How to Spend One day in Dublin, Ireland (+ Walking Map)

How to Spend One day in Dublin, Ireland (+ Walking Map)

Dublin is a city where there is no room for boredom and monotony.

Ireland is actually famous for its natural attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, Achill Island, the Gap of Dunloe, etc. So, most of the people visit Ireland not for Dublin for the other places in the country.

If you arrive in Ireland, most likely you will land in Dublin. Even if it is by air or by taking a British Isles cruise. Understand that Ireland is an Island, so you can only fly in or sail in.

If your point of arrival in Ireland is Dublin, then don’t just shrug it off as “just another city”, there’s a lot to do in Dublin. More than that, it is about catching the vibe.

Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland via Pixabay

The capital of Ireland is world-famous for its diverse culture, fine pubs, and major natural attractions in its surroundings. There are over a 1000 pubs in Dublin. Insane, right?

Moreover, Dublin is a paradise for literature lovers. In 2010, it was declared as one of “the cities of Literature” by UNESCO.

If you are here just for a day, plan the trip carefully so as to make the most of your time and stay. Thankfully, I did spend a day (or two) here when I visited the Wild Atlantic Way, so I have created an amazing itinerary for you.

What to do in Dublin in a day (itinerary)

 

The first 7 activities can be done by just walking. They are made for a person who want’s to absorb the essence of Dublin in just a day. The bottom two activities are optional because you have to get out of the main city to do them and nature lovers would highly enjoy them.

1) Walk from Samuel Beckett Bridge to Talbot Memorial Bridge

Samuel Beckett Bridge Dublin via Unsplash

Walking is the best way to get a feel of a new place before you truly start exploring it. In that sense, Dublin with it’s textbook houses with bright red or green doors is super pretty. The time I was in Dublin, it was early autumn and the many buildings were covered with ivy with leaves that were turning red.

Ivy covered buildings in Dublin with red doors

Go on a walking trail that will take you across some major sites of interest and attractions for the tourists.

If you walk from Samuel Beckett Bridge to Talbot Memorial Bridge, you will also see the Triumphal Arch, the massive Custom House Quay, World Poverty Stone, Seán O’Casey Bridge, Molly Malone Statue, Matt Talbot Statue, Chester Beatty Library, and Ann Street.

Custom House Dublin – Dublin itinerary

I actually did this walk at night on my own when I was traveling solo. No one actually told me about this route but I discovered it on my own without any motive or knowledge about the city’s landmarks. The bridges were lit up and it was a decent time for some night photography. However, I still recommend you do this during the day so that you can head to a better spot at night – the Temple Bar square (I talk about it in one of the next points).

Stop for a coffee or brunch at POG Tara Street at Trinity Square. Catch your breath and stop for a while to admire the swans, herons, and ducks in the river. 

2) The Long Room, the Book of Kells at Trinity College (Old Library)

The Long Room Library – Trinity College via Unsplash

The Long Room at Trinity College is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. If you love books, the way they look and also the way they smell, then you will want to spend hours here. The earthy smell of old books that fills the library will make you smile.

Staircase Trinity Collage library via Unsplash

The Long Room library is perfect for not just literature lovers but also photographers. This is a place where you will end up clicking tonnes of photos. There are beautiful columns in front of the shelves, and rounded ceiling. The books are stacked beautifully and it will transport you to a world of Hogwarts’ library. 

Please note, tripods or flashes aren’t allowed inside the Long Room. 

3) Quick Stop at Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle – One day in Dublin – unsplash

A visit to the Dublin Castle is a must, and one can plan a palace tour in Dublin to the popular castle. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Dublin and Ireland.

The castle has been sued by Lord Lieutenant, Viceroy, representative of the Monarch and Dublin Castle administration. You can roam the Medieval City under the direction of a knowledgeable guide. It was built as a protective fortification and later evolved into an official residence. 

4) Head to Marsh’s Library

Marsh’s Library is the oldest in Ireland and was built by Archbishop Narcissus in Dublin in 1707. It contains hundreds and thousands of rare books and fascinating manuscripts.

It is a joy to look at the beautifully preserved building that was built during the Renaissance and is still being used as a library, which holds literary treasures in its original oak bookcases. Book your visit in advance, and it remains open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 to 5 pm.

5) St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, Ireland via Pixabay

Marsh’s Library and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are next to each other so you can make quick stop at the cathedral together with the library.

This cathedral is also an important landmark for literature lovers, here’s why. Everyone’s heard of Gulliver’s Travels. The author of the book was Jonathan Swift, and he was the dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral till his death in 1745.

6) Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar

Guinness Storehouse Dublin, Ireland via Unsplash

Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar is the most popular rooftop bar in Ireland, and here, you can enjoy a pint of Guinness along with some panoramic views of Dublin. It is an incredible experience to sit at one of the highest points in Dublin city and relax.

The pint glass–shaped interior of the 7-story Guinness Storehouse is a major attraction. the Gravity Bar has doubled in size over the years,  and nothing could be better than enjoying a sit-down dinner or a drink from the best viewpoints of the city.

7) Walk on Ha’penny Bridge

The Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland via Pixabay

It is indeed great fun to walk on Ha’penny Bridge which dates back to the history of the overcrowded and betimes ferry that carried passengers to the far side. It is the first pedestrian bridge in the city that was greatly welcomed by the Dubliners.

It was earlier known as Wellington Bridge, later as Liffey Bridge, and today it is famous as Ha’penny Bridge.Today, more than thirty thousand people cross the daily and are glad to pay a ha’penny. Its famous white railings are adorned with love locks that have the names of the lovers written on them. The bridge still supports its original white color.

8) End your day at Temple Bar Square

Nightlife in Dublin is simply unmatched, and the city boasts plenty of bars and pubs. So get ready for a vibrant nightlife when the sun sets in, and this is the best way to end your day trip in the city.

Temple Bar Square is not just an area, but there is also a famous pub called the Temple Bar which is right here. Locals say that it is overpriced and touristy but it is still worth a visit for a beer, before you can head to the other nearby bars that are around.

