Rugged, picturesque and remarkably diverse; Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in all of Europe. A very small island found in the North Atlantic with Great Britain to its east, Ireland is packed with rolling plains, weaving rivers, low-lying mountains and beaches – all of which are easily explored due to the small size of the country. This stunning scenery, coupled with a relaxed, fun and rural way of living, ensure that this is an enchanting and romantic country which is perfect for exploring by bike or foot.
With a rich history of mythological traditions, fantastical literature and charming music; there is also a wild, magical and creative culture to Ireland which all adds to its charm. There is then, of course, the craic – which can be closely translated as fun, humour and
great company. What more could you want from a holiday destination?
What to Do
Ireland may be a small island, but it is packed with thrilling sights and activities. The capital of the Republic of Ireland and the largest city, Dublin, is one of the great European destinations and somewhere that you will never get bored. However, there are also many charming towns, villages and other areas around the country to be explored in every corner.
Ireland is famed for Guinness, so visiting the Dublin Guinness Storehouse is an absolute must – especially for fans of the black stuff. Aside from visiting the many cheerful pubs and sampling more Guinness (it tastes better here than anywhere else in the world), exploring the capital with a guided bus tour is a brilliant activity and an excellent way to get your bearings.
Outside of Dublin, you can explore Ireland’s wild scenery with the mystical Ring of Kerry – a Celtic tourist trail starting and ending in Killarney, Co Kerry. Looking to soak up the famous Irish culture? Dingle is a small town on a natural harbour surrounded by stunning natural beauty, with plenty of lively pubs, restaurants and shops which are bursting with Irish character.
To truly soak up Ireland’s unspoilt natural beauty, a trip to Connemara is a must. An area once famously described by Oscar Wilde as having “savage beauty”, there are many tourist trails, as well as pony trekking, golf courses, horse racing and water sports to keep you entertained.
Stew and Guinness are often the first things that spring to mind when thinking about Ireland’s food and drinking scene, but there is much more to it than this. County Cork Cheese is a much-loved cheese and just one of many delicious ones produced in Ireland. Other excellent dishes include Galway oysters, which are enriched with a distinctive taste thanks to the limestone landscape, whilst the legally-protected Connemara Hill Lamb is extremely flavoursome thanks to its green diet. A trip to Ireland is not complete without tasting The Dublin Coddle – a trademark of the capital which is tasty and hearty comfort food.
As a small island, the weather is very interchangeable in Ireland and it is always worthwhile preparing for wet and wind (particularly the Atlantic facing west coast). April through to August are the warmer and sunnier months of the year, with the south-east of the island benefiting from the most sunshine. December and January are usually the wettest months of the year, but even a wet start to the day can quickly change to gorgeous afternoon sunshine in Ireland.
How to Get There
With Dublin situated on the east coast of the island, Ireland is easily accessible from England and Wales whether it is by ferry or plane. Due to the short distances, both methods are fast and affordable, with multiple connections being made each day. Flights from the UK can land at Dublin airport, or Galway, Shannon and Cork which are all westwards.
Travelling onwards from Dublin, the size of the island makes each area easily accessible by road with the bus being an excellent form of transportation for tourists.
Travelling to Ireland? Don’t Miss…
- A grass topped dome complete with white walls which run 13 metres high and 80 metres in diameter; Newgrange is an astonishing Stone Age passage tomb which is one of the great European prehistoric sights (predating the pyramids by six centuries).
- Ireland’s majestic west coast is best explored with the epic Limerick, Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Galway Bay Rail Tour from Dublin. The unique train tour gives you mesmerising views, food serves on board, tours of the towns (complete with pub stops) and admission to the top attractions.
- Glendalough perhaps best encapsulates Ireland’s beautiful yet wild landscape, which is the reason many people visit this area of the world. With two dark lakes nestled in a valley coated in thick forest; this is an incredibly calming, spiritual and mysterious place where you can explore the remains of an important monastic settlement.
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