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7 things you’ve got to know for your first trip to Ireland

Avoid clichés, learn the lingo and travel like a local – these are the top things to know when travelling to the island of Ireland

1. Going off the beaten track is a must

Usually when you visit somewhere new you want to see the ‘must-see’ sights, but to really experience the island of Ireland, you’ve just got to get off the beaten track. When you do, you’ll find that getting lost can lead to the best discoveries!

2. Avoid the clichés and do the things you can ONLY do in Ireland

Did you know we have gorgeous beaches, but you never have to jostle for space. That we love a good party – and the calendar is a year round affair? Or that pubs often multitask – ”We wine you, dine you and bury you,” boasts McCarthy’s pub in Fethard, County Tipperary, as it’s an undertaker, too!

3. Some things need a little explaining

The English language is spoken on the island of Ireland, but certain phrases may confuse people: “Having the craic” means having fun; and if you’re asked “what’s the story” they just want to know if you have any news. And, of course, everything is said with a smile… so make sure to smile back.

4. There are two other languages spoken in Ireland...

You’ll be introduced to Irish almost as soon as you arrive – all road signs in the Republic of Ireland are in both English and Irish, and Irish is the language spoken in places known as the Gaeltacht (gale-tock-t). In Northern Ireland, English is spoken, however, Ullans (Ulster-Scots) and Irish are both recognised as culturally significant. So welcome to Ireland would be: Fáilte go hÉireann or Fair Faa Yae tae Airlan.

5. Be prepared for all four seasons in a day

This is completely true, so dress in layers and embrace the unpredictability! We never let a bit of rain slow us down, and if you pack a raincoat you'll get to enjoy the gorgeous rainbows that appear on the horizon.

6. Fall in love with Ireland – even on a budget

Our heritage is meant to be enjoyed by all, so national museums and galleries are free entry. First Wednesdays of the month are free for some of Ireland’s finest heritage sites, including Trim Castle, Charles Fort and Dún Aonghasa. In Belfast, you can join a free walking tour to explore the city and its people. And make sure to avail of discounts, visitor passes and special offers, such as early bird menus from 5-7pm, and Michelin star lunch deals – sublime dining without the price tag!

Courtesy of Merchant Hotel, Belfast

7. The food is amazing

Speaking of food, Ireland’s food scene has undergone a revolution in recent years. With a new wave of cutting-edge chefs, passionate producers and craft distillers experimenting and pushing boundaries, Ireland is bursting with flavor. Our traditional dishes still have pride of place, but are now delivered with a twist. And you can expect everything you eat to have been locally sourced and prepared with love. So take a seat at the table and sample Ireland’s delicious dishes!

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