Temple Bar, Dublin – One day in Dublin itinerary via Unsplash

Although there are thousands of pubs in Dublin, the ones that stand out from the rest are situated in the Temple Bar Square. Temple Bar Square is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in central Dublin. 

Take your time to check out the authentic Irish bars flanked by glitzy shops and restaurants. Temple Bar has maintained its medieval street design of cobbled streets. Just spend some time here to soak up the energy, enjoy a few beers and eat typical Irish food.

9) Loop Head (Optional)

Explore the Loop Head is best known for panoramic views, scenic beauty spots, local seafood, and many other activities. Once here, you will feel as if you are in an unforgettable part of the world as it has the largest estuary in Ireland on one side and the ocean on the other.

Take some moments to enjoy the vibrant nature and feel the fresh air on your face and skin. This is the real way to experience authentic Ireland.

10) Montpelier Hill Viewpoint (Optional)

Montpelier Hill Viewpoint is a well-known landmark. This is an optional activity because it is out of the way. Visit it if you love viewpoints and walking. Keep in mind that you will have to skip the last three activities on this list if you visit Montpelier Hill.

There are plenty of trails that circuit around the hill to reach the top, from where you can enjoy some great views of the city. However, make sure that your fitness level matches the challenge of the trails and routes steeped in history.

Enjoy different activities along the routes and enjoy some epic moments with nature. You can stop at some scenic stops or picnic locations, and do not forget to carry plenty of water and food.

Where to Stay in Dublin:

MEC Hostel 

I stayed here and loved how airy our dormitory was. I booked a bed in a women’s dormitory and it had 4 beds, plenty of open space and large windows. There was also a toilet attached with our dormitory. The WiFi was very good.

The location is perfect because it is in the heart of Dublin city. As I mentioned before, I explored the city on my own without any knowledge of landmarks and I ended up seeing a lot because everything is nearby.

Premier Inn Dublin City Centre (Temple Bar) hotel

This is a high end hotel but not as expensive as the others in the city. It is on the Temple Bar Street, so you will have a lot of options of places to see on your doorstep.

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Ice House Ballina [County Mayo] – My Favorite Hotel in Ireland

Ice House Ballina [County Mayo] – My Favorite Hotel in Ireland

“Ice House” – with a name like that, you’d expect the hotel to be made of ice, but thank God it isn’t because Ireland is already cold enough.

A few weeks back I visited Ireland to attend one of the biggest travel blogging conferences – TBEX Ireland. After the conference, I explored Ireland’s County Mayo with Fáilte Ireland.

During my time in Ireland, I stayed in many different hotels but the place that really took my breath away was Ice House hotel in County Mayo’s little town – Ballina. Before I start my story about the hotel, I’d like you to give you a little information about Ballina and Mayo.

About Ballina

Ballina is a charming little town in Ireland’s County Mayo along the river Moy. It is small enough for you to cover it by walking. County Mayo is on the West Coast and has some seriously stunning destinations like Achill Island and Westport.

First Impressions of Ice House Hotel

My visit to Ballina was towards the end of my Ireland trip. By the time I reached this little town, I felt like doing absolutely nothing and just collapsing on my bed. You see, I had spent most of my day coasteering and cliff jumping in Belmullet. Before you ask – yes, the water was very cold! I’ll save that story for another time.

Anyway, after sleeping in a different hotel room in a different city every day for a week, I finally reached Ice House hotel in Ballina. While checking in, I was politely told that my room number name was Aquamarine. Believe it or not – at that moment I suddenly woke up from my sleep like state and started noticing the surroundings.

Reception area - Ice House Hotel Ballina - Mayo, Ireland

Reception area – Ice House Hotel Ballina – Mayo, Ireland

Ice House hotel’s chic interiors were refreshingly different. No overly elaborate carvings but straight and clean lines. The décor yelled out “fresh” in capital letters and it somehow made me feel very zen. My belief in the power of facilitating a positive flow of energy through interior designing was reinstated.

Riverside Room with an INSANE view

Lovely riverside suite at Ice House Ballina, Ireland

Lovely riverside suite at Ice House Ballina, Ireland

An extremely polite lady showed me my room and my law literally fell when she drew back the curtains. There was no wall, only glass, and a river right next to the hotel. Holy shit, my room was directly at the edge the river!

Despite being tired, I spent a lot of time just sitting by the window and enjoying the view. It was the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset and watch how the birds flew over the river.

My River side room with a view - Ice House Hotel in Ballina - County Mayo, Ireland

My River side room with a view – Ice House Hotel in Ballina – County Mayo, Ireland

I found a booklet inside my room with the history and information about the hotel. It’s then it hit me – I am at a spa resort, I should get the F out of my room and enjoy the spa facilities.

Chill Spa with Open Air Hot Tub at Ice House Hotel

The spa at Ice House hotel is called Chill Spa – and true to its name, I felt full relaxed [and chilled out] as soon as I stepped in.

The hotel staff guided me inside the spa and handed me a booklet of different kinds of spa treatment. I decided to just relax in a hot tub and enjoy sauna facilities – which was complimentary with the room.

I stepped to the hot tub area and almost jumped with joy when I saw outdoor Jacuzzis and wooden barrel tubs. The best part – the view! Of course, I picked the Jacuzzi and sat there gazing at the river.

Rooftop hot tub with a view - Ice House Hotel in Ballina - County Mayo, Ireland

Rooftop hot tub with a view – Ice House Hotel in Ballina – County Mayo, Ireland

There is something special about spending time in a hot tub while it’s super cold outside. The spectacular view of the river next to the Jacuzzi made the experience even more special.

If you want to use the sauna and hot tubs, it’s included in your room price but you need to pay extra for additional spa facilities.

Hot Tub in the Room

In Ice House hotel, the hot tub experience is not just restricted to the Chill Spa. Guess what, there was a lovely tub in my room too. I couldn’t keep myself away from the rooftop hot tub for long so I didn’t really utilize mine, but here’s a picture of my friend enjoying it.

