Mini Travel Guide: Ireland

Looking for a travel guide to Ireland? Click through for Ireland travel tips from a local! Where to go, what to do, and how to travel Ireland cheaply, safely, and respectfully!

Who hasn’t fantasized about a trip to Ireland? Those accents! That cheese! Those rolling hills with picturesque sheep! Today, Sarah‘s mission was to provide us with a mini travel guide to Ireland. In around 800 words. She’d like to add the disclaimer: there is no way at all you can cover the entire of every wonderful sight to see in Ireland in 800 words. Fact.

So, here are some of her favourite places.

 

Looking for a travel guide to Ireland? Click through for Ireland travel tips from a local! Where to go, what to do, and how to travel Ireland cheaply, safely, and respectfully!`

Must go in Ireland

County Clare

Home of the Father Ted Tour. If you are a fan of the comedy series then you will find almost all of the locations from the show in this very county. You will also find some remarkable landmarks and stunning scenery.

Dublin

If you’re going to Ireland you must visit the capital for a while. Find a little pub on a side street and treat yourself to a pint of Guinness or shop til you drop at Carrolls for literally all of the tourist type trinkets your heart could ever desire and more! Oh, and the architecture, churches and statues (the latter with funny local nicknames).

Everything you could ever want or need you will be likely to find in Dublin. It is a lively and bustling place but still has the relaxed feel that people go to Ireland to find.

Connemara

Connemara is absolutely the most. beautiful. place. ever. The colours, the mountains, the inquisitive and fearless sheep. The landscapes here are epic and the beauty of the place is almost beyond description. Go there – now people!! The mountains are spectacular and the lakes are the clearest and deepest of blues. There is nowhere in the world more stunning than Connemara on a sunny day.

County Sligo

Sligo is the final resting place for WB Yeats and is therefore a tourist mecca. It is also a truly beautiful place with more epic landscapes and unusual mountains. Literally just point your camera in any direction you like and you’ll find a wonderful photo opportunity.

Looking for a travel guide to Ireland? Click through for Ireland travel tips from a local! Where to go, what to do, and how to travel Ireland cheaply, safely, and respectfully!

Must do in Ireland

Tour the Ailwee Caves

This is a beautiful area with stunning scenery alongside the caves themselves. There is also a falconry display there to visit and a lovely farmhouse shop selling all kinds of lovely local foods.

Visit the Guinness Storehouse

What’s not to like? Free Guinness, plenty of vintage Guinness memorabilia and one of the best views over Dublin waiting for you at the end of the tour. You can also check whether any of your ancestors or distant relatives ever worked for Guinness. (Mine haven’t!)

Take a boat ride at Killary Harbour

Killarty harbour is Ireland’s only natural Fjord, as well as being in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Seriously, this area of Connemara will literally take your breath away.

See the sunset at Rosses Point

This is a beautiful sight to behold. Surrounded by stunning scenery watching the sunset either alone with your thoughts or sharing them with another – this is an experience it would be hard to beat. And it’s free!

Looking for a travel guide to Ireland? Click through for Ireland travel tips from a local! Where to go, what to do, and how to travel Ireland cheaply, safely, and respectfully!

Must eat in Ireland

I don’t mean to make you think that Ireland is all about the junk food but here’s what my Irish husband thinks you should try:

Tayto Crisps in all kinds of flavours

You’ll get very very smelly on the breath but an absolutely essential part of any self respecting Irish kids’ lunchbox.

Ice creams and sweets

A Wibbly-Wobbly Wonder is an ice cream in three sections: the top third is a jelly in chocolate coating, the centre is lemon flavoured ice cream and the bottom layer is raspberry ice cream. Yum! An Iceburger is kind of like a sandwich made of soft chocolate flavoured sponge filled with Vanilla Ice Cream. You must eat around the edges of this or it will melt all over you!

Looking for a travel guide to Ireland? Click through for Ireland travel tips from a local! Where to go, what to do, and how to travel Ireland cheaply, safely, and respectfully!

