have a look & think about the journey yourself. Every spot is worth stopping.

Lough Corrib 
Unfortunately you won't be able to do this trip
on a bus because there is not much public transport around this area. You can try hitchhiking if you want. People are very friendly over here so it might just work for you. We drove from Galway to do the Connemara loop and started in Maam cross, which is a beautiful spot and had a pint of Guinness in the Maam village, tasted really good.

On the way to Leenane village 
Driving further towards to Leenane village will be very pleasant because you'll see lots of lakes and turf hills. This area always makes me think about the famine times, because you can really see that the people of Ireland had nothing else than potatoes. Life must have been tough here.
The road will bring you to one of my favorite parts of Connemara - Leenane village & Killary fjord - the link is to another post of this blog especially dedicated to Killary fjord. Make sure to stop here. The Leenane village & its surrounding is just breathtaking. Killary fjord is the only fjord in Ireland so have enough time to see it.

Kylemore abbey
Driving from Killary fjord will take you to the Kylemore abbey. Kylemore is a home to a community of nuns of the Benedictine order. Don't hesitate to visit this place because the Victorian gardens are full of seasonal plants, gazibos and lovely benches with beautiful views. Just a bit further down there is Connemara national park. A unique spot in the heart of Connemara with lots of hiking possibilities.  I might repeat myself again but don't miss it.

Overviewing the Atlantic ocean 
You can now choose how you want to go back, either follow the map or just drive along the coast. Both ways have their own beauty. The inland way is stunning, you will be passing the twelve pins and see the marble mines. The coastal way via Cliffden reveals the stunning coast so you decide. I hope you will love Connemara as much as I do. Enjoy.

Overviewing the Killary fjord

Lettergesh beach
Driving towards Galway

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Slieve League - the hidden beauty of county Donegal

Slieve League
County Donegal is one of my favorite parts of Ireland, people are very friendly & helpful over here. If you are planning your holidays in Ireland, don't forget to visit Donegal. There are so many things you can see & visit that one week is not enough to see the whole county.
Do not worry about accommodation because you will have plenty of possibilities from small B&Bs, hostels to 4* hotels. While planning your trip remember to visit the cliffs of Slieve League. People might get confused about names of places written in Gaelic but do not worry because everybody speaks English. Donegal is a part of Ireland where people speak Gaelic to keep the history of Ireland alive.

Coastal road towards to the Slieve League

Let's go back to the trip - this is the map for driving directions from Donegal town, make sure you take the coastal road because you will just love the beautiful panoramas and scenery. Photographers make sure that your batteries are fully charged to be able to take as many pictures as you like. I can assure you that there is so much to see. If planning this trip consider that you will be stopping every 5 minutes. It is nice to stay in Donegal town but I preffered to stay in one of the local villages to be closer to the coast. If you have no car you can use public bus to Donegal and that use the local bus to get to Carrick. That's the village which is the closest to the cliffs.
Plenty of accommodation possibilities again - lodge, hostel, B&Bs or self catering cottages. I don't think I saw a hotel in Carrick town but there might be one somewhere around. You can rent a bike in Carrick and cycle around this area, just remember the hills are very steep.

The lake on the top of the Slieve League
To get to the Slieve league you can either walk the old pilgrimage, drive or cycle. It might seem really long journey to get to the top but once you get there, you will just be amazed. Drive carefully because the roads are narrow and there is lots of sheep around.

Slieve League cliffs
The Slieve League cliffs offers boat trips underneath the cliffs, which must be an amazing experience. I can't wait to go back & try this experience. Local people will be happy to help you so if you get lost, don't be affraid to ask. Have lots of fun!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Aran islands - the Atlantic islands

Aran islands are located in county Clare in the west coast of Ireland.There is so much to do in here that you can stay here at least for a night. You will definitely enjoy!

There are three Atlantic islands called the Aran Islands -Inishere, Inishmoore and Inishmaan. Accommodation is very easy to book - hostels, hotel and lots of bed & breakfast so you don't have to worry about where to stay. You have to take a ferry to Aran islands - there are two points where you can take the ferry from - Doolin a village which is situated underneath the Cliffs of Moher or from Ros a'Mhíl which is situated in the heart of Galway bay. You can also take a plane from Connemara airport, make sure you book your flight in advance because the flights are very busy. Just one more little reminder don't forget to check the weather because the ferries and planes only operate in good weather.

