We might love Ireland for giving us St Patrick's day, but beyond the Guinness-fuelled celebrations every March, there are a host of other reasons to head to Ireland. Here are 10 places we recommend you add to your Ireland itinerary.
1. The Blarney Stone
Located at the impressive Blarney Castle, near Cork, the Blarney Stone, a block of limestone built into the battlements, is said to have magical powers. Legend says that if you kiss the stone, you’ll be blessed with the gift of the gab.
2. Slieve League
The Cliffs of Moher might be the most famous in Ireland, however Slieve League has something more impressive. This coastline is home to the highest sea cliffs in Europe, and thanks to being relatively unknown, you’re likely to have the beauty all to yourself.
3. Giant’s Causeway
The only UNESCO World Heritage site in Northern Ireland, Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 spectacular interlocking basalt columns on the coastline.
With over 30,000 castles and castle ruins scattered around the Irish countryside, it might not actually be possible to visit Ireland without seeing a castle. There are a number of castles that now operate as luxury hotels, so you can even stay in a royal suite for a night or two.
5. National galleries and museums
National galleries and museums in Ireland are free to the public, so unlike many other countries around the world, you can appreciate some of the most incredible art, without paying for it.
6. Irish pubs
You can head into an Irish pub anywhere and you’ll be greeted with that friendly, fun atmosphere. Do yourself a favour and enjoy a pint and a meal in one in Ireland, for that extra special, welcoming atmosphere and excellent food.
7. Connermara National Park
Next to Kylemore Abbey on the remote west coast, this stunning area of natural wilderness is ideal for walking, trekking, or simply driving around. With a host of beautiful lakes, mountains amidst rolling countryside, you’ll definitely want to take the camera out.
A vibrant city with a friendly street culture, a developing art scene, excellent pubs and restaurants, live music and history, Dublin is much more than a gateway to the Irish countryside. Be sure to visit St Stephens Green, the Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College for a dose of beauty and history.
9. Gleniff Horseshoe
A 10 kilometre loop of single lane road, this is the place to come to breathe in unbeatable scenery. The loop is surrounded by imposing mountains that make for limitless photo opportunities.
The centre of much of Ireland’s turbulent history, Belfast is a must visit for its areas of cultural and political significance. Once a no-go zone for tourists, the Belfast of today has undergone a remarkable transformation, now home to trendy hotels, historically significant museums telling the city’s bloodied history, and of course the slipway where the Titanic was built, now an excellent museum.