a personal style blog by Lauren Pfieffer

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Planning My 11-Day Solo Trip to Ireland!



If you follow me on Instagram, you know awhile back I announced that I will be going on my dream solo drip to Ireland next month! I visited Ireland when I was studying abroad in Italy in 2015 for a quick weekend trip that has left me dreaming of a return for three years now. It was the place in Europe I really connected with, and it instantly gave me the feeling of being at home. This is something I similarly experienced when visiting NYC for the first time, so you never know what may happen in the future!

My last trip to Ireland was so brief that I only really got to see Dublin for a day, and then parts of Galway and the Cliffs of Moher in another jam packed day. I knew that if I were to ever return to Ireland, I wanted to really see not just the main cities, but also the rolling landscapes and beautiful countryside that the country is known for.

It took me over a year of saving and a lot of guts, but I booked the flight for June 28th and will be in Ireland 11 days until July 8th. This trip means a lot to me because it's something I saved and dreamed about, but it's also a time for me to discover things about myself in this transition period I'm going through. I'm not a naturally adventurous person, so to book this solo trip for a week and a half was a real leap of faith for me. I'm nervous, but also so incredibly excited! Let's get into my itinerary. 


Days 1-3 | Dublin
I budgeted $2,000 for this entire trip, but do have wiggle room should any issues arise. Most of this is going towards plane travel, although I was able to get a fairly good deal on my flight at $750 round-trip since I'll be departing from a major airport (JFK) and straight into Dublin. 


I booked myself Airbnbs for all of my housing while in Ireland. It's a wonderful way to keep costs low, but also enjoy a true Irish experience by staying with a local! I'll be spending two nights in Dublin to really explore and just sort of relax before the true travel portion of my visit starts. I'm looking forward to exploring by foot, & don't have any specific sights to see since I've been to Dublin before. I am planning though to go on this Dublin Fashion tour which highlights the best vintage and consignment shops in the area. 


Day 4 | Cork
This is where the real adventure starts! I'll be driving for 5 days in Ireland so I can see everything on my own terms. Even when I was studying abroad, I would often forgo tours because I didn't feel I got to experience the country in an authentic way. To say I'm nervous to drive in Ireland is an understatement because they drive on the opposite side of the road! I'm hoping to get use to the driving after a day or so, and plan to just take my time. As a note: even in Ireland the age to rent a car is 25. I'm 24, and I am finding it difficult to locate dealers who will rent to me. It is possible, but I'll have to incur an extra charge for being underage. An international drivers license is not required for Americans, but you have to have held your American license for at least 2 years.


I'll be vising the Rock of Cashel on my way to Cork and then stopping in their downtown area for lunch and to stay the night. I also booked my housing on Airbnb for this night, and I'm very excited because it's actually a local bed and breakfast. 


Day 5 | Kinsale & Killarney
I'm planning to wake up bright and early to visit the lovely town of Kinsale, which I hear is super lovely and quaint. From there, I'll be driving through Killarney for lunch, and hoping to reach the Lakes of Killarney by early evening. From my research, this area and the Gap of Dunlough looks so phenomenal. My trip for the first few days is flexible, so if there's a lot to see I can always continue exploring this area through day 6. 


Day 6-7 | Ring of Kerry
I reserved two full days to drive along the Ring of Kerry, which is arguably Ireland's most scenic drive on the west coast of the country. I don't have any housing set up for these two days because I want to just drive and stop as I please, really taking my time to discover off-beat paths of the Irish Wild Atlantic Coast


Day 8 | Shannon 
This day is mostly a travel day to get from the Ring of Kerry to the Shannon airport. Because I've already seen The Cliffs of Moher and Galway, I wanted to really dedicate the time to exploring other areas of Ireland that I hadn't seen yet. So, I'm flying out of Shannon to Belfast, Northern Ireland this day! My flight is super quick and was booked cheaply on kiwi.com. Ryan Air and Aer Lingus are also great airline options for cheap flights within Ireland. I'll be arriving in Belfast in the early evening, and staying in an AirBnb through the next two nights.

Day 9 | Giants Causeway
One of the must-have sites for me when planning my trip to Ireland was to go to Giant's Causeway. This natural phenomenon is a world heritage site of interlocking basalt columns that were caused by a volcanic eruption. Since I will no longer have my car to drive, this will be the only tour I book to take a bus up to the site and spend the day. This may be the biggest sight on my list I can't wait to see!

Day 10 | Belfast
As my trip comes to an end, this is somewhat of another travel day before my departure back to the states. I'll be spending the morning in Belfast, then catching a Eurorail train in the afternoon back to Dublin where I'll spend the night in a different AirBnb. Since my train isn't until 2PM, I'm really hoping to get to explore a little bit of the Belfast City on foot! Please leave any recommendations you have. 


Day 11 | Dublin/Depart for home
I have an early flight out of Dublin directly back to JFK around 9AM in the morning so I can be back in the states Sunday afternoon. I was really lucky to get a flight through Finnair that is direct, so my time in air should only be around 7 or so hours. Not bad! 


There you have it! My 11-day solo trip to Ireland. I still have a lot of planning left to do, but the base work is definitely all there. I'm at around $1650 through my budget with all travel expenses and housing booked, so that leaves around $350 for food, tours, and additional expenses.


Please do leave any recommendations below for places to see along my route! I would love to hear them. Hoping to update you all again before my trip with what I'm packing, and will be documenting my journey on Instagram if you care to follow along.


With much love, Lauren

outfit details:
lipstick MAC Lady Danger | blouse thrifted (similar) | skirt thrifted (similar) | bag thrifted (similar) | sunglasses thrifted (similar) | heels old navy (similar

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1 comment

Felicia said...

Lauren I appreciate your honesty with how much you are budgeting/spent on the trip. When you return, I would to hear if you were able to stick to it or if you had unexpected things come up.

This is trip will be so exciting! I went on a couple of tours when I went, but I admire that you are doing everything on your own.

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