5 Reasons Why You Will Love Touring Ireland
If you plan to travel to Europe alone in the coming months but are uncertain where to go, I would add Ireland to your Europe itinerary as an overseas traveller.
Ireland every year makes it to the top destinations of many publications and travel magazines, as one of the most magical countries worth visiting, on the old continent, offering a great mix of things to do.
From dramatic natural landmarks to the rich history that goes back to 3000 BC, to the colourful Irish culture, Ireland for sure is a destination that will create long-lasting memories in your travels.
Being a comfortable and safe country to explore, it’s ideal for the adventurous solo traveller, that loves road-tripping, nonetheless going on a tour can be a great idea too for a first-time visit to Ireland.
CIE Tours have been leading tours of Ireland for 85 years, and You can create a custom tour and organise a self-guided tour if you prefer to go independently.
A trip to Ireland has been long on my bucket list, and hopefully, I will make it happen soon. For now, I can give you a taste of the best places to visit in Ireland for first-time visitors and what I believe are the main reasons for touring Ireland.
Road Tripping along the Wild Atlantic Way
With ist 2,500 km the Wild Atlantic Way is the longest scenic coastal route in the world. There is nothing like walking to the “Sliabh Liag” or Slieve League cliffs, drinking in the terrific views over the Atlantic ocean, knowing that there is nothing between the sea and the next land is Northern America. This site was also known to be a Christian Pilgrimage for over 1000 years.
If you love nature, Ireland has some excellent places with a varied wild coastline. Like in Kerry, from surfer and sandy beaches to the north’s ancient and rugged coast to breath-taking cliffs.
The Cliffs of Moher, stretching for 8km on the West Coast of Ireland, about 2 hours drive from Galway, is a top attraction for first-time travellers visiting Ireland.
The Giant’s Casuaway is a Unesco World Heritage site as it is of theworld’s most ancient placesd. Its impressive 40 thousand basalt columns are estimated to be 60 million years old as the result of a volcanic eruption. You can wander through unique rock formations towering the bays for hours.
This is probably one of the top places in the world for photography and bird-watching lovers.
Furthermore, you can also learn about one of the many Irish myths, that one from Finn MacCool, who is believed to have started chucking boulders into the sea and building a bridge out to Scotland.
Learning about the Magical Regions of Ireland
There are endless tiny bays, little villages and picturesque regions that you can explore along the Wild Atlantic Way. One area that stands out for its beauty, peace and the magic is Connemara.
Sandy beaches and quirky places like Derrigimlagh Bog, a wild and mysterious place, a mosaic of lakes and peat, are just a few of the Connemara landmarks. You can also witness the remnants of the first transatlantic radio station built by Marconi Company.
Visit some of Ireland’s best ancient sites
Ireland has a wealth of ancient sites that make history so rich and varied. From prehistoric Ireland to the early Christian era, to the Viking and Norman invasions to the Celtic era, every site in Ireland bears much historical significance. Every place is deeply rooted in its history. Here are just a few places among the many worths visiting when planning a trip to Ireland’s best ancient sites.
Skelling Michael, a 6th Century Christian Monastery, featuring stone beehive huts, located 160 mt above the sea level is the oldest ancient site in Ireland off South West Coast of Ireland on the Iveragh Peninsula. It’s more popular after the name of the Ring of Kerry, a circular loop of 179 km that encompasses picturesque villages, towns and lakes. A must-visit coastal route for keen road tripper.
Glendalough is another monastic site with churches and a tower in a mountain landscape that also offers beautiful walks to the nearby lakes.
Ireland has many prehistoric stone circles too. The most popular free site is Dromberg Circle in County Cork with 17 stones and a few huts to visit. Another one is Beltany Stone Circle, which dates back to 1400-800 BC if you visit Donegal.
Stay in a castle in Ireland
Another excellent reason for visiting Ireland is its unique and heritage castles scattered throughout the country. From state towers to old ruins to nobility homes, there are many impressive castles in Ireland. And many are now hotels too, where you can stay overnight.
One Irish Castle worth mentioning is the Trim Castle, the largest Norman castle, built in the late 12th century by the Norman, which was also used, in recent time, as a filming location by Mel Gibson. Today is open to the public for visits and is one of the best castles to stay in Ireland.
Enjoy the Irish Music and the Irish Craic
Irish are legendary friendly folks, and they know how to have fun! You will meet the friendly locals by visiting picturesque towns like Galway, Kilkenny and many more. Pubs are the place where you can reach the locals, dance with Irish music, either fiddles or guitars, and listen to the many “Craic storytelling“. The word craic is used in many contexts, but if finally defines fun and entertainment in Irish.
Planning a trip to Ireland
No matter what you want to do, the best time for touring Ireland is probably Spring and Summer when the weather is warmer, and the mild temps allow to explore the outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty.
Springtime is probably the best to avoid the crowds in summer. If you love flowers from March to May fields, get covered by all yellow, pink, blue, and purple shades. Make sure you plan well ahead and choose the best-suited way for visiting the country, either going alone or on guided tours of Ireland.
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions on this post are, nonetheless, my own.