 

Breakfast with a view

Breakfast with an amazing view at Ice House Hotel, Ballina - County Mayo, Ireland

Breakfast with an amazing view at Ice House Hotel, Ballina – County Mayo, Ireland

Big breakfasts make me happy and my breakfast at Ice House hotel was really good. Apart from the usual bread, cereal, eggs and meat, I was very happy to see a lot of fresh fruit.

Restaurant - Ice House Ballina

Restaurant – Ice House Ballina

I made a little fruit salad for myself with honey and yogurt. I picked a breakfast table that was next to the window so that I could fully enjoy my favorite meal of the day. A fluffy cheese omelet and a cappuccino later, I was ready to start my day.

Booking Information about Ice House Ballina

Average Cost per night in Euros : €180 – €250

Read reviews on TripAdvisor or Compare prices on Hotelscombined.com

Location: The Quay, Ballina, County Mayo

Click here to visit the hotel website

Book Now (deals): Booking.com or Agoda.com

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Falling in love with Westport, Ireland’s Loveliest town on the Wild Atlantic Way

Falling in love with Westport, Ireland’s Loveliest town on the Wild Atlantic Way

Dublin may be your first stop when you visit Ireland, but it is mostly in smaller towns that you will experience the warmth of Irish culture.

Small but active communities, charming cottages, and old-school Irish pubs are some of the many reasons why you may just want to live in one of these smaller towns in Ireland. One such town where I urge you to visit is Westport in County Mayo, which has also been incidentally been voted as the best places to live in Ireland.

Old bridge in Westport, Ireland

Old bridge in Westport, Ireland

For those who have not seen my previous blog posts about Ireland, here is a quick catch-up for you – Westport is the gateway to Ireland’s Mayo County and is usually the first place that travelers visit while exploring Mayo. It is a heritage town on the West Coast and on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. I visited the Mayo County after spending a few days in Killarney, which is famous for the Ring of Kerry.

Westport, Ireland Travel Video

If you’re feeling particularly lazy to read the entire post, then this short video is for you. It highlights a few [but not all] points that I have discussed in this post.

In all honestly, none of the pictures or videos do justice to the loveliness of Westport, so I will give it a try using words.

Why I fell in love with Westport, Ireland –

Carrowbeg River, Lovely Bridges, the Mall – Westport is Gorgeous

Trees around the Carrowbeg River in Westport, Ireland

Trees around the Carrowbeg River in Westport, Ireland

Westport has whatever it takes to be an aesthetically pleasing town. The streets are perfectly tree-lined; the main town is colorfully dotted with delightful shops, cafes, and pubs.

To make things even better, there is the gentle Carrowbeg River that cuts through the town and there are old-fashioned bridges on top of this river with flowers everywhere. The banks of this river are called the Mall and there are benches here. From some spots in Westport, you can even see the holy mountain of Ireland – Croagh Patrick.

Carrowbeg River Mall - Westport, Ireland - County Mayo

Carrowbeg River Mall – Westport, Ireland – County Mayo

Have I painted an interesting picture?

Well, I was impressed to know that the reason why Westport appears to be near perfect is because there is a strong sense of community amongst the locals to keep the town at it’s best. After all, Westport has also won the contest of “Ireland’s Tidiest Town” three times! (Btw, it is hilariously adorable that Ireland has a contest for the tidiest towns.)

Extremely tidy streets - Westport, Ireland

Extremely tidy streets – Westport, Ireland

Westport House – Ireland’s Most Beautiful Historic House

The lovely lawn around Westport House, Ireland

The lovely lawn around Westport House, Ireland

Often called the loveliest historic house in Ireland, Westport House is the city’s biggest tourist attraction. It was the first place that I visited after reaching Westport and spent several hours learning basic archery and watching “Birds of Prey” demonstration.

One of the first things that struck me about Westport House was the beauty in the simplicity of the architecture. There is a lawn that surrounds this Georgian mansion and there’s also a lake on the other side. If you walk along the lake and look back, you will see a full reflection of Westport House in the water.

Westport House in Autumn, County Mayo, Ireland

Westport House in Autumn, County Mayo, Ireland

I visited Westport at the beginning of autumn and it was lovely to see a little red creeping in the greenness of this lawn. I also got to explore Westport House from the inside and was informed that there are 30 rooms that are on display here. I did not explore them all but only some due to time limitations.

You must be wondering whom the Westport House was originally built for, so here’s a little history for you. It was originally built for Colonel John Browne in the 16th century, but was rebuilt and expanded by his grandson in 1730.

Westport House was the Browne family’s residence for almost 300 years and is now owned by the Hughes family. The Browne family is the descendant of Grace O’Malley – Ireland’s 16th century Pirate Queen. It was built in a way that the views of the nearby Clew Bay, Achill Island, Clare Island, the Atlantic Ocean and the Croagh Patrick Mountain would reward the residents.

Find manors interesting? You should also check out this self drive itinerary with Ireland’s manors and castles.

"Birds of Prey" demonstration by Ela and Jason outside Westport House, Ireland

“Birds of Prey” demonstration by Ela and Jason outside Westport House, Ireland

If you’re visiting Westport, do check Westport House’s event calendar to find out what’s on. I watched the “Birds of Prey” demonstration and archery. If you’re visiting with children, you may want to check out the Westport House’s Pirate Adventure Part too!

Westport has an Interesting History

In the last section, I mentioned the beauty of Westport House’s garden area. In fact, this garden is where the original Cathair na Mart village existed. The Ó Máille’s controlled the Cathair na Mart castle that was built in the 16th century and the surrounding village. Cathair na Mart village was later moved to its present location by the Browne family and renamed Westport. This town originated as a place for mostly his workers and tenants would live.

Clock tower in the town of Westport, Ireland

Clock tower in the town of Westport, Ireland – Westport was planed and designed in 1780 by James Wyatt

This town was almost entirely designed and planned in 1780 by an English architect – James Wyatt – who also finished the Westport House. Westport is one of the very few planned towns in Ireland.

Westport is an Amazing Food Destination

One of the things that I love about traveling is experiencing new food that every destination has to offer. I was very excited to visit Westport because it is a thriving food destination.

