This post is part of our Eurotrip Series. You can find the rest of the series here.
Eurotrip Day 2 was a leisurely day of exploring the natural wonders of Ireland. We considered driving the Ring of Kerry, but after of our long, 7-hour drive the day before, we instead opted to sleep in, eat a wonderful breakfast in our castle, and head to the various sights within Killarney National Park. Our favorite part of the day was the Gap of Dunloe. It was so incredibly peaceful and beautiful!
- Adventures – Write-ups of the activities we enjoyed during our visit.
- Hotel Spotlight – Where we stayed and our review of the accommodations.
Gap of Dunloe
We set our offline Google Maps navigation to the Gap of Dunloe and headed out for the day. When we arrived, we drove through a small parking area and found a tiny, narrow road. We were unsure if we were actually supposed to drive up, but we eventually found other cars and tourists the farther up we went. We did get a few dirty looks from the horse-drawn buggies that take tourists up as well.
Driving into the gap was definitely worth the nerve-wracking drive as we discovered a few picturesque bridges, some small ponds, and beautiful rock formations carved by erosion. The winding road was a challenge, as it became extremely narrow in places!
Muckross House and Gardens
Muckross House and Gardens provided us a wonderful opportunity to tour a fully-restored and fully-furnished, 19th century Victorian mansion. The mansion sits on the edge of Muckross Lake and is located within Killarney National Park. The cost was 9 euros/person for the guided mansion tour and access to all the surrounding trails and gardens. The property contains a cafeteria-style eating area with a decent selection of food options. After leaving the estate, we were able to explore other nearby features of Killarney National Park.
Torc Waterfall and Ladies View
These two quick stops were only a few miles from Muckross House and well worth the time to take a look. The pictures speak for themselves, even though it was a cloudy day!
After settling in at our AirBnB, Jesse and I headed to downtown Cork. We ate dinner at Elbow Lane Brew & Smokehouse, which we highly recommend. They brew an assortment of beers on site, and the baby back ribs were excellent! Upon a recommendation from a local, we headed down to The Oliver Plunkett to sip Irish whisky, in an Irish pub, while watching live Irish music.
Tip – For the best whisky selection in Cork, go upstairs at Oliver Plunkett to the Speakeasy. I highly recommend a pour of the Yellow Spot!
AirBNB in Cork, Ireland – 1 Night – $46
We spent the night in Cork with a lovely AirBnB host couple, Romain and Amandine. They are actually from France, and have traveled the world. We shared lots of stories and only wish we had more time to get to know them! They were excellent hosts, and they even offered great recommendations for dinner in Cork (see above). I highly recommend staying with them if you visit Cork.
The accommodations were a private room and bathroom within the couple’s apartment, situated approximately five minutes north by car from downtown Cork. The room and bathroom were exceptionally clean and matched the pictures from their AirBNB page exactly. Check-in was simple, and the location was very convenient, since we rented a car. The apartment complex also had ample parking. Our total cost for the night was $46, which we covered using Barclay Arrival+ miles!
Day 2 in Ireland was fantastic, despite fighting the rain here and there! Mountains, lakes, mansions, waterfalls, and an authentic Irish pub experience – what’s not to love?! Cheers!