A Quick Guide to Ireland

by - December 05, 2018



Oh, my beautiful, dearest Ireland! How I love thee! And you will love Ireland too! It is definitely one of the top most friendly countries I have ever visited, twice, and I desperately want to go back again!

If you have never been to the Emerald island, then here is a bit of an extensive guide to get your planning started. With countless sites, locations, food and places to check out, there is something for everyone whether you are single or a family, shoestring traveller or luxury traveller. Ireland is especially good for nature lovers and hikers, so bring a camera and good shoes. If you are social and like chatting with locals, there is no better place!

Without further ado, here are things to do on your trip to Ireland:


The Basics:


Currency: Ireland is part of the EU and uses the Euro. Prices are neither cheap nor expensive, though Dublin is where you will see the highest prices for accommodation and food.

When to go: Ireland is probably best during the months of March-October, since the winters can be quite chilly, rainy and cloudy. But overall the weather is relatively mild, so if you choose to come in the off season, simply be well dressed with warm socks, good boots, a decent jacket and hat!

 Language: Even though Ireland is completely fluent in English, all Irish folk learn Gaelic in school and many adults in their later years are fluent. So it doesn't hurt to learn a few words, especially if you go to the West Coast.


What to do in Dublin


This city is full of hustle and bustle, with plenty of things to do, all within walking distance in the city center.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Not only is this a beautiful example of a medieval church, it is the tallest in Ireland! Named after the most famous Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is reason enough to check it out!

Temple Bar

The most famous bar in Dublin, found in the area known as Temple Bar. Yes, slightly confusing, but it's not difficult to find. It is recognizable by it's bright red walls and busy crowd, likely watching a football match with a pint or two.

St. Stephen Park

A beautiful green space and park that has it's original Victorian layout. Great place to take a rest, maybe have a picnic, or people watch.

Trinity College

A beautiful and impressive establishment, I highly recommend visiting not just the college, but the every famous Book of Kells exhibit. If you love books, these old texts will give your inner bookworm a thrill! Gorgeous pages that have preserved the ancient manuscript skills of monks long passed.

Kilmainham Gaol (Prison)

Want to see where Irish revolutionaries stayed while imprisoned? You can! In fact, you can stand in their very cell. This historic building comes with a very good tour of the building, along with haunting stories to make chills go up your spine...

The Brazen Head

The oldest pub in Dublin still stands today! If you are lucky, there may be some live music, but if not it is still a great cozy place for a good Irish meal!

Guinness Storehouse

If you don't like Guinness before you visit the museum, you will fall in love with it by the time you are done! There is absolutely no comparison to Guinness bought abroad to a pint in the very factory where it is made!

Dublin Writers Museum - I'm a word nerd. So I'm adding this to the list in case anyone else is a fan of literature! Or at least a fan of James Joyce.

Day Trips From Dublin



Wicklow Mountains

To the south of the capital is a huge national park in the County Wicklow. You will need a tour bus to get here, or car rental. It is a perfect place to hike and see the biodiversity of Ireland. The mountains are not that high, so the hiking is not that intense, which is good news for anyone who is not much of a climber. Everything is lush, green and peaceful. There are little streams and waterfalls. You can also visit the Glendalough Monastery ruins.

Howth

Nothing says quaint coastal town like Howth! It is an easy ride on the DART from Dublin. A super lovely town to stroll through, explore little shops, eat amazing fish and chips, and have nature walks by the ocean! You may even see a seal in the marina, really close and personal! It isn't a large town, so there is plenty of time to see both Lighthouses, the Castle and the Abbey. Howth is mostly known for its fish and cliff views, so be sure to enjoy both as well!


What to do on the Coast


West Coast- See Galway and Cliffs of Moher:

Probably the top destination in Ireland besides Dublin. The West coast boasts of incredible sites both of nature and historic. Galway is a young and hip town, thanks to all the students living there. Beautiful shops lining cobbled streets and right along the coast, so you can get a big whiff of that beautiful salty ocean air.

The Cliffs of Moher are the main thing to see on the West Coast. Dauntingly beautiful. Be sure to bring a jacket, as it always seems to be windy! If you are taking a tour bus from Galway to the cliffs, you will likely also stop by to see the Poulnabrone ancient tomb site. For me, this was especially cool, since there is likely some distant relatives of mine buried there.


What to do in Northern Ireland


Belfast:

I spent two miserably wet, gloomy days in Belfast, which is a shame because it is a city rich in history.

Giant's Causeway:

One of the main reasons I'm dying to go back to Ireland! To see the unique geological landform that is the Giant's Causeway! I love the myth behind it, and it really is a natural wonder to behold and explore!

Carrick-A-Rede:

This is a rope suspension bridge that connects from the mainland to the tiny island called Carrickarede (hence the name). It's not the scariest of bridges, but it still looks pretty neat!

What to Eat




Irish food mostly consist of what you would find in a pub, but don't let its 'meat and potato' simplicity fool you. Your mouth will water at the wonders of amazing comfort foods (aka, foods that would not be part of any diet!) and then of course there is Irish beer!

Food


Irish Beef Stew - a staple of Irish cuisine. It is typically accompanied with soda bread on the side, though you may have the option of Guinness bread as well.

Bangers & Mash - Mashed potatoes and sausages! Very simple but very heart and delicious!

Fish N Chips - fish is common in general, since so much of Ireland is coastal. But I'm pretty sure Howth is where I had the best fish n chips!

Lamb - Whether you have it with potatoes, have it as chops, or in a stew, you're not having the full Irish experience without eating some lamb. During a trip with my friend Jeff, we chose to buy our own lamb chops and cook it ourselves. It was delicious!

Drink


Guinness - starting with the best! Even if you've never really liked dark beers, give Guinness a chance! I definitely didn't like my first taste, but by my third, I found I actually really liked it! It is the most fresh at the Guinness museum of course.

Harp - If you're not too keen on stout and dark beers, than maybe this light lager will suit your fancy. It is lighter and smoother in taste, making it similar to other European beers.

Irish Whiskey - Ireland is not only proud of their beer but also of their whiskey! And they should be. We went to a local pub to listen to traditional music, and I had a terrible headache. Our host suggested a shot of whiskey, and wouldn't you know it, my headache was gone within minutes!



This concludes my basic guide to Ireland. I think everyone should visit this beautiful, friendly and amazing country! If you are planning a trip soon, or have visited the Emerald island before, let us know in the comments below!

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