February 21, 2018

Discovering Ireland!

Last month I wrote a post about my European travel dreams for this year. I still haven’t made any plans yet but as I go over my European dreams I’ve been asking myself, what is it that draws me to Ireland?

In no particular order, here are 6 reasons Ireland is calling me!

Dramatic Landscape
Ireland is known for her spectacular scenery, varied landscapes, cliffs tumbling to the sea, seascapes, lakes, and many shades of green. I want to experience the translucent lakes of Killarney, see the masted boats in Kinsale harbor and picture perfect towns like Inistioge and Adare. In the southwest, the Beara and Iveragh Peninsulas are full of wild and gorgeous scenery while the Dingle peninsula is known for its harsh but beautiful land and seascapes. Ireland is also home to many prehistoric sights including the eerie megalithic tombs, ancient huts and rock formations found in the Burren. And then there is the excavation at Ceide Fields which is home to settlements older than the pyramids!

Cliffs of Moher Clare County Ireland

Cliffs of Moher by Shannon Development

Pubs, Music, Beer, Whiskey & Tea
Ireland seems to be synonymous with Guinness but besides this traditional beer, I’d also like to enjoy many of the ales the country is known for. Even though I’m not a whiskey fan, a tour and taste of this locally distilled beverage will make it on my itinerary! One of the things Ireland is most famous for are its pubs and it’s the pubs that are probably on the top of my list. I want to experience traditional Irish music and have conversations with local folks, which will be the best souvenir! Afternoons of tea and dinners of traditional Irish food will top off my culinary discoveries.

Jameson Distillery Dublin Ireland

Jameson Distillery by the Jameson Distillery

Lodging options
Ireland is known for its hospitality and one way to experience this is through the many different styles of lodging. From farmhouses, cottages, country houses to Bed & Breakfast’s and elegant castles there is a vast array of choices and I want to experience many different types including a Castle! Dromoland, Ashford and Adare Manor are some of the more famous in this category but there are other Castle hotels, such as Ballynahinch Castle, that are not as well-known.

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel Galway Ireland

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel by Manor House Hotels

History, Castles, Cathedrals and Fortresses
Anywhere I travel, one of my joys is learning about the local history. To say Ireland has a vast and varied history is an understatement. Ireland’s history dates back to 8000 BC and has seen invasions of Vikings, English, Normans and others. The tumultuous history includes wars for independence and other rebellions which have all left their mark on the country but have also made it what it is today. The remnants can been see in the many castles, fortresses and cathedrals dotting the land. “The gift of gab” will be mine after visiting Blarney Castle and its very famous stone. There are Bronze Age forts, monastic sites dating to early Christianity, Viking walls and Georgian estates strewn across the land. Waiting is Charles Fort, which has stood since Norman times, James Fort, Bunratty Castle, Kylemore Abbey, medieval Trim castle and the well preserved Cahir Castle.

Kylemore Abbey Connemara Ireland

Kylemore Abbey by Chris Hill 2006

Outdoor Activities
Normally I prefer sailing in fair weather but would make an exception to sail the waters near Ireland. Sailing is such a peaceful endeavor and when it comes with amazing views, I just don’t think I could pass up spending some time on the seas. With all the wonderful landscape I’ll find in Ireland, hiking seems like the perfect way to see and experience parts most people miss. I grew up fly fishing and wouldn’t miss a chance to drop a line in one of the pretty rivers traversing Ireland.

Killarney Lakes Kerry Ireland

Killarney Lakes by Tourism Ireland

When I visit Ireland, I want to take the time to really experience Ireland and a big part of this will be its people. I have long heard about the wonderful people in Ireland, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative thing said about the Irish! The Irish are known to be friendly, relaxed, funny and kind. A fellow travel blogger, Jeremy Branham said in an article on Irish Central “. . . the Irish people are the friendliest I’ve ever met.”

American Folk Park - Bluegrass Festival Omagh Ireland

American Folk Park - Bluegrass Festival by Geray Sweeney

For a small country, Ireland seems to have more of everything. Each turn of the road displays more green, more history, more soul, more beer and I want to experience it all!

Why would you go to Ireland?

All images are courtesy of Tourism Ireland.

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  1. Keara Barnes says:

    Ireland is my favourite country in the world:) I was living there for the past three years and just moved back to Canada and I miss it every day. You should go and enjoy!

  2. Keara Barnes says:

    Ireland is my favourite country in the world:) I’ve been living their for the past three years and just moved back to Canada and I miss it every day. You should absolutely go and enjoy!

  3. Laurel says:

    Ireland is at the top of my list as well. I’m really hoping to go this year.

