Ireland: Uncovering the Wonders of the Emerald Isle
When people think of rolling green scenery, one of the first places that springs to mind is the vibrant hills of Ireland. This region is well known by travelers for its beautiful terrain, rich culture, and, of course, its famous beer, Guinness. This small island nation has an exquisite combination of natural wonders, living history, and busy cityscapes. There are endless possibilities for your getaway.
As you arrive, you will see a series of craggy cliffs lining the coast, climbing up from the sea. You’ll likely start your trip in the capital of Dublin, where you can explore the cobbled streets and lively bars. No matter where you look, you will be met by the welcoming smiles of locals, a defining characteristic of every Irish adventure.
Inside Dublin, Ireland’s Charming Capital
There are few cities which possess as much charm after dark as they do during a sunny day, but Dublin is one of these special few. Brimming with breweries, bars, and restaurants, here you will find an exuberant mix of local food and fine dining. In the city’s most famous tourist spot, Temple Bar, authentic pubs and boutique clothing stalls line the street and live music gives way to a buzzing night-time scene.
For those who wish to learn more about Dublin’s colorful past, you can visit the Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which are both nearly one thousand years old. Those searching for green spaces can find an abundance of trees and parks interspersed throughout the city. A favorite is Phoenix Park, which glows green in the spring, and transforms into burnt orange when the leaves start turning in October. Of course, a trip to Dublin would not be complete without a tour around the Guinness Storehouse, where you can sample a free pint of Ireland’s most famous beer in the highest bar in Dublin.
Irish Countryside, Endless Green Hills
Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle due to its bountiful green hills that illuminate the landscape, rain or shine. Once you venture out of Dublin and into the countryside, you will see a seemingly endless expanse of green pastures. As you travel into the wildest corners of Ireland, there are several scenic hot spots that cannot be missed. In the region of County Kerry, Killarney National Park offers mirrored lakes, fields of wildflowers, and majestic mountains. In the colder months, you may even spot deer as you traverse hiking paths through the wilderness. If you’d like to see where the greenery meets the Atlantic Ocean, drive or take a bus tour around the iconic Ring of Kerry. This popular route will take you through Killarney National Park and miles of coastline that boast some of the best views in Ireland.
Rocky Shores and Silver Sea
Wherever you go in the world, beach destinations can often all look alike; however, in Ireland, this is certainly not the case. With nearly a thousand miles of coastline, Ireland boasts countless beaches. Whether you wish for the blue-green shores of Achill Island or surfing in Ballybunion, you are guaranteed to feel the spray of the sea in the fresh Irish air.
However, it is the famous cliffs of County Clare that offer travelers the true Irish experience. The Cliffs of Moher are an impressive sight, stretching up to 700 feet above the water. If you’d like to learn more about Ireland’s history, visit Bunratty Castle. It is the most complete castle in the country, despite being over 500 years old. After a day of exploring, head to O’Brien’s Tower where you can enjoy a perfect view of the sun dipping below the horizon.
Ireland isn’t your classic tropical vacation, but it has charms that you won’t find anywhere near the equator. Its landscape is unique with the combination of rolling green hills and a coastline that suddenly drops into the sea. If you prefer to stick to the cities, their landmarks, museums, and pubs will keep you occupied for weeks. Ireland should be at the top of your list because it brings together the appeal of historic European towns, wide open scenery, and a friendly Irish welcome.
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