Best known for its lush greenery, Guinness, and Saint Patrick, Ireland is a great place for your next trip. We’ve compiled a guide for traveling through Ireland, including must-sees and little known facts.
You’ll be sure not to miss Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This mesmerizing series of lava plateaus were formed around 50 to 60 million years ago by intense volcanic activity. Over time, the lava cooled and fractures created columns that are so perfect, they almost look artificial.
Soak up more natural beauty on the Ring of Kerry. For many people, this drive is the epitome of Ireland, filled with ancient monuments, romantic castles, spectacular gardens, and colorful towns and villages.
Also make sure to travel to the west coast to see the The Cliffs of Moher. This is some of the dramatic and breathtaking coastline you’ll see anywhere in the world. With sheer cliffs over 700 feet high stretching for over 5 miles, you might feel like you’re at the edge of the world.
Furthermore, some of the greatest modern literature has come out of Ireland. There have been four Irish writers to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Jonathan Swift, Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, and Seamus Heaney among others are all well-known Irish writers. I remember watching a Travel Channel special hosted by Bobby Flay on Ireland once where they talked about all the famous Irish writers always hanging out in the pubs. They joked that these writers didn’t have drinking problems, but rather those drinkers had writing problems. You yourself could pass off your many trips to the pub for a pint of Guinness as studying up on your favorite writers (not that anyone needs an excuse for a pint of Guinness).
Speaking of Guinness, no trip is Ireland is complete without a stop at the Guinness Storehouse. Located in Dublin, a trip to the Guinness Storehouse not only includes tastings of the world’s best stout (if I do say so myself), but you’ll also learn how Guinness is made and hear the story of how it came to be so famous and one of Ireland’s best-known exports. The view of Dublin from the Gravity Bar on the top floor is also quite spectacular.
If historical buildings are your thing, try St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College Dublin. Architecturally, Trinity College is one of the greatest universities in the world. Many of the buildings are over hundreds of years old, but the must-see is definitely the Long Room of the old library. Don’t miss seeing the Book of Kells while you’re there either. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also located in Dublin and is Ireland’s largest church. An interesting note: Jonathan Swift, the author of “Gulliver’s Travels,” is buried here and was the dean of the cathedral from 1713-45.
There will be many more things to catch your fancy once you get to Ireland, but use this guide as a starting point. Don’t be afraid to get lost and find your own path though. Some of the best travel experiences are the unexpected ones!