We traveled to Ireland with a baby in May. It was wonderful. We survived the flight and the jet lag. We crushed diaper changes and feedings on the road. We actually managed to see lots of things. I still can’t believe it.
I took to my Facebook page last month to share our experiences. Not wanting you to feel left out, I thought I would repost them here in a trip report.
I love reading trip reports. I love finding new nuggets to add to my never-ending Ireland to-do list. Plus, I think it’s fun to celebrate little and big discoveries with others. I hope you can find one or two things that interest you and that you get a little joy sharing in our experiences too.
After compiling all the posts, I realized it was wayyy too long (always a problem for me!). I decided to split it up into three sections to make it a little easier to read. Here’s the first one. Enjoy!
You can travel to Ireland with a baby! :-) Joe and I are just back from Ireland and we took our little Alexander. It was a wonderful trip full of new challenges, experiences, and a whole lotta Ireland love. I thought I’d take the next couple of weeks and share a bit of our trip here.
Flying with a baby: Our little Alexander is eight months old. I wasn’t too nervous about traveling within Ireland, but I was nervous about the flight over. I hated the idea that he might be uncomfortable with the pressure changes and I really didn’t want to upset the other passengers if he screamed.
As soon as we boarded he was smiling at every passenger that passed by. So many people stopped by to stay hello and give us good wishes. We even had a few offers of help should he get unwieldy and we needed a break. I can’t stress enough how understanding everyone was. It was exactly what I needed to relax a little. The little man did great. He stayed awake through the dinner service and fell asleep quickly after they turned the lights down. He slept until everyone else disembarked and we finally got off the plane. I was so relieved! ☺️
This was the only photo we took of his first flight, which was also just before Joe broke out the sweetest Mother’s Day card. I was so surprised (and also very tired) that I immediately broke out in tears. It was one of a few real surprises he’s ever been able to pull off. ?
A few tips for new moms and dads flying with a baby:
- Bring extra of everything (burp clothes, bottles, clothes—whatever you think you need bring a spare)
- Only take what you need into the bathroom to change the diaper (diaper, wipes, changing pad)—that whole bag will not fit and you won’t want to set it down anywhere.
- Worry about your baby don’t worry about the other passengers. They will take care of themselves, your baby cannot. You’ve got this. ? ?
We arrived at Shannon on Sunday May 14. Can I take a moment and say how much I love the Shannon Airport? When we landed Alexander was still sleeping. We waited for the other passengers to disembark and for our car seat and stroller to be brought to the gate. Once we collected all of our things, getting stamped at Customs took less than 20 minutes (even with being the absolute last passengers to get in line).
Our bags were roaming the carousel as soon as we were done. After feeding Sal (in case you are wondering–Alexander Salamander was the original nickname, it has become Sal for short :-) ), we collected our car from Dan Dooley Car Rentals.
We chatted with James (Hi James!) at the counter for a bit about Enterprise buying out Dan Dooley a few weeks before. They don’t really know what changes will take place yet except that they are back on site at the airport–yay!
Then we were off to Tipperary!
Day 1: After landing in the Shannon Airport we drove a little over an hour to the small village of Kilfeacle in between Tipperary town and Cashel.
We stayed at Kilfeacle Country Cottages for two nights, but we actually booked for three. I always like to book the night before we arrive so that when we get to Ireland we can check right in and have our choice of grabbing a quick snooze, shower, or whatever suits us. Kilfeacle House was great. Patrick and Marianne made us feel right at home. They had a Pack n Play and high chair for Alexander and left out smoked salmon, brown bread and cookies for us.
Since Alexander was awake and we were starving at this point, we headed over to O’ Neills Bistro for lunch. Oh my goodness—one of the top 5 meals we had the entire trip. Joe had the lamb, I had the beef and little Alexander slept! It was a perfect first meal in Ireland.
The afternoon was filled with on and off naps for the whole family, which was completely fine with since we were in such a beautiful and peaceful place (do you see the sun just streaming in?!).
We hit the hay early…crossing our fingers that Sal would sleep all night. He did pretty well waking only at about 2 AM. I simply held him for the rest of that night. Then each night after he slept as he would at home. Before we left, people told me he would have no problem adjusting, but I was so worried about screwing up his sleep schedule (I have come to like getting a full night’s rest again!). We were so lucky. I think he adjusted better than we did.
My favorite tips from today:
- Book accommodations the day before you arrive so you have the flexibility to explore, sleep, or return at your leisure.
- Don’t drive more than an hour and a half from the airport to get to your accommodations. That’s just about long enough to get you on your way before the initial adrenaline of being in Ireland wears off and it gives the driver a break so that everyone has an enjoyable day.
- If you’re traveling with a little one, let the baby decide the plan for the first day. I think the reason we had such an easy transition is because we didn’t push to do anything big that day (and that allowed us to do some fun things later without a cranky companion).
Day 2: A surprisingly uneventful day for us in Ireland. I was a bit tired (since I ended up holding Alexander most of the night) so we took it easy in the morning. Joe and I decided our main goal was simply to get lunch & groceries. We wouldn’t plan farther ahead than that. ?
Looking for a cafe, we chose the French Quarter Cafe Tipperary in Tipperary town. We had never been there but the reviews were good so we popped the address into our GPS. Unfortunately, we had the wrong address. We ended up taking a very nice 45 minute detour through the Tipperary countryside. It ended up working nicely as Alexander took a little nap along the way, but we were starving once we arrived (you can tell because I don’t have any pictures of the food at all ?). You’ll have to trust me or hop over to their Facebook page to see. So yummy.
