Aillwee Cave is everything a cave fan could want with underground waterfalls, small passageways, stone bridges spanning deep chasms, 1,000 year old bear hibernation pits and rare Mediterranean lichens, mosses and other plants.
Above ground the landscape in Burren has a wild rugged beauty. You can enjoy this captivating scenery and the view of Galway Bay from terrace above the cave.
Be sure to stop in the Aillwee Cave Farm Shop for some award winning local Burren Gold cheese and some homemade fudge.
While visiting Aillwee, you can also visit Bird of Prey Center. See and learn about the hawks, falcons, eagles and owls that live here.
The Hawk Walk allows you to spend time with a hawk handler and his hawk. The Aillwee Cave makes a wonderful family vacation idea in Ireland.
Mount Usher Gardens, on the banks of River Vartry in County Wicklow, boast over 5,000 species of plants. Wandering paths guide you through this idyllic 20 acre garden. Craft shops, a book shop, restaurant and pottery workshop are on the grounds.
Local activities include the traditional hurling, along with horseracing, golf, fishing, and many other sporting activities including excellent pub hopping.
We flew into Dublin, after transferring at Heathrow and picked up a rental car. Armed with a map, we were able to find our hotel, the Clontarf Castle, quite easily. It's a castle, although not grand, had very good food, a pub where we ate dinner the first night and a "coffee shop" to grab a pastry, juice and coffee for the road. We met with a Rotarian who took us on a walking tour of Dublin. If you can find a local to give you a tour, it is so worthwhile.
We cruised by Trinity College, the Dublin Castle, through the Temple Bar area and a stop at the Guiness Storehouse. Definitely not to be missed. We saw more than I can remember. We ate lunch, at the oldest fish and chips joint in town. No tables, just found a spot on the street corner and stood and enjoyed. It was cold and windy. After dropping off our tour guide, we hit a pub. We didn't realize we had stumbled into one of the "Top Ten".
Back to the hotel, we got very lost. Everyone tried to help us, but it was super to see the city besides the tourist areas. In the morning we ate the fancy breakfast buffet, lovely but you can definitely eat for less money. We took off with our handy map across the country to Doolin.
Doolin is the home of three of the oldest pubs with traditional music. We stayed at a little bed and breakfast. It had great breakfasts included in the room rate. Day one was spent going to Lahinch Golf Club, where we had golf reservations. But we cancelled; the weather was cold and windy. We cruised the town, saw the Cliffs of Moher, and went to a cave with stalactites. So many things, we stopped at a couple of cemeteries, a lot of pubs, and cruised a lot of back roads.
Day four it was time to go to the airport. We are across the country on the west coast and have a late afternoon flight. We hit the highway, see Limerick, stop in a small town for lunch and made it to the airport in five hours. If you have no expectations, choose a couple of "must do" items and take it all in, any vacation can be fabulous. If I ever find a great deal for airline tickets, and they are out there, I would grab a B&B book, a rental car and be gone!