If visiting Ireland is not on your bucket list, it should be and here is why:
1. Guinness & Whiskey
Ireland is the birthplace of some of the best alcoholic beverages ever invented. Wherever you are in the world it is hard to find a bar that doesn’t serve Guinness or Irish whiskey. We have sipped Guinness by the Sydney Harbour and clinked Jameson filled Whiskey glasses in Toronto, but somehow it all just tastes that much better in Ireland. You can take a Whiskey tour in Dublin or Cork and learn all about the distillation process throughout the years. You can also visit the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and learn all about the history of the famous brew. It is highly recommended and your ultimate reward is a drink of the black gold whilst indulging in a panoramic view of Dublin.
2. The Irish Pub
Whilst we are on the subject of drinking let’s not forget the Irish Pub. In almost every country we have travelled to we seem to stumble upon the classic Irish Pub, but nothing beats this experience in Ireland itself. They are welcoming and are full of friendly chatter and lively music. From the bustling tourist filled pubs of Dublin’s temple bar, to the quaint pub filled streets of Killarney there is nothing better than the atmosphere of an Irish pub. If you are lucky you could stumble upon an impromptu trad music session in a local pub.
3. The People
The Irish are genuinely the most inviting people you could ever meet. They have a keen sense of humour and are always ready to welcome you with a pint and a tale. Compared to other European cities Dublin is pretty friendly and it is so easy to get talking to the locals.
4. There are some pretty cool legends
Ever heard that myth about the leprechauns and the pots of gold? Well if you visit Ireland you get to hear all about Irish Folklore from stories of fairies and leprechauns to screaming banshees.
5. The scenery
It’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing. Take a drive into the countryside and you will be rewarded with a luscious green landscape. The Irish coastline is rugged with incredible sights like the Cliffs of Moher to gaze at. You can also drive along the Wild Atlantic Way, a coastal route on the West Coast of Ireland with some unbeatable views. Don’t forget the Ring of Kerry in the South which is arguably one of Ireland’s most beautiful drives.
6. You really can have it all in Ireland
You can literally hit the beach, climb a mountain, walk through a forest, gaze at a lake and hit the town for some retail therapy all within a day. Obviously it’s not ideal if you want to take in your surroundings properly but there are towns such as Sligo in the northwest of Ireland that allow you to do it all if you really wanted to.
7. It’s inspiring
Some of the best writers were born and raised in Ireland. From James Joyce to Oscar Wilde the literary world would not have been the same without their contributions. Even W.B. Yeats took inspiration from Sligo, which he dubbed his second home. When visiting the country it’s easy to see where they took inspiration. Maybe Ireland can inspire you too?
8. St Patrick’s Day
If you are lucky enough to have visited Ireland during St Patrick’s Day you will know how important the day is to the Irish. The pubs overflow onto the streets, and festivities carry on into all hours of the night. It truly is an incredible experience. You can read more here about why you need to spend at least one St Patricks Day in Ireland.
9. There is actually a stone you can kiss that is supposed to give you the gift of the gab
Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be endowed with the ‘gift of the gab’. It’s not as easy though as just puckering up and receiving the gift. The stone is located at the top of Blarney Castle and climbing up the narrow staircase is a feat in itself. You then have to lie on your back to lean over with the help of what I would hope would be a trained staff member to kiss the stone. I should also mention that there is an incredible drop below and it is not for the faint hearted. Even if you can’t do it the Castle and the grounds are great to explore and take in some of that greenery I mentioned earlier.
10. The Aran Islands
The Aran Islands are a group of Islands accessible by sea or air that still maintain a lot of Irish traditions, and Irish is still the main language. However, the locals are happy to speak english with tourists. There are very few cars on the roads and most people choose to explore by bicycle. The houses are all traditional and it feels like going back in time. It is a unique place to visit and definitely worth your time. Checkout our article on visiting the Aran Islands for more information.