In a blink of an eye, I've been in Dublin for a week now.
The city doesn't feel as foreign, as I'm starting to recognize places and not feel so lost. To make the best of my trip here, I decided to do some exploring over the weekends.
Since there aren't many interesting Airbnb experiences available here, I decided to book additional tours from GetYourGuide!
Western Ireland wasn't on my list, but one of the cab drivers told me to check it out – said it was beautiful.
So of course I had to!
One of the touristy spots apparently!
Unfortunately, it seems like most tours do the coach drive you up to the cliffs thing but it's not guided while you're on the cliffs itself.
Of course, you can opt for an audio tour but I didn't bother to.
Despite the unpredictable weather in Ireland, we were blessed with clear skies for the most part of the day! Our driver said that we were extremely lucky as we would have came for naught should the skies be gloomy.
As if you didn't know you were at the cliffs…
Cows, cows and more cows.
The cliffs keep getting cut off at an angle.. so it kinda look like steps I suppose.
I plucked the courage to ask some Chinese tourists to help me take a photo.
They were shocked to see that I could speak Mandarin 😂
Asked me where I'm from and if I'm travelling alone – then proceeded to say I'm very brave for doing so 🤣
We got to spend an hour and a half at the cliffs – free and easy.
Honestly speaking, I think that's not enough time if you wanna keep walking on and on till you're super deep in, considering that there are 2 sides to the cliff.
If you just wanna get the feels of it without walking too much, 1-1.5 hours probably is a good duration.
As part of the tour, we would drive down to Galway city.
Saw this at one of the cafes along the way..
Got some truth in it eh? 😛
We stopped by The Burren for a bit. Basically, this place is just covered in limestone – supposedly left over from the last Ice Age.
The only Ice Age I know is a squirrel chasing after his nut 🙃
We didn't stop here for long, since it was just rock everywhere. But still, it was nice. Something you wouldn't usually see.
When I was a creep and took photo of my new friend, Akari.
Akari was travelling alone and decided to sit beside me on the bus. For the entire bus ride, till we were done with the cliffs, we hadn't spoke a single word.
When it was time to settle our own lunch, I decided to not be so anti-social and asked if she wanted to eat together. To my surprise, she accepted my offer. So we ate!
Initially, she was a little awkward and was fumbling with her words.
To make her feel better, I asked her "お名前は？" (what's your name?)
She gave a look of surprise, which turned into relief almost instantly when she realised that I could speak (just a little) Japanese.
We started to converse a little.. somehow she understood my broken Japanese – god bless my grammar – and that's when I learnt that she's here alone studying English and Irish history.
So that was how I made a new friend!
We finally got to Galway, and to our surprise, it was a bustling Sunday.
The streets were crowded and there were a handful of street performers wowing us with their singing and dancing prowess.
SO. MANY. PEOPLE.
I mean sure, orchard road gets really crowded on weekends.. but I've been so used to the empty streets in Dublin that this took me by surprise.
We passed by Murphy's, and since it was highly recommended by a colleague, we decided to hop in to try their ice-creams.
One of the more interesting flavored was brown bread icecream. Pretty yummy! But I deviated back to flavored that I'm more familiar with, like sea salt caramel and hazelnut 😆
Nothing quite like an ice-cream in this chilly weather.
We had an hour plus to explore the streets a bit.. which I thought was sufficient since the stores were pretty meh.
Overall, you spend more time on the road than exploring places because it takes 3 hours to travel each way. So most of the time is, you're really just on the bus.
Our driver was pretty good though – he explained quite a bit of Irish culture and history as he drove along Dublin city, to the outskirt villages etc.
📍 Howth – pronounced like 'both' but with an H
This was my second Airbnb experience and Howth + this experience itself was highly recommended by both my Singaporean and Dublin colleagues.
When Experiences was first launched in June this year, this was one of the first few experiences that Dublin had.
Our guide, Shane, mentioned how he worked closely with the office as they wanted to know how to better improve this new product.
So far, 2 experiences in – I'm loving it! Unlike most commercialized tours, experiences are hosted by people who are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.
It's the fire and passion that makes the tours so different I suppose?
Before the meetup, I grabbed breakfast at a cafe nearby… even though the description said that we would meet for elevenses, I wasn't too sure that would fill me up.
It definitely was no joke trying to wolf this thing down in 10 minutes. Impossible! 😂
When we met up, we were treated to scones and a drink. The scones were some of the best I've ever tasted. Flaky on the outside, fluffy and crumbly on the inside.
It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. Coupled with jam and cream.. YUM!
The initial short hike up and we were greeted by this scene.
Again, I was so lucky because the skies were so clear!
I was so worried that it would pour so I wore thermal wear, long-sleeved top, jacket, uniqlo blocktech jacket and brought a poncho just in case.
