Welcome to another Travels with my Coffee, where I take my coffee to all the best places, particularly when there are no speciality coffee shops to be found. This is the fourth Travels with my Coffee this year, following on from my road trip through Arizona & New Mexico in January, a trip to Shanghai in March and five weeks in the USA in May.
This time I’m a little closer to home in Ireland. Although it’s my third time in Ireland, I’ve never ventured south of the line between Galway (on the west coast) and Dublin (on the east). This trip was specifically designed to rectify this oversight, starting last Friday when I flew to Dublin. I immediately drove south to spend the weekend in the Wicklow Mountains before carrying on to Cork via Waterford. This was very much the specialty coffee part of the trip, with visits to Arch Coffee (Waterford) and Dukes Coffee Company, Three Fools Coffee and Filter (all in Cork). From there, I went west to Killarney, spent a day driving around the Ring of Kerry, then headed north to Galway for a couple of days before completing the loop by returning Dublin yesterday evening.
My trip began in the Wicklow Mountains, a gorgeous area under an hour’s drive from Dublin (where I picked up a hire car for the week from Dublin Airport). It’s also fairly accessible by public transport. The mountains, which are part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, extend roughly from Glencree in the north to Aughavannagh in the south, the famous Military Road running between the two, giving access to some spectacular scenery.
There’s nothing that could be described as speciality coffee in the mountains themselves (other than the beans I brought along from Curve Coffee Roasters), but there is good coffee in the hills to the east of the mountains and along the coast. Indeed, I started my trip at the Roasted Brown roastery in Delgany, where I said hello to Shane, who was roasting coffee at the time, before enjoying an excellent flat white overlooking the roastery in the Pigeon House Café. I was also recommended to try The Happy Pear in nearby Greystones, but didn’t have time on this trip, although I note that it has a café in Terminal 1 of Dublin Airport, so who knows, I may call in before my flight home at the end of this week.
I spent two days in the Wicklow Mountains. On Saturday, I drove around, dodging the showers and admiring the scenery along the Military Road, with various side trips, including Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest. The next day, I went hiking in Glendalough, and, on both occasions, was accompanied by my Travel Press.
That evening I drove down to Cork, taking an hour-long detour via Waterford to visit Arch Coffee, worth it both for the coffee and the drive along the coast west of Waterford. Monday was spent on an all-too-brief tour of Cork’s specialty coffee scene (visiting Dukes Coffee Company, Three Fools Coffee and Filter) before I drove over to Killarney that evening.
The following day was the highlight of the trip, starting with a visit to Torc Waterfall and hiking around Muckross Lake, both in Killarney National Park. Then it was up, past the Upper Lake and over Molls Gap to drive the southern half of the Ring of Kerry, with some spectacular (and very wild and windy) coastline. I finished off with the Ring of Skellig before heading back to Killarney in the gathering dusk via the inland route over Ballaghisheen Pass and some magnificent mountain scenery. The whole drive was absolutely amazing, although not for the faint-hearted, particularly in the Ring of Skelling and Ballaghisheen Pass where the road was frequently no wider than my car!
The following morning, I drove up through Limerick to Galway, where I stayed with some friends, effectively ending my coffee-related adventures. I didn’t even get into Galway itself (home of the excellent Coffeewerk + Press and Badger & Dodo) although I did venture to the village of Barna, home of Calendar Coffee Roasters, enjoying some of its excellent coffee, along with a fine vegetarian breakfast, at the neighbouring Barcella.
Yesterday afternoon, I returned to Dublin, dropping off my hire car. It’s not the end of my trip though: I’m spending the weekend exploring more of Dublin’s excellent coffee scene, so keep your eyes peeled for more Coffee Spots), then I have a week working in Dublin before flying home on Friday afternoon.
If you’ve enjoyed this, check out where else I’ve taken my coffee in my Travels with my Coffee series. Also, if you’ve enjoyed the Irish landscapes in the gallery, can I tempt you with some videos that I took along the way?
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