Ireland: Clonmacnoise

If you are driving between Galway and Dublin, make a stop at Clonmacnoise!!! Founded in 544, Clonmacnoise, meaning “Meadow of the Sons of Nós”, is an early Christian site founded by St Ciarán. It was once a major centre of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade. So famous that it was was visited by scholars from all over Europe!

“The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches (10th – 13th century), two round towers, three high crosses and the largest collection of Early Christian graveslabs in Western Europe. The original high crosses and a selection of graveslabs are on display in the visitor centre.” x

For a fee of €8.00 you are able to walk inside a mini museum and around the ruins. We stopped inside the museum then went to watch an intro video of the site. I highly recommend it if you are interested in knowing what you are walking into/onto!!! Although, I”m not gonna lie, it was a bit of a snooze.

Once we finished the video we stepped outside to look around.

This is a very well preserved site of ruins!



Like Kilmacduagh monastery, Clonmacnoise has burials inside of the remaining ruins.



The gravestones here are huge!! I’ve never seen anything like this before.

It makes sense though! Many of the high Kings of Tara and Connact were buried here.



The size, history and preservation of Clonmacnoise was amazing!!! I truly enjoyed it but I do think it was a little underwhelming after vising Kilmacduagh monastery. If you have time for both definitely do it! But I definitely enjoyed Kilmacduagh monastery more than Clonmacnoise.

After we left Clonmacnoise we still wanted to see more ruins and castles so we googled and found Malahide Castle. We had to drive a long detour to get to the castle. Once there we were informed that we could pay to see the gardens but the castle itself was off limits as it was private property that was still a residence. What a bummer. As we are not interested in gardens, we asked for our refund back and left.

We had booked an AirBnB closer to the airport so by the time we got there it was pitch black out. We were having a really hard time trying to find our AirBnB. We got out of our car and started walking around (I know, not a good idea). We knew our place was the guesthouse to the hosts’ house. So…yeah we kinda peeked around people’s yard, which I know is not always the safest especially because we had absolutely no idea where we were. We were looking at a house when finally the house owner stepped outside. He was nice! Whew! Thank goodness! He told us we were in the total wrong side of town. WTH stupid GPS! So off we went. Unfortunately, we still were not able to find the place for some reason so we called the hosts. They met up with us at a restaurant. Everyone in Ireland is so nice!!!


Our place for the night.

The guesthouse included a one bedroom, double bed and a couch that opened up into a double bed.

Once we settled in, we headed out to find something to eat. We went back to the restaurant the host met us at, NO ONE helped us. Everyone at the bar looked at us for a while and then someone finally asked us if we needed help. He directed us to another door and said that side serves food. We went in, again, no one helped us. Argghhh!!! We stood there like idiots until I told my friends that we should just leave. So we left. We ended up driving for like half an hour looking for something to eat but just weren’t having any luck. We ended up driving by a grocery store so we stopped in and grabbed some food to make. Epic fail, especially for our last dinner in Ireland. Boo!!

The next morning, we woke up early to get some breakfast. Initially, our plan was to go explore Dublin but if you remember our first day here…we were too scared to drive in the city. So we opted out of that and decided to find more castles.


We decided on Ardgillan Castle. We parked at the first parking lot we saw. Note: don’t park there, there is a parking lot much closer. It was a very nice stroll! Beautiful wide open space!! We went up to the castle but couldn’t find a way in so we just turned back around and headed back to our car.

By this time, we were hungry so in search of breakfast we went!

I can’t for the life of me remember what restaurant we ended up at. But I got a salmon eggs benedict. Expensive but very good!!! And best parting meal with Ireland.

Once we finished we headed to the airport to get ready to go back to Iceland for one day.

And that is Ireland!! I truly enjoyed my trip there and hope you have enjoyed my trip report! Biggest advice for looking for castles. Research! Research! Research! Before going to Ireland, I assumed that we would see ruins everywhere or they would at least be easy to find. But they actually aren’t that easy to find, especially fun ones. There are many with castle tours where you have to pay. But there are also many castles where you can visit for free. Those were definitely my favorite ones!!!

Five Days Around Ireland

Leave a Reply