Ireland is an island located west of England, Wales, and Scotland. It contains two countries: Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland. This is article is about the larger southern country - the Republic of Ireland. Ireland has a magic and splendor all its own, from the bustling cosmopolitan city of Dublin to the lovely beaches of the Aran Islands. Within this island country, visitors quickly notice a distinct difference from mainland Europe. Maybe it is the combination of lush green meadows, white cliffs, jagged mountain peaks, and shimmering ocean. Perhaps it is the people, who are internationally known for their creativity and good humor. Or maybe it is the feeling of living history, timeless courage, and the beauty of humanity, evident in the walls of a crumbling Irish castle or in the face of a young Irish child at a service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Whatever the reason, there is something about Ireland that will get in your blood, and you will leave this wonderful country already planning the next time you will once more travel Ireland.
For travelers wanting a outdoorsy vacation in Ireland, there are countless opportunities for hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding, sailing, fishing, and much more. Many travel groups offer hiking and biking tours, and many local businesses will gladly arrange an exciting fishing trip or sailing adventure. Popular outdoor destinations include the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, the spectacular Ring of Kerry and the beautiful Dingle Peninsula. Some people opt for a vacation in Ireland, choosing to avoid the larger cities and head straight for a small coastal town. The energy and activity in Dublin, Belfast, and Galway shouldn’t be missed. Dublin, with its bustling street corners, beautiful stores and boutiques, and lively pub life, is a capital city that can rival any European capital. Galway overflows with art, music, and literary events. Cork and Killarney are great combinations of energetic city life and small town charm. Visitors should travel Ireland’s many provinces in order to truly get a feel for the Emerald Isle. No vacation in Ireland would be complete with a few visits to a genuine Irish pub with tasty pints of Guinness stout and cold glasses of Irish whiskey.
Pubs are a huge part of the Irish social scene, so be sure to pop into at least one during your Ireland visit. “Pub” is short for “public house” and indicates the role of the pub as a sort of community center and place of gathering. If you are a beer enthusiast, be sure to visit Ireland’s famous Guinness Brewery in Dublin. For a bit of history and spirit, visit Ireland’s historical bar, the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast. For travel Ireland visitors can opt for train, plane, bus, or car travel, not to mention tour options, biking, and cruises. For art lovers and history nuts on an Ireland vacation, there are museums and heritage sites aplenty, such as the National Gallery of Ireland and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Castles also abound in the fair Emerald Isle, and most Ireland vacations include a visit to the famed Blarney Castle for a stony kiss. Religious sites such as the Rock of Cassel and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are spectacular, and light-hearted trips to the Dublin Zoo are always a great addition to an Ireland vacation.
For dining, Ireland has really come up in the world. Back in the day, Irish food was notorious for its heavy use of potatoes. However, over the years, dining in Ireland has become noticeably more varied and it is definitely delicious! Many Irish restaurants use everything from vegetables and meats to dairy products and fresh fish. For Ireland vacations in coastal cities, hungry tourists can gobble down delicious, fresh seafood, such as mackerel, mussels, and Atlantic salmon. Many travelers find that it is cheaper and more fun to pick up picnic supplies at the local grocery store or food market. With your food in hand, visit Ireland’s many parks, like the one outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the peaceful Garden of Remembrance.
As world travelers can attest, Ireland is the next grand travel country. With creative people, spectacular landscapes, and a myriad of adventures, festivals, and activities, Ireland vacations are a one in a million voyage and always, always exceptional.
Top image: Anna & Michal (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0