Turns out I was so over-dressed – literally! I was sweating buckets in no time! But then again, you can't quite take chances with Dublin's unpredictable weather 🙃
Shane took us on the unconventional paths less walked by others – which made the hike a lot tougher than expected.
We had to crouch through trees, hike up places that didn't even seem to have been walked enough to form a proper pathway, climbed up and down rocks which didn't even seem possible.
Look at this amazing sight!
And Bruno, his dog companion!!! Oh gosh, be prepared for a Bruno pic spam…. cos I definitely took more photos of him than the surroundings 😂
One of Bruno's favourite things to do is to bring a branch to you! LOL!
Sometimes he would bite onto an incredible long and huge branch and walks past you.. knocking you out of the way!
Ain't he such a cutie? 😍
Caught him yawning.
Don't sleep on the hike just yet!!
Who am I kidding? He had so much more energy than every one of us.
Just a really old tree that is leaning to one side.
Such clear skies and seas!
Since the weather was ultra good, Shane took us below the sea level when the tide was low.
We explored a couple of caves – where I might have breathed in and swallowed an insect 😩
Apparently Reebok came here a couple of months back to film an advertisement with a Conor McGregor and Shane was the one who brought them around.
He said he might come up as a special appearance either as McG's dad… or an older version of him 😂
Since we went so low, we had to go back up some way or another…
That was the start of my nightmare because I'm such an amateur hiker. Also, hiking at Bukit Timah or MacRitchie is completely different because we have proper pathways!! The trail here was just whatever you made of it.
Almost everyone in the group had proper hiking shoes while I was in my Timberland boots. Not exactly the best since they are heavy but they did protect my ankles quite a bit. Pretty sure I could've sprained my ankle somewhere as the rocks were cut at an angle.
The worst part was having to ascend an extremely steep and rocky bit so we literally were using our arms and reaching out to rocks and climbing back up 😱
I was so afraid that I would fall and die. Really think this is abit too expert level for me.
Everyone else was so steady and moved on so quickly whereas my limbs were shaking. I felt so helpless midway and wished L was with me. If was around, he would've helped pushed or pulled me up and make sure that I get my footing right.
Haiii what do I do without him? 😐
But well, in the description on Airbnb, it does say it is a tough trail. So…. try at your own risk ya!!
We stopped midway for a little snack… and look at this doggo 😍
WHY SO SERIOUS???
Bruno takes his job very seriously 😌
We had a nice little ham sandwich and salad packed by the people from The House!
It was so yums – probably extra tasty since we were tired and hungry from the hike. The salad was also very light with the nice fruity sauce 😋
And we continued on with our hike!
Shane decided to split the group into 2:
One to go back down to the rocks at the sea level and the other to hike along the normal trail where we could look down at the sea.
Of course I went with option 2… my poor heart and ankles cannot take another round of that rocky terrain 😂
It was just Chris and I.
Chris had back issues and it was hurting. And I, well, was just not gonna take chances!!! 🤣
Doesn't this look abit like the Great Wall of China?
See how the little wall winds…
The Great Wall of Howth!
Yep we definitely did get a clear view of the others below alright.
Can you spot Bruno?
He just keeps running around – it's almost as if he's the one leading the group instead!
Look at this playful doggg!!
One of my favourite Bruno moments!
Shane picked up a stick and was playing fetch with him. He then threw the stick up high and it was wedge on the rocks above.
Bruno kept his eye on the stick… hesitant about whether or not he should go up. After a bit of egging, Bruno started darting up a side path, went to the trail above and started going down the edges to pick up his stick.
SUPER SMART DOGGO!!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Nothing pleases him more than his stick!!
He also had the habit of gnawing leaves wherever he went. What an omnivore!
Towards the end of our hike, he suddenly stopped walking and regurgitated a pile of green vomit in the middle of the pathway 😂
"Of course you had to do it right smack in the middle 🤦🏼♂️" Shane exclaimed.
Before we knew it, our 6 hours with Shane was slowly coming to an end.
It was definitely a tough, tiring and torturous hike. But the guide was great and so was the company.
Shane shared with us quite a fair bit about Irish history, his own stories on Howth as well as the myths and legends of Howth.
It was definitely a small and intimate experience as it was just the 6 of us! Usually his experiences can accommodate up to a maximum of 10 people.
Not forgetting the cutest hiking companion ever!
Bruno was sleepy at the end of it and was lying on one of the cuddles while he slowly faded off into snoozeland ❤️❤️
But a small group is definitely great and you don't end up missing out on what he has to share.
So that marks the end of my weekend last week!
It was a little difficult for me to start my engines and type away on the app because I was trying to have a social life and go to the gym at the same time!
I'm currently doing this while on my Game of Thrones tour and am super excited to share more pictures. Any GoT fans out there??? 🙋🏻
Till the next post!! 🙇🏻♀️