Ireland is a pretty small country, but there are plenty of amazing places to go. It would be easy to spend days just driving around the winding farm roads that go all over the country, but there are some great cities and sights to see.
Dublin is by far the biggest city in Ireland, and is a great place to start any trip. It’s right on the coast, so it has beautiful views and feels very coastal. Even though it has over a million people living there, it feels very easy to get around in, and easy to get to know. From it’s cobble-stone winding streets filled with small cottages to it’s impressive churches and statues downtown, there is a lot to see. O’Connell street is the heart of Dublin. It is right next to the River Liffy and always has a lot going on. In the middle of town is the Spire, a tall, smooth tower that reaches toward the sky. This area is home to countless great shops and places to eat, so it is easy to spend days here.
Dublin also is home to one of the largest walled-in parks in all of Europe. So if you need a break from the pavement, Phoenix park is a great location to visit. It has a population of deer that live there, a zoo, gardens, walking paths, and lots of green grass.
It would be pretty easy to spend all of a vacation in Dublin, but Ireland has a lot of beauty to be seen. If Dublin and the east coast has the mild, green, rolling hills of Ireland, the Northwest coast has the craggy, rocky, moon-like landscapes. Up in County Donegal, near Gweedore you can find some of the most remote and beautiful coastlines in all of Ireland. This area isn’t filled with hotels or glamorous shops, but shows a very interesting part of Ireland. There are many Irish speaking areas in Donegal, and the pace of life is much slowed down from Dublin or other big cities. The tall grass grows slowly on the coast, and out in the misty distance a few old washed-up ships have settled on the beaches. Also, County Donegal is home to Mt. Errigal, the tallest peak in the county. It is a beautiful mountain, and great place to spend a day.
Much farther south in County Cork, there is a lot to do and see as well. Cork is a lively little town and is the home of the English Market. The English Market is a collection of vendors and sellers of some of the best and freshest food in Ireland. It’s easy to spend a few hours wandering from stall to stall enjoy the smells that waft through the open-air corridors: Indian curries, fresh local coffees and pastries, daily picked vegetables, and just about anything you could ask for.
Outside Cork there is a lot to explore nearby. Killarney is just a short trip away, which is the home to some really great traditional Irish music sessions, and beautiful parks. Taking a walk through Killarny National Park is a great way to spend the day, and worthwhile just to go see Ross Castle, an impressive stone tower on the edge of a lake.
It’s hard to give advise on the places to visit when visiting Ireland. There are castles and objects of beauty, but what really makes Ireland so great are the people that live there. Some of the best places to visit are the small towns that dot the countryside. People are eager to talk and tell you about their lives, so make sure to enjoy the great people of a great country.