Ireland is an island next to Great Britain and is divided into two parts: Northern Ireland (which is a part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (which makes up five sixths of the island).
The River Shannon runs from north to south and is the longest river in Ireland. Dublin and Belfast are the capital cities and other cities include Cork and Derry.
The climate in Ireland is not dissimilar to the UK with rainfall expected frequently and mild clouds. Ireland has a dark history of wars and division which makes it a very interesting place to visit. You can view the sites of previous wars and understand the nature of the fighting which took place.
Irish culture is very popular, with Irish dancing and music being performed worldwide.
What to do/see in Ireland
Ireland has many outdoorsy places to take in the breath-taking views. What place is better than The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, where you can walk a trail to see its eight kilometre stretch of stunning cliff edges which rises to 214 metres.
For younger, trendier travellers there is Grafton Street in Dublin Here you can be part of a magical vibe of musicians, performance art and do a bit of shopping in the process. There are bars and restaurants a-plenty and so much to see here so don’t forget to sit and take it all in.
Ireland is known historically for its ‘troubles’. In Dublin you can visit the Kilmainham Gaol, which is a prison dating back to 1796. Here you can find out information about those brought here for committing High Treason and who were executed in the courtyard, which you can walk through.
For more of a jolly day out you can go to Cork to the Cork Butter Museum, where you can go back to 19th century butter-making and the roots of Irish butter.
A fantastic spot to visit is Birr in the centre of Ireland, where you can see the Kinnitty Pyramid which is an Irish burial ground. There are other Irish pyramids nearby to view as well. These pyramids are based in a small village which really shows off country lifestyles here. Here you can also enjoy the lovely countryside that Ireland has to offer.
Where to stay in Ireland
With the Irish coastline views reminding you of poetry and love stories, you will find it hard to believe the unusual types of accommodation there is in Ireland. In Galway you have a ‘glamping’ experience like no other. With resorts in Ireland like Pod Umna Glamping Village in Galway available, you really can camp in style.
There are rooms for rent in Dublin in Dublin’s Merrior Hotel where you can have an all-inclusive vacation, which includes a chauffeur to pick you up from the airport and a helicopter ride to Ashford Castle. Not a cheap option but it ultimately is an amazing one-time experience not to be missed.
For those travellers on a much more realistic budget look no further than the Wild Honey Inn on the edge of LIsdoonvarna, where you can access the Cliffs of Moher and wine and dine in-house with the chef owners home-made treats. Or if you don’t fancy any of these then Endeus has a wide selection of holiday rentals to browse through too.
- Please note that not all of Ireland uses the same currency. Northern Ireland uses the GBP and Southern Ireland uses the Euro. This makes it a bit trickier to consider your options if you are going to visit both, so make sure you have some of each currency in cash for your trip. You can use your card but think carefully about which currency you are paying in to make the most of the exchange rate.
- Look into booking trains in advance for Ireland as they are extremely expensive, or investigate other options like the local buses. Remember when you are waiting at a bus stop it is important that you flag the bus to ask it to stop or it will just drive past you. Thanking the driver when you disembark is vital and not to do so is seen as impolite.
- The Irish have a reputation for their friendliness but this doesn’t mean every person wants to talk, so respect their privacy unless invited to join in a conversation. Once they get chatting you will feel like part of their family though.
- When chatting with your new friend/s raise a glass in a toast by saying ‘Slainte’, which means ‘to health/cheers’.
The Vikings founded this Irish capital city, so visit Chester Beatty Library to view manuscripts and sacred texts dating back to that era. Dublinia and the Viking World is also where exhibitions will enable you to step into a Vikings shoes for an afternoon. Set sail on an adventure in the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Museum to learn about the famine years at sea or for modern day Dublin enter the Project Arts Centre where you can invest time learning about current day visual arts, dance, music and theatre. Oh, drinking some of Dublin’s finest at the Guinness Storehouse is essential by the way.
Right at the mouth of the River Lagan is Belfast, Northern Ireland’s capital city. Notorious in history Belfast has a scarred past which makes it an enticing city for people to visit. Filter out from Donegall Square to find Donegall Place for local shops or take a trip to the boat yards to the Titanic Quarter where you can take a tour around the area the infamous ship was created. To the south of the city, spend some time immersed in the Palm House for beautiful plants or the Ulster Museum at the Botanical Gardens to understand more about the history of Irish conflict or view beautiful marine life.
The ‘City of the Tribes’ is Galway in western Ireland. With less touristic spots and more culture Galway offers the environment to really relax and quickly become one with the locals. While away your time in the day visiting Galway Market for local delicacies then float down the River and Lough Corrib on a 90 minute cruise for ‘heart in mouth’ views. For more coastal fun why not try sea angling? The city comes to life at nightfall when you can visit thatch pubs, taverns and public houses that offer traditional music and dancing and a chance to sample a beverage from one of the two local breweries.