Visiting Ireland is so magical and Ireland packs a big punch for such a small country. I was amazed at how much there was to see and how little time there was to fit it all in. Even if you are staying for a solid two weeks, you probably won’t have time to see everything. I traveled around the country for 15 days and only got through the southern half, so it’s safe to say you won’t be searching for things to fill your afternoons. So if you ever do get the chance to visit this beautiful emerald island, here are five things you need to make room for on your trip!
1. Kiss the Blarney Stone
As silly as this may seem, it is a must. The tradition of kissing the Blarney stone to receive the gift of gabble is as old as time, but it’s more fun than you would think. You don’t just walk up to a stone on the ground and pucker up, you have to climb to the top of the castle, lay down with your head hanging over the wall, and kiss the stone as a cute elderly Irish man holds your waist! It’s adorable, it’s tradition, and it’s history! And, once you’ve done the deed you can explore all the other things the site has to offer. There’s the main castle, a small princess castle, a witching staircase, and even a garden walk.
2. Cliffs of Moore
I will be the first to admit that the Cliffs of Moher is a tourist trap, and I loathe tourist traps, but you still need to go when visiting Ireland. It is one of the most breathtaking places in the world, its high cliffs and crashing waves are worth dealing with the bus loads of tourists. Also, you can make a sharp right along the cliff side and cross onto a man’s private property to get away from the crowds. Don’t worry you won’t be breaking any rules, the man has a posted sign that says people are allowed on the cliffs at their own risk. If you want the true experience of the cliffs, without a wall between you and the sea, I recommend going right.
3. Aran Islands
– If you want to spend a day experiencing the quiet Irish life, grab a ferry to the Aran Islands. These islands are just off the coast of Galway and are one of my favorite places in world. Rent a bike, fill your basket with some bread and wine, and spend the day exploring the largest island. There’s old churches, fort ruins, natural blow holes, even cliffs that resemble the cliffs of Moore minus the tourists. This stop is a must when visiting Ireland!
4. Visit Dingle
Honestly, it doesn’t have to be Dingle exactly, but my point is to spend a day exploring a small town. Talk with the locals, have lunch at a small pub, walk the beach, see what it’s like to live there. One of my favorite towns was a place called Dingle, we went there to see a famous harbor dolphin, but we fell in love with it for the people. It’s easy to think of Ireland as sweeping landscapes and castles, but the towns are not something to be overlooked.
I probably visited upwards of 10 castles during my time in Ireland, and while I did finally feel like I’d seen enough of them, I didn’t regret stopping, not once. There is too much history in Ireland to see it all, but you should still do your best. Pick at least 2 castles or historical sites that you want to see and make sure you get to them. I actually loved exploring the castles that were more in ruins then the restored ones because they were authentic and a little eerie.
So there you have it! Our best tips and tricks when visiting Ireland! Happy Traveling!
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Hi, I am Nancy Strahan. I recently graduated with my BA in English Literature and am working to gain experience in the writing/content creation business. I was born and raised in Alaska and I love it here. I am pretty much an outdoor and adrenaline junkie, so if it is crazy or in nature, I'm there. So, naturally all things camping, backpacking, and adventure related are my favorite topics to write about.