I can easily use the words that the Irish are so fond of to describe my dream vacation – BRILLIANT. GRAND. LOVELY! That about sums it up. I am so completely blessed that this vacation was a dream come true. Even living out of a suitcase for three weeks was bearable, knowing that each day would bring a new, exciting adventure in this beautiful land.
My FitBit recorded 254,083 steps and 101.56 miles on our 20 days of adventure. The best part was even on our most active days – I never got tired! As a fat-burning machine, I was the one that my daughter needed to keep up with! Hah! A few days were low mileage (like around 3 or 4 miles total) and our most active days were walking around Dublin (8.02 miles for the day), our day on the Aran Island Inishmore (walking 8.83 miles and biking 4 kms), and our hike at Glendalough National Park in the Wicklow Mountains (11.73 miles – more than half of that going UP!). It felt so great to be so active! Love this benefit of Keto/low carb living.
I wanted to see and do it all while I was there – and with the energy I have now, I figured “why not try?”. This is the major highlights of our trip:
|Dublin||Find our AirBNB flat downtown|
|Dublin||St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guiness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle|
|Dublin to Downpatrick to Newcastle, Northern Ireland||Glasnevin Cemetery, Newgrange (Bru na Boinne ruins)|
|Newcastle to Belfast||St. Patrick’s Visitor Center, St. Patrick’s Memorial Church and Burial place, Crumlin Road Gaol (jail)|
|Belfast||Black Taxi tour of Belfast (history tour), St. George’s Market, drive up to Ballyclare and Ballymena, REND Collective concert at SSE Arena|
|Belfast to Bushmills||Life Church Belfast, Kinbane Castle (for photo shoot), Dark Hedges|
|Bushmills to Londonderry/Derry||Carreck-A-Rope Bridge, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, downtown historical walk of Londonderry (Sunday, Bloody Sunday and the Walled City)|
|Londonderry/Derry to Donegal||Grianan of Aileach (fort ruins), Donegal town – boat tour and shopping, Reel Inn for live music (voted best pub in Ireland in 2017)|
|Donegal to Cong||Belleek Visitor Center and tour, the town of Cong where “The Quiet Man” was filmed, Ashford Castle|
|Cong to Milltown Malbay (County Clare – where my O’Halloran family is from)||Clare Heritage Center, Old Drumcliff Cemetery, Spanish Point|
|Milltown Malbay||day trip to Aran Islands – Inishmore (bike riding and hike to Don Aonghus – fort ruins), Cliffs of Moher|
|Milltown Malbay||Cliffs of Kilkee, Tidal pools at Kilkee, Loop Head Lighthouse, BEST meal at Keating’s Pub on the Loop Head drive, cemeteries|
|Milltown Malbay to Ring of Kerry||Mullagh church where the O’Halloran’s were censused, drive down to Ring of Kerry|
|Ring of Kerry||Skellig Michael Island day trip (where recent Star Wars movies were filmed – Luke Skywalker lives at the top)|
|Ring of Kerry to Kinsale||Staigue Fort, Kissane Sheep Farm, Kinsale town shopping|
|Kinsale to Waterford||Massages at our hotel spa ;), Multose Church and shopping in Kinsale, Blarney Castle – kissed the Blarney Stone, Jameson Distillery Midleton|
|Waterford to Portlaoise||Waterford Crystal Visitor Center and tour, downtown Waterford – cathedrals (oldest in Ireland), Kilkenny Castle tour|
|Portlaoise||Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Center and tour, Irish National Stud|
|Portlaoise to Dublin||Glendalough National Park, Wicklow Mountains – the ultimate day hike and mountain climbing!!!|
|Dublin to Home||Book of Kells and Old Library at Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, fly home 🙁|
Phew! If you read all that I commend you – and I bet you’re tired now. Hah!
Of course, I MUST talk about how I managed to eat while I was traveling for three weeks. Ireland is a perfect environment for Keto or Low Carb eating. Every pub and restaurant we went into had a steak or two available. Or a burger. Or lamb. Or fresh fish and seafood. Or eggs and bacon. So many choices! You would never have to worry about sticking to your low carb or Keto lifestyle while you are traveling around Ireland. The seafood was THE VERY BEST I have ever had. Super fresh and tasty! They know how to do seafood there!
This was originally supposed to be a family trip with my husband and son, too – but hubby decided that he didn’t want to leave the country, so it ended up just a mother/daughter trip. I had started looking for a photographer to do a family session since we have never had family pictures done before. I never wanted to be in pictures in the past – being 100 pounds overweight can really mess with that idea! Anyhow, my daughter asked to still do them just the two of us – so we did. The scenery was beautiful at Kinbane Castle. The photos turned out spectacular. If you ever need a photographer in Northern Ireland – please check out Luke Flint Media. Here’s a link to our session portraits: Christine and Kaitlin – Kinbane Castle.
I will cherish the photographs and the memories of this trip forever. I am so grateful to God for providing this opportunity in so many ways: financially, time off work and school, and most importantly for the weight loss and renewed energy that allowed me to actually attempt something like this and be able to do each and every active thing we wanted to do. There was nothing holding me back. I will never have to worry about having my weight hold me back again from doing things that truly make my heart soar. God is so good! Keto, Low Carb Healthy Fat, and Intermittent Fasting have given me a life for which I am so very thankful. I hope that you can catch some of this pot of gold, too, and truly enjoy the magic of special places like Ireland! As always, CHOOSE JOY!
Blarney Castle – County Cork
Whiskey and Spirits – Ireland Style
Skelling Michael Day trip was Kaitlin’s favorite part of our trip! Ring of Kerry – County Kerry.
I conquered a MOUNTAIN! I always referred to my weight loss as moving my “personal” mountain and now I’ve really climbed one! I never could have done this 100 pounds ago. It felt SO GREAT! Glendalough National Park (white trail) – Wicklow Mountains, County Wicklow. I think this was my favorite part of the trip!