In Mayo: 5 Spots Along the Wild Atlantic Way

I spent a weekend driving around Mayo and it was amazing. Unfortunately I had car trouble and I couldn’t finish my trip so I have more to see. This is my first post of amazing stops along the Wild Atlantic Way. Mayo is completely gorgeous, you might only think about Mayo for Croagh Patrick or Céide Fields but there is such amazing drives and stops along the way that you can’t go to the west and not see them. 

PhoebeGill160409180Downpatrick Head

My sister alerted me to this place in north Mayo before I went so I decided to go on google maps and track it down, there are hidden gems in Mayo so sometimes you have to look at a map and find out where it is and what the official name of it is.  So this location sounds a bit scary, they are fast eroding cliffs that has a blow hole in the earth. I found that the look out points were pretty useless, it is a new construction around the blowhole as it is very dangerous, so I understand why there are there but you can’t actually see down that well. It’s still a really cool attraction though. Further up the field is where it gets fun, terrifying but fun!

PhoebeGill160409355You see the blowhole may have a lot of barriers but further up the field you get to the cliffs, which have zero barriers. I recommend you take it slow, if you are with people, don’t joke or mess around close to the edge because seriously, these cliffs are big and the waves are scary and generally makes your butt shake. Saying that oh my they are completely beautiful! PhoebeGill160409289I mean look at this sea stack, don’t you love a good sea stack! The cliffs are beautiful, the views are stunning and if it’s a sunny warm day I recommend you come here with a picnic and soak up the sun! PhoebeGill160409551

Céide Fields

Céide Fields are a very well known tourist attraction in Mayo, it is an archaeological site in the north of Mayo. Take note that there are zero bits of information outside but there are free guided tours. It is €4 in and it has an exhibition inside the building. PhoebeGill160409195I recommend you go in and take a tour, walk around, the area is gorgeous and don’t forget to cross the road and see the viewing point opposite Céide Fields. There is plenty of parking but maybe in Summer time it will get a lot busier. PhoebeGill160409361

Ballycroy National Park Trail

I was driving along and came across a car park in the middle of nowhere. As I got out of the car I saw that there is a 2km boardwalk in the national park, it goes along the edge of the water and offers some stunning scenery! PhoebeGill160409919I love that you can see the raised bog, it’s a great combination and makes the area really interesting. The whole view is beautiful! Check it out and see for yourself! PhoebeGill160409076

PhoebeGill160409331An Bhinn Bhui

I had been here before but it was raining and I was wearing converse so the experience wasn’t as good as it could have been. This is another place that I had to get out my map and figure out where it was. It’s on an unnamed road in northern Mayo.  PhoebeGill160409165These cliffs are so beautiful. It was gorgeous when I went, sunny and warm, walking around I had such a nice time. I definitely recommend you go get lost and try and find this place. PhoebeGill160409372

PhoebeGill160410493

Keem Bay

Just before I had one serious oil leak all over the country I decided I would go to Achill Island and go to one specific location. Keem Beach. At the end of a small winding road, this small little beach is at the very end of Achill Island. It was baltic. I mean the coldest wind I have ever felt! PhoebeGill160410541I love this beach, it is small but idilic. When I was there there was a man on the hill herding sheep with this dog. It is such a charming place. I would have stayed longer if it wasn’t so cold! I would say that this beach is packed in summer! PhoebeGill160410402

So there it is! I am not done with Mayo yet but for now here is my favourite spots in Mayo that you have to check out! Have you been to Mayo? Do you want to go now?

Happy Travels!

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In Clare: Cliffs of Moher Helicopter Tour

I have wanted to ride in a helicopter for the longest time and just before christmas I saw the Groupon had an offer that I couldn’t pass up! I went with Executive Helicopters. Usually the 15 minute helicopter tour costs €250 euro but the offer was for €99 euro. Now to me that is a good deal. PhoebeGill160306588You could either choose from a Dublin tour or a Cliffs of Moher tour and when I saw this I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and so I made some plans to go across the country to check off something very high on the bucket list! PhoebeGill160306271To get to Spanish Point airfield type in these coordinates into google or your gps: 52°50’52.0″N 9°24’55.2″W. There is a small amount of parking on site just go though the gate and you can park up. Go into the portacabin and you can get a prosecco or soft drink before your flight. The process to get on your flight is almost instantaneous, it’s a very relaxed atmosphere! PhoebeGill160306060-2There are two helicopters and it’s four people in each. Although it can feel quite cramped I loved every second! I would love to go up by myself but I might make it rock side to side as I slosh around trying to look out every window and trying to get the best shots! PhoebeGill160306341The views are just amazing! I chose to do my flight on the Sunday and I went to the Cliffs of Moher the day before so it was wonderful to see the landscape at a different angle! I recommend you do the same, I think it is a much more well rounded trip if you end it in the air. PhoebeGill160306567The flight feels like 5 minutes but it does take 15, it’s almost as if you are going slow but time has sped up, it’s a mad feeling and it’s something I want to experience again and again! The views are just incredible, seeing the coastline and just how green it is, is astonishingly beautiful! I was smiling ear to ear!PhoebeGill160306072I know €99 euro sounds very expensive for 15 minutes but you have to take into consideration that running a helicopter is very very costly. Saying that I don’t think I would pay €250 but I would pay €99 again. I am so so grateful I was able to check off something I have wanted to do for such a long time and do it in a beautiful part of Ireland.

