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Hi there traveler! Have you been thinking of a trip to Ireland and wondering if it’s the right decision? I get it. There’s a lot to see all around Europe (the world, really). And how do you know if Ireland is the place for you?
A few questions spring to mind to help guide you: Do you love history and culture? Are you into nature or major scenic attractions? Do you want to experience great music, friendly people, and a budding culinary scene??
If any or all of these appeal to you, then I think we know the answer.
100% yes! Now let’s dive into why, and how you can experience it all.
1. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare, are a must visit attraction for sure. They are a stunning sight and one of the most visited spots in Ireland (about a million visitors per year!)
The cliffs are part of a National Park along the Wild Atlantic Way and are a protected site. They’re also a UNESCO Geopark which is basically a site that is recognized for having international geological significance.
I’m not going to bore you with their stats, but they are truly an impressive sight. You can visit from the visitor’s center, walk the trails, or take a boat trip and see the cliffs from the sea. And on a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands across the way.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll see a guide walking around, and they’ll tell you all about them.
2. The Dingle Peninsula
I love love LOVE the Dingle Peninsula. There is just so much to do here. It’s an eco-lover’s paradise, but also great for families and couples.
On a good day you can go kayaking, surfing, hiking, biking, hang out at the beach, you name it. If it’s raining or cold, visit the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, take a trip along the Slea Head Drive, or plant yourself at one of the many eateries or pubs.
Whether you’re into nature, history, or quaint small town vibes, you’ll definitely want to put Dingle on your list of stops while in Ireland.
3. Ancient Irish Castles
So, there’s something like 30,000 castles and castle ruins in Ireland. You could easily make this the focal point of your trip, if that’s your thing. But I would advise against it as there’s so much else to experience.
These centuries-old castles accent the landscape all throughout the island. Definitely consider visiting the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, Dublin Castle, and Trim Castle.
Some castles have been converted to hotels such as Ashford Castle in County Mayo. This is Ireland’s first and only Forbes five-star hotel, and the former home of the Guinness family. Of course, this is a pricey luxury stay. But you can visit and dine there without having to book a room.
4. Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a striking site and really fun to wander around and walk along the stones and listen to the waves crashing in. You can even take a guided hike to get some undiscovered, clifftop views of the coastline.
The views are beautiful all around. You could literally do a 360 and wonder in awe at the natural landscape surrounding you. Definitely worth a visit to come and take in the Northern Irish coastline and hear about an enchanting legend of how this landscape came to be.
It’s an easy walk down hill from the visitor center. The walk up isn’t too bad either, but you can take a trolley/bus either or both ways if you prefer. It costs just a couple pounds each way (and they’ll take Euros too – whatever the conversion rate is).
5. Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is seven floors of fun. There’s a museum of sorts to walk through, a tasting experience, an academy where you can pour your own pint, and a chance to get your picture on your very own pint.
But the best part is getting up to the seventh floor, to the gravity bar. Here you can order yourself a pint.
Try to land a table by the windowed wall and stare out at an unmatched panoramic view of Dublin.
It’s lovely, and you’ll be sitting at one of the highest views in Dublin. So you’ll really get a chance to soak it all in… all while enjoying an amazing pint at that.
6. Visit. Some. Pubs.
First of all, there are pubs everywhere. Seriously, it’s a beer lover’s paradise (and whiskey too). And they’re all pretty great, so you can’t really go wrong here.
There are some famous ones like Sean’s Bar in Athlone, and Temple Bar and Brazen Head (both in Dublin – but to be honest my fav in Dublin is The Norseman). But there are a lot of good ones all over the country. Just try to find some where there’s traditional Irish music playing and you’ll be happy you did.
If you’re in Galway, Tig Choili’s a good one. In Dingle? Check out The Dingle Pub or Dick Mack’s. Or both! Pub crawls are fun too. Like I said, you can’t really go wrong. And if you’re not feeling it? Move on to the next one!
Well, Ireland isn’t called the Emerald Isle for no reason.
It is beyond green. And it’s beautiful!