Pan Fried Hake fish at the Ideal Wall in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Pan Fried Hake fish at the Ideal Wall in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

If you enjoy seafood, then you’re going to have a very good time here because Westport is a coastal town. Be sure to try fresh mussels, hake fish, Dexter beef, soda bread and traditional Irish seafood chowder. For something other than traditional food, you will be surprised to know that you can even find good Indian curries here like I did in Hotel Westport.

Hotel Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Hotel Westport, County Mayo, Ireland – photo courtesy – Hotel Westport

While I was here, I did a food tour where I visited some of the finest restaurants and got to eat some really delicious things. Out of all the places, one restaurant that really stood out was the Idle Wall. I have also written a blog post about this foodie trail in Westport and you can read it here.

Cycling here is Fun [+ the Great Western Greenway Trail]

Bicycle ride in Westport, Ireland

Bicycle ride in Westport, Ireland

There is something special about exploring a new place on a bicycle. You’re your own master, you can stop anywhere, and you can experience the length and breadth of what the new place has to offer without the protective armor of a car. Also – you don’t have to make an as much physical effort as walking but you get to enjoy literally all its benefits. Besides, it keeps you fit.

Cycling in Westport, Ireland

Cycling in Westport, Ireland

Cycling is an important part of Westport’s culture and is encouraged. The town is small enough so it is very easy to cover it by cycling around. You can rent a bicycle from the Clew Bay Bike Hire, which is in the main town. I highly recommend you cover one [or all] of the cycling trails that Westport has to offer.

Cycling on the Great Western Greenway trail from Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Cycling on the Great Western Greenway trail from Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

The Great Western Greenway trail also starts in Westport and goes up to Achill Island via Newport and Mulranny. This 42 KM trail is one of the most famous bicycle and hiking trails of the country and is gorgeous. I did around 20KM of this trail and really enjoyed the experience.

If you’re looking for a shorter bicycle trail, then you can check the National Coastal Trail from Westport to Croagh Patrick.

Little Westport Train

Have you ever explored a small town on a little toy-ish train that you had to yourself? I did for the first time in Westport.

Westport Train - little toy train that you can ride to explore Westport, Ireland

Westport Train – little toy train that you can ride to explore Westport, Ireland

Doesn’t it look lovely? Well, our train had two coaches and we drove around the town and then went to Westport House.

In all fairness – this is a tour that has been specifically designed for travelers. The tour lasts for 45 minutes and shows you the town’s important landmarks and also Westport Quay and eventually goes inside the lawns of Westport House.

Westport Train tour is a fun way to know more about the town. As the train moves, you can hear a recording of Westport’s history, interesting facts and more. It is one of the things that you can enjoy when it’s raining in Westport.

If you’re heading to Ireland, then be sure to include a small town in your itinerary and let Westport in Mayo county be that town. While there, experience the local Irish pub culture along with a glass of Guinness and traditional Irish music in Cobbler’s Bar.

Live Trad Irish Music at Cobleer's Bar, Westport, Mayo

Live Trad Irish Music at Cobleer’s Bar, Westport, Mayo

Have I convinced you to visit Westport? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it with your friends or family members who’re heading to Europe.

FYI: Ireland and Northern Ireland are different. If you’re looking for amazing places to visit in Northern Ireland, why not check this amazing road trip from Belfast to Derry.

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You may also enjoy:

Achill Island – the Gem of Mayo on the Wild Atlantic Way (Ireland)

Westport’s Food Trail

What to wear in Ireland

Disclosure: I explored Westport with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland on a press trip but all opinions in this article are mine. 

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

A Foodie’s Guide to Westport, County Mayo (Ireland)

A Foodie’s Guide to Westport, County Mayo (Ireland)

This post is about exploring Westport on a food trail. Westport is a town in County Mayo in Ireland and it’s on the Wild Atlantic Way.

There are many ways to experience a new place but one of the best ones is by eating. After all, eating is an important part of everyone’s lives and it is the easiest way to learn about every culture.

I normally don’t write much about food because I am not patient enough to click good food photos. Yup, I’m one of those people who pounce on their food as soon as it hits the table. However, while I was exploring Ireland’s Mayo County, especially Westport, I couldn’t stop myself from clicking pictures because everything I ate was a work of art.

Anyway, before we go further I want to give you quick information about Westport. This city was the first stop on our road trip in Ireland’s County Mayo followed by the insanely gorgeous Achill Island. For more details about this lovely town, be sure to read my post about falling in love with Westport, Ireland. Check this post for a 10 day road trip itinerary for Ireland.

Westport, County Mayo – Quick Info + Travel Video

Westport's Carrowbeg River, County Mayo

Westport’s Carrowbeg River, County Mayo

Westport is an insanely cute town in Ireland’s Mayo County, at the bottom corner of the Clew Bay. It is on Ireland’s West Coast but I’m not sure if that is the reason why it’s called Westport.

This post is just about food but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a quick glimpse of this adorable town. Apart from eating, I also enjoyed exploring it on a little train and on our rented bicycles.

Now that I have given you an introduction about Westport, I want to tell you that this town is soon becoming a popular destination for food lovers with many restaurants, cafes and an annual food festival.

 

Where to eat in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

1) Traditional Irish Lunch at The Idle Wall

I visited the Idle Wall for lunch and Chef Áine Maguire gave our group a little introduction to the restaurant’s background and food. She mentioned that the name of the restaurant “the idle Wall” has a historical significance. Back in the early days, men would sit at the old quay wall outside the restaurant to wait for day jobs on the boats at the harbor.

Chef Áine Maguire at the Ideal Wall Restaurant in Westport

Chef Áine Maguire at the Ideal Wall Restaurant in Westport

This restaurant is right next to the boatshed, so you can expect to eat some freshly caught seafood that arrives here pretty much every day by boat. It is a bit outside the main town area, right next to the famous Westport House.

Chef Áine Maguire also mentioned that they have a sustainable policy and only use locally sourced fresh produce. She also informed us of the origins of most of the ingredients that were used in the cooking.

