Our Road Trip through Southern Ireland — The Emerald Isle Part I

Good morning I am so excited to share this morning with you a little peek into our Irish escape last August!  This itinerary has been on the top of my list to share for a long time, but I’m finally sitting down to make it happen!  Enjoy a peek at our roadtrip through Southern Ireland.

How it Came About

Back in 2020 when the world shut down, Morgan and I were set to spend the end of April in England visiting some friends and vacationing together for our anniversary. Despite all of my hoping that three makes to stop the spread would actually mean three weeks, we did not take that trip.

So thankfully, we got to reuse our vouchers and planned an escape to Ireland almost 3 years later.

When it came time to make our itinerary we had a few things in mind that we wanted to do and see.

At the top of Morgan’s list: exploring some castles. We’ve been to Europe a few times and that’s always been at the top of his list which I don’t blame him for.

I, on the other hand, wanted to spend time in the countryside with plenty of seascapes to take in, too.

How we travel

Something you should know about Morgan and I — when we travel, we like to have set landmarks of things we want to do and things we want to see, but we like to keep our actual itinerary pretty flexible.  We love to use our AirBnbs as our home base for exploring a particular area/region, but want to be able to just go and explore and see whatever we end up happening upon.

So when it came time to go to this trip, we decided a road trip through southern Ireland would be the perfect way to see most of the things we wanted to. I got to work finding quaint cottages all along our projected route, and they did not disappoint!

Now before I explain our the first part of our trip, I do feel the need to include this little antidote for all of prosperity to enjoy (or really for me to continue to pat myself on the back with)… see if you can keep up with these equations:

Ireland = Rainy Country

August 2022 = Constant reports of luggage mishaps

Lauren packs in CARRY-ON suitcase only to avoid luggage mishap…

… with rain boots & rain suit inside

Only to have Icelandair require us to check our bags anyway… and for it to rain so little as to not even sprinkle

the TLDR: I packed for a week long trip to Europe at 6 months pregnant and full rain gear, in a carry-on.  I am still so impressed with myself.

Dublin to Wexford

We arrived in Dublin late morning and went south to the coast to the quaint little town of Wexford, after stopping by a local pub near the airport of food.  Wexford was the perfect starting point for our trip. We were both pretty tired for a long day of travel, and yet excited enough to see all of the seaside cottages and look out over the water. My only regret there is not taking a ferry out to see the puffins on the island nearby.

After we stayed in Wexford for the night and enjoyed delicious seafood, and just got our bearings, we started our road trip north through all of the castles that we wanted to see.  This actually ended up being a great way to explore all of this and parts of the middle countryside.

Wexford, Ireland | The Ultimate Southern Ireland Road Trip Itinerary - Travel Photographer Lauren R Swann photo

Wexford, Ireland | The Ultimate Southern Ireland Road Trip Itinerary - Travel Photographer Lauren R Swann photo

Wexford, Ireland | The Ultimate Southern Ireland Road Trip Itinerary - Travel Photographer Lauren R Swann photo


Wexford to Kilbritain (the long way)

What was cool about all of the castles in the castle tour we created for ourselves, is that they were all so different and unique.  Each had something different offer. The Rock of Cashel was really cool because it was just an old ruin. It was up on top of this city and so you could look out and see everywhere was beautiful.


My favorite castle that we saw though was probably Lismore Gardens. You can’t actually go inside of this castle without being a guest, but you can see the outside of it and experience the beautiful gardens surrounding. It makes you feel like you’re inside the movie Secret Garden with lush, greenery everywhere and flowers galore. There are fun swings and even a quaint café where we got the best coffee cake to share.

We took this part of our trip through the castles in route to Kilbrittain, which was our next home base for the next few days. It was there that we got to explore more of the coastline find some hidden beautiful nooks and crannies along the coast and explore the quaint little towns.  I’m still obsessed with our little guest cottage we stayed in, too.  Major Holiday vibes for the win.


One of the days we were in Kilbrittain,  we decided to spend half a day in Cork to take in the city life. I don’t know why I am continually surprised by this, but Morgan and I aren’t necessarily super city people, so as far as things I would do over again, skipping Cork is probably at the top of that list.

In Cork’s defense, by this time, being like 28 weeks pregnant I was tired, probably a little dehydrated because they don’t have ice anywhere, and I think that was all working against me enjoying the city.  However, we did pop into the cutest little antique shop while we were there and grabbed some mementos for the kids which was so fun.  We got Sully the cutest cow hook that we hung in his bedroom and he’s obsessed with it, which makes me happy.

Gap of Dunloe

From there we ended up heading over to the gap of Dunloe.  This was quite the adventure, because it turned out that while I thought I had booked us a room every night… I had not for whatever reason booked this particular evening’s accommodations. Thankfully there was a room available at the Gap of Dunloe Hotel Resort (a resort we wouldn’t have otherwise stayed at) that evening at a very discounted rate, which was convenient.

In my research about Ireland, the gap of Dunloe was at the top of my list of things I wanted to see and it did not disappoint. You can wind up through the roads and see beautiful vantage points everywhere. It’s stunning, it’s green, it’s breathtaking.

What I didn’t read about in my research, however, is that there is a gorgeous valley that waits on the other side of the gap. I think a lot of the time people just stay in that section, and they don’t wander over the mountain, but it was spectacular. I think it was for sure a highlight for Morgan and I just winding through the little country roads, taking it all in.

After the Gap of Dunloe, we headed to the Ring of Kerry, but I will save those photos for part two of our Southern Ireland road trip coming next week ;)

Stay tuned for the Ring of Kerry, Valentina Island, and Cliffs of Moher.  They’re made from a dream, I swear.


May 18, 2023

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Wife, mama, wielder of light & joy, and capturer of moments.  I thrive off of conversation and genuine connection.  In between wrangling our kiddos, and hanging my husband, you'll find me dreaming up my next idea or creative endeavour.  It's these things that culminate to give my imagery a warmth and joy to them - the greatest compliment I could receive.







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