With its lyrical local accents and sympathetic character, it’s no wonder Ireland holds such a sweet place in the global imagination.
But behind the stereotypes, Ireland is a country rich in culture and full of fun. Dublin might be the big draw for stag or hen parties, but beyond that there is a plethora of experiences to be had, whether you love the great outdoors or city breaks.
I am a journalist for Euronews Travel and have enjoyed visiting my family in Ireland since I was a child. I’m here to guide you through a nation so warm you won’t even realize it’s raining (and you probably will).
The best way to discover Ireland
Intercity travel is possible by train, but the best way to explore the Irish countryside is on foot or by bicycle. Places like Connemara National Park offer cycling tours and some experiences, like Ring of Kerry, are driven more often. As you might expect, some of the more remote locations aren’t as easy or accessible for public transportation, so it’s best to plan ahead.
When to go to Ireland
All year! But seriously, if you are not bound by school holidays, I would recommend spring (March to May) or fall (September – October). Tourist areas can be overcrowded during the holidays and during these times the weather will be a bit milder.
Top 10 must-see places in Ireland
A competitor in terms of history and nightlife, Dublin has as many restaurants and watering holes as there are sights, all visible on the hop-on hop-off bus tour.
Lively and unconventional, Galway is a hub of culture and culinary expertise with an atmosphere as vibrant and colorful as its signature architecture.
Covering north-west Galway, Connemara is uniquely beautiful and home to one of Ireland’s must-see national parks teeming with wildlife, as well as the ruins of a Gothic castle and the picturesque Isle of Inishnee.
A hidden gem on the northwest coast, County Donegal has some of Ireland’s best beaches, not to mention gorgeous views and friendly locals.
New Barn, Boyne Valley
UNESCO A World Heritage Site older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza, this Neolithic “passage tomb” is adorned with ancient art.
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Featured in the Harry Potter and Princess Bride series, this cinematic set offers visitors their own magical experience.
Ireland’s second largest city is beautiful and makes a fantastic base for seeing the rest of the beautiful ‘Rebel County’. Built on an island, this university town is full of museums and cultural hubs.
Tralee, County Kerry
A picturesque bay which is home to the National Folk Theater of Ireland.
City of Kilkenny
Medieval capital of Ireland, a must-see for site lovers
Perfect for surfers with amazing waves and beaches, as well as art lovers in The Model.
Places to visit that you will not find in the guide / Off the beaten track
Donegal is the most underrated place in Ireland, if not the world. It is absolutely beautiful and if you are ever there you should definitely go to Tramore Strand, a breathtaking beach that will make you feel like you are at the end of the world.
When I was a kid we would camp nearby and it was amazing, although at the time I didn’t think much about the weather.
In the same part of the country is Lough Finn which is a beautiful freshwater lough, again beautiful scenery and not too far from the big (ish) town of Glenties where everyone has the same name as me.
Great experiences not to be missed
The Ring of Kerry is a 180 km circular route that can be walked in 3.5 hours but also has sections suitable for the most resilient hikers. Boasting a 7th century monastery and unique landscapes, you will come for the Instagrammable moments but probably forget to pull out your phone.
Powerscourt Estate is an absolutely stunning stately home in Enniskerry, Wicklow, which has beautiful gardens and is just a 4 mile walk from Ireland’s highest waterfall. Make sure to grab a bite to eat at the Avoca Terrace Cafe, which offers some of the most breathtaking views in the country.
Trinity College, Dublin was there long before Sally Rooney made it the place most likely to have an on / off love affair and the Old Library is the must-see attraction where historical Greek, Roman texts meet. and Celtic. Come here to soak up knowledge and spend it in the majestic and historic long hall.
What can i do for free
In Ireland there are so many outdoor activities and views that it seems strange to wonder what is free. However, if you’re looking to save coins in Dublin, take a stroll along the River Liffey. Forget the Seine and the canals of Venice, it is the most romantic and characteristic waterway in Europe.
Favorite food of the Irish
After drinking a small pint of Guinness, you should definitely try some fresh Irish seafood. If you’re in Galway, eat oysters, but most of the coastal towns I’ve mentioned will have fresh catches on the menu.
It might sound a little crazy, but I would recommend camping in Ireland. If you go for the great outdoors, it will definitely add something to your experience and help you familiarize yourself with the character of the countryside. It also doesn’t need to be so basic with some amazing places to choose.
My best advice
A general rule of thumb is to always talk to locals about where to go. It sounds like a cliché, but the Irish are so welcoming and friendly, and always ready to help.
Alternatively, if you’re in Donegal, try Kennedy’s Gastro Pub (formerly The Thatch), Glenties.
Every weekday at 9:00 p.m. CET, Euronews Travel brings you a story from a different place in the world. Download the Euronews app to receive an alert on this and other news. It is available onAppleand Android devices.