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Budget Travel: How to spend a week exploring Ireland with $500

Budget Travel: How to spend a week exploring Ireland with $500

Ireland – Known for its its beautiful landscapes, castles perched along the coast & hidden inlands; myths & legends, fairy dust and leprechauns, this is one country you have to see with your own eyes.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Where to Stay:

First you need a place to stay, and you’ll typically find the best B&B, hostel and hotel deals booking.com or, if you’ve never used Airbnb, sign up here and receive $40 credit off your first stay! I’d recommend Isaacs Hostel in Dublin , (from €13 per person per night) it is conveniently located right in the city center. Known for being clean, free WiFi, serves free breakfast and they have an entertainment room and a free sauna.

Transportation:

Should you rent a car in Ireland? Yes!!!Everything is widely spread out and not easy to reach unless you take public transport which is great, but most doesn’t operate for 24 hours. Whether you’re on a bus or train, expect free WiFi, friendly drivers, and timely departures. Uber’s are really scarce in all towns and meter taxis are available but ridiculously expensive! You can download the meter “My Taxi” app to be able to schedule rides and see who your driver is etc. You can also purchase a leap card for €10, load money and use it for the bus or trains.

General Information:

Currency: Euro (€)

Driving: Left side of the road

Service: Irish service providers might seem positively reserved, compared to Americans whereby you are immediately greeted as soon as you enter and there’s always someone checking up on you.

An Ireland itinerary usually starts or/ and ends in Dublin because a majority of travelers with arrive or leave from Dublin Airport.

Tip: Buy The Heritage Card (€40) provides you with free admission to all fee-paying State managed OPW Heritage Sites located throughout the country for one year from the date of first use.

Day 1: Viking Capital City of Dublin

Guiness Storehouse, IrelandI started my day with tour (2 hours) of the Guinness Storehouse: This impressive seven-story building is the #1 visitor attraction in the country with over 14 million visitors since opening to the public in 2000. You will learn about the history and brewing process of Ireland’s most famous export. Each ticket comes with a free pint that you can redeem while learning about the art form of pouring a “perfect pint” or on the last floor at the Gravity Bar while taking in great views of the city.

Did you know: 10 million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed every day around the world! And nearly 40% of those beers are consumed… at home, in Africa! 😱

Among the most popular FREE attractions in Dublin are Dublin Castle which was not only home to Ireland’s first Lord, King John but it served as the seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922. Learn about Irish history at the National Museum of Ireland. Walk through Phoenix Park and feed deers. Explore Ireland’s oldest university, Trinity College – Famous Alumni of the college include Oscar Wilde, and Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female President. Appreciate the architecture of the Custom House. Admire a mixture of both permanent and temporary installations at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Temple Bar, IrelandEnd the day with dinner and a drink at the Temple Bar, although it can be crowded and touristy, it’s the best place to experience Irish nightlife and music at its finest.

Expenses: Admission for the Guinness Storehouse is €16.50 (get 10% off if you pre-book online). Dinner for two at the Temple Bar (Margarita Pizza, Gin & Tonic And Coke: €24).

Total Spent: €40.50

Day 2: Head to the sunny southeast

The South East of Ireland comprises of five counties of Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford. Known for its evocative patchwork of fertile valleys and plains.

Kilkenny Castle, IrelandAdmire the Crystal Factory in the capital city of Waterford, the center has a fascinating crystal factory tour, visitor centre and opulent retail store housing the largest collection of Waterford Crystal in the world. Visit the medieval city if Kilkenny, Its two most impressive landmarks are Kilkenny Castle, founded in 1172 and privately owned until 1967, and St. Canice’s Cathedral which dates from the 13th century.

St Canice Church, Ireland

Worship has taken place at this site for over 800 years.

Expenses: Waterford Crystal Factory €12.15 (discounted price, if you purchase a ticket online). Kilkenny Castle entry – €8. Lunch – €12

Total Spent: €32.15

Day 3: Cork

Ireland’s second largest city, has fast gained a reputation as a food-lover’s paradise. Eat your way through the famous English farmers market, Admire the fabulous art houses, such as The Crawford Municipal Gallery, and a world class Opera House. Have brunch are the Blackrock Castle and Go stargazing at Blackrock Observatory.

