Today’s blog about Ireland is a guest blog post from the very talented and travel hungry Claire Lovesti, who writes for Traveltio. Ever since she started traveling, she hasn’t looked back, and has covered 3 continents and over 16 countries thus far! Enjoy her post about 8 must see things in Ireland.
8 Must See Things on The Emerald Isle
A greener green you will never see than the green of Ireland.
The island country has held a special, almost reverential, place in my heart from the first moment I set foot on its soil, and not just because I come from a long line of Irish. There’s just something about this beautiful country that will sink its teeth into you and never let go (Rafiqua knows all about falling in love with places abroad if you don’t believe me).
From the cliff views of the sea to the valley vistas from atop a castle battlement, Ireland is rich with tradition and many stories that must be heard from the source to be believed. How else could you believe in giants if their footsteps were not spread out in the sea in front of you?
Trust me, the Emerald Isle will astound you as you travel through time and legends on your way through this must-see list.
1. Kiss the Blarney Stone
Blessed with loquaciousness is what awaits any kissers of the Blarney Stone, at home on the rooftop of Blarney Castle. You can get a sense of the height of the Irish many centuries ago (the doorways are particularly short, even for me!) and their rich history as you climb through the centuries old castle on your way to the top, then it’s time to pucker!
Don’t forget to make a stop by the castle gardens and Blarney Mills when you’re done—not only will a walk on the grounds be a breath of fresh air, but a cup of tea will go down nice as well as a new felt hat!
2. Taste test blood pudding
And I don’t suggest doing it at the airport (like my first experience), go somewhere decent, like Tony’s Bistro in Cork, for what many say is the best Irish breakfast around.
While the traditional version of the first meal here is more rustic than those of you who are used to Manhattan brunch, it’s a delicious range of Irish classics that will certainly fill you up. From the baked beans and toast to the sausage, blood sausage, eggs, ham, taters, roasted tomatoes and bangers, there are monstrous proportions that will make you think twice about ordering eggs benedict ever again. Don’t be afraid to pair this with an Irish coffee either; it may be unorthodox first thing in the morning, but hey, you’re on holiday!
3. Walk In Giant’s Footsteps
The causeway, the causeway…what a wonderful place! It is as rich with Celtic legend as it is with tourists—but never mind that, it’s absolutely worth the trek.
While I won’t totally reveal how the causeway came to be, you’ll never forget clamping eyes on this geo wonder as soon as you get an eyeful of the hexagonal stones stretching all the way to Scotland. Grab a tour or wander on your own, the only thing I insist on is a camera.
4. Drink a Guiness
There’s no way to get around it; for the brew that is exclusively associated with the island, a trip to the place where it’s made is an absolute must. Take a tour of the storehouse in Dublin (even if you’re not a beer connoisseur) to experience the retelling of the Guinness legend, taste the brews, and sit at the rooftop bar taking it all in. It’s a popular place, so it doesn’t hurt to buy tickets in advance.
5. Hover on The Cliffs
In County Clare, in the south, lies one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders: The Cliffs of Moher. Dangling over the Atlantic, these natural sedimentary rock cliffs are some of the most spectacular and breathtaking vistas in Europe, and worth every minute it takes to get to the edge.
Recently named an UNESCO Heritage Site, the Cliffs are frequented by some million visitors every year, and if the sheer number of spectators doesn’t convince you, it’s a 5 mile stretch of 700 foot drops that will make you re-think your comfortability with heights.
6. Count sheep
Much of the best scenes of Ireland are wandering through the countryside, making note of all the crumbling castles, rolling green hills, and of course, fluffy sheep, are at home on the island. Hit up tiny towns like Carlingford, County Louth, Inistioge, County Kilkenny, and Kenmare, County Kerry, for a look at the breathtaking quiet towns that reside in the Irish hills—they’re perfect places to stop for the night, stop by a local pub, and treat yourself to local lore and libations.
For road tripping in Ireland I suggest a couple apps to make your life a lot easier. DarkSky is my favorite weather app and particularly handy in Ireland (it has hyper local weather forecasts that tell you exactly how many minutes before the next rainstorm), Discover Ireland has great tips about upcoming events, where to eat, stay, and play, and Ireland Travel Guide can act as your unofficial group leader. Next, if you’re like me and hate spending big money, grab a local SIM card so you can use your phone and bypass all the expensive phone bills. Grab one at the airport, unlock your phone, and then upload as much data and minutes as you need for your adventure—it’s easy.
7. Give dancing a try
Irish dancing has a long tradition, and it’s complicated steps and extremely rigorous technique aren’t something that can be learned in a day, but it doesn’t mean you can’t partake in a little bit of harmless spectating does it? Head for the nearest pub to get swept off your feet, or at the very least, a perfect evening with live musical entertainment.
Try heading for Cork’s Sin é, where traditional music is on the agenda every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. If you’re in Dublin, The Cobblestone is a good bet, and in Kilkenny, Tynan’s Bridge House Bar is where you’ll want to park it for some good Irish reels.
8. Give thanks to the Patron Saint of Ireland
Known for banishing all the snakes from Ireland (which, if you’re up on your cultural history, you’ll know still haven’t been sighted since), Saint Patrick is not only the patron saint of the country, but a source of many legends and colorful local figure whose cathedral is a beautiful thing to behold. Go for worship, to light a candle, or just to marvel at the stunning 12th century architecture—it’s not to be missed.
Ireland is bursting with natural wonder, plenty of pints, and great food and entertainment, so before you pick your next holiday, look no further than the Emerald Isle—it’s charming and friendly people, alluring mythology, and rustic beauty will enchant you immediately.