Why We Love Ireland

“Through streets wide and narrow” Dublin is a city made for exploration, from the River Liffey to the shady corners of St Stephens Green. And at night, over a pint of Guinness and with the sounds of a band of guitar, fiddle, pipe and drum, the songs of the Irish folk, their battles of love and war, reveal the inner soul of the people. Out across the green island, from the mountains rising from the sea on the Ring of Kerry to the windswept moors of Connemara; the peaceful farms of the south and east to the rocky peaks of the north, that beautiful inner spirit of a proud and welcoming people is always present.

Top Destinations in Ireland

Dublin

Lose yourself in Ireland’s capital: see the illustrated Book of Kells at Trinity College; shop along Grafton Street; confront history at the Kilmainham gaol, picnic in St. Stephen’s Green or visit one of the dozens of museums.

Cliffs of Moher

Stretching for five miles along the Atlantic coast of County Clare, these dramatic, 700-foot-high cliffs are a stunning sight. Book a boat tour to get up close and personal.

Glendalough

The Irish have been making pilgrimages to this special place for thousands of years; some to visit the religious hermitage founded by St Kevin in the 6th century, others to enjoy the natural beauty, scenic wonders, archeological sites and wildlife the region offers.

Aran Islands

Located a few miles off the coast of Galway in Ireland’s west, these three islands have long been a haven for the religious and a retreat for the world-weary. Best explore by bicycle, these islands offer ancient settlements, modern farms, famous wool and sweaters, and much more.

Ring of Kerry

A driving tour around the Iveragh Peninsula passes through delightful Irish villages, magnificent beaches, Iron Age fortresses, ancient monasteries and ample opportunities for hiking, biking, golfing and more.

Kinsale

The delightful village of Kinsale is the jumping off place to explore the rugged south coast. Popular with yachtsmen, the town also offers galleries, shops and an active gastronomic scene.

Rock of Cashel

A spectacular group of Medieval buildings set on an outcrop of limestone in County Tipperary including the 12th century round tower, High Cross and Romanesque Chapel, 13th century Gothic cathedral, 15th century Castle and the restored Hall of the Vicars Choral. The traditional home of the Kings of Munster.

Kilkenny

A popular town in Ireland’s southeast, Kilkenny boasts a magnificent castle, a craft museum, and a town filled with pubs noted for their local folk bands.

Boyne Valley

Located along the River Boyne, just northwest of Dublin, one can find numerous historic and archaeological sites. Brú na Bóinne (the Boyne Palace) in County Meath features the massive megalithic ancient passage tombs - which are graves dating back to ancient times - of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. These tombs are older than both Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The Hill of Tara, also in Co. Meath, is an archeological complex consisting of a number of ancient monuments, including the Stone of Destiny, the Fort of the Kings and the Mound of the Hostages.

Overview

Though in size Ireland is a relatively small country, it is a nation rich in resources for a traveler. Whether one plans to visit Dublin, one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting cities, to explore the vast green spaces of the island’s interior, to experience the scenic beauties of the country’s thousands of miles of rugged coastline, or to soak in the rich and varied history of the Irish people, Ireland offers rewarding experiences of all kinds.

Perhaps the country’s richest experience can be found in encounters with its people. Friendly, feisty, and unforgettable, the Irish character is full of bonhomie and banter and, yes, a bit of the blarney. But the Irish are almost uniformly welcoming and gracious, and proud of their rich history and culture.

And that culture is seen everywhere one goes on this lovely island. From the prehistoric standing stones to the soaring modern cathedrals, one can explore the pathways of Irish civilization in every village, township and city. The stories and characters from the pages of Irish literature come alive in the narrow lanes of its cities, and the music of the Irish soul echoes still across the land.

Ireland is a country that rewards exploration, from the busy city streets of Cork and Galway and Kilkenny to the desolate wilderness of the Wild Atlantic Way coastline. Great scenic vistas of the Dingle Peninsula or the Connemara coast contrast with five-star urban palaces and Michelin-starred restaurants in the big cities.

Very often, the first thing an Irishman says upon introduction to a visitor is “your welcome.” It can sound slightly dissonant until one realizes that they mean it: you are truly welcome as a visitor in Ireland.

Quick Facts

English is the first official language of Ireland and is spoken by more than 95% of the populace. Irish Gaelic (or “Irish”) is still spoken by about 35%, mainly in the rural areas of the country. Signposts often contain both languages.

The official currency is the Euro (€). The euro is divided by 100 cents. The U.S. dollar buys approximately € 0.88.

The electrical current in France is 230V AC, 50Hz. The plugs used are the same as in the United Kingdom. Visitors may need power converters and plug adapters.

Internet connections and WiFi spots are found throughout the country. Most major hotels provide good accessibility.

Visitors from the United States (and most other Western nations) are not required to have a tourist visa to enter Ireland. A valid passport is required for entry.

Tap water throughout Ireland is treated and purified and is safe to drink.

France is in the Irish Standard Time zone, which is GMT +1. Ireland observes daylight savings time from the last Sunday in October to the last Sunday in March. When it is noon in New York, it is 5 p.m. in Dublin.

Although visitors arrive year-round, Ireland’s peak tourist season is in the summer months: May through October.

Average High and Low Temperatures

Things To Do in Ireland

Guinness Storehouse

Dublin’s most popular tourist attraction is located in Dublin’s St. James’s Gate brewery. The tour of the country’s most iconic beer ends at the rooftop Gravity Bar, with more tasting combined with a wonderful view of the city.

The Burren

From an Irish word meaning “great rock,” The Burren in County Clare is a karst landscape that’s home to dozens of megalithic tombs, portal dolmens, ring forts and other archeological wonders.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptised converts on his visit to Dublin. The parish church was granted collegiate status in 1191, and raised to cathedral status in 1224. The present building dates from 1220. The Cathedral is today the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland (a church of the Anglican communion).

Croke Park

One of the largest stadiums in Europe (capacity 82,000) Croke Park is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, home of Gaelic football, hurling l and other athletic matches. There’s a GAA museum on site and guided tours of the rooftops.

Galway

Galway, a harbour city on Ireland’s west coast, sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops, and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.

Killarney National Park

Established in 1932 around the castle and stunning gardens of Muckross House, the park today, in the shadow of the mountains called the Macillicuddy Reeks, includes forests, lakes, a herd of Ireland’s last remaining red deer, Ross Castle, the Gap of Dunloe and Dinis and Innisfallen islands.

Dunmore East

Located on the shore of Waterford Bay near the city of Cork, Dunmore East is a postcard-like Irish coastal village, with a protected harbor filled with sailboats, rugged hills rising from the coast, a quaint and colorful village of shops and pubs, and a working fishery.

Waterford Crystal Factory

A visit to the Waterford Crystal factory, overlooking the River Kilkenny in Waterford on Ireland’s southern coast, is always interesting, as the process of creating the company’s highly renowned crystal objects unfolds before your eyes.

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