Shamrock Country

Ireland

I've been meaning to write another article sooner, but since I had a short vacation planned I decided to wait a little longer and write this article after my trip and make it all about my trip. You may have already guessed from the title of this article that I've been to green and rugged Ireland! The home of spuds, Guiness and leprechauns.

For us Dutch it's just a short hop away. Only ~1,5 hours by air to Cork and then another 2 hours by rental car to our friends near Tralee. This has been the 11th time my girlfriend and I visited our good friends in Ireland. On some visits we were accompanied by other friends, adding to the fun. And this time our friends from Thailand and their two children also came along. As well as a friend from Twente, bringing the total to 7 adults and 4 children.

The first day we took it easy and went on a day trip to Killarney. I've been here many times before and although it's a bit of a touristy place I still like it. We parked the car at the Muckross house. The surrounding area is very beautiful and this time of year there aren't many tourist around. From the Muckross house we walked to Torc waterfall. The weather had been quite good throughout the whole day. After lunch we went back into town and I managed to buy a windbraker (jacket) for half price at the outlet mall next to the bus station, which was great, because I really needed one for the walks we had planned for the next couple of days.

During our visit we always bought our groceries at either Lidl or Aldi which saved us a lot of money. At these supermarkets we bought everything that we needed. Lunch for during our trips, diner for cooking together at home and of course lots and lots of beer and wine. After a long day there is nothing better than drinking and having fun conversations with your friends.

Windy Gap, GlenbeighThe next day we hiked the 'Windy Gap' in Glenbeigh which was not windy at all. At least not when we were there. This was the only day we had a bit of rain and got quite wet. It was a very nice walk and from the mountain we had some great views on Dingle and lake Caragh. Because we were on a day trip with so many people we divided ourselves among two cars. On the way back our car made a coffee (and cake) break in Castlemaine while the other car went home to Tralee. It was nice to have a break a sit with my good friends.

Our last day trip was to Carrauntoohil. Irelands highest mountain. We parked the cars at Cronins Yard and hiked through the valley towards the mountain. Just before the mountain and "Devil's ladder" there are two small lakes with a stunning view. This is where we had our lunch (picnic). We went to the supermarket earlier that day a bought some sandwiches and fruit for the lunch. After almost two hours of hiking lunch tasted extra good. Some of us walked up to the base of "devil's ladder" for a nicer view and the experience.

Because The Netherlands is pretty much all flat hiking trips in Ireland demand some form of physical fitness. As an office guy I don't get much exercise so I expected to suffer big time during the hikes, but apart from some sore muscles it all went quite well. And it felt great. Also, the air in Ireland (at least in this part) is noticeably cleaner than in The Netherlands. Some people don't realize it, but the air in The Netherlands is very very dirty.

I really enjoyed our time in Ireland. Spending time with my good friends was great. It is what I enjoy the most in life. This, for me, is also one of the major motivations to become financially free as soon as possible.

Now, I'm back in the office and looking forward to my next trip. This time Ecuador!

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