Ireland is a beautiful country filled with rolling green hills, castles, beautiful sheer cliffs, Guinness beer, and ultra-friendly locals. Dublin is a lively city with great pubs and history while the country is filled with beautiful landscapes and castles. It’s hard not to have fun here especially with such friendly and inviting locals. The country’s small size makes it easy to explore regardless of the length of your trip. And despite being on the Euro, the recent economic crisis has made the country much cheaper than it used to be, making it a good value destination.
Top Things to Do Get down in Dublin – Most people who visit Ireland spend time in its capital city, Dublin. Dublin is synonymous with fun. Fans of Ireland’s most famous export (Guinness) will find no shortage of pubs that claim to pour the city’s best pint. The city’s Georgian architecture, music and “craic” have made Dublin one of Europe’s most popular locations.
Wander around Galway – Famous for its horse racing festival every July, Galway is popular with tourists from all over the world. Connemara, where ‘The Quiet Man’ was filmed is a must see, along with Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful Benedictine monastery. Galway City itself is a hub for students, writers and musicians.
Spot Whales in Cork – Cork is a bustling city nestled on Ireland’s south coast. Originally a maritime hub, Cork is now a cosmopolitan university city filled with cheap eats and a lively nightlife. Surfing and whale watching are popular here.
Drive along the Ring of Kerry – Also known as the Iveragh Peninsula, this is one of the most well-trodden tourist trails in Ireland. The Ring of Kerry is filled with winding coast roads, lakes, mountainous terrain and historical forts. Photogenic is an understatement for this area.
Scramble Across the Giant’s Causeway – Cross the border in to Northern Ireland to visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Giant’s Causeway. Myth surrounds this geological wonder of interlocking basalt columns that make you think they might actually be the stairs of giants (Ok, not really but it’s still beautiful). I recommend combining this with a visit to Bushmills Distillery to taste one of the finest whiskeys Ireland has to offer.
Party on St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th is probably the best day of the year to be in Ireland. St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron Saint and, as legend goes, he drove all the snakes out of the country. To celebrate, everyone gets incredibly drunk. Whether you believe the legend or not, this is the biggest party of the year in which everyone is Irish. The biggest parade takes place in Dublin.
Visit a castle – Ireland is steeped in history and the entire country is covered in castles, all in various states of (dis)repair. From the crumbling ruins of Dunluce Castle to the impeccably preserved Cahir Castle in Tipperary, it’s hard to miss these historical beauties. You can kiss the Blarney stone at the castle that bears the same name. It’s supposed to bring good luck.
Return to the Middle Ages in Killarney – Killarney is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations, mostly for its undeniable medieval charm. Visit Muckross Abbey (a 15th-century Franciscan friary), Ross Castle, or just wander around the town itself. This is also the traditional starting point for exploring the Ring of Kerry.