Would you go up in a helicopter? Is it on your list?

Happy Travels!

In Clare: 656km in a Weekend

I woke up early on Saturday morning and got ready for my little road trip across the country. I had booked something very special for the Sunday which gave me loads of time to explore a county I had never been too before. So I had a few things I wanted to see but was just going to drive around and see what it was like.

My first spot along the way was Spanish Point.

Spanish Point

PhoebeGill160305331Although it’s a small area it is where I decided to stay for the night. Spanish Point has a lovely sea front area. I can imagine on a hot summers day this beach being packed, with lots of surfers out. Clare has good surf, so if you want to go on a surfing holiday in Ireland I would put Clare on your list! PhoebeGill160305370

Where I Stayed

PhoebeGill160306126I stayed in the Bellbridge House Hotel, it has a classic Irish pub/a family home type feel to it, dark woods, roaring fire, striped wallpaper and warm colours. I booked a single room for €50 euro, it had an ensuite so I was very happy, thankfully when I got there they upgraded me! I got a double room and it was really nice, there was a tv and tea and coffee making facilities. The only thing I would say in the mattress was a little lumpy and the room was a little cold, they don’t have air conditioning, just radiators but the duvet was really comfortable and warm! Breakfast is included it’s a continental style, pastries, cereals, hot food, fruit, pancakes, I think the chef will make you almost any breakfast food if you ask. They also have a bar menu and a restaurant, the restaurant gets booked out on weekends so I would ring ahead but the bar menu is tasty. I definitely recommend this hotel and would definitely stay again. PhoebeGill160305265

Cliffs of Moher

PhoebeGill160305411Admission to the Cliffs of Moher are on good faith if you are walking the coastal route or are generally on foot or bike. If so, you are asked to go to the visitors centre and pay the fee of €6. I took my car and admittance is the same price, so you aren’t charged for parking, which I definitely appreciate, there is lots of parking and its busy all day! O’Brian’s Tower is an additional cost of €2, I didn’t avail of it but I am sure the views are great! PhoebeGill160305384The Cliffs are amazing, like every picture you’ve seen is beautiful but they are stunning in person, I want to go back and do the coastal walk, give myself more time to actually walk around. The main viewing platform gives you an almost 180 degree view of the cliffs but I urge you to walk around and see it! Just be careful if it’s a really windy/rainy day it could be very dangerous. The day I went it was cold and sunny so it was perfect. PhoebeGill160305159I 100% recommend you go around sunset, the cliffs become golden are are so beautiful! The Cliff of Moher have a closing time, which I don’t really understand how you can close a cliff top but I think it is if you come after closing to see the cliffs and you don’t pay, you can be fined. PhoebeGill160305060

The Burren

I then decided to drive! I do love driving, I didn’t have a plan but I gave the Wild Atlantic Way route a try and it didn’t disappoint! The Burren spans 250 square kilometres of limestone rock that cracks and leaves slabs of rock in the landscape, the geology of it all is quite cool! Driving around shows just how big and how beautiful it is, so hop in the car and get exploring! PhoebeGill160305006There are lots of points to stop off and look around, I also saw rock climbers so I am sure there are groups you can join to go climbing. The Wild Atlantic Way is such a gorgeous route to follow and to explore but do keep in mind that the landscape looks very similar so if you go for a long walk make sure you have gps or orienteering skills of some sort. PhoebeGill160305225

Craggy Island’s Parochial  House

You can’t go to Clare without seeing Father Ted’s house, this is a private home and farm so don’t go up the drive, or knock on the door or obstruct the gates. There is a farm tour €25 and  you can go for tea €10 and hear the history of the house. Check out their website to see what’s on offer. PhoebeGill160306534The route to get to the house are tiny roads, very very tiny! Be careful driving around, although the area is quiet make sure you take the corners carefully and drive with lights on, even in the day time, lights are easier to see than cars that are similar colours to the hedging. Make sure you take a look at the farm life, lots of cows, sheep and horses, there is nothing better than seeing these faces peer over a stone wall. PhoebeGill160306542

In Closing

I think the only thing I didn’t like was that the roads aren’t built for the amount tourism that Clare gets, huge tour buses are going along country roads which means the side of your car is scraping the bushes, that sound makes my heart hurt! My poor car. Also a red car whacked off the side of my door so thank you person, that was nice of you…but that’s my only gripe, everything else was amazing!

