Emily Mierswa is a student at the University of New Hampshire and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Galway, Ireland.
It is relatively easy to travel throughout Ireland. A few hours on a bus or train can take you from one end of the island to the other. Ireland is perfect for easy weekend trips as you are never too far from home. In my five weeks living in Galway, I have taken five weekend trips across the country! Rather than list out all the places one could travel to, I will highlight two. Connemara and the Dingle Peninsula are both on the West Coast and feature the vast and breathtaking natural landscapes of Ireland.
Connemara is a cultural region within County Galway about a half an hour north of Galway city. Daily buses make it an easy location to get to. I spent one day on a bus tour seeing all of the sites. Connemara is most well known for being one of the few places in Ireland where Gaeilge (Irish) is still spoken as a first language.
The long mountain ranges and vast valleys painted an image of rural Ireland untouched by the industrialized West. They even have a breed of pony local to the area called, you guessed it, the Connemara Pony.
The valleys are filled with lakes and small streams were easily seem running from one body of water to another. These beautiful natural features make it a must-see for anyone in Ireland.
Public transportation from Galway city to Dingle will take a few hours, but don’t let this deter you from going! As of yet, Dingle is the most beautiful place I have ever traveled to. To accommodate the long bus rides I broke the trip up into two parts. I spent one day in Limerick and left the next day on a bus tour through the Dingle Peninsula. I highly recommend bus tours throughout Ireland as a way to see the sights. Travelers get to see all the best areas in the region and learn about the area from the local tour guides.
The Dingle Peninsula is south of Galway in County Kerry and has the most western island of Ireland. The bus tour took us up the Wild Atlantic Way, which is a highway along the coast. We traveled on a road overlooking the ocean where I saw vibrant blue ocean water unlike anywhere else.
Notable stops were made along the way were at Inch Beach and at the Ce Dhún Chaoin Pier. Even on a brisk day in February I still managed to run in to the water at the beach just to say I’ve been in the water on both sides of the Atlantic!
The world awaits…discover it.