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Ireland offers visitors rolling green hills, stone fences, rustic foods, and enchantment beyond compare.
You can, of course, tour the numerous castles that can be found throughout the countryside and stand in line to kiss the Blarney Stone, but there is so much more to Ireland than this. Have a pint, put on some comfortable shoes, and get ready to have one of the most incredible adventures of your life when you plan a holiday here.
Celtic influences tend to dominate the thoughts of those who picture Ireland, but there are numerous cultural influences that have fused together. From the early Viking raids to the Druids and even the Roman influences that reached the island, even though the Romans never did, you can experience the history of this nation along every street, beach, and pub you decide to explore.
Dublin is always a popular place to visit when planning a trip to Ireland, but one cannot forget options like Galway or Cork for the true Irish experience. Pubs with over 8 centuries of history can be found on colorful pedestrian avenues. Use them as your base of operation and you’ll be able to see the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, and other incredible sites that are synonymous with Ireland.
Then there are the amazing festivals that are held across the island. There is a certain jubilant attitude that can be found in every Irish city, making it an easy decision to embrace the dancing, music, and drinking that lets you experience Ireland in your own unique way.
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Best of Ireland
Ireland is often thought of as a cultural destination. Those with Irish heritage come on a pilgrimage to rediscover their ancestral roots. It is also a destination that is rooted in history, time-honored traditions, and stunning views that take your breath away.
Here are the best stops you’ll find during an adventure in Ireland.
#1. The Ring of Kerry
This hiking trail runs more than 150km through the southwestern part of the country. You’ll see the most amazing views as you walk along any portion of the trail. If you can only take on a small part of this adventure, then do so around the Beara Peninsula or Killarney National Park.
#2. The Giant’s Causeway
This world heritage site is one of the most unique natural spots in the world today. More than 40,000 basalt rock columns were formed from Ireland’s volcanic landscape, making each stone seem like a massive step, built for a giant. The columns all seem very similar to each other too, which almost makes it seem like this wonder was man-made.
#3. Skellig Islands
From a distance, these two islands look like a tall rock jutting out of the sea. When you arrive at the islands, you’ll discover a stunning 6th century monastery that lies at the top of a 230m cliff. Birdwatchers will love a trip to the islands, with dozens of cormorants, guillemots, and gannets to see. There are 600 steps required to reach the top of the monastery ruins.
#4. Cliffs of Moher
Arguably the most popular destination in Ireland, these 214m cliffs provide towering views of the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs run from Hags Head to Doolin and allow you to view the iconic Galway Bay. In the distance, on a clear day, you’ll get views of the Twelve Pins.
#5. Glenveagh National Park
You might stop to see the 19th century castle in this park and enjoy some afternoon tea. You could come for the herds of red deer which love to wander. What makes this national park a top destination choice is the abundance of world-class hiking trails, the fishing opportunities, and the stunning views of the lakes.
The Valley of Two Lakes is another prominent monastic site. You’ll find it hidden within the beauty of Wicklow Mountains National Park. The settlement was founded in the 6th century and offers carpets of wild heather that bloom in season. Streams, lakes, and meadows all call out for you to discover them.
#7. The Burren
Thanks to localized acid erosion, the rocks found at this site have been carved by nature to create a wondrous landscape. There are several rare plants and wildlife that can be found here as well. Come in the spring and you’ll see wildflowers blooming within the rock fissures. It is a true one-of-a-kind destination.
The best of Ireland brings you through the history of this culture and its natural wonders. Explore the cities, find a hidden trail, and you’ll discover something truly marvelous here.
How is the weather in Ireland ?
What to see and do in Ireland ?
One of Europe’s most popular destinations, Ireland offers everything from spectacular unspoilt countryside to towns and cities which are dripping with iconic heritage. The locals are known for their friendliness, as well as their willingness to ensure visitors have a good time. Many tourists return to Ireland again and again, each time discovering more wondrous adventures.
As well as representing the perfect holiday destination, Ireland is also the ideal base for travellers who are looking to explore other parts of Europe. Best of all, there is a laid-back atmosphere and a pleasingly slow pace of life in all areas of the country.
Where you choose to stay on your Ireland holiday depends on whether you want the hustle and bustle or the peace and quiet. There are several areas of Dublin which provide the perfect accommodation options; especially if you’re planning to explore the city during your time on the Emerald Isle.
However, if you would rather base yourself in a more rural location you will be spoilt for choice. There are plenty of beachside and rural options on offer, each of them giving you a tranquil stay amid some truly spectacular scenery. The coastline of Claire is a particularly beautiful spot to select.