We went over to Dunnes Stores to pick up some diapers, baby food and some groceries for us. If you ever need anything in Ireland that would be in a large big box type store in the US, it is a good bet that Dunnes would probably have it. They are in most of the larger towns and cities across Ireland.
We drove by Athassal Priory, Rock of Cashel and Hore Abbey, but we didn’t stop—again I didn’t even get a picture ?. A part of me was disappointed. There is so much to see in this area of Ireland (Holy Cross Abbey, Cahir Castle, Swiss Cottage…etc., etc.), but we made a promise for this trip to not put any pressure on “seeing things”. You guys, do know how hard that was for this type A planner??! It just isn’t how I am used to traveling. I love getting up and seeing a blue sky and telling Joe–let’s gooooooo (I am definitely more of a morning person than he is…poor guy ?).
But I am grateful that we gave ourselves a little grace this time. I was tired and it was nice not spending my energy pushing through tiredness. I loved sitting in the cottage next to the fire watching the birds in the trees outside. Perhaps I am getting old, but it was a lovely way to spend our first couple of days in Ireland.
Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend. ? I’ll be back on Monday (then on to Dingle!!).
And we’re off! It was a beautiful day for a drive!
We left Kilfeacle at about 9 AM heading toward the Dingle Peninsula. We had arranged to meet our host around 2:30 in the afternoon so we made sure we had plenty of time for stops, traffic and all manner of things that might slow us down (looking at you sheepers!). Google Maps has the drive at about 3 hours and not counting the stops it probably took us about 3 and half.
Our first stop was a little pullover on the N21. This was actually the first place we ever stopped on our very first trip to Ireland almost eleven years ago. ? It seemed fitting that we pulled over that day with a little one in tow. Instead of taking a nap we were feeding the newest member of our family. My how time changes things! ?
We landed in Dingle town in time to grab some lunch before moving on to the village of Ballyferriter, where we would call home for the next week. We ate a delicious lunch at Adams Bar Dingle (I had a special, stir fry with saffron rice, and Joe ate a tuna panini with chips and salad). It was so nice out that we actually sat in the beer garden area (great if you are there in the summer time!)
It took about 15-20 minutes to get from Dingle town to Ballyferriter along some of the prettiest roads in Ireland. Some people asked us why Dingle this time. The real reason is that we love this area. It was the first place we went on our honeymoon so it was an easy decision to take Alexander there for his first trip too.
Dingle town has admittedly become just as busy as Killarney or the Cliffs of Moher. It’s not a hidden gem as it used to be (perhaps more on that later). But west of the town in the smaller villages along the coast is still a bit of old Ireland. Where you can hear Irish spoken, where the mountains and the ocean kiss, where Ireland first stole my heart.
Ballyferriter was also home to this amazing AirBnB we found that catered to us and Alexander like I had never experienced before (how about that for a teaser? ☺️ More tomorrow).
We stayed eight nights in Ballyferriter, more specifically Wine Strand Cottages. When looking for a self-catering place, I tend to gravitate toward unique homes or cottages, which usually aren’t in a development. This one was, but the reviews were excellent especially about accommodating families so we gave it a shot.
Oh my goodness. I am so glad we did. It was the best AirBnB experience we’ve ever had. Here are just ten ways we loved our stay (I could write at least ten more):
- Our host, Brenda, asked us questions to get to know us and our interests for our trip before we even stepped foot in Ireland.
2. She sent us detailed suggestions on things to do not only in Dingle, but things (and places to stay) in the other locations we were planning to visit.
3. Her directions didn’t just include how to get to the cottage, but also suggestions for places to feed Alexander and even a park he might like to play in along the way.
4. Location, location, location. 500 yards from the beach. Ahh, perfection.
5. When we arrived Brenda was so sweet. She spent at least an hour showing us everything and giving us tips on hidden spots of the peninsula (all while knowing that she had to get to Limerick that evening but she really wanted to make sure were all settled before she left).
6. Fresh flowers in every room.
7. A huge spread of food including homemade quiche, smoke salmon, tarts, scones fruit, orange juice, milk, cheese, crackers, etc.
8. Baby food for Alexander (she even asked in advance his favorites and made sure she had some on hand).
9. Everything that we would possibly need for the little man (changing pad, wipes, diaper cream, play mat, pack n play, high chair, rocking horse, toys, books, the softest towels you’ve ever felt, even a bottle sterilizer!).
10. Perhaps we were enchanted by the fairies or maybe it was just the sun rays pouring through the windows and the mountains outside, but this place simply felt like home.
Here is the link to the actual place—her pictures are much better than mine and they don’t have our stuff strewn about (like ignore the diaper in the middle of the living room floor): https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1859501
If you’ve never used AirBnB before, you can use this link to create an account and get $40 off your first stay: www.airbnb.com/c/schastain1 (I think there must be a special going it because it is usually $20). I also get a discount on my next stay, but if you know anyone else who has also used AirBnB in the past they have a link too. Just ask them for it!
EDIT–I realized that in my original post I should have mentioned that this is 100% my honest opinion. I don’t accept sponsored posts. I don’t accept payments or discounts for a mention on Facebook or the blog. AirBnB has no idea who I am. I really just loved this place that much. :-)
So much more to say, but that’s it for now! Do you plan to travel to Ireland with a baby? We’re all in this together and I’d love to know!!
Continue reading about our adventures in Dingle here.