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 08.36.57I think in total I spent €252 for the weekend including petrol, activities, food, accommodation. It was such a good trip and there is still more to see of Clare. I think three days is enough time to see and do the upper half of the county! There are also the Doolin cave, the Alawee caves, there is the surf town of Lahinch. I am very happy I chose Clare to explore, it’s a great county with so much to do and see. Definitely rent a car, do the Wild Atlantic Way route, see the Cliffs of Moher, get in the sea and have an amazing weekend! PhoebeGill160305162

Happy Travels!

In Dublin: The Best Burger?

When I travel they are always the thing I’d choose, they are a safe option. Also my friends and I go for burgers quite a bit, when we were younger we’d go to Eddie Rockets, when you walk in the doors a layer of grease descends on you and you end up eating way too much and feeling like a ball going out the door, it’s the perfect way to destroy your healthy eating. When deciding where we’d go, we realised that we’d grown out of Eddie Rockets. It’s time to move on to better things.

The Counter

 To give you context this chain has restaurants all over the US, Australia, Malaysia and the Middle East. Oprah has said this is the best burger in America! So you know when O likes it, it’s good! Ireland has two restaurants, one in Dundrum and one on Suffolk street. The inside is nice and warm with nice decor. You can eat at the bar but there is not much room for big groups, it’s tables of two are four so if your panning a shin dig you may want to plan ahead. One thing to note is that there will be a queue to eat here and they don’t take your name but the wait time in my opinion was worth it!

They have menu items or you can build your own. Perfect for the fussy eater/children or vegans as they cater to vegans and vegetarians.! Lots of veggies for you and they have vegan cheese! As you can see from above, I went with a less green choice  and more of a give me crispy deliciousness. Also as a treat I chose a Bundaberg ginger beer (€3.25) , my favourite beverage, it was the perfect accompaniment to the burger.Now for the show stopper. The burger itself. It was delicious. The only thing that was missed is that you can choose how you want you burger and my dining party would rather a medium well rather than well, which I agree with. To cater to people like my father, who love a good burger but wants it to be pink in the middle they should have that option. The fries were so good and the sweet potato fries were crispy and moorish ! The crispy onion strings made the burger and the bacon was tasty and had little fat so it was just smoky and delectable!

The garlic sauce! If there is one thing that makes a meal it’s garlic. This garlic sauce is fantastic! It has enough for you to put lots on your burger and have enough for dipping.

So is it the best burger? Well it’s definitely the best one I have eaten in a long time! This meal cost my €14.40 which is an average price for a custom burger and it was close to perfect. I think it says a lot when there is a queue out the door continuously on a Friday night. So a tip would be to go early and be hungry.

I haven’t tried one of their shakes but Id also check them out, they have lots of flavours from simple to whacky.

So you looking for a place to eat tonight? Go with The Counter!

Happy Travels!

In Life: A Perfect Sunday

So for many reasons, most notably I am very grateful for the ability to move and the fact that I am reasonably healthy, I decided to go for a hike on Sunday. I have decided to get out and do more on the weekends since I sit at a desk all week.

I left the house at 7:30am to do the 45 minute drive to Glendalough, somewhere I love and go to an awful lot. I was the first person in the car park, I love being the first person in a car park. PhoebeGill160110052This hike is a part of the white route in Glendalough, there are a lot of rocks as the path winds up the hill. I see various outfits whenever I’ve walked up here. I’ve seen hiking poles, I’ve been waterproofs and thick coats, I’ve seen shorts and gym gear. My suggestion is you wear any shoe with good enough ankle support, bring gloves because the wind comes down this valley and it can get quite cold, especially in winter. Also wear something that is comfortable, I’ve done this hike in jeans in the height of summer…terrible terrible decision! Like awful! Just wear exercise clothes or sweatpants, be comfy! I also recommend water and a clementine. Clementines are fantastic! PhoebeGill160110061Take note, in this area there is lots of wildlife! I love looking at the side of the hill and spotting all the deer and the feral goats. I like the feral goats, I was hiking in a spot close to here and I heard a noise above me, I look up to see a line of goats wandering on the side of the hill. I then called the person I was with and they thought I was mad but believe me there are goats, look out for them they are pretty cool! PhoebeGill160110094The hike up is fun, there is a gorgeous waterfall that is now strong and thunderous, it’s pretty great! The view from the top is amazing and I love it. I have so many memories around this place! PhoebeGill160110088Once I reached the top I realised how much snow had fallen the night before. I knew that the fact I am like a new born giraffe on ice meant that I probably shouldn’t walk up the mountain ridge. I met two dogs and their human said that it was quite icy on the walk so that only confirmed that I should venture any further. PhoebeGill160110105Once I descended the hill I got back to my car and drove up to the top of Glendalough to see more snow. I got to see the most gorgeous view of the Wicklow gap. Snow makes me ridiculously happy! Ever since 2010 I have learnt that in Wicklow it snows and that if it’s not too bad I can drive around and go see it. I love snow, it makes all my memories happier and warm. PhoebeGill160110179Although I was giddy at the prospect of new powder hugging the ground, my heels at this point were on fire! I needed to break in those Mendel boots I bought for Iceland, I did walking in Iceland but I didn’t do any hiking, so this was their first proper outing…ouchy!PhoebeGill160110185I then drove home with a stupidly big smile on my face and donned some blister plasters and spent the rest of the day relaxing.