Inishmore island is the biggest of the three. It offers great possibilities for hiking, cycling or just a nice drive.  The hike or cycle is moderate and is about 22 km long but you can just adjust it for yourself. After my arrival to Inishmore island I rented a bike for €10/per day and I cycled all around the island. If you want to see a lot and enjoy the atmosphere the bike trip is the best. To get to Dun Aengus by bike takes about 30 minutes but with all the beauty around it might take you longer. Dun Aengus of Inishmore have uncovered the remains of huts and bones which suggests to the archeologists that the land was already occupied between 500 - 800 BC, several centuries before the fort was build. The fort is situated on the rim of a 200 m high cliff on the island's southern coast. It's simply stunning and definitely worth visiting. On the way back you can visit one more attraction called Dun Duchanthair. There is plenty of  craft shops, pubs, bars or restaurants on Inishmore if you want to stay overnight and make the most of your visit.

Inisheere is a smaller island but as beautiful as Inishmore full of nice spots.You can rent a bike again or just walk round the island. For going around the whole island I recommend a car or a bike, for hiking just choose the highlights - this is a map. I enjoyed the part of thewalk where Lough More is, you also get to see the wreck of Plassy over there. The beach is situated on the way back.Whether you stay overnight or just one day enjoy the Aran Islands and don't forget to check local crafs.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Wicklow mountains - Lough Tan "Guinness lake" & the waterfall

Lough Tan from above
Sally Gap is a beautiful part of the Wicklow mountains. I call this lake "Guinness lake" because it looks like a pint of Guinness to me. This is a map of the area.  I want to point out two places - Lough Tan and  secret waterfall. Both places are really enjoyable and you can have nice picnic here. From the lough Tan view point you can walk up the Wicklow way up to Cronewood where you could be picked up or walk a bit further to Knockree and take public bus back to town.

The secret waterfall valley

 There is no real public transport to these areas. The Wicklow way is public transport accessible from Roundwood or Knockree.  Use my map if you want to drive. The waterfall is not in the maps but worth seeing, that's why I call this place a secret waterfall. You will enjoy looking down the valley or just the sheep around. The whole drive takes about half a day, you can connect it with visiting Glendalough which is nearby. The forested area around the waterfall offers a nice area for a short walk along the river. The roads might be narrow so watch out for other drivers passing you & enjoy!

Don't be sheepish
Overlooking the waterfall
Lough Tan view

The Cliffs of Moher - the incredible beauty in county Clare

The Cliffs from above

When you do a research about what to do in Ireland one of the top 10 results will be the Cliffs of Moher in county Clare. Right after the Burren national park  you get to this stunning place on mother Earth. There are days during the year, when this attraction is so busy that you won't be able to take a picture like this. My recommendation is if you have the option - don't go at the weekend, leave it for the weekdays. The cliffs and the area around offer lots to do - hiking, cycling and road trips.

Depends on what you like but my suggestion is to stay at least for three days in this area. 
I stayed in the Doolin hostel for a base and had so much fun over there.  Doolin is a small village where you have a good acces to the Burren area and the Cliffs of Moher.
Use your car to get the there or public bus from Galway.

Doolin cliff walk
  I took a public bus  from Doolin up to the Visitor's center of the Cliffs. Walked around, of course took lots of pictures and than I decided to walk back to Doolin. This walk is called Doolin cliff walk, you need to have good shoes and be ready for rain. The hike down is just perfect, 8 km to Doolin village which took me around 2 hrs. I really enjoyed this hike. As I took a morning bus I got back to Doolin by 2pm and still had a half a day left.  I was on time and able to catch the last boat which brings you underneath the cliffs, if you are lucky you might see the puffins hatching or fishing. It takes about one hour and it is worth it. 
After you come back to Doolin have delicious Irish coffee in the local bar and enjoy the atmosphere of this village on the west coast of Ireland. O'connors pub is the right place for traditional Irish music and the best fish and chips in the west coast. You'll find lots more to do around - the Doolin cave, scuba diving, cruise ships to Aran islands, local craft shops and plenty of cycling and hiking possibilities in the Burren area.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Dingle peninsula

Connor pass from above

Dingle peninsula is situated in county Kerry. Make sure you won't miss it when discovering Ireland.

