Ireland Travel Guide

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Talking about beautiful islands in Europe, Ireland comes to my mind, being an interesting place to spend a few days if not weeks, with a tumultuous history and a beautiful and friendly people.

With a land area of 70,280 square kilometers and a population of four and a half million, Ireland can be described as the world’s most…how should I put it…singular travel destination.

Here you’ll find well preserved a piece of the old continent, a beautiful natural scenery (some people call it raw) and lively cities which tell the history of Europe, together with endless stories of local adversity.

But the most enjoyable thing, the glue that keeps this place together and makes it possible is the Irish character, which is best described by the world-renowned Irish pubs: flamboyance meets bonhomie and a bar-room way of life.

If you’re a first time visitor, Dublin is the logical place to start your journey in Ireland. The city is a hugely popular travel destination, being also the capital, and boasts with its great architecture and riverside beauty. But let’s not anticipate, shall we?

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Things to do and see while in Ireland

It is said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but that’s not true when it comes to the Aran Islands, which are absolutely stunning, no matter where you come from. This amazing place is located 30 miles out from the Galway Bay, basically in the Atlantic, and here you can visit and admire in awe prehistoric Christian architecture and monuments, culminating with the outstanding Dun Aengus fort. These islands are also famous for their unique coastal scenery, the crisscrossing stonewalls and the opportunities for cliff top walks for the intrepid tourists.

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The countryside of Ireland is maybe best represented by Cork, where you will find the world-renowned Blarney Stone, sitting in the Blarney Castle, a mystic place built in the tenth century and which is said that if kissed (the stone, not the castle) will confer the kisser a magnificent gift, that of eloquent speech. Dream on Paddy!

Another interesting and beautiful ancient piece of Ireland is represented by the Bunratty Castle, which is an impeccably preserved medieval fortress from the 15th century, where you’ll enjoy all sorts of old-school tapestries, furnishings and artwork.

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The Cliffs of Moher are among Ireland’s most inspiring and majestic natural attractions, sitting 700 feet above the ocean and best known from the Harry Potter movies. These magnificent cliffs offer the rare opportunity for rare bird watching, including shags, puffins, razorbills and kittiwakes.

For a laid-back weekend, just go and visit Cork, a city placed in the southern territories of Ireland, where you can eat the best Irish food, sip some malt beer and watch Georgian parades, along with lots of local attractions.

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The capital Dublin harbors the Dublin Castle, located in the heart of the old city, built by the first lord of Ireland (King John) and sitting on the former place of the ancient Danish Viking fortress. While here in Dublin, you can pay a visit to the local zoo, which dates way back to 1830 and it spreads over 70 acres of land, housing various animals, ranging from grey wolves to red pandas and elephants.

Kilkenny is well known for its world famous red beer, but also as being a breath taking medieval city, filled with art galleries, theaters and historic buildings. But yes, the red beer alone is worth the trip.

If you want to immerse in natural beauty, just go visit Killarney National Park, a huge, untouched and unspoiled place stretching over 25, 000 acres of lakes, woodland and mountains, along with English classics such as parks and gardens. Here you can enjoy Ireland’s best outdoors activities, such as boating (at Ross Castle), bicycling and walking.

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Food and Drink in Ireland

Not so long ago,  in the 19th century even, Ireland was a place where famine was common knowledge and a national curse, but today things changed radically.

Local specialties include oysters (best served with Guinness beer and soda bread), prawns, Irish stew (usually made with old sheep or mutton, or lamb and even beef), served with stock, potatoes, onions, garlic and carrots, pigs trotters called Crubeens, a melange of cabbage with potatoes cooked together (colcannon) but the Irish way of life is best enjoyed when it comes to drinking. The most popular alcoholic beverage is whiskey, with brands like Hewitts, Jameson, Paddy, Old Bushmills, Tullamore Dew and Reserve.  Another excellent regional drink is Irish coffee, which consists of strong black coffee mixed together with whiskey, cream and black sugar. Guiness is the beer of the land, together with lots of other local brands and liquors (Baileys and Irish Mist).

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Visa Requirements

Ireland is a member of the European Union, so if you’re an EU citizen you can visit just with your ID card. For others, a passport may be required, but no Visa.

 

 

 

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