6. Drive the world’s longest coastal driving route: The Wild Atlantic Way
Good news: we drive on the left in Ireland. That means no panicking at roundabouts, and no rolling the window when you were looking for the gear stick. It means one less thing to worry about. And you’ll want to be relaxed when you’re driving The Wild Atlantic Way. At 2,500 kilometres, the Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest coastal driving route. Along this coastal odyssey the endless sea views, cliffs, cute fishing villages and adventure islands will demand plenty of attention. For more driving adventure dip into the Ring of Kerry and the mythical magic of the Giant’s Causeway. Alternatively, journey through 5,000 years of history in Ireland's Ancient East.
7. You can trace your ancestors
National Famine Memorial, Murrisk, County Mayo
An estimated 70 million people around the world claim Irish ancestry and while tracing your family tree can be tricky, there’s simply no easier way of doing it than being in the country. Wonderful resources such as the National Library and the National Archives in Dublin, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast and countless genealogy centres in counties across the island will break down any brick wall that stands in your way. Click here to view our Irish genealogy resources that will hopefully help you to join the dots, connect the cousins and reveal the relatives. For advice on how to begin your search, check in with the Ireland Family History Facebook page.
8. It’s a history hub
The Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary
In a country where a single book can be traced back to 800AD, it’s no surprise that history is a big draw. Monastic sites such as Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, White Island and the Skelligs are keyhole views into religious lives while castles and country estates are vignettes of eccentric and elegant aristocracies. Vikings made merry in Ireland, too, and you can find out more about them in the Norse cities of Dublin and Waterford. St Patrick’s footsteps are all over Northern Ireland and Cashel, while the passage tomb of Newgrange pre-dates the pyramids. If only history had been this much fun in school.
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9. Tours are Tops
Pat Liddy of Pat Liddy Walking Tours at Dublin's Christchurch Cathedral
The island of Ireland benefits from three specific things that make it a tour treat: it’s compact, the train system is a dream and with Britain and continental Europe so close at hand (and serviced by multiple airlines and ferry companies), it’s easy as pie to add Ireland to a European visit. CIE Tours, for instance, have been in operation for an amazing 84 years, and run everything from 5 to 15 day tours of Ireland. Keep up with all our terrific tour offers right here or click here to view our list of tour operators.
10. You can have it all in Ireland
Ireland is living proof that good things come in small packages. This magical island is just waiting to thrill you with it's stunning scenery along the Wild Atlantic Way, to capture you with its history from ancient sites such as Newgrange to the Edwardian-era Gobbins Cliff Path (along the Causeway Coastal Route), and to entice you with Ireland's Ancient East. And, let's not forget the friendly locals, the traditional music, fantastic festivals, gorgeous golf courses, stunning gardens and a fabulous culinary scene which will all top off your holiday experience!
In short: you can have it all in Ireland.
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