Enjoy the Emerald Isle
They don’t call Ireland the Emerald Isle for nothing. It is truly the one of the most vividly green and beautiful destinations you can travel to. And luckily for you, if you’ve made the decision to visit, it’s also one of the most enjoyable! From the liveliness of Dublin to the wild Cliffs of Moher, Ireland certainly won’t disappoint. Dublin, whilst compact, is a vibrant city and you could easily fill a couple of weeks (or more) seeking out a whole range of different adventures. Regardless of whether you’ve come for the history, or to party, there’s something for everyone in Dublin. If you love a bit of culture on your trips abroad, you won’t be disappointed by the city’s offerings. The gorgeously manicured gardens of St Stephen’s Green provides a wonderful place for a leisurely walk and not far from there the National Gallery of Ireland houses some of the most beautiful artworks in the world. Be sure not to miss Dublin Castle or St Patrick’s Cathedral for a bit of history and some incredible architecture. And if you’re a bibliophile, that is, a lover of books, then Dublin has plenty for you! You can make a visit to the James Joyce Centre or the Dublin Writers’ Museum, where you’ll learn about the country’s most prolific and critically acclaimed writers. And if museums aren’t your thing, you can get your literary fix by going on a specially designed literary pub-crawl! Whether you’re a book lover or not, you definitely won’t want to skip a visit to Trinity College. For insight into the esteemed history of Trinity, take a guided tour run by current students well versed in the ins and outs of the college’s anecdotes and architecture. The tour ends at The Old Library, which was built in the 18th Century and houses an impressive collection of old and rare books, the most incredible of which is the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells, believed to have been hand scripted by monks around the year 800 is a breathtaking experience, but be prepared for lengthy queues. Of course, as with any other city in the world, it’s not all history and culture, there’s also a lot of lighthearted fun to be had in Dublin. Make sure there’s room in your suitcase as there’s plenty of shopping to do. Dublin’s city center is home to an eclectic collection of stores, ensuring that there’s something for everyone. If you’re a fashion junkie then visit the Loft Market for hip fashion and vintage pieces. If you’re after some traditional items then head to one of the many souvenir shops in the area. Unlike souvenir shops in some other parts of the world, many of Dublin’s stores serve up high quality items at competitive prices. Hand-embroidered linens, garments made from locally grown and milled wool, and crystal from Waterford make wonderful gifts and reminders of your trip. There are also plenty of stores specializing in Celtic inspired jewelry. When you’re ready to sit and unwind, head to Dublin’s Temple Bar. Enjoy a walk through its cobblestoned streets, filled with traditional little bars and an array of restaurants. Popular with both tourists and locals, you can enjoy a pint and a bit of craic. For some of us accustomed to living in larger countries, Ireland may seem small but this is perfect for experiencing different parts of the country as day trips, and Dublin provides an excellent base from which to explore. There is something spectacular to see in every direction. The wild coast of the Atlantic Ocean awaits you to your west, with the Cliffs of Moher a definite highlight. If you’re heading that way, be sure to visit the beautiful County Clare and the city of Galway, where a beef stew and a pint of Guinness makes a hearty meal at the end of a long day. Traveling south towards the city of Cork, you can indulge in the country’s history at the magnificent Rock of Cashel in Tipperary or Blarney Castle, where if you’re game enough, you can kiss the Blarney Stone. Head north and you’ll find the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO world heritage site of immense natural beauty. But if you’re not keen on traveling so far afield then the Wicklow Mountains National Park, just south of Dublin, provides a wonderful venue for engaging with the natural beauty of the landscape. If visiting Wicklow, be sure to make a stop at the wool mill in Avoca Village. The mill, first built in 1723, is still manufacturing products today. Visitors are welcome and are able to take a guided tour that provides an opportunity to see how the mill works, and if you’re lucky, there’ll be someone working the original hand operated looms! The tour ends in the store where you get to see the finished products. It’s an opportunity to pick up some unique items, including scarves, blankets and bags right from the source. A place of natural beauty and steeped in history and culture, Ireland itself may be overshadowed by it’s own locals. From the moment your plane lands, to the moment you depart, you’ll be struck by the overwhelmingly friendly and helpful nature of the Irish. Always up for a laugh and willing to chat about almost anything, they make an amazing trip to the Emerald Isle even better.
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