Best Things to See and Do in Ireland
One thing people may not realize about Ireland is how much it has to offer. The scenic beauty, natural wonders, and over 5000 km of coastline really lend themselves to making the country into a world class tourist destination. As you may have read, I am rather fond of touring this country, and there is good reason for it. Let’s take a look just some of the attractions that keep people coming back year after year.
Pack your clubs and drive to some of the Irelands finest golf courses! Did you know that there are over 50 golf courses within 30 kilometers of Dublin? It’s true, and that’s just a small portion of the country. Some of the world’s most beautiful golfing can be found in Ireland. With courses set up on the coastal cliffs, forests, and rolling hills, golfers of all skills will be stunned by the beauty of the region. Here at Auto Europe, we get many requests from golfers, so if you do rent a car in Ireland for this purpose, opt for a wagon or a minivan to ensure you have enough space!
As you know Ireland has many miles of coastline. This makes it a perfect destination for anglers to get away in search of the perfect catch. Some public transportation can get you to the coast, or a car rental in Ireland will allow you to fish beaches, lakes and rivers at your own pace. The Irish oceans are home to a wide range of fish, including bass, cod, pollock, turbot, ling, skate, and many sharks. Like most ocean fishing, you can have luck off shore casting, trolling, or out in a deep sea charter. For fresh water specimens you will find fantastic pike, salmon and trout fishing in Ireland’s many lakes and rivers. Anglers will get hooked on Irelands fishing with just a small taste of what the country has to offer.
When you think of Ireland, some things come to mind. Guinness, leprechauns, and castles are the first things that I think of. As Guinness is available everywhere, and leprechauns are very hard to find, some time should be given to exploring Irelands many castles. They decorate the landscape, and every region boasts them for your medieval needs. We all know about the famous Blarney Castle however here are some more that Ireland has to offer.
The Trim Castle in County Meath is one of the largest, most important castles in all of Ireland. Famous for its role in the movie Braveheart, The Trim castle was noted for its extreme use of force to keep out unwanted visitors, including arrows, scalding water and tar, rocks, and all other kinds of nasty falling (or thrown) objects. Apparently they don’t do this anymore unless you are wearing armor, so leave it at home.
Head over to Clareen where you will find the Leap Castle. This chilling location is rumored to be the most haunted castled in all of Ireland. The reason for this is that many people have died in this castle by murder or execution. One apparition is said to bring with him the rotting smell of decay with him when he appears, so bring your nose plugs!
Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland was built in 1177 and was an active military stronghold until 1928, when it was turned into a museum. The castle is mostly surrounded by water, and its impressive look turned away people for years, but you don’t need to be intimidated by it anymore! Now you can visit the restored castle and take a tour, which will show you what life was like in the dark ages.
Newgrange, while not technically a castle, is over five thousand years old. This prehistoric passage tomb was discovered in the late 17th century, however was not fully excavated until 1975. Although the main purpose is not quite known at this time, it is believed to be the location of some kind of ceremonious activity. It is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, decorated with carved artwork containing a spiral motif. On the day of the winter solstice at sunrise, the sun shines directly into the chamber, lighting the floor of the passage. If you want to witness this event first hand there is a lottery to get a ticket. There is only enough room for 50 people to view this event and this year there were over 28,000 lottery tickets given out. Fortunately for the rest of us, there is a light bulb installed so that you can see what it is like.
O’Brien’s Tower was built in 1835 as an observation post. It still stands today, and is a popular destination for anyone visiting the Cliffs of Moher. Resting along just over 6 miles of coastline, there have been many efforts made to preserve the land, as well as the tower. Even the tourist center is cleverly built hidden into a nearby hillside. At this center, you can find all the information needed for a fantastic historical experience. The tourist center is also very earth friendly using thermal heat and solar power to power the building.
There are many ways to get around and see more of Ireland. Most major cities have efficient rail or bus systems, while car rentals in Ireland are very affordable during the off season winter months. Whatever you decide to use your feet, or rent a car in Ireland, you can bet your lucky charms you will want to come back for more.
Do you have a travel tip or two for tourists? Leave a comment!