  4. Definitely the dramatic landscapes. Ireland is one beautiful country — the landscape always looks like a beautiful carpet of green. I could drink it all up!
    InsideJourneys recently posted..The Story Behind the Lucea Clock Tower

  5. Oh, Debbie – Ireland is calling me, too. I was there in 2004 and it was a fantastic trip in so many ways, as you mention. Before I went, I thought that it might be a myth about the Irish people being so warm, friendly and full of character. It’s all true! And I’m not just saying that since I’m half Irish. 🙂

  6. So far I’ve only been to Dublin and nearby Malahide, but I’d love to see more of the Emerald Isle someday. 🙂
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Greetings From… Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

  7. Ireland has been on my list for a long time, mostly because of the golf and beer, but it seems there are other reasons for me to go:)
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..The One Ocean Resort & Spa – Check-In Florida

  8. Bernie says:

    Both this and some shots I’ve seen on Pinterest are making me think that this is the year to go back to Ireland. I’ve got a longing for some spectacular scenery and this definitely qualifies.
    Bernie recently posted..Travellers’ Songs: New York Shuffle – Graham Parker and the Rumour

  9. These are all very good reasons to visit Ireland. It is one of my favourite countries in the world…
    One other reason I would add is to reconnect with familial roots… I know a lot of people in the world have some Irish in them, and my Irish roots are a big reason I always feel so drawn to the country.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Remembering Easter Island

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      True, a lot of us from the US have Irish roots. With a maiden name of Zimmerman, my roots are across the water in Germany!

  10. Suzy says:

    I did a month long solo travel road trip all around Ireland. It was one of the best trips that I have taken, mostly for the reasons you describe above.
    Suzy recently posted..Redhead Reviews: Sanaa Hyder Travel Bags

  11. Sofia says:

    I really like Ireland, and I would love to go back there to see more of the country with its castles and cliffs. From your photos, autumn looks like a beautiful time to visit.
    Sofia recently posted..5 Places To Visit In Slovakia

  12. inka says:

    I would go for the people and for the castles.
    inka recently posted..Art on leather – a revelation in Cordoba

  13. Ireland is on my list for this year too. Whether we get there or not is another story but you have certainly inspired me to make sure we do! Maybe we’ll see you there!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..The Children of Jordan’s Al-Amir Village.

  14. Jam @icoSnap says:

    Well, I would actually want to try the pubs/bars in Ireland (I saw a documentary a while back about them and they seem like a very fun place to go). By the way the Cliff photo is so beautiful!

  15. All great reasons to visit the Emerald Isle! This was the first European country I visited last century in college and fell in love with the scenery and the people. Yes, the Irish really are some of the friendliest and welcoming people we’ve met. They’re loads of fun too at pubs – breaking out into songs, etc. We went in late March where it rained a few days but it wasn’t too bad. I hope you get to visit soon. We’d love to return and show it to the kids. They just want to go to see where the leprechauns live 🙂
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Exploring the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

  16. Absolutely! I would love to do a road trip through Ireland, so I could take my time and enjoy the landscapes and small-town pubs.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..I finally went to a futbol match in Argentina

  17. Leigh says:

    I spent 3 weeks in Ireland a few years ago – and loved the wilder west coast area. I’d like to return to the far north part of Ireland too. If you get some great weather the place is magical. Don’t miss the Aran Islands either.
    Leigh recently posted..Dazzled by the Lake Louise Ice Sculptures

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I’ve heard a lot of people really like the west coast area and have also heard great things about the Aran Islands!

  18. We visited Ireland for the first time in May 2012. That visit has generated 5 posts on my blog already and I still haven’t finished covering the entire trip. How are you with driving on the “Wrong Side”? That experience also generated a blog post. Before you go, read a good history of Ireland. Everything will make more sense and be more interesting if you know a little about what makes Ireland (and the Irish) tick before you go.
    Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..How Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Deal With Seasonal Affective Disorder

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Ummm, well my husband will be fine driving on the ‘wrong side’ 🙂 Thanks for your advice on learning a bit about Irish history!

  19. Steve says:

    My wife really wants to visit Ireland, but then again she’s always had a thing for green.
    The Cliffs of Moher are almost enough to draw me across the Atlantic though. Absolutely beautiful!
    Steve recently posted..Getting Teenagers Out of Bed While Traveling

  20. Marlys says:

    Hah, you and me both. It’s so near yet so far where I am. I hear conflicting opinions about Ireland and I want to see it for myself to be my own judge of it.
    Marlys recently posted..Themed Paris Urban Walk – Hemingway’s Latin Quarter

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Why is it that the closer places are the less we visit them? Hopefully you’ll get to visit Ireland very soon.

  21. EU thing says:

    Ireland is great! Friendly people, great landscapes… shame about the weather though 😉 but I guess that’s what keeps the countryside so green and lush! What I found interesting was the history. Being British I had little idea about how they were treated under our rule. Great to get a different perspective on things!
    EU thing recently posted..Scandinavian style and design

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