Ireland, the land of rolling green fields, ancient castle ruins, and friendly locals. If you are reading this post, odds are you are planning a trip to visit the Emerald Isle. Or, perhaps you are on the fence. You’re not entirely sure if a trip to Ireland is truly worth it? Well, good thing you have stumbled upon this article because today we are going to discuss 10 epic reasons to visit Ireland. And lucky for you, I’m a local, so I know a thing or two about the places I like to call home.
1. The Cliffs
Ireland is famous for being home to the iconic Cliffs of Moher. These particular cliffs are visited by over 5 million people each year, they soar 214 meters above sea level. They are also the backdrop for many famous movies such as Harry Potter and the Princess Bride.
And, while the Cliffs of Moher are a must on any Ireland itinerary, there are many other beautiful cliffs in Ireland that are worth visiting. Including Croaghaun, the highest sea cliffs in Ireland. These cliffs are three times the size of the Cliffs of Moher and offer outstanding views of Achill Island.
Another notable set of cliffs in Ireland is none other than Slieve League in County Donegal. Slieve League is 601 meters tall and features a landscape that you’d expect to see on a Macbook screensaver.
2. The People
One of the main reasons you should consider planning a trip to Ireland is to experience a warm welcome from the local people. We Irish are known for our kind hospitality, sarcastic yet fun sense of humor, and friendly ability to make visitors smile.
Throughout your visit, find some time to hang out with some locals, whether that is by popping down to a lively pub, watching a game of GAA in Croke Park, or learning about the country’s history from a local tour guide.
No matter how you plan to interact with the Irish, one thing is for certain, that moment will be the most memorable of the trip.
PS: Don’t be afraid to stop to ask for advice. The Irish are more than happy to help, just be prepared, as we sure love to talk.
3. The Wild Atlantic Way
While Ireland is a rather small country, it holds a world record for something rather unexpected. Ireland is home to the longest uninterrupted coastal route in the World, the Wild Atlantic Way. If that’s not a good enough reason to visit Ireland then I don’t know what is.
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, it is important to plan a few days out west to truly experience the island’s glory. The Wild Atlantic is home to towering cliffs, soaring waves, and dramatic landscapes.
There are so many amazing things to do and see along Ireland’s iconic Wild Atlantic Way. Consider checking out the breathtaking beauty of the Ring of Kerry. Or dive a little deeper to experience some of Ireland’s hidden gems like a road trip through County Mayo or a day trip to the Aran Islands. No matter how you decide to spend your time on the Wild Atlantic, one thing is for certain, you will leave feeling mesmerized by its beauty.
4. The Culture
One thing that remains evident throughout Ireland is the country’s culture. Due to a troubled past, there was a time when the Irish people were not allowed to practice their beliefs, language, and traditions. However, the country’s history is the very reason the Irish take great pride in their Culture.
As you pass through Irish towns and villages, you will see the county flags flying high. This symbolizes the local’s pride in their hometown, it also demonstrates support for those representing their county in GAA (Traditional Irish sporting events/games).
The Irish also take great pride in their music and dance, this is particularly evident out west, where tourists can enjoy a pint in a pub while listening to traditional Irish music. Or, take part in a Celi dance.
While the majority of Irish people use the English language in their daily lives, Gaeilge still plays a major role in Irish Slang and humor (more on this later on in the article).
5. The Magical Castles & Ruins
Ireland is known as a magical place to visit due to the country’s rich history. Every couple of miles there is a new landmark, castle, or ruin to admire. Almost all of these landmarks are subject to Irish Myths and Legends and with every ruin comes a story.
For example, the iconic Blarney Castle in County Cork, beneath the castle lies a cave system, however, that is not the reason for the attraction’s popularity. At the very top of the ruin lies the Blarney Stone, according to Irish legend, those who kiss the stone will receive the gift of the gab.
Another popular ruin tucked away in Ireland’s hidden heartlands is none other than the Rock of Cashel. This is a fantastic place to admire the building’s structure and catch a glimpse of the rolling green fields in the background.
If you are looking to dive a little further off the beaten path consider taking a trip to County Waterford. There you will come across a small town called Lismore. The town of Lismore is like something out of a real-life fairytale, it features a large bridge, an elegant castle, and a small village.
6. The National Parks
One of the main reasons to visit Ireland is due to the Country’s immense beauty and dramatic landscapes, upon that lies 6 beautiful national parks. The national parks feature unspoiled land protected by the government and are used for the purpose of education and controlled recreational use.
