Ireland, the windiest country I have ever been to, a small island with amazing countryside and great beer pubs. If I could choose where to live at an old age, somewhere in the north of Ireland would be the place I pick. They are really animal-friendly and respect a lot their nature. There is no traffic in the country and you can easily travel from one city to another.
The Republic of Ireland as it is officially named – is now a completely separate country, independent and has no longer any formal bond to the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland, on the other hand, is still a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, together with England, Scotland and Wales.
History: During the middle of 1800, Ireland went through a very dark and sad period, the Irish famine that killed more than 1 mil people and forced another 1 mil into exile. These days, Ireland is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. You can read more about the amazing history here.
Small advice before you go:
- Your travel insurance should cover medical bills, lost baggage, flight delays, and cancellations.
- Check the passport (and then double-check) that it’s valid for the duration of your stay. Check now!
- Pack lightly (in particular, waterproof clothing), taking into account the changeable nature of the Irish climate.
- Be aware that phone signals can often be weak or non-existent in case you will visit rural destinations.
- Pre-notify your credit card provider of traveling to Ireland, you don’t need to wake up there with a block account and also you can check the charges.
- In Ireland and the UK, they use a three-pin plug, with square pins with a voltage of 240v.
- Autumn/Fall can be a fantastic time to visit and is a popular choice, for better prices and less crowded – you can visit any time of the year.
I was only one day in Dublin so there was not so much time to explore the city. My morning started with a walk through at the campus of Trinity College. You can take free informative walking tours or you can just walk by yourself throw the city center. In the evening, you can stop at any Irish bar, they all have the local touch.
Driving in Ireland
If you want to visit the whole island, you should rent a car. We picked ours at the arrivals at the airport. The distances are not that long but if you have less than one week and wish to see the main attraction points in Ireland, you will have to drive a few hours every day.
The Ring of Kerry
The Ring of Kerry is Ireland’s most popular scenic tourist region but it’s crowded with the tourists especially in the most famous spots.
Killarney National Park
You can explore stately Muckross House and Gardens. Wander through the ruined halls of Muckross Abbey. Or simply relax out on the expanse of lakes and mountains that surround you. Heaven.
Stop at Kenmare
Kenmare is a lively little town at the base of the Ring of Kerry. You can stop here to catch authentic traditional Irish music performances in the many local bars. It’s beautiful and especially in the evening.
Cliffs of Moher
One of the most famous scenic places in Ireland. With more than 1.5 million visitors annually. The best part of my visit to the Cliffs of Moher was walking the coastal trail. Even if it can get very windy, it’s impressive. Be prepared for a very crowded area, especially in the summertime.
- Kilkenny Castle – I would have rather spent more time exploring the Wicklow Mountains and nature trails at Glendalough as the Castel was not that impressive (a bit mediocre).
- Killarney National Park – was an amazing stop. It had everything I wished for but because of the rainy weather that day, I couldn’t enjoy it that much.
Our accommodation was the River Court Hotel and I loved it. They did a small upgrade to a small apartment. 🙂
This lakeside neo-gothic abbey looks somewhat out of place. The access is 13 EUR to the abbey and its garden. I didn’t visit as the museum was in renovation at that moment.
A short story about Irish music
The history of Irish traditional music is a long and colorful one. It’s a must to experience live Irish traditional music and the beauty is that you will find live music in almost every pub you will enter.
The Irish harp is the oldest of Irish instruments. It is often speculated that the use of Irish harp is originated in Egypt, Gaelic tradition. It has become a symbol of Irish identity itself. Harps appear on Irish coins and flags.
Irish emigration is a sad one and it certainly contributed to the development of modern Irish music. Different styles of traditional music from Irish regions were blended among Irish communities abroad.
After 10 days in Ireland, I came home more relaxed, I have refreshed myself with quality sleep every night and with tomatoes in my cheeks 🙂
I enjoyed the freedom of exploring Ireland by car. It involved a lot of driving some days and as the roads are very tight sometimes and I am not the best left-hand driver, it was challenging. But, there were a lot of interesting stops along the way to break it up.