As we waited for our meal, we enjoyed the Idle Wall’s signature smoked butter and pork salt with old-fashioned bread with herbs and dill. It was a delicious combination and I could have happily had it to fully fill my stomach but hey I wanted that fish too!

Traditional Irish food surprisingly doesn’t include enough fish, even though Ireland is an island country.  Meats, potatoes and cheeses dominate Irish cuisine, so if you may face a hard time finding restaurants if you’re a vegan. We love this guide with a list of vegan restaurants in Dublin.

Smoked butter, traditional Irish soda bread at the Ideal Wall, Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Smoked butter, traditional Irish soda bread was heavenly with pork salt at the Ideal Wall, Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

The meat lovers ordered slow cooked Dexter beef rib in a pie. Dexter is an indigenous Irish breed of smaller sized cows and the meat is more tender as compared to the typical beef. The rib of this meat was slow cooked for 12 hours and the result looked beautiful.

Pan Fried Hake fish at the Ideal Wall in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Pan Fried Hake fish at the Ideal Wall in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

My meal was a plate of pan-fried Hake fish that was freshly caught from the Clew Bay. It was garnished with celeriac, picked hazelnuts, and apples. It looked really pretty and tasted even better than it looked.

The vegetarians ate a pastry tart that was made with goat cheese from Aran Island, and onions that were smoked with a little bit of turf for a unique flavor. To be honest, I wish I had a bigger stomach because I wanted to eat everything.

For dessert, I ate buttermilk pudding that was sweetened using honey from the nearby town Newport. You see those crisp things in the bottom left picture? That’s dried bee pollen and it was delicious. One of my friends, Siobhan ate poached pear with chocolate which looked heavenly. Check it out.

2) Appetizers & Chowder at the Westport Coast Hotel

The Westport Coast Hotel overlooks the beautiful Clew Bay and the nearby mountain – Croagh Patrick. If you’re visiting Westport, then you should surely consider staying here so that you can enjoy the view. You can read the reviews about this hotel on TripAdvisor here.

There are two different places in Westport Coast hotel where one can enjoy their food – the Coast Bar and the Waterfront Restaurant. The former is a little relaxed with a bar, while latter is fancy and is apparently the tallest restaurant in Westport.

Irish Seafood Chowder is famous all over the world and it was very high on my list of things I wanted to eat in Ireland. It made a lot of sense to order it in Westport because it’s a coastal town.

Seafood Chowder at Westport Coast Hotel - a Foodie's Guide to Westport, Mayo County, Ireland

Seafood Chowder at Westport Coast Hotel – a Foodie’s Guide to Westport, Mayo County, Ireland

The Coast Chowder in Westport Coast Hotel was thick, creamy and comforting and needless to say, it surely met my high expectations. It was made with mixed Atlantic seafood and was served with homemade brown bread.

Chicken Spring rolls at Westport Coast Hotel - Westport, County Mayo - Ireland

Chicken Spring rolls at Westport Coast Hotel – Westport, County Mayo – Ireland

My friends ordered chicken spring roll, which was delicious as well.

By the way, while you’re enjoying my post about Irish food, check out these amazing things that we ate in the Philippines:

Filipino Food: 11 Delicious Things to Eat in the Philippines

 

3) Dinner at Hotel Westport

Dear food snobs – don’t hate me for this but I ate curry for dinner at Hotel Westport. It was so good that it made me cry!

Hotel Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Hotel Westport, County Mayo, Ireland – photo courtesy – Hotel Westport

After my lovely soup at the Westport Coast Hotel, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to eat dinner. However, all that changed when our group reached Hotel Westport and it was announced that there was chicken curry for dinner.

I have no pictures of this meal but it was one of my most memorable meals of the day and it kind of made me shed a tear because I was missing home.

Lamb at Hotel Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

Lamb at Hotel Westport, County Mayo, Ireland – Image courtesy Hotel Westport

You see, I’m from India and I really miss the curries that I loved eating there. I never order them outside India because I was once disappointed by the food in an Indian restaurant in the USA.

I visited Westport on my dad’s birthday – October 6th and I was really missing my family at that time. If I was with them to celebrate, we would have surely eaten my dad’s favorite food – chicken curry. The curry at Hotel Westport was perfect in every way that it reminded me of home food back in India.

 

4) Dessert at Bistro at Maddens – Clew Bay Hotel

Maddens Bistro at the Clew Bay Hotel is one of those places where I wish I had spent more time. It’s vibrant, fun and had a great atmosphere and guess what, it started off as Westport’s first Fish & Chips shop.

Clew Bay Hotel is located in Westport’s main town center and there were a few tables that were laid out on the sidewalk, right outside the main door of Maddens Bistro.

Deserts at Madden's Bistro - Clew Bay Hotel in Westport

Deserts at Madden’s Bistro – Clew Bay Hotel in Westport

Delicious desserts at Madden's Bistro - Westport, County Mayo

Delicious desserts at Madden’s Bistro – Westport, County Mayo

We got a big dessert platter that contained Apple pie, Banoffee pie, chocolate brownie and ice creams. Apple pies and Banoffee pies were surely my favorites out of everything and I enjoyed till the last crumb. True to the description that was mentioned on the menu, the apple pie really did melt in my mouth and was warmed up before serving.

Suggested post: Check out all the delicious food that we ate in Amsterdam-Noord:

A Hipster’s Guide to Amsterdam-Noord – Things to Do

 

 

5) Enjoy Drinks with Good Music at Cobbler’s at the Wyatt Hotel

If you’re wondering where to enjoy the best of Westport’s nightlife, then Cobbler’s Bar at the Wyatt Hotel is your answer. It has the perfect blend of traditional Irish pub atmosphere along with a little bit of contemporary vibe.

The Wyatt Hotel, Westport, Mayo, Ireland

The Wyatt Hotel, Westport, Mayo, Ireland

The Wyatt Hotel is a cute yellow colored low rise building in Westport and Cobbler’s bar is inside this hotel. It is located directly at the Octagon – which is the town center. There is live music on most of the days and Irish trad music session on Sundays.

