Ireland truly is a magical place. The rolling green hills, old stone walls, and friendly Irish folks are exactly as you've imagined. And even a touch better. It's a land of bangers and mash, thick Irish accents, live music in every pub, and some of the most beautiful places I've ever laid eyes on. One thing's for sure, Ireland completely won me over. If you're planning a trip to Ireland, here are some things you simply can't miss.
Ireland was our first stop on our 16 day tour of Europe, and we found that the quickest, cheapest, and easiest flight over to Europe put us in Dublin. Naturally, I was elated to be squeezing in another country that I had really really wanted to see. After lots of research during the planning process, the top things to do in Dublin didn't disappoint. The city is incredibly old, and has a lot of rich heritage, along with amazing architecture, great food, and some more modern elements. We got to the city dead tired, but forced ourselves to stay awake. After we missed our free walking tour, we found ourselves grateful to be resting our feet on a small "train" tour of the city, complete with commentary from both the train speakers and from the British couple in the row in front of us.
If you're stopping in Dublin, here are some must sees:
|The Ha'penny Bridge. Used to be half a penny to cross.|
|The Temple Bar Area- Great for Irish food.|
|St. Stephen's Green Park|
|The Brazen Head|
|Christ Church Cathedral|
|Guinness Storehouse- Pour your own Guinness for free and see great city views.|
|Grafton Street Shopping|
You also may want to see the Book of Kell at Trinity College, though we didn't pay to. We were thoroughly impressed with the daily street cleaning in Dublin, as well as by their transportation systems (though we walked everywhere and skipped paying for transportation passes). We took the AirCoach to and from the airport, and would highly recommend it.
|Our hotel. With an amazing (kinda noisy if you're sleeping) outdoor event space.|
No matter where you're entering Ireland, or how long you're staying, a visit to the west coast is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Seriously, we only had about two and a half days in the country, but if we wouldn't have gone to the west side I would have been utterly disappointed. Despite being woken up by a fire alarm in the wee hours of the morning, Dublin was great, but I knew that what I really really wanted to see was the heart of Ireland, complete with green farmlands filled with goats and tiny fishing villages in the middle of the country.
In case you didn't know, it only takes about two hours to drive completely across the entire country. So even if you're in Dublin, like we were, going to the west coast and back in a day is totally doable. And totally worth it. We found an amazing deal online with Paddywagon Tours, and it was probably one of my very favorite things we did on our entire trip. I would highly recommend them: the coach was comfortable and clean with free wifi, our bus driver not only drove but also gave the tour and sang Irish songs, and we got to see the most amazing places for a very reasonable price. (Even though our driver joked about needing passports and had me worried that we'd be deported, he searched the Doolin restaurants for us and didn't leave when we were a few minutes late. So he redeemed himself.) We set off on the Cliffs of Moher Day Trip, and it was seriously incredible. Bring your cameras, because the views are absolutely breathtaking. Don't believe me? Here's proof.
|Best Tour EVER|
|Kinvara: An Irish Fishing Village|
|The Burren: "Mini Cliffs" before lunch at Doolin|
|Cliffs of Moher|
Bottom line- If you're in Ireland you HAVE to do the following:
- Drink a pint or eat Shepherd's Pie in Dublin
- See a castle
- Walk the trails and take jaw-dropping photos at the Cliffs of Moher
- Visit a fishing village
- See the countryside
- See the Guinness Storehouse and enjoy the city views
- Listen to live Irish Music in a Pub
- Hang out with locals (or at least eavesdrop to admire their accents)
- Figure out that a "lift" is an elevator
- Walk the cobblestone streets of Temple Bar
- Stop and take in the absolute beauty of this amazing country
Have other Ireland places you LOVE? Need help figuring out what you should add to your Ireland itinerary? Let me know by contacting me or message me through the Facebook page. Check out How to Plan (and Survive) an Overseas Trip for more travel help and trips. May the luck o' the Irish be with you!
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