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Kanika Nevatia Dec 26 2014

Which are the top 10 reasons to visit Ireland?

Debangana Sen Dec 26 2014
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Presenting 10 reasons to visit Ireland this coming year. An enchanting land enshrouded in history and magic, blessed with a rugged natural beauty and an unidentifiable mysticism and inhabited by some of the most pleasant folks you’ll come across, Ireland is full of stuff dream destinations are made of!

A typical Northern Ireland scene (by the Northern Ireland Tourist Guide Association)

Here’s a quick peek at why this captivating wonderland should be on your travel bucket list in 2015!

Castles and Prehistoric Monuments

Being an ancient land, Ireland has many historical sites of interest. Gothic, imposing and sometimes claimed to be haunted, Irish castles add to the romance of the Irish countryside. The Blarney Castle in Cork County is the one of the most popular of them all. Legend says that on kissing the Blarney Stone that is set into the castle’s wall, one can receive the gift of eternal eloquence.

Blarney Castle (from pixabay)

Not many know this, but Ireland’s Brú na Bóinne is much older than Egypt’s Pyramids or the famed Stonehenge of England, and is a major tourist attraction all year round.

Brú na Bóinne (by Dave Keeshan)

Experiencing Guinness in Original Irish Pubs

Raise a toast to Ireland’s favourite tipple! Famous for its dry stout (dark beer), a trip to Ireland is certainly incomplete without experiencing Guinness and the authentic Irish pub ambience.

Guinness Beer (by Morabito92)

And if in Dublin, a visit to the St. James Gate Brewery is a must. This place has been associated with brewing since the 17th century and a tour of the place gives a lot of interesting tidbits of information about the history of this place. Visitors can also witness the entire brewing process and sample the final product. Best of all, you’ll hardly come across a better place when it comes to festive drinking and having a good time.

Inside the Guinness Storehouse (from the official website)

Cliffs of Moher

Ireland has been represented by these magnificent natural formations countless number of times. Remember the last scene from the movie “Leap Year”? The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most iconic site and most visited attraction, offering unrivalled views of the Irish landscape and the Atlantic Ocean.

Cliffs of Moher--O Brien's Tower (from geograph.ie)

Staring down the sheer face of cliffs down to the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean is nothing short of awe inspiring. The highest point is near O’Brien’s Tower from where you can enjoy a 360° panorama that includes the Galway Bay, Aran Islands, Kerry Mountains, 12 Pins and the Maamturk Mountains in Connemara.

The Giant's Causeway (by irishdaytours.ie)

The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another natural marvel resultant of an ancient volcanic eruption.

The Irish Countryside

Magical and unspoilt, the beauty of Ireland’s countryside is beyond compare. Apart from the more commercial spots like the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, Ireland is full of rustic, almost virgin landscapes that are way off the tourist track.

Slieve League (by Thorsten Pohl Thpohl)

Slieve League is a prime example that will simply take your breath away. Located in Donegal, these are the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe.Though not so easily accessible, the views are well worth the effort. Dingle, West Cork, Galway, Ring of Kerry are more such examples of the Irish countryside.

St. Finbar's Church in West Cork (from geograph.ie)

Heritage Towns and Vibrant Cities

Unlike other European heritage towns, which have a certain sense of artificiality about them, the Irish heritage towns live up to their name. Kells and Trim are two heritage towns located within an hour’s drive from Dublin. These give you an interesting glimpse into the Middle Ages with old-fashioned, but colourful town centres and numerous medieval ruins to explore.

Donegal Town (by Textman)

Ireland is not only about rustic countrysides and Gothic castles. The country is home to some of the most vibrant cities in the world. Dublin and Belfast are some of the most happening party places that are bursting with personality and a youthful buzz. From lively pubs, fine museums, breathtaking architecture and many other cultural pursuits, these cities have a lot to offer.

Grafton Street (by Donaldytong)

Adventure Sports

Ireland is one of the best places for adventure sports. National Geographic recently voted Ireland as one of the best adventure spots in the world. Get up close and personal with nature by trekking or mountain biking across the rugged landscapes, rock climbing, surfing, paragliding, kayaking and caving–the options are endless!

A walking trail in Wicklow County (by Joe King)

Galway & Aran Islands

is gradually becoming the largest vacation spot for most of Europe during the summers. In league with cities like Dublin, Galway offers a scintillating nightlife, scrumptious food, amazing crowds and breathtaking sights. Galway also serves as a base for tourists visiting the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.

Menlo Castle in Galway (by Eoin Gardiner)

Visiting the Aran Islands is almost like travelling back in time. A ferry ride away from Galway, the islands of Inishmaan, Inishmore and Inisheer offer an endless expanse of gorgeous, sheer cliffs, rolling hills and valleys with castle and fort ruins and hidden trails spread throughout the islands. Untouched by modern civilization and surrounded by the Atlantic, these islands promise a life-altering experience.

Inisheer Island (by SyrWilliams)

Going the Kerry Way

The Ring of Kerry deserves a special mention and is definitely one of the top 10 reasons to visit Ireland. It is not a single localized spot, but spread over a circular drive within the Kerry County located in the south-west corner of the country. The drive boasts of numerous things to see and do–castles, ancient mansions, standing stones, cathedrals–along with magnificent views from start to finish.

Views from the Ring of Kerry (by DI Florian Fuchs)

For those who wish to explore Ireland on foot, the “Kerry Way” is a walking path, similar in concept to the drive. If you have the time and the stamina, don’t miss out on this experience.

Views from the Kerry Way (from pixabay)

Irish Music and Culture

Ireland is oozing with history and culture at every corner and has been mostly untouched by the surrounding European influences. From St Patrick’s Day to the Galway Arts and Cork Sailing Festival, Ireland enjoys a good party. In addition, there are about 400 more festivals to tap into in the coming year.

St. Patrick's day Festival in Dublin (by Miguel Mendez)

When it comes to Irish music, it is equal parts melodic, energizing and haunting. One of the best parts of pub crawling in the cities is listening to the irish musical hits and live performances. You will come across a number of beautiful multicultural pieces across different genres, with a traditional Celtic touch. Then there are always the street performers and parades. Music is certainly alive and thriving in Ireland.

Irish folk music session in Old Dublin (by Hinnerk R (Hinnerk Rümenapf)

The People

The Irish are some of the friendliest folks and simply a joy to be around. You’d rarely come across a more welcoming and friendly reception anywhere else in the world. Especially in the countryside, it is not unusual for locals to buy strangers drinks, joke around or share their life stories. If prodded, they’d happily regale all the famous lores and legends associated with their land. In the end, you’ll have spent vastly entertaining minutes or hours amidst lovely company and probably taken the first few steps to the beginning of lifelong friendships.

Happy Folks (by jiwiethewookie)

These are our top 10 reasons to visit Ireland. It is undeniable that Ireland should be a must visit for everyone at least once in their lives. The best part is, you can see and explore so much even within a short span of time. And as a concluding tip–visit during the summers (April to October).

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