Live Trad Irish Music at Cobleer's Bar, Westport, Mayo

Live Trad Irish Music at Cobleer’s Bar, Westport, Mayo

While you’re here, make the best use of the bar by drinking fresh beer from the tap. While I was in Ireland, I did not drink anything other than Guinness, but hey – you can find many local and international brands here. Be sure to order their delicious bar food that this place is famous for.

Cobbler’s Bar at the Wyatt Hotel, Westport

Our group at Cobbler’s Bar at the Wyatt Hotel – Taken from @thewyattwestport Instagram

I’m not really a party girl anymore but I couldn’t stop enjoying Ireland’s nightlife. Unlike most of the places in the world, Ireland is one of the very few countries where people of all age groups come together in pubs. Moreover, dancing on traditional Irish tunes was a refreshing experience as compared to uncomfortably loud EDM sounds.

The time that I spent in Mayo county’s Westport was short but unforgettable. I would love to revisit this lovely city of Ireland next year and would love to hear your suggestions of places to see in Westport. If you have visited Westport already, then please share your recommendations in the comments below.

Disclaimer: I explored Westport with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland on a press trip but all opinions and bad jokes in this article are mine. 

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

Achill Island, Ireland – A Travel Guide to the Gem of County Mayo

Achill Island, Ireland – A Travel Guide to the Gem of County Mayo

Achill Island – you’re gorgeous. I think I’m in love with you!

Unbelievably spectacular viewpoints, hundreds of sheep, gorgeous Keem beach and tonnes of adventure is what I remember the most about my brief but unforgettable time on Achill Island, Ireland.

And just by chance, I ended up visiting one of the most beautiful destinations in Ireland. I visited Ireland for the first time in 2017 to attend TBEX, one of the biggest conferences for travel content creators. After the conference, I along went on an epic road trip with Fáilte Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Out of many places that I visited in Ireland, Achill Island surely stands out in my memories. It is so because I got to experience stunning empty landscapes where for miles I didn’t see anyone other than us.

Magical Sunset on Achill Island, Ireland – County Mayo

One of the things that I loved about Achill Island is that you can see some seriously stunning views because of its many high cliffs.

Achill Island also has Europe’s third highest sea cliffs on the northern slope of Croaghaun Mountain. The icing on the cake – Achill Island has a stunning white sand beach and is the perfect destination for adventure enthusiasts.

Sheep on Mount Croaghaun Achill Island, Ireland

Sheep on Mount Croaghaun Achill Island, Ireland by IrishFireside (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

 

Achill Island Travel Video

Don’t want to read the entire post? Here’s a quick video that I made about this lovely island which will give you a virtual tour of Achill Island and will surely make you smile towards the end as I enjoy my glass of Guinness beer. Watch it with music, please!

 

 

Achill Island, Ireland – A Quick Travel Guide

Where is Achill Island?

Achill Island has stunning beaches

Achill Island is on Ireland’s West Coast in Mayo County. It is on Wild Atlantic Way – a 2500 KM long trail that goes along the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland. This route can be covered in many different ways – driving, cycling, hiking and even kayaking. Achill Island is just after Newport and right before Belmullet.

If you look at the map of Achill Island, you will notice that it is on the West Coast. In fact, it is one of the must visit places on Ireland’s West Coast as per many websites!

 

Achill Island Map

Here’s a simple map of Achill Island that I have created for you and marked some points of interest to give you an idea about where to go.

Achill Island, Ireland - Map

Achill Island, Ireland – Map

 

How to get to Achill Island?

Achill Island is connected to the rest of Mayo County by Michael Davitt Bridge. There are numerous ways you can reach here; depending on how much time you have on your hands.

When you arrive in Dublin, spend a day or two here (and be sure to check out Dublin castle) and head to Westport city. It is very easy to reach Achill Island from Westport.

To reach Achill Island, we cycled from Newport (just a little ahead of Westport) to Mulranny on the Great Western Greenway trail and from there we did the rest of our journey by road. We could have cycled the entire way to Achill but had to return our rented bicycles.

If you’re slightly adventurous, I highly recommend you cycle from Westport or Newport to Achill and enjoy Mayo County’s Great Western Greenway Trail – but do remember to pack light. It is 42 km from Westport but shorter from Newport and Mulranny – so you can either break up your journey or cycle a shorter route like we did.

Views on the Great Western Greenway trail, Ireland

To make things easier, you can opt for an electric bicycle instead of a regular one. We rented ours from Clew Bay Bike Hire and yes we had opted for the electric ones too.

If you’re traveling with a group of 5+ people, then I highly recommend you consider booking a luxury coach by Kerry Coaches. The seats are spacious and there is WiFi on the board.

If you’re traveling solo or in a pair, it makes more sense to rent a car to experience the Wild Atlantic Way and reach Achill Island by driving. You can check this site to get an idea and comparison of the car rental prices. If you do end up renting a car, be sure to experience the drive from Galway to Clifden on the Wild Atlantic Way.

There is also a bus (Route 440 on Bus Éireann) that runs from Westport to Achill Island every day. The ticket costs €7 and the total journey time is usually 1 hour. I highly recommend you book your ticket beforehand.

Suggested Reading: 55 Top Island Destinations

Achill Island Accommodation

While I was on Achill Island, I stayed in a place called Pure Magic, which had a wonderful atmosphere. It is surely not a high-end resort but a cozy hotel that will make you feel at home.

Pure Magic Lodge, Achill Island, Ireland

Pure Magic Lodge, Achill Island, Ireland

Pure Magic has an in-house bar, which was buzzing with people while we were there. The sitting area had games, guitar, a fireplace and light music. To make things better, Pure Magic has delicious food. I highly recommend you order cheese garlic bread with your beer and later eat their signature wood oven pizzas for your meal.

Pure Magic's Lovely Bar - Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland

Pure Magic’s Lovely Bar – Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland

My room at Pure Magic had everything that I needed – a comfortable bed, towels, toiletries, hairdryer, etc. I was so comfortable here that I could have happily parked my butt here for at least a month – if I wasn’t on a fixed itinerary.

You can also check out Bervie Guesthouse near Keel beach. This is where some of my friends stayed and absolutely loved the hospitality. If you see their reviews on TripAdvisor, you will see nothing but praise.