Surrounding the parks lies beautiful hiking trails, lakes, and scenic backdrops. There is so much to see and do in Ireland, however, I recommend making some time to visit at least one of the following parks on your trip to the Emerald Isle.
- Connemara National Park
- Glenveagh National Park
- Killarney National Park
- Wild Nephin National Park
- Wicklow National Park
- The Burren National Park
Ireland has its fair share of famous attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, and the Ring of Kerry. However, while visiting Ireland it is important to dive a little further off the beaten path. There are so many wonderful attractions that are often missed by the guide books.
For example, a short drive from the iconic cliffs of Moher lies Kilkee Cliffs, and while these cliffs are nowhere near as popular, they are still equally as beautiful.
Another striking hidden gem is the Slea Head drive in County Kerry, this driving route is often overshadowed by the famous Ring of Kerry. Along this drive, you will be presented with jaw-dropping coastal views, dramatic piers, and Star Wars filming locations.
Taking some time to visit some of the country’s lesser-known attractions will give you a real feel for the Emerald Isle. You will have the opportunity to experience Ireland’s beauty with fewer crowds.
8. The Vibrant Cities & Towns
Another great reason to plan an Ireland Vacation is for the country’s vibrant Cities and Towns. Start the trip off by visiting the capital, Dublin. Here, you can walk the streets of Temple bar, have a taste of the ‘black stuff’ in the Guinness Storehouse and learn about the city’s iconic past.
While a trip to Dublin is a must, Ireland is home to many other notable cities including Galway, Cork, and Kilkenny.
However, if you are looking to experience some true Irish culture then I suggest visiting some of the country’s most beautiful towns such as Kinsale in County Cork, Dingle in County Kerry, Doolin in County Clare, or Westport in County Mayo.
Here, you can kick back with some locals and enjoy some traditional Irish music.
9. Scenic Driving Routes
So, we have already mentioned the iconic Wild Atlantic Way, however, that is not the only scenic driving route in Ireland. In fact, there are many beautiful driving passes scattered across the Country.
Take Conor Pass in Kerry as an example, this is the highest mountain pass in Ireland, and driving it is not for the faint-hearted as it is rather narrow in places. However, if you are up for the challenge, you will be presented with some of the most beautiful views in the Country.
Another notable driving passage in Ireland is Doolough Valley in County Mayo. Doolough has a rich history dating back to the Irish famine and it is a place that is sure to take your breath away.
We could stay all day noting some of the most beautiful drives in Ireland, however, I do want to mention one more, Sky Road in County Galway. This scenic drive is a looped route that offers insane views of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coastline. It is also a fantastic spot to catch the sunset.
10. The Irish Slang
We previously talked about English being the main language used in the day-to-day lives of Irish people. However, that does not mean the Irish language did not have a massive impact on how the Irish speak.
In fact, oftentimes, the Irish have their own way of communicating through slang which is difficult to understand for those visiting. And while this may sound like a reason not to visit, it is actually a really interesting concept.
Generally, the Irish will talk at a slower pace and use more international terms when speaking to those visiting from overseas. They are usually, however, more than happy to explain Irish phrases to those who are looking to learn. Here are a few worth noting before your trip:
- Craic: The term ‘Craic’ comes from the Irish language and translates directly to ‘fun’. Therefore, the term ‘Good Craic’ means good fun. This is a common phrase used by most Irish people in their day-to-day lives.
- Another common word used in Ireland is ‘grand’. The Irish like to use this word for everything and anything. You will often hear them say ‘Yes, that’s grand’ or ‘It’s a grand day today’. Ultimately, grand translates to ‘great, good, or alright’ depending on how it is used in a sentence.
- Another notable term would be ‘Your One’ or ‘Your Man’. This is in reference to a female or male to whom you don’t know the name of. For example, ‘What did your one say?’ translate to ‘what did the woman say?’.
- Another term that commonly confuses visitors is the words ‘deadly’ and ‘class’. The Irish generally use these words to describe something that is good. For example, ‘I had a deadly time last night’ translates to ‘I had a great time last night’. I must admit this one is a little confusing.
Laura, Live Adventure Travel is an Irish Content Creator who has a passion for traveling around her home country Ireland. She loves to tell her stories from home and abroad through the use of Photography, Videography, Storytelling, and Travel Writing.