Dublin has been voted the friendliest city in Europe more than once, and for good reason. Irish people are known for their warm and welcoming demeanor, as well as sense of humour and community ties.
What’s more, music, dance, and drink are deeply intertwined with the spirit of the country – hence its bustling pub scene, which is renowned the world over. You haven’t really had a traditional holiday here until you’ve sampled a Guinness and taken part in some karaoke…
Ireland is unique in the sheer wealth of sacred sights it offers. You can seemingly find a religious site around every corner, and with them, gripping ways to connect with the country’s history and culture through a more spiritual lens.
Ireland’s credentials as a golfing superpower are so impressive that making a list of its best courses feels askin to making one for the best courses in the world. Here’s our shortlist.
Dublin is a spirited city that balances its storied past with modern pleasures like shopping, wining and dining. In particular, you’ll find several ways to appreciate the arts, as an impressive range of museums, theatres and more pepper the capital’s streets… including historic sightseeing spots like O’Connell Street, the widest street in Europe.
Cork was founded by the Vikings in 814 AD, and was once the capital of Ireland. Today, it’s a captivating city with a strong community and plethora of cultural sights, many of which can be found in its famous Victorian Quarter. Between its buzzing nightlife, impressive architecture and esteemed arts and music venues, it’s impossible to get bored here.
The west of Ireland is partly defined by dazzling Limerick – the host city of the country’s largest festival, the Fleadh Cheoil, where Irish culture is celebrated through music, dance, and other revelries. As one of Ireland’s oldest cities, Limerick is also a hotbed of history, and boasts the largest Georgian Quarter in the country outside of Dublin.
Many artists and writers have made this city their home over the years, including the Nobel Prize-winning author, James Joyce. There’s a good reason why. Galway melts gorgeously into the Wild Atlantic Way’s rugged coastline, combining city and country life to breathtaking effect. Did you know it also has the largest Irish Gaelic speaking community in the country?
The wild beauty of the counties Sligo and Donegal appeal to die-hard hikers and nature wanderers, set against a rugged coastline and filled with deserted mountains, moors, and lakes. Just as excitingly, this region is filled with rare archaeological remains to explore.
The vast, unspoiled landscapes of Connacht, which include the Cliffs of Moher and awe-inspiring Connemara, represent the ideal image of Ireland for many. Along with its fantastic feats of nature, you’ll find this region’s city of Galway a haven of Gaelic culture and language.
Filled with attractive fishing villages, West Cork is a favourite spot for foodies (particularly those that enjoy the fruits of the ocean). Several of this region’s best sights hardly need advertising: from the panoramic roads of the Ring of Kerry to the magnificent scenery of Killarney National Park and the Dingle Peninsula.
Chief of the incredible monuments that make up this pocket of Ireland are Newgrange – a huge passage grave from the Neolithic Age – and Clonmacnoise, which was once the spiritual and intellectual center of the island. The Lakelands here are ideal for anglers and boaters, too.
Everything can be explored on foot in Dublin… but you’ll want to wear good shoes! Between its legendary pubs, culture hotspots, hip boutiques and national museums, there’s so much to see. If you’ve had enough of the city buzz, the wondrous Wicklow Mountains are just a short drive away.
Sandy beaches and a variety of water sports are the main attractions of this sunny region, though further inland there are some surprising treasures, including the Rock of Cashel and picturesque medieval city of Kilkenny.