When many think of Ireland, they envision rolling green hills, rugged coasts and sleepy villages. The dynamic cities of Dublin and Galway are equally compelling. Explore districts filled with excellent museums, music venues, five-star restaurants and superb shopping. Retreat to the countryside for fresh air and soul-stirring scenery.
On the Republic of Ireland’s eastern coast, discover Neolithic tombs and historic Viking port cities such as Waterford. In Dublin, try pouring the perfect pint at the Guinness Storehouse and admire city views from the building’s top-floor bar.
Head west to the Atlantic coast to marvel at the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most popular natural attractions. Stand next to O’Brien’s Tower, at the highest point of the cliffs, and enjoy the spectacular views. Connemara, an undeveloped swath of mountain and lake landscapes west of Galway, offers yet more beautiful scenery as well as hiking and biking trails.
Rent a car and drive around the Ring of Kerry, following the fringe of the Iveragh Peninsula. Stop and sunbathe on the sandy beach at Rossbeigh or travel by boat around the lake at Ross Castle.
See the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in County Cork. Visitors line up to lay their lips on this weathered rock, which supposedly imparts eloquence to those who kiss it.
Visit during March to witness the nationwide St. Patrick’s Day celebrations or in September for the Galway Oyster Festival.
Fly to Cork or Dublin airports. Ride the train around the country, booking your tickets online as far in advance as possible for the cheapest fares. Alternatively, rent a car and explore Ireland’s stunning countryside at your own pace. In neighboring Northern Ireland, drive the Coastal Causeway Route, one of the world’s most stunning coastal drives or tour scenic locations from the hit TV show Game of Thrones.
Small as it is, the Republic of Ireland delivers a wealth of diverse cultural experiences as well as rugged, scenic landscapes.