I have just returned from Ireland after a nice 10 day long trip. We rented a car for 6 days and stayed the last few days in Dublin. The only thing I hated over there was the driving on the left. Luckily my girlfriend got used to driving on the other side of the road very quickly. She drove more than 1300 kilometres all over the upper half of the Ireland from Dublin, Dundalk, Belfast, Derry, Donegal, down to Sligo, Westport, Galway and Ennis before returning back to Dublin.
The most memorable sights were in Belfast and Derry, because of the political tension that is still present even today. To anyone visiting Belfast, I’d recommend booking a tour with the local Black Taxi Tours. They take tourist trough the Catholic and Protestant areas, showing the murals on the houses. The guide told us all the background stories about the men portrayed, about the life back then. He mentioned helicopters being airborne all the time, patrolling the city. After the peace treaty, the helicopters were put down and lots of people had trouble adjusting to life without their noise. The most surprising thing is the wall that is still being used today to separate two communities. As the guide said several times – the wall is used to keep the peace.
Another pleasant surprise was the Leap Castle (pronounced Lep Castle). It was featured on lots of ghost documentaries and is mentioned in the Lonely Planet book. Its current owner Sean Ryan accepted us to his own castle and told us several stories about it, while we sat at the fireplace. Because of its bloody history, there are certain spirits present at the castle. Almost every weekend spiritualists come to the castle with instruments, doing various experiments. Luckily we did not stumble upon any spirits, but I did feel a bit uneasy while walking on the dark stairway and standing at the top level named Bloody Chapel. To anyone interested – book a visit by calling Sean at +353 868 690 547. In the end he was kind enough to play us some Irish tunes on his fiddle.
The Moher cliffs are really a sight to behold. Especially if walking from the nearby city called Doolin. It’s a nice 8 kilometre trek to get there and you get to see so much more than by driving to the spot. To any fan of such sites, the Slieve league cliffs is also a must see. After climbing stone steps you get to see a magnificent view over the sea. Well worth the climb!