We’ve been in a ton of states and attractions in the U.S. and other parts of North and South America so we find it perfect to bring your luggage and feet into other parts of the world. For this piece, we are going to the British Isles and right into the great country of Ireland. Located in the North Atlantic, Ireland is the second-largest island on the British Isles and it is the third-largest in Europe. From the modernized streets of Dublin to the lush fields of the country, Ireland is easily one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Once you finish your trip and head home, you’ll feel like a Leprechaun who struck gold at the end of the rainbow.
- 1 Getting to Know Ireland
- 2 How to Get to Ireland
- 3 Getting Around Ireland
- 4 Best Time to Visit Ireland
- 5 Most Recommended Things to Do in Ireland
- 5.1 Explore castles
- 5.2 Learn more about the country at the Chester Beatty Library
- 5.3 See the Bru Na Boinne
- 5.4 Take look at the country’s literary tradition
- 5.5 Get a closer look at Dun Aonghasa
- 5.6 Sample some beer at the Guinness Storehouse
- 5.7 Connect with nature more at the Killarney National Park
- 5.8 Hunt for ghosts at the Kilmainham Gaol
- 5.9 Marvel at the Kylemore Abbey’s Beauty
- 5.10 Tour the Muckross House
- 5.11 See more plants at the National Botanic Gardens
- 5.12 Enjoy the views at the Powerscourt Estate
Getting to Know Ireland
One of the things most people don’t know about Ireland is that it is actually divided into two political estates. The Republic of Ireland, or Ireland, covers five-sixths of the island and the rest of Northern Ireland which is actually a part of the United Kingdom. Our guide will take you to both parts of the islands as each has its own draw points.
From a geographic standpoint, the island of Ireland is comprised mostly of low-lying mountains that surround a central plain which is essentially the mainland. There are also various navigable rivers that allow tourist and locals to get around the huge island easily. Thanks to its mild climate which is free of extreme temperatures, one of the island’s best assets are its lush vegetation. As of this century, only 10% of the island is made up of woodland which is surprising as much of Ireland was still covered in it just after the middle ages.
It also has a long history behind it as well. From the tales of the Celtic warriors to the endeavors of the Irish in the world of sports, there are a lot of things to discover in this country as well. Of course, these are tales you can’t absorb in a day or two of traveling. As such, we suggest you plan extensively and visit Ireland for an entire week!
Aside from its lush greeneries, memorable sights, and unforgettable attractions, Ireland is also known for its significant influence on other cultures in the world. Of course, you’ll get to experience these things once you set foot on the island. There are a lot of things to do and a lot of Guinness to drink as well. Before you go to this magical nation, here are some important things that you should know about.
How to Get to Ireland
There are numerous international airports in Ireland that handle flights from major cities in the U.S. and other parts of the world. There’s Dublin Airport which is north of Dublin City on the east coast of the island, Cork Airport just south of Cork City on the south coast, Shannon Airport north of Limerick city on the west coast, Knock Airport in Country Mayo in the North West region, and Belfast Airport west of Belfast City in the northeast region.
Before you visit, do take note that there are some rules regarding Visas in Ireland. For starters, there are some countries in which if you are passport holders of, you won’t need a Visa. These include the U.S, Australia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Switzerland, and more. Additionally, you need not apply if you are a citizen of the EEA. You are also not required a Visa if…
- You hold a valid travel document issued in accordance with Article 28 of the Geneva Convention
- You hold either a valid residence card 4 EU FAM or a valid permanent residence card 4 EU FAM issued under the European Communities (Free Movement of Persons) Regulations 2015
- You are a family member of an EU citizen and you hold a document called ‘Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen.
Getting Around Ireland
Depending on where you are, there are changing the best methods for getting around. Within major cities like Dublin and Belfast, the best way to travel has to be by renting a car. Luckily, there are car rentals right at international airports. As always, we suggest booking your cars ahead of your trip to avoid any of the hassles that come with renting on the spot.
You can also use ride-hailing apps such as Uber in major cities as well. If you want to avoid getting lost in this huge city, you may want to consider this as a means of getting around. Who knows, your driver might even consider giving you a tour around the city for a small price.
When it comes to traveling around the cities via public transportation, there are buses and taxis available all around the cities. Just make sure to check around for their schedules, routes and rates so you can avoid getting lost.
As for covering huge lands or traveling between cities, Ireland’s train service is also worth taking. All train service in the Republic of Ireland is run by the Irish Rail. Do take note that while the rail network is capable of getting you around the region, Ireland’s transit network is less extensive and the service frequency is much less as well.
