Pack your bags for a flight across the pond and some adventure travel in Ireland. The country is home to thousands of years of history, beautiful coastal drives and castles that highlight Ireland’s and Europe’s past, making it a popular global travel destination.
Ireland’s atmosphere offers guests “a hundred thousands welcomes” and is a promise of hospitality for those traveling throughout the country.
Top things to do in Ireland
Galway is a small village in the western part of the country. When you’re looking for good eats and a chance to mingle with the locals, stop by McDonagh’s for fish and chips and Martine’s for steak and wine. You’ll find quality bar food at Park House Hotel, food from Ireland’s West Coast at The Malt House and homestyle cooking with a family-friendly atmosphere at The House Hotel.
Get a truly authentic Irish experience when you visit the Salthill Hotel and the view of Galway Bay. There’s live music, artists, dancers, singers, musicians and storytellers there that are sure to enhance your experience and help you indulge in Irish traditions.
The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal drive in the world and covers 1,500 miles. It runs from the Inishowen Peninsula to Kinsale. Check out as many of the 150 Discovery Points as you can such as the 1,972-foot-high sea cliffs at Slieve League in Donegal or Mizen Head Signal Station at the country’s most southwestern point. Also on the Wild Atlantic Way is Limerick’s King John’s Castle and County Clare, home of the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay.
Near Newmarket-on-Fergus is Dromoland Castle, the ancestral home of the O’Briens, descendants of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland in the 11th century. Here you can fly falcons at the School of Falconry where you’ll get a private experience with a falconer and hawk. Don’t forget to enjoy the luxury hotel that opened in 1963 and features multi-course dinners and wines. Also on the estate’s grounds are clay pigeon shooting, fishing, horse riding, pony and trap rides and a par-72 golf course.
Head to Cork where you’ll find the English Market featuring regional Irish ingredients and artisanal food. This is a popular destination for shopping, noshing, lunching and even people-watching. The market played an important role in several major events throughout Irish history including the Irish War of Independence, the Civil War and several years of economic hardship and famine. The market opened in 1788 and vendors offer free-range duck, organic chicken, wild-caught fish, goat cheese, soda bread and cakes.
Dublin is a must-see when visiting Ireland and is an important part of the literary world. During your visit to the city, go on the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl where you’ll visit the favorites of literary figures such as The Duke, O’Neill’s and The Old Stand. Davy Byrnes was a favorite of James Joyce and was later used as a scene in his popular novel “Ulysses”. This UNESCO City of Literature also features the Dublin Writers Museum, James Joyce Centre and is home to Bloomsday, festivities that follow the events in “Ulysses”. You can also visit Oscar Wilde’s statue reclining on a boulder in Merrion Square.
During your visit, head to Killarney National Park. The city of Killarney was Ireland’s first tourist destination following Queen Victoria’s visit in 1861 and the park is the largest in the country, offering beautiful views of the surroundings, historic sites and activities such as horseback riding and hiking. The country’s highest mountain range, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, is near the Lakes of Killarney as is the 15th-century Ross Castle. You can also take a boat to Innisfallen Island to the seventh-century monastery where High King Brian Boru received his education.