Eight days in Scotland & Ireland doesn’t sound like much but I can tell you that we certainly made the most of our time there. Each day there was a new adventure to look forward to – whether it be simply exploring the new city or driving four plus hours to experience some of the most beautiful sights this earth has to offer.
I won’t bore you with every little detail of the trip but I do want to highlight the best parts by city. Here goes nothing…
We arrived in Edinburgh and headed straight to Budget Backpackers Hostel to set our stuff down so that we could make the most of Day 1 – regardless of how tired we were. After getting acquainted with the area, we did what most tourists do – walked up to the castle & enjoyed a local beer. That night, we took part in a Ghost Tour of the most haunted city in the world. Unfortunately, it was a little disappointing but we certainly learned a lot.
Sunday we entered the famous Edinburgh castle after enjoying a small coffee shop for breakfast. Dinner was the best part of Day 2 – steak & ale pie + bangers and mash. We also ventured over to the “other side” of the Edinburgh bridge that night for a drink. It was beautiful and I highly recommend exploring both areas of the city!
Monday we headed to Glasgow, Scotland by train. It was a quick trip so we had most of the day to explore. We headed to the west end of the city where the university is housed. The area is known for a more “artsy” vibe with a couple of world renowned restaurants. After taking our time in the Kelvingrove art museum we headed to Ubiquitous Chip for drinks. There we met some new friends from the US + Italy. One drink turned into a couple of hours with these interesting friends! For dinner, we walked across the street to Hanoi Bike Shop – a not to miss if you ever find yourself in Glasgow!
Tuesday we took our time and headed to Cafe Gandolgfi for a transitional Scottish breakfast. We then wandered the amazing shopping in Glasgow and decided to take a bus to Glengoyne distillery – about an hour and a half outside the city. Unfortunately, this hour and a half bus ride turned into a big fail when the bus driver dropped us off and the distillery was no where to be found! After walking approximately 2.5 miles down a highway, we came face to face with the most beautiful Scotch Distillery in the nation. The tour at Glengoyne was extremely informative and most importantly, fun. We indulged in 15 & 18 year old scotch whiskey’s and bought a couple of bottles to bring back to the US as well. Highly recommend this as well when you have the chance to visit Scotland!
Wednesday we were on our way to Dublin, Ireland. We decided to book a Ryan Air flight instead of taking a bus/ferry to save 6 hours for exploring. Once we arrived, we made our way to Duberry where I met some of the friends my parent’s had met just a couple of week’s earlier during their own vacation to Ireland. We then met up with a Sandeman’s tour to learn about the history and architecture of the city. It was extremely informative & our tour guide enthusiastic – highly recommend the tour!
Thursday was our big adventure. We hopped on a bus that morning and made our way across the entire country to the Cliffs of Moher. Three hours exploring the magnificent views was some of the best three hours of our trip. It is truly a sight to be seen and worth the over eight hour round trip by far.
Finally, on our last day, Friday, we saved the best for last and made our way to the world renowned Guinness Storehouse Museum. DO NOT MISS this attraction if you are ever in Dublin. It is seven floors of interactive, self guided touring that covers everything from the Gunniess family to the history of the marketing to the creation of the barrels. You even get to learn the proper way to taste, pour and enjoy to the beer.
That night we headed back to our favorite restaurant of the entire trip, Boxty’s. Their stews were second to none in the world and the Gaelic Boxty platter is worth every penny. They even brew their own lager in house. Across the street is Temple Bar where we met even more new friends and enjoyed ourselves and the company of other travelers until late in the night.
Overall, Scotland and Ireland were more unique than I expected. The history of the cities was intriguing, people were both helpful and friendly, and whisky was second to none! After a three week journey just last year, this was the perfect follow up trip. We experienced and embraced the culture around us which turned into another trip of a lifetime.