Here’s a quick list to break it down for you:
- 40 shades of green
- Saint Patrick’s Day
- Irish whiskey
- Irish coffee
- Blarney Castle
- Cliffs of Moher
- Giant’s Causeway
- Fairies, myths, leprechauns and shamrocks
- Gaelic (Irish language)
- Wild Atlantic Way
- Beautiful beaches
- Trad Irish music
- Killarney National Park
- Oscar Wilde
- Ring of Kerry
- Skellig Islands
- Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells
- The Titanic
Most people will probably tell you the best time to go is in July or August as the likelihood for good summer weather is high then. HOWEVER, what many Americans consider to be good summer weather is pretty hit or miss in Ireland.
As of this writing, my July visit was sandwiched between two heat waves (which equaled to about upper 70’s/low 80’s).
And I was met with low 60’s.
Wore a jacket nearly everyday.
BUT, if you’re going to be active and walking around a lot, you probably don’t want it to be too hot anyway.
Ireland’s high season is generally from May to September. The summer months are the most expensive time to visit and everywhere will be fairly crowded. Other busy times are around Christmas and St. Patrick’s day in March.
Personally I’m a fan of shoulder season traveling. It’s cheaper and less crowded. So I recommend late spring and early fall (basically the edges of the high season).
The only caveat is that in smaller more rural towns, some businesses are closed during the off season. So you have to take these factors into account when deciding on your journey.
But think of it like this: summer is the most popular time for a reason. The likelihood of better weather and the businesses are in full swing for the onslaught of tourists.
➡️ The Croke Park Hotel in Dublin – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Croke Park Hotel is everything you want in a trendy, urban hotel. It’s chic and luxurious, and conveniently situated right next to Croke Park Stadium (for that hurling game you’ve bought tickets to).
It’s only a short taxi ride to many attractions within the city. And it’s just an overall great place to stay.
I stayed there on my last trip to Dublin and absolutely loved it. It was so comfortable, the staff were welcoming and helpful, and the cocktails were phenomenal.
➡️ The Galmont Hotel & Spa, Galway – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Galmont Hotel and Spa is another great stay. It’s a beautiful waterfront property centered in Galway City.
There’s a lot to walk around and see in Galway, so you’ll be glad of it’s convenient location. And trust me…
Check out that pool and spa!
➡️ The River Lee Hotel in Cork – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The River Lee is a really great luxury boutique hotel. The views are awesome. It’s right next to the river and you’ll see a beautiful span of the town and this cathedral shown above.
There are so many really chic, cozy nooks to enjoy a bespoke cocktail. And the food is amazing! Cork, itself, is becoming a serious foodie destination, and it truly shows in the menu at the River Lee.
They’re also eco-conscious which really makes it special, and something I like to take note of when I’m traveling.
Ireland’s a pretty safe country overall. It has relatively low crime compared to other EU countries. With that being said, you should always have your wits about you when traveling.
And if you’re a female solo traveler: the people are really friendly and you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to folks you meet. But…
Always mind how much you drink, always make sure someone knows where you’re at, and if you feel uncomfortable about a location or situation, trust your gut (typical female safety tips).
It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many budget options when visiting Ireland ranging from 5-star luxury to economy stays and hostels.
And while generally the Euro has more value than the dollar, you can still find deals to be had if you’re on a tight budget.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with me, I can guide you toward some great choices that will fit within your budget for sure!
This is always a hard one for me to answer because honestly I could spend the rest of my days here, no problem. There is so much to see and do in Ireland, you could really stay for a looong time! But…
Obviously not everyone can do that so I would say plan to go for at least a week.
That’ll give you time to experience a variety of sites and activities and hopefully not feel too rushed. On average though, my travel clients generally go for about ten to fourteen days.
No. Not one single reason not to. Unless you’re a cranky curmudgeon who doesn’t like to have fun and visit beautiful attractions 😉
So you’ll typically find two kinds of tourists: those that spend most of their time in Dublin bar hopping and never really getting out of the city limits. And those that dismiss Dublin as a total tourist trap and head out of town practically as soon as they land. So to this I say:
And while I am a huge proponent of heading out and experiencing all Ireland has to offer (particularly the west coast 😍), there are in fact a lot of great things to do in Dublin. And it’s worth some of your time for sure.
Well, if you’ve gotten this far then you know it’s absolutely worth a visit (More than once in my opinion!)
It’s such a beautiful place. There’s loads of activities and adventures for all types of travelers. The people, the culture, the history… everything is a draw to this destination.
I highly recommend it! Let me know if you need help planning 😄