Cultural tips for Traveling in Ireland

You will have to drink more tea than you ever have in your life. Accept this fact. The tea will probably come with cake/biscuits too. Enjoy.

Be prepared to encounter sheep on the road who won’t move out of the way no matter how big your car is.

If you’re lost – ask directions. Irish people are proud of their local sights and things to see and will be only too pleased to tell you how to get to them!

Looking for a travel guide to Ireland? Click through for Ireland travel tips from a local! Where to go, what to do, and how to travel Ireland cheaply, safely, and respectfully!

Cheap travel tips for Ireland

The Bus Eireann service will take you most of the way round Ireland for not many pennies. Trains are available too but they are a little more expensive. Car hire is probably your best bet in order to see everything. Or if it’s a bright sunny day why not get the bus to where you’re going then hire a bike for the days exploring?!

Airbnb is usually cheaper than a hotel, especially if you’re traveling with a group or staying somewhere for a few days. Here’s a room in the center of Dublin for $32 a night and here’s an entire cottage in Connemara for $76 a night. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!

Irish readers! Do you have any Irish travel tips to add?

P.S. 7 travel tools I will not shut up about

Photos by  wikipedia // irishnews.com // gdtography // James Butterly // Ian Schneider // Luke Smyth on Unsplash

12 Comments

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka

Backpacking in Ireland has been my very favorite experience travelling thus far. It is GORGEOUS there, and the people are the nicest I've ever met (more so, than our famed Midwesterners) and it was a fairly inexpensive trip. My best friend stayed on after our 3 weeks to live/work at a stud farm (where the cheapest horse was about 50,000 pounds!)for 6 months and get into the heart of their horse racing culture.
Absolutely beautiful country.
Sarah M

Reply
LuckyRainbowDesigns

Hello from Rebecca, Irish gal living in Limerick!

Limerick, Cork & Galway have so much to offer too! I have never heard a tourist dislike any of these areas – if you have more time don't forget Northern Ireland, not part of the Republic of Ireland, but part of the UK – so different currency and what not. Belfast is a great, lively city (as are Limerick, Cork & Galway, particularly for the arts) and if you can, travel far north to the Giants Causeway.

Dont forget Newgrange in Co Louth (the wee county where I hail from) and head on over to North West to Donegal!

I agree on the "cuppa tay" aka tea! Its our national day time drink and you'll always hear someone say "I love tea, but I cant have it by itself!" – meaning you need many biscuits to accompany said cuppa tay!

Taytos!!! A national delicacy!! I've known friends to travel to the other side of the world only to get their family to post them boxes of Taytos!!!!

As for the Wibbly Wobbly Wonder – it was never my cuppa tay!

Reply
Magatha-May

As another Irish lady I can't condone any tourist guide that leaves out Cork, Galway and Kilkenny – three of the most beautiful, walkable cities filled with great architecture, amazing cafes and chatty people.

And for anyone who has access to a car while visiting here you HAVE to drive the Ring of Kerry, it's just as beautiful as Connemara.

And the best way to enjoy Taytos is as part of a sandwich… Two slicsd of white bread, a good smear of country butter and a pile of cheese and onion Taytos on top. You really can't beat it for a taste of an Irish childhood.

If you're not a big Guinness fan you can always try an ice cold pint of Bulmers cider or a smooth glass of Baileys Irish Cream.

You really can't pass up a hearty Irish fry for breakfast at least once during your stay. Sausages, rashers (bacon), an egg, maybe some black pudding, mushrooms, beans, and if you're lucky you might get a slice of friend bread with it. Very filling but very tasty…. and you won't need to get lunch afterwards.

