10 Good reasons to visit Ireland
It was hard to narrow down this list as there is so much to see and do in Ireland which makes it a top destination in our eyes! However, we did our best and here are 10 good reasons why you should visit Ireland!
Ireland is steeped in a rich history that dates to prehistoric times, so it is a popular destination for ardent historians to visit. Notably a popular attraction when visiting Ireland is Newgrange which is a Neolithic site built around 3200bc and is older than the Egyptian pyramids! It is hugely popular year-round but particularly during winter solstice when a narrow beam of sunlight shines through an opening above the entrance that illuminates the chamber!
There are plenty of stately homes and ancient castles to visit, some of which are set in beautiful heritage towns. Along your travels you are bound to stumble across the ruins of an old monastery, ancient burial sites or one of the many magnificent cathedrals all over the country. Wherever you choose to go you will be almost certain to visit a place of historical significance.
Ireland has, like its history, a rich culture with traditions, customs, language, folklore, music, art and literature. Irish people have a good reputation for being friendly, welcoming and for their generous hospitality, so you can be sure to receive a warm welcome.
Music is a large part of Irish culture, be it traditional, folk, rock, indie and many other different music genres. Tourists can experience a traditional live music session in many pubs across Ireland, catch a gig in some of Ireland’s beloved venues such as Whelans in Dublin, Roisin Dubh in Galway or Dolans in Limerick where you will hear both well-known, new and up and coming artists or attend one of the many music festivals.
For a comparatively small country Ireland is home to renowned authors and poets such as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Oscar Wilde to name just a few. You can learn all about them in the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin, the James Joyce center, Dublin’s writer’s museum, the National Library of Ireland or you can join the Dublin Literary pub crawl and learn all about these famous authors including details and topics about them that you won’t find in tourist brochures! Storytelling was once regarded as a form of entertainment in Ireland. While today it is not as common for people to gather around the fireside to listen to ancient tales and folklore, these legends about people such as Fionn Mac Cumhaill, the Children of Lir and Tir na Nog are usually centered around some of Irelands historical sites such as the Giants causeway and the Hill of Tara and you can find out more about them if you visit these areas.
Where to start with Ireland’s scenery? It is simply breath-taking! From the rugged coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry, picturesque towns and villages to beautiful beaches, the pictures really don’t do it any justice! It must be seen to be believed. There is also an air of tranquillity surrounding Ireland’s countryside which enhances the whole experience. Take one of the many scenic routes around Ireland and you will instantly feel relaxed and rejuvenated!
There are too many to mention them all but to narrow down a few top destinations to visit would be the Wild Atlantic way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Glendalough in Co. Wicklow, the Cliffs of Moher Co. Clare, Fanad Lighthouse in Donegal (Donegal also boasts some spectacular beaches!) the Aran islands and Achill Island off the West coast of Ireland, the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Co. Antrim, and so much more!
If you’re looking for adventure and an activity filled break, then you won’t be disappointed! Sport is an inherent part of Ireland’s culture built from the love of homegrown sports which are Gaelic football and hurling. A trip to see either of these two sports in action is well worth it! As well as Rugby, soccer, golf, cycling, running and more! If you are holidaying in Ireland there are plenty of activities and sports to get involved in. You could take a cycling tour around the West of Ireland and take in all the scenery, go surfing along the Wild Atlantic Way home to some of the best surfing spots in Ireland! Adrenaline seekers can go kayaking, wind surfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, abseiling, go karting, sky diving and loads more!
Hiking and outdoor activities are hugely popular in Ireland and you can find many scenic routes and trails to follow. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned hiker there is something to suit everybody. It’s a hobby that continues throughout all seasons in Ireland. Considering the climate here in Ireland is rarely extreme (although that can be debatable some days!) It really is never too hot or cold to go hiking and you will find people happily partaking all year round.