Best Time to Visit Ireland
Irish weather can become very confusing and unpredictable. Regardless, many travelers attest that the best time to visit the country would be in April, May, and June, as well as September and October. That’s because the spring season in Ireland is more forgiving than any other time. Other than that, the rates are more reasonable compared to prices during the peak of summer.
If you visit somewhere between November and January, be sure to prepare for the cool winter temperatures. Snow is common as well so some attractions might be closed so you won’t be able to fully enjoy your trip. However, this is the time when hotel rates are at their lowest and the streets are the least busy as well so if you have no qualms with cold weather, shoot for a winter visit.
Most Recommended Things to Do in Ireland
Ireland is one of the most interesting travel destinations in the world because of its vibrant culture, majestic history, and, of course, its natural beauty. For that reason, the country has a lot of activities and attractions to offer too. Thus, in case you’re traveling to Europe, this country is not to be missed. If you’re wondering why what more does it has to offer, here are some of the most recommended things to do in Ireland that you might want to consider adding to your travel itinerary for that fun-filled travel experience.
Ireland has a rich history and can get to see a glimpse of it if you explore the country’s castles. Yes, to this day, the country has amazingly preserved most of its castles. Thus, exploring them is one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland, especially if you’re a first-time traveler. However, there are apparently a lot of them and it can be overwhelming. In fact, there are about 30,000 castles scattered all over the country. But here are some of the most popular ones that we can recommend.
Located in the town of Blarney, this castle doesn’t just hold countless stories about the history of the town but it also has a stone called Blarney Stone that is believed to be somewhat miraculous. The legend says that those who kiss the said stone will receive the “gift of the gab;” meaning you will be gifted with great skills in speaking flatteringly and eloquently. No one can truly say if it is true but a lot of people flock the castle because of this. See it for yourself and never miss a chance to explore the Blarney Castle.
Located in County Clare, the Bunratty Castle is also one of the popular castles in the country and visiting it is also one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland. However, it doesn’t have some mysterious stone or whatnot, unlike the Blarney Castle. But what makes it frequented by both locals and tourists is that is known as the most intact and authentic castle in the whole country. It is filled with 15th and 16th-century old furnishings that will really make you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. It is also known as the castle that has the best collection of medieval furniture all over the country. Definitely a must see, aye?
The Ross Castle is also not to be missed as it is one of the most stunning examples of a typical Irish castle. Its interiors are a sight to see as well as it is filled with pieces of oak furniture from the 16th and 17th centuries. But if you’re planning to visit the Ross Castle, note that the tours being offered are only seasonal. Also, if you plan to tour it in the summer, expect to wait a bit for the tour as it gets quite busy during this season.
The Dublin Castle is a must see as well. While it is an active government complex, it is also a popular tourist attraction because of its structure and the history that it holds. You can also get to take a closer look at them through the tours and workshops being offered. What’s even better is that there are self-guided tours available and you just need to download their free app.
2Learn more about the country at the Chester Beatty Library
Speaking of the Dublin Castle, don’t miss exploring the Chester Beatty Library as well as it is one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland too. This is because, here, you can get to gain more knowledge about the history of the country, as well as some of its notable people like Chester Beatty. Organized in 1950, it aims to preserve and display the private collection of the mining tycoon, Chester Beatty. Not only that; you can also get to see a variety of priceless items such as rare books, artworks, and manuscripts from around the world.
3See the Bru Na Boinne
Translated as the palace or mansion of the Boyne, you might probably wonder what makes it so interesting other than its name. Well, apparently, this place is known to contain one of the most significant prehistoric landscapes around the globe. Here, you can get to see three iconic passage tombs that were constructed about 5,000 years ago in the late Neolithic or Stone age Period. There are also approximately 100 other monuments found in the area. On top of that, the tombs contain the largest collection of megalithic art. And because of that, it is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That said, seeing it in person is one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland as it is a great example of cultural tradition, history, and the ingenuity and creativity of prehistoric humans.
4Take look at the country’s literary tradition
Ireland also has a rich literary tradition and seeing it closer is also one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland. If you plan to do so, you can explore the Dublin Writers Museum. Here, you have several exhibits dedicated to the heritage of the Irish literature to enjoy. There are works, lives, and portraits of individual authors on display as well. But aside from these, you can also get to marvel at the 18th-century-old house that houses these collections. Also, there is a coffee shop and a bookshop where you can take a break and buy some goodies to bring back to your home town.