 

Achill Island Weather Information

Rain clouds over Keem bay, Achill Island, Ireland

Like rest of Ireland, Achill Island is cold and the warmest months are July and August where the temperature is around 14°C but can range from 11°C – 17°C. The second warmest months are June and September with 12°C normal temperature but can range from 10°C to 15°C.

The coldest months are January and February where the normal temperature is 6°C but can range from 3.5°C to 8°C. I visited Achill in the month of October and somehow enjoyed the weather because it wasn’t as cold as where I live in Germany.

If you’re visiting Achill Island then be sure to pack a rain poncho because it can rain anytime. Carry something to cover your head and ears and layer up.

 

Achill Island is 87% Peat Bog

Achill island is 87% peat bog

Achill island is 87% peat bog

This has nothing to do with travel information but I found it really interesting that Achill Island is 87% peat bog. You don’t know what is peat bog? Even I didn’t but I learned on this trip that it is a wetland that accumulates peat.

Peat also known as turf, is a deposit of decayed plant material and this gradual accumulation works as a carbon sink. When I say gradual, I’m talking about thousands of years! Peat can be used as a source of fuel but is not renewable and is “fossil fuel”. In early days this turf (or peat) was used in fireplaces and is still used in some rural parts of Ireland. Isn’t it interesting?

 

Things to do on Achill Island, Ireland

Here are some of the most interesting places to see and things to do on Achill Island, which you will surely enjoy. I was on this island for a short time but I have also included information with the help of locals about things that I couldn’t do here but you should try doing them.

 

1) Drive to Keem Bay and chill on Keem Beach

Keem Beach on Achill Island, Ireland

Imagine a white sand beach that looks like it belongs on a tropical island, but is in the middle of Ireland’s cold cliffs. Yup, this is exactly what Keem Bay looks like. Keem beach is in the middle of cliffs of Croaghaun and Benmore, which are quite high and they create a spectacular viewpoint.

In fact, Croaghaun mountain creates the third highest sea cliffs in Europe, but not towards Keem Beach but on the other side of the island. We will talk more about that in one of our next points.

First view of Keem Beach from the drive

As we drove towards Keem Bay, we were rewarded with Keem Beach’s spectacular views at literally every twist of the road. Believe it or not, we even saw dolphins in the water as we approached the beach.

The Stunning White Sand Keem Beach, Achill Island, Ireland

“How can this be real?” was my first thought and I was the first one to run out of our bus as soon as it stopped here. We did not really have time to snorkel here but this beach is the site of a Blueway snorkel trail.

 

2) Visit Keel Beach and try Kitesurfing or Surfing

Keel Beach, Achill Island, Ireland

Two Tourists with Kites on Keel Beach, Achill Island, Ireland – by Gabriela Avram [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

While Keem Beach is sandy, Keel beach, on the other hand, has more pebbles than sand. The proper geographical term that can be used to describe Keel beach is “shingle beach”.

Keel beach is also known as Trawmore Strand and is popular for plenty of watersport activities such as kite surfing, sea kayaking, windsurfing, etc.

 

3) Stand up Paddle Boarding on Corrymore Lake (Lough Acorrymore)

Stand up Paddleboarding on Corrymore Lake - Achill Island, Ireland

Stand up Paddleboarding on Corrymore Lake – Achill Island, Ireland

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is one of the most interesting adventure activities that I tried recently and I did not want to stop.

Firstly, the spot – Corrymore Lake is absolutely gorgeous and you should totally spend more time here than just paddle boarding.

My First SUP experience on Corrymore Lake, Achill Island

My First SUP experience on Corrymore Lake, Achill Island

Like most of the points of interest on Achill Island, you may not be able to locate Corrymore Lake on your own on GPS but you will have to ask the locals.

Stand up Paddleboarding with Pure Magic - Achill Island, Ireland

Stand up Paddleboarding with Pure Magic – Achill Island, Ireland – Photo by Kristen Gill

Secondly, you HAVE to try stand up paddle boarding with Pure Magic Watersports regardless of your age, weight or adventure level because it is a lot of fun [AND they will make it easy for you]. It is also known as stand up paddle surfing and involves standing on the board instead of sitting on it. It also involves using a paddle to move around.

 

4) See the Stunning Sunset near Corrymore Lake

Achill Island’s Stunning High Sea cliffs Glowing during sunset

The best sunset that I saw in Ireland was on Achill Island and it was on THIS spot. This is right next to the Corrymore Lake.

Just walk around the lake and you will see a spot where you see the coast and the sea cliffs in the distance. Trust me, the cliffs do turn golden during the golden hour of the sunset. Insane, right?

The Most Beautiful Sunset in Ireland, Achill Island

Considering how much it rains in Ireland and on Achill island, I really hope you get to experience this stunning sunset without any clouds covering the cliffs. As you can see, we were there on an especially cloudy day but the clouds did not hide the cliffs.

If you’re doing Stand up paddle-boarding in the early evening, then you will be pleasantly surprised to see this amazing sunset after you’re done.

5) Visit The Annexxe Inn to Experience the Irish Pub culture

No visit to any part of Ireland is complete without experiencing a local Irish pub. Achill Island has a lot of pubs but I recommend you visit the Annexxe Inn and drink a glass of Guinness beer (or more).

This lovely pub was full of Achill Island’s locals who were extremely friendly. It’s the perfect place where travelers can mingle with the locals. Be ready to laugh a lot because Irish people usually have an amazing sense of humor. Ask them any question and you will most likely hear a hilarious answer in a seemingly formal choice of words.

 

6) Eat a Pizza at Pure Magic

The restaurant inside Pure Magic, Achill Island, Ireland

The restaurant inside Pure Magic, Achill Island, Ireland

While you’re in Ireland, you will get plenty of chances to eat Irish food but I urge you to head to Pure Magic for at least one meal and eat a wood oven pizza. The atmosphere here is super chill and the food is unbelievably good. We also tried the cheesy garlic bread here that was really good.