Photos Credits: All the above photos are from Shutterstock:
1. Dunlewey Church Ruins
2. Slieve Leauge Cliffs
3. Cliffs of Moher
4. Giant’s Causeway
5. Connemara Sheeps
6. Ring of Kerry
7 Trim Castle
8 Pub in Dublin
March 3, 2018 @ 11:45 am
Ever since I saw Braveheart and Got and their filming locations, Ireland keeps popping up so many times. Always wanted to check out the eerie Giant’s Causeway the most! Great tips too!
March 3, 2018 @ 2:30 pm
Ireland is definitely one of my favorite countries! This makes me want to go back!
Mei and Kerstin
March 3, 2018 @ 4:22 pm
Ireland’s pretty high on our bucket list since we both love staying in old castles, and visiting archaeological sites (well, no surprise since I’m an archaeologist. :D). We would love to rent a car and tour parts of the country on our own, but the only problem is that none of us would want to drive on the left side. So perhaps we’ll choose a guided tour after all. Thank you for sharing the places you love! We’ll pin this for later. 🙂
March 4, 2018 @ 2:06 pm
I think road tripping is the way to go in Ireland. Driving on the left is something I learnt from my solo travels in Australia. At the beginning I was scared and thought I didn’t like it. It’s pretty much straight forward in towns and cities, you cannot do anything wrong, you just follow the traffic. It may become an issue when you drive in the Outback or in remote areas just because your brain is programmed for the right side and you automatically tend to go on the right. But once you get used to it is pretty much the same. I would suggest you hire an automatic car, that will help a lot. Automatic drive help you keep your hands on the steering wheel, thus you are not distracted and feel more relaxed while driving. As for tour in Ireland, it may be a good idea actually, I’m thinking of doing the same. On the first trip it gives you an overview of what the country is like and saves you the trip planning too! Thanks for stopping by.
March 3, 2018 @ 5:08 pm
I still can’t believe I’ve not been to Ireland, even though I’m from England!! It is something I really have to change. The Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway have been on my bucketlist forever! I just have to book a trip now!
March 4, 2018 @ 1:55 pm
Hi Claire, I share your feelings. Ireland has been on my bucket list for ever. Maybe by writing about it, I will make it happen soon. 🙂
March 3, 2018 @ 6:13 pm
I love Ireland especially after checking out Killarney and Limerick last Autumn. Beautiful running and hiking places for me but I love the rugged coastline. So beautiful!
Jenn and Ed Coleman
March 4, 2018 @ 1:02 pm
This was a beautiful and well paced article. I love how you kept the facts flowing while giving me usable information to actually go to Ireland. I would love to visit the Giant’s Causeway and the Ring of Kerry, those have been on my list for a long time. You added staying at Trim Castle. That seems completely magical.
March 4, 2018 @ 1:57 pm
Thank you Jenn and Ed. Glad you enjoyed my article about Ireland. 🙂
March 4, 2018 @ 4:16 pm
On the Wild Atlantic way there is an island called Inchydoney which I would also recommend. It has stunning beaches where people surf in the evening and the hotel there has the most amazing spa and restaurant. Worth a detour
March 5, 2018 @ 11:21 am
A lot of great options. There are many places on the list that I would definitely like to check out. Those include the Wild Atlantic Way, the Giant’s Casuaway, Glendalough and some of the castles and pubs of course. I must admit Ireland seems like a great place to visit. Love that there’s a variety of things to do and see.
March 6, 2018 @ 2:04 am
Ireland is one of those destinations which I instantly fell in love with, and totally agree that road tripping along the Wild Atlantic Way is one of the most incredible reasons to tour here. One of the best road trips we’ve taken, I swear this is the most stunning coastal scenery in the world 🙂 CIE Tours are incredible – my first trip to Ireland was on a bus tour, and I had a fabulous time 🙂
March 6, 2018 @ 5:22 pm
Ireland is one such destination which tops our list. Hopefully, we make it this year or by next year. The Giant’s Causeway, castles, road tripping everything is so attractive. Your pictures are just amazing. Staying at Trim Castle, that would be something extraordinary.
March 6, 2018 @ 9:11 pm
I love Ireland and reading this article has taken me back. I haven’t seen everything though and really want to return to see the Giants Causeway, it looks so beautiful.
March 8, 2018 @ 7:36 am
Ireland is wonderful and peaceful place to travel.Love reading your blog.Pictures are good.Road trip in Ireland would be amazing experience.I would definitely visit here in my coming vacations.Thanks for the post.Keep sharing.
March 18, 2018 @ 2:52 am
I leave for Ireland in 10 days! This post has me so excited!
May 23, 2018 @ 5:41 am
We see the scenery on TV and in movies scenes of Ireland and have a preconception of what it is before go. Now its really so much interesting that all are found in your article all is well to visit Ireland. I Had a wish to gonna there. So last month i had an opportunity to went there. These islands are a hidden gem located off the west coast of Ireland. They are not as of yet a hot tourist attraction but they really should be. I was lucky enough to spend a day and a half on Inishmore which is the largest of the three islands. It is that and so much more! Traveling down the country roads in Galway you see the sheep wandering along the road and yes, they do have the right of way there. I can honestly say there is not one part of Ireland that is more beautiful than the other. It something that everyone must go and experience for themselves.