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Ireland Travel Guide

There is a land where myths and legends rule, and where enchanting music fills the air while good spirits warm your heart. That place is Ireland – a country that looks unchanged from hundreds of years past, almost as if it were too precious to be disturbed by time or modern developments. Unmistakably, Ireland has its own charm (luck of the Irish, perhaps?) that will cast a spell over you. 

The Highlights

  • Dublin

    Imposing architecture and cobbles aside, Ireland’s capital is not ‘traditionally pretty’, but what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in energy with its friendly faces, historic pub haunts and of course, Guinness where you can drink your weight in stout at the Storehouse. Watch the buskers on Grafton Street, see the Book of Kells at Trinity College and visit the eerie Kilmainham Gaol. 

  • Wild Atlantic Way

    The Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry aren’t the only attractions along Ireland’s West Coast. Go on the 2,500-kilometre drive that takes you from Cork in the south to Donegal in the north. Carve out a bit of time as there’s much to see between the tombs of Haven Coast and the untamed beauty of the Northern Headlands including Galway Bay, Sligo’s surf breaks and Doolin’s music-doused streets.

  • Wicklow Mountains National Park

    It’s hard not to fall deeply in love with the Wicklow Mountains, known to many as the Garden of Ireland. In this national park south of Dublin, verdant rolling hills hide early medieval sites and grand estates as well as blanket bogs, heather fields and scenic lakes. There’s much to do here: hike to thundering peaks, visit waterfalls, explore the Glendalough Monastic Site and take on Wicklow Way. 

  • Galway

    While Dublin has a brutish quality to it, Galway boasts a bohemian vibe. Riotous colours and textures festoon this charming city along Galway Bay’s northern coast, and it’s a treat for the senses. Take it all in – the busker music, the cobblestone lanes, the contemporary flair that blends well with its medieval past, and of course, the oysters. Afterwards, sail to Aran Islands where ruins await. 

  • Connemara National Park

    From Galway, travel west to Connemara National Park. It’s arguably Ireland’s finest national park, what with its white sand beaches, quartzite peaks and spectacular views. There’s much to see, so it is best to allow a few days and to explore on foot. Among your must hikes are the Twelve Bens, Mám Éan, the Tully Mountain and the summit of Errisbeg. Then reward yourself with a pint in Letterfrack.

  • Burren

    It’s easy to underestimate the rest of Burren when the Cliffs of Moher essentially draw the most traffic. But give it a chance and it might just impress you. This region is peppered with megalithic tombs and medieval structures and surreal, limestone karst that make it seem like you’re walking on the surface of the moon. Keep an eye out for faerie houses, seek out a holy well, and visit a cave.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    June to August

    Ireland’s busiest months are also when the country is at its most beautiful. The weather is warm, the days are long, the skies blue and the landscapes are lush. Unfortunately, it’s also when everything is at its most expensive, and you’ll have to pay an arm and a leg for almost everything. If you’ve got the funds and can forgive the endless stream of foot traffic, then it’s an absolute must. Otherwise, opt to travel in the spring or autumn when you’ll get a bit of everything: good weather, better rates and fewer crowds. Plus, there are a few amazing celebrations to partake in including St. Patrick’s Day in March.

  2. Low Season

    November; January to February

    If not for the fact that many establishments in the rural areas close for the winter, which is brutally cold and windy, the whole country would make for a great destination year round. In the wintertime, the rest of country is at its most dreary – except for December, of course, when everything lights up to celebrate the festive season. Still, there’s much to do in the cities in the wintertime, and even in the countryside, there’s that serenity and intimacy you probably won’t get in the summer months. If you prefer a more melancholic weather anyway, then it’s perfect. If not, take comfort in the fact that you’ll be scoring great bargains.

Ireland Tours

FAQs about Ireland

  • Do you tip in Ireland?

    Tipping is not a huge part of Irish culture, but it is recommended to tip 10% at a restaurant if a service fee is not included, tip bellhops €1 per bag at hotels, and round up taxi fares.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet access is widely available, and WiFi hotspots are increasing in numbers across the country, some of them free.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Yes, the water in Ireland is very safe to drink.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes, credit cards are widely accepted throughout Ireland. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Ireland celebrates Saint Patrick's Day on March 17, May Day on May 1, June Holiday on the 1st Monday of June, August Holiday on the 1st Monday of August, October Holiday on the last Monday of October, and St. Stephen's Day on the day after Christmas. 
  • What are the toilets like?

    Public toilets are widely available in Ireland and are free at most restaurants, hotels and tourist hotspots. Other public toilets, such as in shopping malls, may require a small fee.
  • Can you get around Ireland without a car?

    There’s no denying that the best way to get around Ireland is by car. However, it’s possible to get from one city or town to another without one. The country not only offers an extensive public transportation system of trains and buses but also boasts an intricate network of walking trails.
  • What do you pack for its constantly changing weather?

    Even in the summertime, temperatures don’t typically go higher than 21-25°C and it can rain without warning. Account for cold, rainy weather when packing. Be sure to pack warm socks, water-resistant boots, a light sweater, a thick jacket, and a beanie to keep your head warm.
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR