The question was: How to get from the Southern most tip of England to Ireland with a dog? The answer was a car ferry, and we wanted the shortest crossing in case Bella wasn’t happy with this decision of transport! The answer to that is high speed ferry and there is only one and that is from Northern Wales across the Irish Sea into Dublin. Off the Isle of Wight, back to the UK mainland of Southampton and up the motorway to North Wales! An all day journey.
We were able to see fantastic Castles in North Wales on our way out to the tiny tip of Holyhead on the island of Anglesey, where the fastest ferry from the UK to Ireland is. Under 2hrs vs almost 4 hrs, at all the other crossings. Irish Ferry is like a giant cruise ship that happens to carry cars underneath. The only bad thing is No dogs allowed on deck; so either they stay in your car or they have kennels on board for them. With Bella having her bed and toys in the car, we chose to leave her for the journey in the bowels of the boat,in our car and leaving me a nervous wreck for 2hrs. All was for naught, as she did Famously and it appeared she slept the entire way and was all groggy as we greeted her on the dock of Ireland. (you are not allowed to stay in the car or go check on your car during the trip)
There’s a huge duty free shopping on the Irish Ferry and lots of good deals so go ahead and shop as we didn’t see that selection for the rest of the trip. Ireland is not big into gift shops and souvenirs.
Our return trip from Ireland To Scotland, was also from a tiny upper North Ireland tip called Larne, 30 min from Belfast and also under 2 hrs. A much bigger, slower, as we covered less ground and not as nice. But, It landed us right on the shores of Scotland at Cairnryan which is a gorgeous West shore of Scotland in the Galloway Park district and just gorgeous country and seashore.
Getting off a ferry and arriving into the gorgeous countryside, with no noise and chaos of an airport or train station and all your stuff and car right with you, is just the most exciting wonderful way to travel we have discovered. The cross over of less than 2 hrs is so relaxing, gorgeous views and no complaints. The arrival into Scotland was much better than Dublin which was commercial and a bit chaotic but not too bad.
We highly recommend it, its not cheap but you have ALL your luggage, your dog, there is NO security which was astounding, they don’t even check passports. Walk all around a huge ship so no cramped spaces, comfy seats with tables, Restaurant and bar (we didn’t partake and it looked like airplane food only a bit better) but all very easy and no cramped leg space. Next time you travel, check it out, we think it is the only way to “fly” now and will always search it as the best solution for future travels.
If you don’t have a car and want to travel on a ferry, you can also be a walk on passenger to the ferry. Unsure how the luggage works but they bring you on via an airport style shuttle and then return you to shore the same way. You don’t have to have a car to travel via ferry.
The Glens: GlenArm, Glenariff, Carnlough, BallyGally (my favorite town name!) The Valley of the Antrim area and Glenariff Forest Park rolls down to the ocean to these cute cute harbor towns. GORGEOUS stunning hillsides dotted with sheep are exactly the ideas of Ireland you think you know and expect to see. The Cliffs of Maor are incredible and it becomes obvious why it was named the Emerald Isle! Super cute tiny towns, gorgeous water and the most stunning green hillsides. lots of cute B&Bs along the coast. Although we didn’t get to do the Park it sounded wonderful.
The Giant’s Causeway has so many myth’s attached to the area it is mind boggling, the Irish love to tell tall tales, ha ha. It is actual Basalt columns. Very cool to see.
2. Hamlets and Villages – Quaint and Lovely!
Kilkenny is a quintessential Irish Town, Very Cool
The Oldest Pub in Ireland!
Kinsale was lovely
Cong, Where the Duke of Hollywood filmed The Quiet Man with Maureen Ohara, really incredibly beautiful. Amazingly just a short walk from Ashford Castle!
3. Castles and Historic sites – Stunning, did we mention the Castles??
Its worth all the hype and would love to stay there even at $500 starting rate! stunning. you can hire a horse carriage to tour the grounds but walking is just fine and worth the entry fee. we were given free access as it had been raining all day and sun came out just as we arrived! Scored 🙂 MUST go across the bridge and see the town where Quiet Man was shot: Cong. tiny tiny and cute cute
5. Listening to Traditional music in Pubs When you can find it!
When we found it, it was great but Very hard to find and quite disappointing actually because they start so late. You have to be in a city after 9:30 at night if you want to catch it. No one seems to play during the day ever or even what we consider Happy Hour time frames, nothing before 8pm was the very earliest we found in one tiny town of Doolin. All major cities is never before 9:30. Many pubs play American or UK music which was quite disappointing. I love Rod Stewart of course, but in Ireland I want Irish ditties.
Beautiful as you can see, a definite Bucket List. The big cities we weren’t as happy with as we were the coast and small towns. 10 days, 6 hotels and lots of miles, we saw ALOT. Fun times had by all.
We didn’t think we could, but all things are possible if you want it bad enough right?
Ireland was one of those things! As we leave our time on Isle of Wight, to drive to Scotland, we decided to figure out HOW to get from the southern most tip of England to Ireland and then up to Scotland.
With roads to navigate, ferries to be figured out and hotels for all in between, we are working on FINALLY getting to see Ireland and all its beauty. So excited, and so happy as Hopefully, July will be a perfect weather month and we will be on a fast one week road trip to catch as much as we can.
Stay tuned for great pics and LOVE input from everyone, where to go and what is a MUST see? Egan Family: we need your help on this one! Nigel too 🙂