This recommendation of eating a pizza in Pure Magic actually came to me from an Irish traveler that I met in Killarney. He said, – “if you visit Achill Island, you MUST visit Keem Beach and eat a pizza in Pure Magic”. Yep, Pure Magic is the same place that I suggested earlier in this article as a place to stay on Achill Island.

 

7) Head to Dugort and see Silver Strand and Golden Strand (beaches)

Dugort is a blue flag beach that’s lesser known if compared to Achill Island’s Keem and Keel beaches. It is also known as Silver Strand or Pollawaddy Strand and is under Slievemore Mountain’s shade.

Dugort Beach, Achill Island, Ireland

Dugort Beach, Achill Island, Ireland by Gabriela Avram [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

A very interesting thing about this beach is that it is the spot for a quick ceremonial dip on New Year’s Day. I wonder how the locals can even think of taking a dip in the cold Atlantic Ocean on one of the coldest days of the year.

A little ahead of Silver Strand is also Achill’s Golden Strand, which is a small blue flag beach that looks over to the Blacksod Bay. Golden Strand is also known as Barnyagappul Strand, which means beach of the gap of the horses.

 

8) Cycle on the Great Western Greenway Trail

Somewhere on the Great Western Greenway trail near Achill Island, Ireland

Somewhere on the Great Western Greenway trail near Achill Island, Ireland

As mentioned in how to reach Achill Island section, the Great Western Greenway is a 42 KM trail for cyclists and hikers, which is from Westport to Achill Island. We did a part of this trail on our bicycles and absolutely loved the experience because there was a lot to see.

 

9) Enjoy the Beauty of Achill Secret Garden

Achill Secret Garden belongs to Bleanaskill Lodge and is a dreamy garden that’s hidden in a small bay by the Atlantic coast. This garden has around 8 themed chambers and a boathouse where you can try some snacks. You can visit this garden only in the months of June, July, and August after making an appointment.

 

10) Experience Magic at Woodland Faerie Trail

If you’re visiting Achill with children then I’d suggest you visit Woodland Faerie Trail at the Valley House. For €2 per person, you can enjoy this themed trail with lots of games and fun activates that can be enjoyed on the way. There are small faerie houses with tiny doors and tiny bridges that you can see on the trail. Although this can be covered in less than an hour, it is recommended that you don’t rush through it and be here for long.

 

11) Explore a Deserted village – Slievemore

Slievemore Deserted Village on Achill Island, Ireland

Slievemore Deserted Village on Achill Island, Ireland – by Degreexero [CC0] – via Pixabay

A village that was abandoned not many years back, Slievemore has now become a tourist attraction on Achill Island. This village has around 80 stone cottages that were used as summer accommodation primarily to let the owners’ cattle graze in summer grassland. Some say that it was abandoned during the potato famine in 1845.

Ireland has many deserted villages and Slievemore is one of the more recently abandoned one. This village is located on the slopes of the Slievemore Mountain, close to Dugort.

 

12) See Kildavnet Castle of Grace O’Malley – the Pirate Queen

Kildavnet Castle a.k.a. Carrickkildavnet Castle is one of those places that you should visit only if you’re interested in its history. Don’t expect an elaborate castle here – it is just a single ruined tower.

Kildavnet Castle of Grace O'Malley – the Pirate Queen - Achill Island, Ireland

Kildavnet Castle of Grace O’Malley – the Pirate Queen – Achill Island, Ireland – by Stacy [CC BY SA 2.0] via Flickr

Visiting Kildavnet Castle can be very meaningful for you if you already know about the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley. Grace’s tower is on the Wild Atlantic Way so you don’t really have to go out of your way to visit it but can stop here for 10 minutes while you’re driving in or out of Achill Island. Kildavnet Castle is at the tip of Achill Sound – the waterway that separates Achill Island from the mainland.

 

13) Hike around Croaghaun to see Europe’s Highest Sea Cliffs

Croaghaun Mountain is 688 meters high has the third highest sea cliffs in Europe and the highest in Ireland and Great Britain. The only way of seeing these cliffs is by hiking around Croaghaun or from the sea.

Croaghaun Mountain - Highest sea cliffs - Achill Island, Ireland

Croaghaun Mountain – Highest sea cliffs – Achill Island, Ireland – by t_y_l (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Croaghaun cliffs are actually three times the size of the more popular Cliffs of Moher in County Claire. Croaghaun is towards the west side of Achill Island and the hike to the top is not easy. The Corry Lake is in the middle of these cliffs and can be seen during the hike.

 

14) See Bellacragher Bay 

This isn’t technically on Achill Island but is outside the main Island. Make sure you stop here when you enter or leave the island.  It is an extremely scenic spot where we stopped for a few pictures and later Mulranny Tourism informed me that it’s Bellacragher Bay. 

Bellacragher Bay Outside Achill Island, Ireland - Photo by Kristen Gill

Bellacragher Bay Outside Achill Island, Ireland – Photo by Kristen Gill

The Irish meaning of this bay is ‘The Bay of the Plundering’. It is so because the stories of piracy and smuggling are part of its history. Spots as pretty as this should surely be a part of your Ireland itinerary.

Bellacragher Bay, County Mayo, Ireland

Honestly, my brain is overflowing with my newly acquired information about Irish history and I’m not sure how much I can remember but for me, Bellacragher Bay is a pretty spot which deserves a few minutes’ of your time so that you can admire the beauty.

 

Have you visited Achill Island in Ireland?

Enjoying Achill Island's sunset right after Paddleboarding (Co Mayo, Ireland)

Enjoying Achill Island’s sunset right after Paddleboarding (Co Mayo, Ireland) – photo by Kristen Gill

Thanks to my friend Kristen Gill for clicking the cover photo and many amazing pictures of me on Achill Island.

Enough about my experience, I’d love to hear about yours now. If you have visited County Mayo’s Achill Ireland and have a few recommendations or pictures to share, just leave a comment on this post.

Before you leave this page, check out my travel video that I made in County Mayo’s nearby town – Westport. It is also on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Disclosure: I explored Achill Island with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland on a press trip but all opinions and bad jokes in this article are mine. 

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!
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