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A Solo Female Traveler in Ireland
How many times do you really get to say that a country changed the course of your life? I can say this about #Ireland, my first stop as a solo female traveler. I even got over my initial reservations about drinking alone, and picked up some #affordable beverages along with some new friends. The Irish #culture was so welcoming to me, and I made a major life decision here...
I had my first solo female travel experience when traveling to Ireland in 2014. My experience completely changed my perception of myself as well as my plans for my future.
My experience completely changed my perception of myself as well as my plans for my future
Ireland is the perfect country for solo travelers. It is home to some of the nicest and most welcoming people that I have ever encountered, as well as some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Wherever I went in Ireland I was greeted by friendly and caring faces and treated like an old friend.
Though Ireland is still a quite conservative country, and you may get a few skeptical looks at times, traveling solo is extremely safe and easy and the Irish will not stray from helping you out in every way possible during your travels.
Ireland like all of Europe, is extremely easy to get around in. Before leaving, I bought an expensive train pass which cost around 1000 Euros for ten train rides within a month. While rail is certainly the fastest and most efficient way to travel around Europe, I soon found that the trains did not go to many of the destinations I was trying to reach in Ireland and, consequently, I ended up taking the bus most often (and in the end wasting a lot of money).
Ireland like all of Europe, is extremely easy to get around in
For those who wish to ride by rail, I recommend that you research train schedules and destinations very closely before buying a pass. For those who are okay with riding buses, this is a cheap and relatively efficient option. The buses can get you anywhere you need to go in Ireland, and as Ireland is such a small country, the rides will never be too lengthy.
Where To Stay
Ireland has many, many options for both luxury and budget accommodation. During my stay, I mostly stayed in guesthouses which are both comfortable and affordable. While in Dublin, I stayed at the Charles Stewart Guesthouse, which is located close to Glasnevin Cemetery and is just a short bus ride away from the city center.
Hotel Charles Stewart
Old Jameson Distillery Tour
Viking Splash Tour in Dublin
The room was comfortable and affordable, and the hotel staff were extremely helpful. They even helped my find a fantastic doctor when I got strep-throat during my stay.
Hostels are also a good choice for those who are wanting even cheaper accommodations in Ireland. I stayed at the Glendalough International Hostel in Glendalough Valley, County Wicklow.
Hotel Glendalough International Hostel
The hostel is a very short walk to the Glendalough Monastic Settlement and offers private rooms for those who do not enjoy sharing rooms.
What To Do
Ireland is an absolutely stunning country with activities suited for nearly every interest. Personally, my favorite parts of my travels through Ireland were when I got to go out and see the landscape and some of the beautiful scenery that Ireland has to offer. Aside from renting a car, I recommend taking day tours from main cities which will comfortably drive you through some of the best scenery the country has to offer.
Ireland is an absolutely stunning country with activities suited for nearly every interest
Paddywagon Tours offers a variety of different tours from the main cities of Ireland. During my stay in Cork, I took a day tour to the Dingle Peninsula, which takes you through one of the most scenic drives in Ireland, the Slea Head drive. The tour has many stops along the way for you to get out and take pictures and immerse yourself in the amazing views. Some of the highlights of the tour include stops at Inch Strand and the Fagan beehive huts, a view of the Sleeping Giant, and a stop in the quaint town of Dingle.
Dingle Peninsula Guided bus Tour
Full day Ring of Kerry Tour
Cliffs of Moher Ferry Tour
While in Northern Ireland I also took The Odyssey Coaches Giant Causeway Tour from Belfast. This tour takes you along the Antrim Coast to the Giant’s Causeway, and stops along the way at sights such as the Carrifergus Castle, and the Bushmills Distillery, and Carrick-a-Rede rope Bridge.
The tour was excellent, with amazing scenery and a brilliant and entertaining tour guide. You are given a good amount of time to go walk around and explore the Giant’s Causeway, and you are also able to walk across Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge if you are so inclined.
The tour was excellent, with amazing scenery and a brilliant and entertaining tour guide
Giants Causeway Bus Tour
Loughwell Farm Park
Folkloric Evening Tour at Cnoc Suain
As a solo traveler, taking these tours allowed me to meet other travelers and gave me the opportunity to see some of the most stunning scenery in Ireland. I highly recommend taking tours like this for anyone traveling solo.
Ireland is famous for its pubs, beer, and great music and I did not want to miss out on all of this simply because I was traveling alone. So, one night in Killarney I finally gathered up the courage to go and grab a solo beer in one of the towns many pubs. This turned out to be one of the best nights of my life.
This turned out to be one of the best nights of my life
The pub was crowded and I was slightly mortified as I quietly slipped in and ordered a drink. I looked around for somewhere to sit and asked a woman at a table if the chair next to her was taken. She said no and I had a seat. I wasn’t two sips into my drink when she asked if I was there alone and when I answered that I was she began talking to me as if we were old friends. She asked my name, and began introducing me to everyone around her, until I felt that I’d become friends with everyone in the pub. After a couple beers, a group of us drunkenly stumbled to another local bar and continued drinking and listening to music through the night.
Another night, I went out to a few different pubs in Galway and met and talked to many different people at each place I went to. Irish people are not shy and they will definitely start a conversation with you! Going out also gives you the opportunity to meet fellow travelers.
Irish people are not shy and they will definitely start a conversation
I met a lady who told me about her life in London, talked to a man who was traveling from Australia, and ended up drinking and dancing the night away with locals to traditional Irish music. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people.
Traveling solo in Ireland taught me so much about what I was capable of and made me see that I am able to live independently and take care of myself, even in a foreign country. After my experience in Ireland, my view of my future changed completely. I went from wanting to get a master’s degree and PhD in order to start a successful career and get a good job to putting my career plans on hold in order to travel.
Traveling solo in Ireland taught me so much about what I was capable of
While I am still ambitious and want to further my education, I am now looking at ways in which I can do so while traveling and am dedicating my life to traveling long-term. I am no longer afraid of the world and of putting myself out there, and am eager to continue exploring the world as a solo female traveler.