A few more popular trails to follow or mountains to hike would be the Cuilcagh trail in Co. Fermanagh, Bray to Greystones Cliff walk, Causeway Coastal route and if you are looking for something a little tougher then you can always hike to the top of Croagh Patrick or Carrauntoohill, Ireland’s tallest peak. 1000’s of trails to choose from all surrounded by stunning scenery.
Anytime of the year is a good time to visit Ireland if your hoping to go to a festival while here. Although some of the more popular music festivals take place during the summer months there is always one happening somewhere throughout the year that you could head along to!
In the summer there are numerous popular music festivals happening including Electric Picnic, Body and Soul, Sea Sessions and Longitude. These festivals are ticketed though so early booking is a must! Not to mention Vantastival, the Galway International Arts festival, Galway Oyster festival, Cork Jazz festival, Lisdoonvarna match-making festival, the Galway races, Dingle trad fest, Other Voices, Dublin Fringe Festival, Dublin Bay Prawn festival, Bloom, Taste of Dublin and the list goes on and on!
Ireland is a small country and so has few cities, however some of the larger towns should be on a must-see list when traveling around Ireland!
Dublin is Ireland’s best-known city and top of everybody’s list when visiting Ireland and rightly so. From the bustling Temple Bar area, the Guinness Store House, Phoenix Park, Kilmainham Gaol, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, National Museum of Ireland, St. Stephen’s Green, soaking up the atmosphere rambling around Grafton Street, Trinity College, a magnificent display of Georgian architecture where the infamous Book of Kells is displayed, take the Dart out on the scenic coastal route to the picturesque villages of Dun Laoghaire, Howth or even out as far as Bray.! This and so much more!
Galway, Cork, Belfast, Limerick and Kilkenny are other popular destinations to visit and all offer something unique to its visitors. Ireland also has some great towns that although smaller are vibrant and offer a different but memorable experience in Ireland. There is Dingle, Kenmare, Westport, Killarney, Malahide, Lismore, Carlingford, Clifden, Lismore, Lahinch, Ardara, and Strandhill to name just a small few.
Easy to get around
Ireland is a small country which means you can pack a lot in even in a short visit! You could travel from the most Northerly point in Ireland, Malin Head, Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal to the most southernly point which is Brow Head, County Cork in one day. It would take eight and a half to 9 hours, but it can be done! The best part is when you are travelling around to get from A to B you can choose a scenic route and take in all the stunning landscape along the way!
We are probably best known for our traditional dishes such as Irish stews, shepherd’s pie, bacon and cabbage, coddle and all those hearty meals associated with Ireland! These authentic Irish dishes are healthy and wholesome and food for the soul and are mostly made with homegrown ingredients. They are particularly comforting if you are visiting during colder months, there really is nothing better than after a day spent sightseeing to tuck into one of these meals while warming yourself beside an open fire in one of Ireland’s many traditional pubs/restaurants.
Ireland’s food industry has blossomed in the last few decades and still focuses on fresh locally sourced high-quality ingredients. With a considerable number of producers, manufacturers and growers here in Ireland we now have a high quantity of artisan suppliers and these ingredients are used in dishes found in Irelands many restaurants, cafes and gastro pubs. With meat locally sourced and seafood fresh from the coast chefs now offer some of the finest cuisine whether it’s an international dish or a unique spin on a traditional Irish dish you won’t be disappointed.
Fresh air/ tranquillity
Ireland is a small country so even while staying in one of the cities you are never too far away from the countryside. As mentioned above with plenty of walks and trails to follow you can easily access any of these and there is something to suit all levels of fitness. Due in part to the naturally damp climate we have (and complain about!) it provides us with somewhat mild weather throughout the year and we don’t suffer extreme heat or cold. This allows us to get outdoors and enjoy the countryside all year round. Dress up with layers and your prepared for 4 seasons in one day which is known to happen in Ireland! Regardless of how hot or cold it is, sunshine or rain once you get out and absorb the fresh air while exploring all the fantastic places to see in Ireland you will feel revived. The remote and romantic landscape and scenery will instantly leave you feeling peaceful and calm. So, what are you waiting for?!