For most visitors, an Ireland holiday will never be complete without a taste of the famous local tipple. Guinness is affectionately known as ‘The Black Stuff’ and the best way to find out more about this delicious thick drink is to visit the famous Guinness Brewery in the heart of Dublin. A guided tour of this famous landmark is highly recommended.
There are a great many sporting experiences waiting to be enjoyed on an Ireland holiday, but if you had to choose only one it should be golf. The Irish love their golf; and there are a great many superb courses just waiting to be experienced. Choose one of the venues that are close to the coast, so you can enjoy superb views of the ocean as you stroll along the fairways. The game is a way of life here, so make sure you find time to enjoy a round.
You may not think of Ireland as a surfing location, but you’d be pleasantly surprised if you pay a visit to Bundoran in County Donegal. This delightful small town is home to a thriving surfing community, attracting a great many aficionados from around the world. Even if you don’t like surfing, you will be mightily impressed by the sheer beauty of the beach here, and the good news is that it doesn’t get overly crowded, even in the height of summer.
While many areas of Waterford, Cork, Limerick and other Irish towns and cities offer excellent shopping experiences, there is something particularly enjoyable about a visit to Cow’s Lane in Dublin. If you prefer to shop for quirky clothing and unusual designs – this is undoubtedly the place for you. Ireland holidays are great fun for fans of retail therapy, so it’s a good idea to set aside a day for bargain hunting.
Ireland has produced some of the world’s very best writers, poets and playwrights. This literary heritage is celebrated annually at the Dublin Theatre Festival – a must for culture vultures. If you’re in the city in late September or early October you will be able to choose from a great range of offerings, so prepare to soak up a little culture during your stay.
Dramatic Ireland – County Claire
The Irish county of Clare is known for its dramatic natural landscape and prehistoric burial sites. It’s a trip to a strikingly rugged, sparsely populated area of which there are few equals in Europe. Clare looks out onto the windswept Atlantic Ocean, with the sheer drops of the famous Cliffs of Moher providing a spectacular setting in this most unspoilt of places. Getting to Clare couldn’t be easier as the county has its own international airport at Shannon. From there, set out to explore an ancient land brimming with world-famous Irish culture and a thousand welcomes on a holiday you’ll never forget.
Ireland specialises in friendly and well-run B&Bs; with attractive rates, and Clare is no exception. You’ll find them scattered around the main towns of Ennis, Shannon, Killrush, Kilkee, Killaloe and Scariff. These are all good places to stay during your holiday in Clare, giving you ample access to activities and excursions. You can also stay in the spectacular environment of the Burren National Park, a vast rocky expanse covering 1500 hectares that is a nature reserve. One especially popular holiday spot is Spanish Point in Milltown Malbay, and there is a lot of holiday accommodation there. The area is so named due to ships of the Spanish Armada that were wrecked off the coast.
Visitors are spoiled for choice when staying in Clare. There’s all manner of accommodation all over the county. If you want, you can even bring your own tent and pitch it up in a camping park in the Burren. At the other end of the accommodation scale, you can revel in extreme luxury.
One of the main tourist attractions in Clare – and indeed in all of Ireland – is Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. It’s a medieval fortress and contains works of art and furnishings from the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle is famous for its medieval banquets that ticket-buying guests can attend, wearing the outlandish attire of that long-gone era. A stroll around the Folk Park is a trip back in time to a more innocent time in Ireland’s past.
Burren National Park
Another must-see is the stony Burren National Park, and you can go on walking tours that last all day. There, you will see the mysterious-looking Poulnabrone dolmen. It’s a stone slab-covered burial site from the Neolithic period of between 4200 and 2900 BC.
Cliffs of Moher
The equally spectacular Cliffs of Moher are not to be missed. From there you can gaze right out to the Atlantic Ocean and on a clear day see parts of neighbouring County Kerry.
Other visitor attractions in Clare include trips to the rugged and tiny Aran Islands, Aillwee Cave in Ballyvaughan, the Caherconnell Stone Fort and Clare Museum in Ennis.
In the evening, drop in to one of the many pubs you’ll find and have a few of Ireland’s most famous drink, the delicious creamy-headed Guinness. You can dine on traditional Irish food, and many pubs have their own specialties.
If you’ve never had a chance to see wonderful Irish dancing, there are plenty of opportunities while you’re in Clare – a delightful Irish county where there’s an abundance of “craic” to be had! You’re sure to have a great time here as the locals are renowned for their friendliness to visitors, you’ll be made to feel right at home on your holiday to Clare