LONELY PLANET DECLARES IRELAND BEST IN TRAVEL 2015

We know Ireland is great… but here’s why Lonely Planet loves it so much!

It’s official! Lonely Planet has named Ireland as one of the Top 10 countries to visit in 2015. And who would argue with them? Our diverse landscapes are stunning, our cities bustling and our attractions unique and abundant.

Here, we look at five ways Ireland shines.

WILD ATLANTIC WAY

It’s a rival to California’s Pacific Coast Highway and Australia’s Great Ocean Road

Can three words adequately describe the untamed west coast of Ireland? The Wild Atlantic Way says yes. This 2,500km fully defined coastal touring route weaves through every rugged peninsula and seaside village between Cork and Donegal. And at its end? The equally invigorating Causeway Coastal Route.

THE PEOPLE

The people themselves are inevitably at the heart of the best the country has to offer

The people of Ireland are known for being a hospitable bunch. Expect warm conversation, sociable locals and spontaneous music sessions in pubs. Most of all, we love to laugh, and craic – a good time – is our calling card. In summary: they don’t call Ireland the land of 100,000 welcomes for nothing.

CULTURE

Ireland’s traditions are firmly intact and the cosmopolitan people are as welcoming as their forebears were known to be

Old or new, culture is important in Ireland. From boisterous traditional music to literary legends (Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and C.S Lewis was a Belfast man), it’s simply in our nature. As a bonus, our contemporary side is every bit as interesting. Dublin and Belfast are buzzing and beautiful cosmopolitan cities.

FESTIVALS

Fireworks, gigs and parades for the kids

Fact: Ireland’s festivals are epic and eclectic in equal measure. One moment you’re bopping to traditional music at the Fleadh Cheoil; the next, watching a goat be crowned king at Puck Fair in County Kerry. Throw in cultural revelries like the Auld Lammas Fair in County Antrim (hello Yellowman Toffee), Galway’s Arts Festival and the biggest of all, St Patrick’s Festival, and you’re going to need a bigger calendar.

Food

Crab claws in Inishowen, smoked salmon in Kinsale and everything in between

Ireland is a small island but the food here is a big deal. Traditional classics like bacon and cabbage or beef and Guinness pie are rustic favourites, while super-local produce and innovative chefs are driving new Irish cuisine to terrifically tasty places. Being an island also means the freshest seafood, such as lip-smacking Lough Erne prawns and crab claws from the dreamy Inishowen peninsula. Yum.

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