Top of the mornin’ to ya! And the rest of the day to yourself. For such a small country, Ireland comes with plenty of clichés, such as the 40 shades of green, the homeland of the leprechauns, finding your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the perfect place to go for a drop o’ the black stuff and the love of drinking.
However, Ireland has plenty of unexpected sights to offer such as its historical buildings, rich heritage and culture, pubs, music, famous cities and amazing lush countryside. Ireland truly is the place to go for the banter and craic and don’t let all that Irish rain damped your mood. There are too many amazing sights to see when visiting Ireland so here are five of the best.
Capital of the North, home to the Titanic, famous for its Irish linen industry and more commonly known for Ireland’s political conflicts, Belfast is perfect city for sightseeing. While visiting Belfast it is almost impossible to miss the Republican murals that appear all over the city. The murals mainly represent Ireland reborn from the flames of the 1916 Easter Rising, the face of hunger striker Bobby Sands, and scenes and figures from Irish mythology. Take a walk down the famous Falls road to experience the sectarian history and be amazed by the memorials in honor of people who died during the Irish conflict. The city is a paradise for shoppers with many traditional shopping streets around the centre. The best areas include Victoria Square, Lisburn Road, Royal Avenue and St George’s Market. Belfast people will always offer a warm welcome. The city is relativity easy to get around, has a great night life, a strong cultural heritage and offers an amazing atmosphere.
Five miles North West of Cork is the small town of Blarney, home to the impressive Blarney Castle. Placed at the very top of the castles battlement tower is the world famous Blarney stone. Tradition says whoever kisses the stone will be given the eternal gift of eloquence, also known as the ‘gift of the gab’. Over 300,000 people visit the Castle each year to climb to the top of the tower to bend over backwards and kiss the stone. If the idea of kissing a rock backwards high up in the air doesn’t float your boat then the castle grounds are over a thousand acres of magnificent woodland, making it ideal place to walk and enjoy the clean fresh environment of Blarney and get lost in the romantic Irish countryside.
Situated on the North coast of Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway, an area of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns which was the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The Causeway is often described as the eighth wonder of the world and is the only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. The coastline is steeped in legends and folklore about Finn Mac Cool, a mythical giant who is said to have used the causeway as a stepping stone to Scotland. The area has many stunning coastal and cliff paths for exploring. The causeway is perfect to discover the sea birds which can be seen off the coast and rare unusual plant species which can be found on the cliffs and nearby rock formations. The Causeway offers amazing views over the coastline and on good days you can see as far as Scotland.
No trip to Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Factory. Situated in the heart of Dublin, Ireland’s number one tourist attraction is a rite of passage into the Irish culture. Discover all there is to know about the world’s most famous beer and learn how the whole Guinness story started and had developed over 250 years. The factory is spaced over seven floors situated around a pint-shaped heart of glass. One of the best elements of the tour is the chance to relax in the Gravity bar located in the head of the glass pint where visitors can sit back and enjoy the 360 degree panoramic views across Dublin, not to mention the complimentary pint of the black stuff.
The Dingle Peninsular is definitely one of the best landscapes in Western Europe, with its density and variety of archaeological monuments. It is totally impossible to visit the Peninsula and not be impressed by the ancient sites, breathtaking geographical features, un-spoilt coastal landscapes and beaches. The perfect place to experience the real rural Ireland with roads leading over mountain passes, the Dingle peninsula is also the place to pick up some Irish phrases, as the Irish language is still commonly spoken around these parts leaving you with the real nostalgic feeling of Ireland.
Once you come to Ireland you will be given a ‘C’ead Mile Failte’ (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes). Ireland is truly special and allows you to experience a culture steeped in history. The warm hospitality, delicious traditional Irish food and drink, brilliant Irish music, and beautiful landscapes will just leave you wanting more.