Last week I was in the land of the Gingers, home of the leprechauns, and rolling green hills. While Ireland is over 3200 miles away, many things felt very familiar there. Growing up in Nova Scotia may have had something to do with it; the scenery bares a striking resemblance to that of Ireland. Of course I do have distant Irish heritage, as is evident by my Ginger-ness, but even still I was surprised at how at home I felt there.
We started in Dublin, walking by the Liffey, sauntering across the Ha’Penny Bridge, and riding rented bikes through Phoenix Park. Dublin is a dirty old city, with Gothic churches, and monuments sprinkled amidst the modern skyline.
We took the acclaimed Guinness tour, where you see how the thick black stout is made, and how to pour the perfect pint. The building is actually shaped like a giant pint of Guinness with a 360 view of Dublin at the very top, pretty incredible!
Next we rented a car and toured around the country side, hitting up Galway and Sligo along the way.
We stopped in Galway for a traditional Irish breakfast, eggs, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, heavy brown bread, black pudding, and tea of course. The food in Ireland was generally heavy, and fried, pretty tough on the old gut. By the time the week was done I was happy to get back to smoothies, and salads!
In Sligo we stopped for a hot seaweed bath. It came highly recommended by the locals, and I can see why. Voya Spa, in Sligo was easily one of the highlights of the trip. The baths are detoxifying (which is well needed after all the Guinness and Irish food). The baths claim to help increase circulation, and moisturize the skin using the natural power of organic hand-harvested seaweed fresh from the Atlantic. The spa was so relaxing and overlooked the beautiful coastline of Sligo.
Our last stop were to the stunning Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions, and with good reason. It was completely breathtaking to stand at the edge of cliffs of Moher and look out into the vast ocean below. We had a great day, and lucked out on the weather despite a bit of wind. Thank god for core strength and balance, because you would not want to be dizzy around the steep, unfenced edges of the cliffs!
Overall the trip was incredible. It was nice to reconnect with my roots, while taking in new experiences. If you need a taste of Ireland try my recipe for a healthy twist on a traditional Irish stew. I think I’ve had my dose of Irish culture for now though, and may be celebrating this St. Patty’s Day with a detox!