Road Trip on the Emerald Isle

October 16, 2019

Our agents travel to some pretty awesome destinations. When they return, our excitement to hear about their adventures is almost as great as their excitement is to share them. In ON LOCATION, they talk about the little nuances that make each place special. From Peru to South Africa, Switzerland, and Croatia, experience a fantastic second-hand journey and maybe take away some travel inspiration while you’re at it.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of starting a road trip – the open highway, a carefully selected playlist of feel-good singalongs, a bag of your favorite snacks, and the chatty excitement over what lies ahead. In what has been named the world’s most scenic airport in Donegal, Northern Ireland, I waited to be picked up by my road trip-mates to start our journey. I was only aware of the tiny airport’s title because of the posters inside as, sadly, I didn’t even see the runway. I fell asleep during the flight! Program-induced sleep deprivation is real, people. Even the surroundings were beautiful, though, and upon entering the vehicle I felt all those pre-road trip emotions. I hopped in the car and we were off to explore the unknown. Left side of the road, here we come!

 

 

 

 

 

My first impression of the trip was how small the roads were (to my surprise we weren’t actually on a bike path). Winding through green hills, I couldn’t stop thinking that it was exactly as I’d imagined. Everything was pristine and so (for lack of better words) green! We made our way through cute, little villages and beautiful coastlines dotted with castles. Our visit to Giant’s Causeway was my absolute favorite. The stunning and unique hexagonal shapes of the coastline were created millions of years ago by a volcanic eruption. I’d never seen anything like it! I also loved Dunluce Castle. Dating back to the 1500s, the castle is in ruins located on an incredibly steep cliff.

 

 

 Aside from endless beautiful scenery, throughout the trip the people and interactions we had with them really made it special. I can truly say that Irish people are some of the most friendly and funniest I’ve ever met abroad. My impression is that they love banter and from gas stations to restaurants, ticket booths to cabs and everywhere in between, we were welcomed with a smile and left laughing. I pretty much giggled my way around Ireland.

 

Along the road we stopped at some really great pubs and

 

restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. I hadn’t ever considered Ireland to be a culinary destination, but it completely is. Due to its small size, extensive coastline and farming culture, ingredients are commonly sourced locally.

 

The farm (or sea) to table concept is the norm. Do yourself a

favor and order Irish brown bread with fresh butter. Some of the versions I had were made with Guinness and seaweed and it was the perfect complement to any meal. And don’t make the mistake and think pub food is mozzarella sticks and chicken wings. In Ireland, it’s gourmet, fresh and a culture of its own.

 

 

 

By the end of the road trip, the only evidence of snacks was the random wrapper here and there, the playlist was now burned into our memory (not a bad thing in this case. I’m now obsessed with Irish music!), and the chatty excitement was replaced by something even better – a heap of memories and endless stories. We agreed it was one of the best road trips any of us had ever been on. Thanks for the fun, Ireland! Hope to see you in all your emerald glory soon.

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