What to Do in Ireland
Regardless of whether you’re seeking windswept beaches, scenic drives, a foodie escape, or a weekend in the city, you’ll have it all in Ireland. Tour Dublin’s cultural sights, learn about Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse museum, flick through old books at the stunning Trinity College Library or walk the cobbles of Temple Bar to find a local live band in one of its legion of pubs. Embark on a road trip along the uncommonly pretty Wild Atlantic Way, taking in Atlantic views and wind-sculpted beaches, and explore the Burren’s unique landscape of limestone hills and valleys via its sublime walking and cycling trails. The Cliffs of Moher are an impressive natural wonder and unmissable on a tour of Ireland, but add the massive Slieve League cliffs for an even more impressive visual feast but with far fewer crowds.
Cross the border into Northern Irelands for a few days of exploration in the lively northern Irish capital of Belfast for tours that entwine the political landscape of the island with recent history and Belfast’s stunning sights. From there, visit the rugged beaches of the otherworldly Giant’s Causeway, a must-see in Northern Ireland and one of Europe’s most unique landscapes.
Best activities to do in Ireland
Ireland has a huge range of outdoor pursuits, history, culture, and food to enjoy. To help narrow it down, we have put together a list of some of our favorites.
Sample the best Irish whiskey
In traditional Gaelic, the Irish call their native Whiskey “Uisce Beatha” or the water of life, a staple of the Emerald Isle since the middle ages. The country’s devotion to this noble spirit is easy to see with distilleries across the island, most of them mashing, fermenting, distilling, barreling, and greeting daily visitors for tastings and exploratory tours of the whiskey-making process. In Dublin, scour the skyline for a striking illuminated church spire made from glass to find the Pearse Lyons Distillery making whiskey and Gin in a converted cathedral. In Northern Ireland, try County Antrim’s Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest whiskey distillery, and in County Cork, the Jameson Experience and Distillery introduce whiskey connoisseurs and those just getting their tongues wet to Ireland’s best-selling whiskey.
Belfast Titanic Museum
Before one even enters the museum, the magnificent structure of the Belfast Titanic Museum commands attention, rising in a symphony of steel and glass from the docks like the grand ship, the Titanic, that it represents. Inside the museum, the exhibits bring the Titanic’s influential and tragic story to life in vivid detail with intricate models, artifacts, documentary footage, and a theme-park-like ride through a recreation of the bowels of the Titanic, as well as personal accounts of the passengers and crew detailing every distinct moment from the building of the ship to the aftermath of its sinking, including the quest to find it.
Trinity College Dublin & Book of Kells
Amongst the historic beauty of the heart of Dublin, nestled into its cobblestone streets and beautiful buildings stands Trinity College Dublin. Established in 1592, the College is Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious, steeped in cultural significance and hiding a trove of intrigues. Amongst the most important is the Book of Kells, said to have been created by Irish or Scottish monks in the ninth century, and a stunning example of illuminated manuscript art, with the four Gospels of the New Testament, presented amongst a colorful collection of patterns and complex illustrations. The Long Room is the highlight, a 300-year-old, 65-meter-long library with stunning wooden interiors lined with marble busts and filled with 200,000 books.
A former fermentation plant and testament to Ireland’s industrial past, the Guinness Storehouse offers a grand silhouette amongst the old streets of Dublin. And once inside, the experience is immersive, with rooms heavy with the scent of barley and hops, a journey through the vivid stories of Ireland’s most famous beer — detailing the brewing process from grain to glass. The exhibits are spread across multiple floors, with every moment of the journey brought to life through interactive exhibits, videos, and old advertising campaigns, and there’s a gravity bar boasting sweeping panoramas of the city, best enjoyed with a pint of a Guinness, fresh from the tap.
Stay in an Irish Castle
Ireland’s castles are delightful, grand, luxurious, and evocative of a time of kings, queens, and storied knights, and staying in one is perhaps one of Ireland’s most beguiling travel experiences. Although each is different, imagine spacious rooms with vaulted ceilings and elegant four-poster beds, windows looking out onto breathtaking countryside views, and public spaces indented with ancient nooks and medieval crannies, warmed by the romantic crackle of wood fires. Often set into vast woodlands, peaceful gardens, or along the beaches of the wild Atlantic coast, an Irish castle hotel is as excellent an option for a prolonged romantic escape for two as it is for a family retreat between Irish cities.
Learn Falconry in Ireland
Practiced in Ireland since the Middle Ages and once the most popular sport amongst its gentry and nobility, falconry, the training, and handling of birds of prey is as much an art form as it is a sport. Practice falconry in Ireland to connect with this rich heritage, learning from experienced trainers, many of whom have passed down their skills and knowledge from generation to generation. Connect with eagles, falcons, and hawks, learning about their instincts and characteristics, amongst the sublime setting of the Irish countryside, all rolling hills and rugged coastline offering ample opportunity to fly and observe birds of prey in their natural environment.
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