Time to visit Ireland?
One of the most beloved tourist destinations in the world, Ireland has an almost mythical quality in the mind of the modern pilgrim. While everything you imagine the emerald island to be is probably true, it is also so much more.
The rolling hills, the friendly people, and the Guinness are, indeed, all there. But there is also an undefinable air of immense beauty that cannot be imagined until you are walking the streets.
Here are some of the most beautiful places to see if you plan to visit Ireland.
Places to see if you plan to visit Ireland
The Mysterious Baltimore
Baltimore, meaning the Fort of the Jewels, today a scenic beach town in Cork County, used to be a Druid sacred place. If you read the fascinating history of the town, you will find out that it used to be the seat of old Irish kings, that it was an English colony, and that it even suffered an Algerian raid when at least a hundred of the town folk were taken and sold into slavery.
The entrance to the harbour is, even to this day, guarded by the Baltimore Beacon, also known as Lot’s Wife – a white stone beacon from the 19th century. The nearby 13th century Norman castle is a must for history buffs.
With its beautiful countryside and pretty beaches, Baltimore has become a favourite summer destination, great for sailing, fishing, and – thanks to shipwrecks from both world wars – scuba diving.
Athlone – the Garrison of Old
Athlone is located on the River Shannon, at the very heart of the country.
Split in two by the river, the historic western side of town, with its winding streets, old pubs and colorful houses is overlooked by Athlone Castle, while the eastern bank is the business district. The castle, which was built in the early 13th century, has been renovated recently and is today a major draw for tourists with several exceptional exhibitions.
The Cultural Melting Pot of Dalkey
Once a Viking settlement, today Dalkey is a popular seaside resort and an affluent suburb of Dublin. The narrow streets and old houses give it a quaint feel, and browsing the shops, galleries and pubs is an excellent pastime.
The star of Dalkey is its rich history. History buffs will be impressed by the 10th-century church, as well as not one but two Norman castles. One of the castles is home to the Heritage Centre.
The town offers many guided historic and scenic tours. Literary aficionados will be interested to hear that Dalkey was the birthplace and home of Maeve Binchy, one of the most beloved and lauded contemporary Irish writers.
The most popular local events are the annual Dalkey Book Festival, which takes place every June, and the seafood and jazz festival in August — a must if you visit Ireland at this time.
As Dalkey is very close to Dublin, it might be a good idea to stay in the capital, and venture to the scenic resort for a couple of days. Dublin, the most prominent small town in the world is a unique place with a laidback atmosphere, the best pub scene in the world, and one of the most important literary cities in the world.
Make sure you visit the renowned Trinity College, where the world-famous Book of Kells is on permanent display, and where you can visit the centre dedicated to the work of one of the world’s greatest writers – James Joyce.
Dublin and its surrounding towns are best enjoyed slowly, over the course of at least a couple of weeks. For the most immersive experience, stay longer, and share affordable accommodation to save money.
This charming, vibrant town whose name translates to “Little Nest” is burrowed between the hills and Kenmare Bay in County Kerry.
The pretty little town is the perfect starting point for exploration of the Ring of Kerry. Head to the countryside to witness one of the largest stone circles in Ireland, dating back to the Bronze Age. The town’s other attractions include the 200-year-old annual Kenmare Fair and the first suspension bridge in the country.
Known as one of the prettiest villages in Ireland, Adare more than lives up to its reputation and should undoubtedly be on your list if you plan to visit Ireland.
The heritage designated town dates back to medieval times. For such a small village, Adare has a surprising number of important historic attractions, such as Desmond Castle, two abbeys and a priory, all built in the period from the 13th to the 15th century. However, the most recognizable symbol of Adare is the charming 19th century thatched cottages that look like they came straight from a fairytale.
The land of legends and mystery, turbulent history, rebels and intellectuals, Ireland will take your breath away. This is just a fraction of locales worth visiting, and there are plenty more.
Who could skip the legendary Belfast, the seat of Irish music – Doolin, the Georgian town of Westport, the cultural treasure trove of Galway, and the world-famous natural wonders such as the Cliffs of Moher, and the Giant’s Causeway. When every place on the map is unique in its loveliness, it’s clear that just one visit will never be enough.