My definition of a perfect Sunday!

 

What’s your perfect day? Tell me in the comments! 

Happy Travels!

2015 According To My Instagram

It’s that time again where we go through the year and see the ups and downs of the last 12 months. Check out my 2014 wrap up!  2015 was a great year, lets take a look. Jan

My first trip to Iceland. Words cannot describe how amazing this trip was. I went with my father, this meant I have now travelled with every member of my family alone and it’s pretty cool. Although we have travelled together for years it’s really interesting to see each member as an individual. Iceland in snow is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. This trip sparked a complete infatuation with Iceland and I vouched that I would be back sooner rather than later.

FebI went to a Google, Irish YouTube event. This really inspired me to create more content on YouTube and my channel. I wanted to make travel videos to go along with this blog. I have watched YouTube since 2007 and love the community and love watching content.

March April MaySo something very exciting happened in March, I gained new family members which was an amazing feeling and I am so so happy I got to be a part of it. In April, we lost a member of our family. It was a hard time but am so appreciative of peoples help and kindness. We also adopted Tiffin, the Beagle pup, we started out puppy training at the DSPCA in April and most of the month was training the pup and making her new life as wonderful as possible. In May something very wonderful happened in Ireland. We became the first country to pass same sex marriage by popular vote. I was so so proud of my country, amazing day. JuneJune is my birthday month. I had planned a trip away to Croatia with a couple of friends. I actually was travelling over my birthday. Plitvice was a place that had been on the bucket list for a long long time and I built the trip around this amazing park. Croatia was beautiful but I don’t think I want to spend another birthday away from the people that love me. I loved travelling around Croatia and I will be back one day to do one epic roadtrip.

July

I got to use my christmas present from my sister and have a falconry experience which was so so much fun! When I got back from Croatia I decided to do something that turned out to be a bad decision. I thought I could help, I thought I could do something but it’s not up to me to make a change. It basically went how it always did but this time I was strong enough to make the decision I should have made a long long time ago. Although this was a bad month I can look back now and see the good and I can see the bad but most importantly, I can see my worth and if someone can’t see that, then they don’t deserve me.augustAn amazing thing happened in August. I won a trip to Iceland!!! I was crying I was so happy. I decided to take my wonderful friend with me and we had such a good time! We walked around the city, we went to a Kings of Leon concert, we went puffin watching, we went on the golden circle tour, we debated about veganism. It was just awesome! I am so so glad I went with her. That is now two trips we have been on in two years! Woo! sepMy third time in Iceland! This month marked something very exciting, I was ticking off two things on my bucket list. Driving in another country and travelling solo. Iceland on my own time was incredible! I couldn’t recommend it enough, no tour busses, no set times, no limits to where you can stay.  It was such a good experience. I would do it over and over again. octnovBefore I left for Iceland, my parents said when I was back I needed to get a job, that was fine and I had been looking previously. Well it turns out luck was on my side because the day after I got back from Iceland I got myself a job. It’s really interesting and I am so excited for the business to succeed. It also means I get to work in the centre of the city which is really handy and will be great when one of my friends moves back into the city.   decDecember was a lot of fun but there was also a big shock to my household. It was scary and truly showed me what to be thankful for and what not to waste energy on. With that I booked my next adventure. Thinking that money can’t give you much sitting in an account, they adventure is priceless. Christmas was lovely, I got to spend it with my family and it was so relaxing. I got lovely things and was so happy to give people I care about the gifts they had wanted. I also spoiled myself a lot this month most notably in this shop so now I have to calm down and save for more adventures.

2015 had no where near as many downs as last year and that is so nice to say. I have learnt quite a lot about myself and others and it’s invaluable. I completed 5 things off my bucket list this year which is wonderful! I cannot wait for 2016 and to see where it takes me. There are a few goals I have for 2016 so they will be coming soon!

Lastly, thank you so much for reading my blog. I just want The Start and The Bean to be a resource for like minded people. Thank you! I hope your 2016 is fantastic!

Happy Travels!