Ireland is one of the least known gems in the North Atlantic. It is home to friendly people and great beer. Guinness, one of the most famous beers in the world, originates from here. The Irish are pleasant people with a conservative demeanor. They are strict about their Catholic faith and easy on the beer. Did you know that Ireland has no indigenous snakes? The “Emerald Isle” features lush landscapes, countless romantic castles, gorgeous cliffs, and vibrant festivals. Let’s review 9 of the best places to visit in Ireland. Like the locals would ask, where’s the “craic”?
Note: This is a guest post!
1. Guinness Storehouse
Guinness beer remains Ireland’s best gift to the world. Take a tour of the rich history at the brewery at Saint James’s Gate. Enjoy engaging experiences right from the ground floor of the pint glass shaped venue to the top floor. The tour takes just over an hour. You will find Gravity Bar at the rooftop where you get a free pint of the black stuff straight from the source.
2. The Cliffs of Moher
Indulge yourself in rugged beauty and count yourself among the million people who frequent the cliffs every year. Snap the picturesque views away while on the hiking trail. Experience what it feels like to walk on the edge of the world. The trail is also a vantage point to see the scenic western coast. The cliffs rise to more than seven hundred feet.
3. Trinity College
This is the oldest university in the country. Ireland has contributed immensely to the literature scene globally. Four authors from the country have won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Dublin City Council sponsors the annual International Dublin Literary Award. The award is worth a whopping one hundred thousand euros. The serene grounds provide the perfect escape from city life. Harry Potter fans will be awestruck by the breathtaking Long Room.
4. Kilmainham Gaol
Ireland has a troubled past. This is where the uprising of 1916 was quashed and the leaders executed. It has also served as home to felons, the destitute as well as the hungry. Dive into the history of persecution and walk the spine-chilling yards. Read the poignant final farewells of the brave men who paid the ultimate price for the country’s future. Visit the haunting site that has attracted movie makers and celebrities alike.
5. Killarney National Park
This is an excellent venue for a family trip. The park is in County Kerry. Some of the attractions include ancient abbeys and castles, waterfalls, and hiking trails. Pick from a range of activities including bird watching, biking, picnics or just a stroll around the extensive gardens in the park. There are three lakes with significant numbers of swans. The surrounding forests are home to the iconic red deer.
6. Blarney Castle & Gardens
Welcome to the foundation of English etiquette – enjoyable talk that does not offend. The Blarney Stone is the most popular attraction at the castle. Common folklore has it that kissing the stone grants you great eloquence. Believe the hype or not, millions of visitors come from everywhere to take part in the ritual. The ritual demands some acrobatics at the peak of the castle. The grounds are refreshingly beautiful with fern gardens and the evergreen aura that permeates the whole country.
7. The Rock of Cashel
Fondly referred to as St. Patrick’s Rock, the historic site is steeped in local mythology. It consists of a majestic fortress that sits in ruins. It is packed with ancient architecture and includes attractions such as Cormac’s Chapel, the Irish High Cross, The Round Tower as well as St. John’s Cathedral and Romanesque Chapel among others. A tour of the site includes interactive presentations.
This is home to the Passage Tomb and is otherwise referred to as Bru na Boinne. It was built before 3000 BC. It is particularly spectacular during the winter solstice when the sun lights up the tomb floor. It contains medieval art and numerous tombs bound by large stones – some of which are meticulously decorated. It looks amazing with huge granite rocks and white rock crystal front.
9. The Aran Islands
The three islands that make up The Aran Islands are Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer. There are several forts, a castle, and a small church. The islands are separated from the mainland and have maintained a largely traditional lifestyle.
Ireland has numerous Gothic castles. Some have been remodeled into modern hotels. There are dozens of prime destinations to visit. Lovers of nature and the outdoors will be lost in the windswept countryside. If the rich Celtic appeal doesn’t catch on, the humor will. There is plenty of action to keep you busy.
Which one of these destinations caught your interest the most?
Author Bio: Ian Leaf is a digital nomad who especially enjoyed the time that he spent in Ireland. Connect with him on his blog to see where he will be headed next.