Reply
Little redhead

My boyfriend is Irish and I've been in Ireland many many times. I agree there's a lot more to see besides the places you mentioned. You definitely can't leave out Galway, it's such a great city. I agree about Connemara though, it's my favourite place in Ireland, although there's plenty more breathtaking views.
The cliffs of Moher are stunning, but I don't recommend seeing it in summer, as it's packed with hundreds of tourists. I saw it for the first time two days before Christmas, there were about three other people there, it was insanely windy and cold, the sea was wild, but wow, it was amazing.
Gotta love Tayto's, as a crisp o'holic, I find them super yummy. Guinness is not my thing, but I love a good pint of Bulmers. Also, I love the chips doused in vinegar, lovely after too much drink.
And you can't forget about the great nights out, the great atmosphere, the trad music, it's brilliant. Don't try to match their drinking abilities though, you'll end up on the floor 😀

Reply
Patty

I'm Irish, currently living in Canada. My favorite place to take tourists: Garnish Island. It's an amazing garden and you pass by a seal colony on the ferry over. As a microclimate in a sheltered harbor, plants grow on this island that would never grow elsewhere in Ireland. Quite simply, it is stunning. Here is the link: http://www.garnishisland.com/

Reply
Sarah Evans

People! Did you read my disclaimer?! 800 words only!! In fact, I did originally have Galway City in there too but the words, the words. I ran out of them. I felt pretty certain that people would find Galway city on the map without me nudging them there 🙂

I have never actually been to Kerry – that is one of the next places I'd like to visit next. I have seen some stunning photographs though!

Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

Reply
Magatha-May

An 800 word limit is so little to say all there is about Ireland… and I'm delighted that you fitted in some non-obvious places like Sligo… I love anywhere on the west coast to be honest.

And you were spot on about the tea thing… there is no way to avoid tea and biscuits 🙂

Reply
Rachael

Cork, Ireland is my favorite city in the whole world, and the food culture of Ireland is positively booming. Always get off the tourist path and go bunker down at a locals favorite; any place that has "Good Food Ireland" stamp on its menus has a better chance of being worth your money. Going on a weekend adventure in West Cork can be life-altering, with the Beara Peninsula and of the like. Clonakilty is tops for good music and small(ish) town charm. There are a TON of festivals that go on, and volunteering for a free pass (and accommodation if camping is involved!) is a great way of saving some change and meeting new friends.
Helpx.net is also a fantastic resource for finding the kind of stay you want to get in with locals and be part of the lifestyle, be it a farm stay, home stay, B&B or hostel.

Love Ireland; I hope to return within the first half of 2013.

ps. Taytos are my favorite crisps!

Reply
Rachelia G

I'm studying abroad in the UK and I just got back from a 4 day/3 night trip to Ireland this past weekend. We stayed in Dublin and did Paddywagon Tours to Belfast, and Wicklow. The tours were reasonably priced, stopped on many local spots along the way, and the tour guides were so fun and knowledgeable. I loved it – Ireland is such a beautiful country and every single person I met was so helpful and friendly! I'll have to go back again some day and go to the places on this list and the ones recommended in the comments.

Great post!

Reply
Dawn

Anywhere in the west of Ireland for me, but Cork is my absolute favourite place. Hire a car and drive out to the west of the county for some fabulous sites.

Of course, you can't miss our amazing food culture either. I feel too often tourists end up missing out on some of the best food by going to pubs hawking the Oirish experience of beef stew and a pint of Guinness, and actually don't get to experience the huge variety of food and restaurants we have, especially in cities like Cork and Galway.

Also, very touristy but go to the Aran Islands. They are a sight worth seeing on a clear summer day.

Reply
Jenny McL

Being from Sligo I am delighted to see it get a mention. It really is my favourite place in the whole world – nothing like climbing Knocknarea and looking out over the coast- both Strandhill and Rosses point. Strandhill for surfing and walking is the GREATEST place on Earth when the sea is wild it is a sight to behold. The seaweed baths will cure anything and everything. Shells cafe does some of the best food in Sligo. I would always recommend going to The Model // Niland gallery – it is a wonderful space in the town that is worth seeing and the lunch is pretty good too – thought a small selection. Also a walk around one of the woods is a must do – Slish wood or Hazelwood are my favourites. As for action adventure this is a great company run by two really lovely and fun local guys: Though not recommended after a big night out http://www.northwestadventuretours.ie/inner/index.asp.

Reply

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