Expenses: Blackrock Castle Observatory (€6.50), Brunch at Blackrock Cafe (€11)

Total Spent: €17.50

Day 4: Killarney

Watch the sunrise at Muckross Abbey, It dates back to the beginnings of Christianity in Ireland. The first monastery was reputed to have been built here by Saint Fionan sometime in the 6th century. What you see today are the ruins of a Franciscan friary which was founded here in the 15th century and are in very good state of preservation with the walls of the Cloister and its associated buildings in their original and complete state. The monks of Muckross Abbey were driven out in the 1650’s by the infamous Cromwellian forces. It was listed as #1 place to get engaged in Ireland.

Take a scenic drive around the Ring of Kerry – a 179-kilometre-long (111-mile) circular tourist route in County Kerry. Visit Torc Waterfall & climb ‘Cardiac Hill’. End your day with the best Indian food in town at Bombay Palace.

Expenses: Muckross Abbey (€9), Dinner at Bombay Palace (€26)

Total Spent: €35

Day 5: West Coast Ireland

The West Coast for superb walking and trekking opportunities, for a distinctive culture of traditional music and art, and sometimes to hear the Irish tongue spoken as a first language.

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The Bunratty Castle – a 15th-century medieval Norman fortress, and on through Lahinch, a world famous surfing and golfing destination. Take a selfie at the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Cliffs of Moher (Admission: €6 for adults), O’Brien’s Tower – the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher.See The Burren – One of the largest limestone areas in Europe. Known for its moon-like landscape, you can find a combination of distinctive limestone rock formations with rare species of flora and fauna. Its unique appearance is the result of thousands of years of the erosion of limestone by acidic rainwater which left ruts and hollows between the rock surfaces. See the handmade stone walls in Inis Méain. End the day with dinner in Galway City. To avoid driving for more than 200km’s, I’d recommend the Wild Rover Tours experience.

Expenses: €45 for the tour which includes admission for all attractions excluding O’Brien’s Tower (€2), and €10 for lunch at the Cliffs of Moher cafe. Dinner was €7 at McDonagh’s in Galway.

Total Spent: €64

Day 6: Northern Ireland

Titanic Museum, Belfast, UK Popular for the Titanic Museum and filming locations of one of the most popular TV shows of the 21st century – Game of Thrones. There are actually tours dedicated to these sites and quite frankly, I thought they were crowded and barely resemble what you see on TV.

See the Dunluce Castle. Follow the Giant’s Causeway stepping stones leading from the cliff foot and disappearing under the sea. Cross Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge to see amazing views of the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland and Rathlin Island. Have lunch in the picturesque village of Ballintoy. If you’re planning on visiting Northern Ireland, this post should help!<

Expenses: The tour cost €60 and excluded a ticket for the Rope Bridge which was (£7 / €8) and lunch was €15.

Total Spent: €83

Day 7: Explore County Meath

Duleek, County Meath, Ireland Head to Duleek to see the remains of the first stone church in Ireland. See the Hill of Tara – An archaeological site dating from the Iron Age, known as the seat of the High King of Ireland. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Brú na Bóinne archaeological site, it comprises of the tombs of Knowth (€6), Dowth and Newgrange (€7) dating back to 3200 BC. Go through St Laurence’s Gate, regarded as one of the finest of its kind in Europe. It consists of two lofty circular towers, connected together by a wall, in which there is an archway.

Expenses: Combined entry for Brú na Bóinne exhibition center, Knowth and Newgrange (€13). Lunch at Snailbox in Ashbourne (€20).

Total Spent: €23

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This is a breakdown of what I did in Ireland in 7 days. Total expenses were €318. Keep in mind on some days I was having one or two meals a day.

Don’t forget that accidents and mishaps are often a part of traveling abroad, and so you shouldn’t forget to cover yourself and your belongings for any eventuality. I always choose World Nomands, because you can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

Have you been to Ireland before? Which was your favorite city?

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