Ireland inspires superlative, yet you will run out of them very quickly when trying to describe it. It is an island whose beautiful countryside and long history have inspired more songs and poems than any other place on earth. The green of this Emerald Isle is not just the colour of its landscape; it is an apt description of a jewel.
There is much to Ireland beyond her scenic wonders. Ireland’s magic is also largely due to her history and culture. It is a land of legends and mystery. There is a story to every rock and glen and even more in the pubs!
Geography & Climate
Ireland has mountains running along most of its coast making a ring around a central plain and several lakes. It has a number of rivers including the Liffey, Barrow, Boyne, Bann and Shannon which is the longest. Ireland’s landscape has a range of moods such as wild Donegal, lonely Connemara and the soft, gentle hills of the southeast. The western coast is famous for its rugged cliffs, islands and beaches.
Ireland has a relatively mild but very changeable climate because of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish and the Celtic Seas.
Irish culture is broadly defined as being Gaelic but it is a combination of influences going back for more than 1200 years. The Vikings, Normans, Welsh, English and Scots came, stayed and made significant imprints that are distinctively ‘Irish.’ Ireland has contributed mightily to the world but most extensively to literature, theatre and music. Religion too has a strong sway on the Irish nation. Thus, leading it to be called, “the island of saints and scholars.”
At almost any given time of the year, there are lively arts, theatre and music festivals in full swing – particularly in Dublin. At almost every pub you will hear traditional (or “trad”) music full of upbeat jigs, clever lyrics and heart-tugging ballads.
Without exception Irish cities are beautiful. They are packed with history, great architecture, pretty houses and winding cobblestoned streets making them sightseers’ and photographers’ treat. Every city emits a lively atmosphere, has good food, warm, welcoming pubs and festivals aplenty. The names themselves are poetry to the ears – Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Killarney, Galway, Sligo, Waterford, and of course Limerick.
Places to See
Ireland has three World Heritage Sites: Brú na Boinne (superb Neolithic monuments), Skellig Michael and the Giant’s Causeway. There are loads of other fabulous and fascinating locations to check out such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands and County Galway. Ireland is awash (forgive the expression) with impressive forts and castles. Bunratty Castle, the Rock of Cashel, Holy Cross Abbey and Blarney Castle are just some outstanding structures and historically important. One could go on and on…
Best Time To Visit
Weather-wise, summer of course is the best time to travel to Ireland. Also because it is the theatre, fashion, arts and music festival season. However, late spring and early autumn are also lovely times on the island – without the crowds.
Whatever time of year you visit, a must-drink pint of Guinness at a thatched roofed pub; some trad music floating through the air; postcard scenery and you will find the Ireland you came to experience.