The best way to experience Irish culture.

When Mallory and I went on our week-long Ireland vacation we rented a car which turned out to be the best decision we made regarding see the country. One unexpected thing it allowed us to do is stray away from our itinerary and go off the beaten path to see smaller towns, pubs, and locals.

We were able to stop in Athlone for a Mother’s Day lunch on our way to Galway, we stopped at Durty Nelly’s right next to Bunratty Castle for lunch after spending a couple of hours at the Cliffs of Moher and had a great conversation with a local who we could hardly understand who encouraged us to stop at McCarthy’s pub in Buttevant on our way to Cork. We stopped at that pub and met the pub owner and some other good ole boys who were in their 40’s and had never left the Buttevant city limits but had strong opinions about all the other Irish cities we were visiting.

The McCarthy’s owner took a picture of us behind the taps. One of the good ole boys said: “He’s always trying to sell the place.” This was a great local pub!

The good ole boys at McCarthy’s encouraged us to walk a few doors down and visit the Tony O’Neill pub. So, we did and met a very pleasant lady named Burnie who gave us a free pint of Guinness and a chocolate bar and explained that she was there tending to the pub while the men took their afternoon nap. She had never been further than 50km from Buttevant! She also asked if the Cliffs of Moher were pretty and worth visiting, ha!

Burnie at Tony O’Neills.

Last, we also made a random stop in Kilkenny on our way to Dublin. We got there just in time for the end of a St. Patty’s Day parade. It was a beautiful little city and we left wishing we had planned to stay a night there. Next time!

Kilkenny Castle

Mallory and I found that we enjoyed Ireland the most when we went off the beaten path and went to these smaller towns that the locals recommended. If we had more time, we would have stopped in more places. If you’re in Ireland and wondering what to do next or what to do on your way to the next destination, ask a local at a pub. You probably won’t be disappointed!

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