Dingle peninsula coastline

Dingle is well known for its stunning panoramic views. Dingle town itself is full of little craft shops, lots of bars, supermarkets and restaurants. Accommodation should not be a problem because there is lots of B&Bs, hostels or hotels around. You can get to Dingle by car or public transport. There is even a public bus operating on the peninsula, which gets you where you need.  It is possible to rent bikes in Dingle town and enjoy the beauty of this place on the bike. Hiking is great, because the Dingle mountains are full of great hiking spots. You can also take a drive around the ring of Dingle.               
Blasket island beach

Another possibility how to spend a day around is to take a ferry to the Blasket islands and enjoy a day there. Remember there is no shelter so make sure you are ready for rain. The ferry takes about 45 minutes to get there and I am sure you will be surprised.

Wild seals running back to the sea

 Your ferry will probably be accompanied by the local dolphin called Fungi. Once you get to the island , you might get lucky and see sunbathing seals on the sand. The islands have a beautiful coastline which is worth seeing. I am sure everybody who loves wild nature will love this place. You can hike around the island or just enjoy the beach or have a picnic over there. You will be told what time does the boat leave so don't miss it and enjoy!

My last tip for what to see around is Connor pass - an amazing part of Dingle peniscula. Just a little map in a case you will have trouble finding it. Just drive up the road and view the stunning panoramas.

Connor pass
You can  walk up there as well, the hike is quite demanding but worth climbing the hill. I am sure you will fall in love with this piece of Ireland because it is very magic. 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Donegal - Aranmore island

View on Aranmore islands on the way back to the port

County Donegal is a very special place on Mother Earth, I could easily imagine a part of Lord of the rings being filmed there.

Walking about 15 min from the cottage along the lakes

 First time I went to this area It was to Dungloe town and we were warmly  welcomed by the owner of this lovely cottage. The place is just groovy cottage with a lovely kitchen, which is fully equipped for cooking. The shower & bath are nice as well. Bedrooms fit four to five people and are very comfortable. Christina's hospitality is amazing so I fully recommend her services.

Dungloe town is a cute little place which has brilliant bars,good restaurant, shops and supermarkets. You can get to Dungloe town by public transport or by car. Check Bus Eirann for connection.

Aranmore island cliffs

Aranmore island is a really nice place to visit. Take the ferry from Burtonport and enjoy the amazing atmosphere of The Aranmore island. There is plenty of accommodation possibilities. The local night club provides fun till very late.
Beach by the bar

Great hiking or cycling possibilities. Unfortunately it is impossible to rent bicycles in this area, so bring your own. You can also hike or rent a local taxi driver. The hike is amazing & so must be the cycle. Just walk up the hill, pass the village & all you need is great weather. The island is full of glacial lakes, sheep and the coastline is stunning. Enjoy the beautiful panoramas and don't forget to try the local bar with a view on the ocean.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Killary fjord - Sleepzone Connemara hostel

Killary fjord view on the way from the road
Killary fjord is situated  in Connemara county Galway. The hostel is placed on the fjord about 1,5 km off the main road and gives you beautiful views.
 SLEEPZONE hostel is a very friendly environment with support of Irish tourism. You can bring a car down or ask your bus driver to drop you off at the adventure centre and just walk down. These are the local buses from Galway  Timetable.  
Otherwise just follow the coast road from Galway to Leenane and look for the Killary adventure centre. Take it left and you are there. Map just to make sure

View from the hostel
Once you get to the hostel, you'll love it from the first time because the whole area just overviews the Killary fjord. The hostel itself is very well maintained and the rooms are bright and spacious. The showers are ensuite and the kitchen and dining room area are very well placed. You can have breakfast and overview the Killary fjord.  I recommend an early booking. This hostel is very busy. There is plenty of things to see and do around for more than three days. So stay as long as possible.

Western way

 Connemara is great for hiking just ask for detailed map and get on the top of one of the surrounding turf hills and enjoy the stunning views around Connemara. This is a link to some hikes around.

Killary fjord on a boat

Take the Killary adventure centre offers bikes to rent, kayaking and more to do including mud fights and clay pigeon shooting.
You can also take a boat trip on the Killary fjord. If you are lucky you even get to see the local dolphins. The trip takes about 90 minutes, the boat has a lovely lounge bar where you can refresh yourself.

There is lots more to do on the Killary fjord, let me know if you enjoyed it.