Ireland is one of those places that you grow up hearing about. Rolling hills, steep cliffs, and charming accents are all parts of Ireland that we looked forward to. We encountered all of these things, but also found much that we didn’t enjoy.
That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy our time, because there were definite highlights to the trip. My mom met us there after not having seen each other for six months, which made exploring Dingle special. We had our photos taken by a professional photographer at the Gap of Dunloe and are so happy with the results. We celebrated Greg’s birthday and met some new friends. But all of these experiences could have happened in any country, and Ireland itself isn’t a place that we’ll likely return to soon.
The typical weather in Ireland is “clouds and rain with the occasional sunny spell”. That’s straight from the weather website. It rains every single day in Ireland, so the overwhelming feel when walking around is “damp”. If you happen to get caught in a downpour instead of a drizzle, you’d better hope you remembered an umbrella! Long sleeves and a scarves are year round clothing, as the warmest weather in Ireland is 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Climate aside, Ireland’s cities aren’t as polished as the United Kingdom’s or as well-preserved as Eastern Europe’s. After seeing the major sights, we had a hard time finding many fun things to do. The nature and scenery in the rural parts of the country are best parts of Ireland, and after experiencing those we didn’t find much more to do.
Lastly, Ireland is very expensive. Prices for accommodation, food, and transportation are substantially higher than the rest of Europe. Day to day expenses alone make it a difficult place for budget travelers.
If Ireland is someone’s first trip abroad, they’ll likely love it, as it’s different than other places around the world. However, after experiencing other places in Europe that are packed with culture, a wide variety of things to do, great prices, and beautiful weather, Ireland doesn’t quite compare.
If you’re reading this and aren’t sure if you want to visit Ireland, consider a shorter visit and head straight to the peninsulas. See some of the landscape scenery, check off the major cities in a few days each and then head to another amazing country that Europe has to offer!