5Get a closer look at Dun Aonghasa
Ireland has several prehistoric forts. County Galway alone has a number of them. But among all of these, Dun Aonghasa is the most popular and visiting it is also one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland. Located on Inishmore Island, there stands the Dun Aonghasa that is thought to have first structures build around 1100 BC. It also features stairways, chambers, and wall walks that are great to be explored as you hear stories about the place’s past. What’s even better is that the site has a museum that tells more stories about the fort’s past and its uses. Visiting it is like hitting two birds with one stone.
6Sample some beer at the Guinness Storehouse
Ireland may be known for its whiskey but its beer is also worth talking about, especially if it’s Guinness; and if you’ll head to St. James Gate Brewery, you can get a good taste of it as it is the home of Guinness Storehouse, where the popular beer is brewed. Here, you can tour the seven-story building with a pint glass atrium that is listed as the world’s largest pint glass. You can also get to enjoy interactive exhibits and get to know the company’s brewing business’ success. It’s a unique and fun experience that it is also one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland that you shouldn’t miss.
7Connect with nature more at the Killarney National Park
Visiting the Killarney National Park, if you’re going to ask its previous visitors, is also one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland. This is because it’s not just the first national park in the country but it also boasts of more than 25,000 acres of diverse ecosystems that include the Lakes of Killarney, woodlands, and mountain peaks. It is also known as the largest remaining native forest tract and is perfect for when you just want to take a break from the hustle and bustle in the city and connect with nature more. The park also has several attractions that you will definitely enjoy like the Dinis Cottage, the Meeting of the Waters, Inisfallen Island, Muckross Peninsula, Ross Castle, and Tor waterfall, to name a few. You can also bike and hike if you’re looking for some outdoor activities as the place has several multi-use paths available. And, of course, Killarney National Park also offers stunning views that you need to see.
8Hunt for ghosts at the Kilmainham Gaol
If you’re feeling a bit brave, then visiting the Kilmainham Gaol or Kilmainham Gaol Museum is one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland that you need to try. Initially built as a prison, this place is now turned as a museum that tells stories about the famous Irish revolutionaries that were imprisoned back in the day and put to death, and more. It is also considered as a monument to the struggle for Irish independence. But aside from the stories that it can tell you, it is also famous for the curious and ghost hunters as the word says that many of its former prisoners still haunt the area. But are you brave enough to do it?
9Marvel at the Kylemore Abbey’s Beauty
Kylemore Abbey was actually built for nuns who fled Belgium during World War I. But today, the place is now restored and visitors like you can learn more about the site’s past. Thus, a lot of people visit the place. However, hearing the stories that it tells aren’t the only ones that make it one of the most recommended things to do Ireland. Apparently, this place is also highly recommended by many because of its overall design and structure. Its grounds alone lets you enjoy beautiful 6-acre walled gardens that feature plenty of gorgeous plants. There are paths available as well that will take you to the woods or along the lakeshore. There is a nearby Gothic church as well that is also a sight to see. On top of that, the mausoleum of Mitchell and Margaret Henry is just a stone throw away.
10Tour the Muckross House
Muckross House is also not to be missed when you’re traveling to Ireland. This is because you’ll be amazed by its structure as you go on a guided tour. However, the beauty of the house alone isn’t the only thing that makes visiting it one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland. Its surrounding grounds also make people frequent this place too. Here, you can get to see various amenities including traditional shops, working farms, and even a garden restaurant. In addition to that, you can also get to see crafters weave, make pottery, and bind books.
11See more plants at the National Botanic Gardens
If you still can’t get enough of lush greenery, going to the National Botanic Gardens is also one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland that you can try. Here, you have more than 19 hectares of space filled with various plants – both living and specimens. In fact, the National Botanic Gardens as approximately 20,000 living plants alone. What makes it even more deserving of that spot in your travel itinerary is that it also has interesting greenhouses like the Curvilinear Range, Cactus House, Aquatic House, Fern House, and Palm House to name a few. You will not just get to know more species of plants but you can also get to enjoy the beautiful view as well.
12Enjoy the views at the Powerscourt Estate
Another one of the most recommended things to do in Ireland is to fill your eyes with the best views that the Powerscourt Estate has to offer. In case you’re wondering, here, you can get to marvel at the 13th-century castle home. Aside from that, its grounds are impressive too as it is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. In fact, the gardens that the Powerscourt Estate has is considered as one of the most beautiful in the country. In its 47-acre space, you can get to enjoy the views of formal gardens, ornamental lakes, small buildings, statues, and pathways that are all the more perfect for when you want to stroll around the area. What’s even better is that there is a Powerscourt Waterfall nearby that is also a sight to see with its 400 feet height and has more family attractions for families to enjoy.