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.
Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo
The Ring of Kerry
7. You can trace your ancestors
National Famine Memorial, Murrisk, County Mayo
The Australian Embassy in Dublin states that 30 percent of Australians claim some 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. 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 almost 1400 years, 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, it’s easy as pie to add Ireland to a European visit.
Insight Vacations, for instance, have mixed Ireland, England and the World Flower Show 2014 into the perfect 17-day trip. CIE Tours knows its stuff too (CIE has been in this game for an amazing 82 years), and run everything from 5 to 15 day tours of Ireland. Keep up with all our terrific tour offers right here. 10. You can have it all in Ireland
Ireland is living proof that good things come in small packages. On this compact island you have two millennia of history evidenced by
Viking footsteps, medieval castles, pre-Christian architecture and Titanic’s shipyard. You have some of the friendliest cities in the world and you have a coast that has charmed National Geographic, world famous surfers and Vogue to name a few. You’ve got destination spas in the most unlikely of places; rugged walks through the mountains that inspired Narnia; and a culinary scene making foodies drool.
In short: you can have it all in Ireland.
Now who wouldn’t want that?
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