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Last updated: August 2023
A mythical land lies in the northwest of Europe with thousands of years of history and tradition. Ireland is a bucket list destination not only for Europeans but for people coming from every part of the world. Ireland is picture-perfect and highly recognized for this attribute, as many Hollywood blockbusters filmed in diverse locations of the country. Do Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Braveheart ring a bell? Well, of course, they do, since all of them and many more utilized the idyllic scenery of Ireland to bring to life myths and legends. It’s almost impossible to mention all the things that Ireland is known for, but we shouldn’t omit to say that the country has a reputation for its welcoming and open-hearted habitats, the beer culture, the wild rocky coastline with breathtaking views and the green countryside that gave the nickname of Emerald Isle to the country.
The mild oceanic climate of this North-Atlantic country doesn’t show many variations in temperature, but precipitation is an all-year phenomenon. Most visitors book their vacations in Ireland in the period from May - September. Although it gets crowded during these months, this is truly the best time to visit Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March is another must date to be in Ireland if you don’t mind the crowds.
We totally get you if you don’t know where to begin when enlisting the things you have to do and see on the island. But we’re here to sort this out for you because there are some things that you should definitely consider if this is your first time in the country. “Is Ireland expensive to visit?” is a question we get a lot. Well, in all fairness, Ireland is an expensive destination compared to the average European country. Yet, many famous tourist attractions are in outdoor locations, a good reminder that nature’s uniqueness is something we don’t need to pay to relish.
Voted as Ireland’s favorite visitor attraction for two consecutive years, 2019 and 2020, Cliffs of Moher will stimulate all your senses. Its outstanding beauty is included in the UNESCO Global Geopark. For over 350 million years, the craggy dramatic hills covered in green imposingly stand above the Atlantic Ocean along the Wild Atlantic Way. Visitors say than no picture can do justice at what your eyes beheld in real life. You can get there within a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Galway or book a day trip from Dublin.
Postcard-like lake Connemara and the surrounding area, attract hikers, cyclists, mountain climbers, and families who want to experience the natural world as much as they can. This region, where the Irish language is still spoken, is closely related to the rich historical past of the country. Along the lake, you will encounter small towns and villages of exceptional beauty. Travelers head to Connemara for the annual Connemara Pony Festival, where they can get affiliated with the recreational sport.
Spanning for over 179 kilometers (110 miles), this circular route in south-west Ireland is full of spectacular natural landscapes that will make you stop and stare. If you happen to be a photographer or just love taking pictures, Ring of Kerry is the perfect photogenic place. Abundant wildlife, coastal views, virgin forests, ancient ruins, and castles of historical significance will unfold little by little as you continue on your way. The journey lasts about three hours, but to be honest, this is almost impossible to complete. Some of the route’s highlights are Killarney National Park, Ogham Stones, Muckross Abbey, Kerry Way, and Skellig Michael.
The prosperous and industrialized present is aptly intertwined and in sync with the folk Celtic past of the country. In metropolitan areas, such as Dublin and Cork, the vividness of everyday life will sweep you off your feet, and the serenity of coastal fishing towns, like Kinsale and Cobh, will bring you in close contact with the rural Irish life.
At the mouth of River Liffey, the capital city of Ireland is the vibrant bay of the country. The city is home to many renowned Universities and Colleges, attracting students from all over the world. Dublin is also the birthplace of the famous Guinness Beer. You can go on a guided tour to the brewery that concludes with a freshly brewed cold pint. If you’re more into whiskey, take a Jameson Distillery tour instead. Dublin is full of attractions, and it’s almost improbable to see everything. Yet, there are some places you should definitely visit, such as the vivid Temple Bar area for nightlife, the notorious Kilmainham Gaol, the Dublin Castle, and the National Gallery of Ireland.
The rebel city, as Cork is widely known, is a must-visit. Located between two channels of the River Lee, Cork is as lively as Dublin and notable for its places of interest. A distinctive element of the city’s history still important today is the maritime activity. Immerse yourself in the local life by paying a visit to The English Market, the local food court that became a tourist magnet lately. Perhaps, the most-visited attraction is the Cork City Gaol Museum, which in the 19th century was used as a prison. The historical buildings dating from the Medieval to the Modern era can be spotted all over the city center, particularly in the pedestrian-friendly main street, the St. Patrick's Street.
Another historic port in the County of Cork is this small town of 5000 inhabitants, which is as picturesque as it gets. The vibrant colored buildings will brighten up your world. It’s one of these places that you have to make sure you bring your camera with you because you can’t help but capture every moment. There’s a lot to see and do here, from arts and crafts to walking and cycling tours, but most probably you’re here for the cuisine. Kinsale is referred to as the Gourmet-capital of the country as many Michelin-starred restaurants are established here.
This will be your gateway to the spectacular rocky coastline of Ireland. But, it is highly recommended to make a stop in the town itself. Spend the day exploring Medieval Galway with a visit to the Galway City Museum that overlooks the Spanish Arch. If you’re visiting in summer, take a leisurely stroll at the 2km (1.2miles) long Salthill Promenade.
This coastal town is mostly known due to its correlation to the ill-omened Titanic, as this was the last port of call for the ship before setting sail for New York. Today, Cobh is noteworthy for the Heritage Centre and the outdoor water sports activities. And if you’re still curious about Titanic, you can relive the history in the Museum of the Titanic Experience.
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.