Among the draws to Ireland are definitely the green countryside, the castles, the beautiful rolling hills, and dramatic coastlines. But, the greatest charm has always been how lovely the people are!
The verdict on Ireland - love it! But, it rains too much all year, and that is coming from someone who lived in Seattle.
Castles and Churches
To me, the wonders of the Irish island are found away from the big cities, Dublin is still a wonderful place to visit.
One can enjoy the simple pleasures of a pub visit (or a Guinness brewery tour), or enjoy the great history and architecture.
Of course, The Book of Kells, St Patrick's Cathedral, and Dublin Castle are all a must.
Favorite Places in Dublin
The first Irish University, founded in 1592, is a beautiful campus with Georgian style architecture. You can visit the Douglas Hyde Gallery for modern art exhibitions, enjoy the open Parliament Square, and visit the many green spaces. But, the highlight is 1200 year old gospels, The Book of Kells, in the Old Library.
St Patrick's Cathedral
dating from 1220, this is a magnificent church with a very welcoming and relaxing yard in front, even if it is a bit crowded on a sunny day.
National Gallery of Ireland
when the gallery was founded in the 1850's, it had just 112 paintings. Today, it is a world class gallery over over 16,000 pieces of European art from the 14th to 20th centuries.
dating from 1204, it houses 2 museums and a Royal Chapel.
take your choice...The Guinness Brewery tour, the Irish Whiskey Museum, The Teeling Whiskey Distillery and many others.
The 2nd largest city in Ireland straddles the River Lee, and is located in the south of Ireland, giving you access to The Wild Atlantic Way.
Favorite Places in Cork
This star-shaped 17th-century fort offers views of the city views & guided tours. Wal around the walls for great views of the city.
Cork City Gaol
restored 19th century prison that even offers night tours.
5 miles outside of town, you can kiss the stone and get the gift of gab.
Lovely park along the River Lee, with walking paths, sculptures and fountains. Capped on the east end with the Cork Public Museum.
Cute town of less than 2000 people that has an ancient Domincan priory, and castle remains, as well as remains of an old defensive wall.
I used this as a base for a week because it is quite relaxing, and it is located just an hour from Cork and a half hour from Limerick.
along the River Shannon and highlighted by the 13th-century King John’s Castle along the river.
Visit the castle for great interactive exhibits, then walk a couple blocks down to St Mary's cathedral, also dating to the 13th century.
Don't miss the Hunt Museum, a former customs house that holds 2000 Irish artifacts. Then, head about 10 miles outside of town to see Bunratty castle, a 15th-century castle and living 19th-century village bring the periods alive at this family museum .
Irish Castles and Churches
It seems like no matter what part of the country you are in, you are never from from an old castle or church. it is one of the wonderful charms of this country. Walking through a castle, picturing how people lived and worshipped in those rooms hundreds of years ago.
It is said that there are over 30,000 castles in Ireland. And, it does feel like they are everywhere.
Cliffs of Moher
Located on the west coast, beaten and carved by the Atlantic, these cliffs are hundreds of feet high, and draw millions of visitors to see them.
Glenveagh National Park
One of my favorite places to go in Ireland. It is up in the north in County Donegal, about 3 hour drive from Dublin. I really enjoy being able to visit Glenveagh Castle (and its beautiful grounds) and hike up Mount Errigal.
Be ready for all seasons, even in July. The first time I tried to hike Errigal, I was turned back by driving wind and rain that made me uncomfortable climbing the wet rocks. Luckily, the 2nd time, the weather cooperated and I was able to summit.