Located in northwestern Europe, the Republic of Ireland is bordered by the United Kingdom, the North Atlantic Ocean, and the Irish Sea. It is a land steeped in history, but not particularly well endowed with historical marvels. Ireland is known for its misty green countryside, its culture and tradition (including legends and folklores), and its warm-hearted and friendly people.
The Hibernia of yore, Ireland was too cold and bleak a country for the Romans to colonize. However, the native Celtic people continued to worship the sun till they were converted to Christianity by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The invasions by the Vikings in the 9th century and by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century were two significant events in Irish history. The British began concerted efforts to colonize Ireland in the 17th century but succeeded only a century later. Ireland united with Britain as part of the United Kingdom by Act of Union in 1801. The potato famine of 1845-1849 and the Easter Rising of 1916 were two other turning points in Irish history. In 1921, the Irish Free State was born as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire, though six northern counties which had a Protestant majority voted to stay part of the United Kingdom. The Irish Free State adopted a psuedo republican constitution in 1936 and was renamed Eire. It remained neutral during the Second World War. In 1949, it declared itself as the Republic of Ireland and withdrew from the Commonwealth. It joined the European Economic Community in 1973, now the European Union.
Ireland is a small country with picturesque countryside. If you want to explore some tourist destinations that are off-the-beaten-track, Ireland has plenty of them. To begin with, the Burren region is an extraordinary place with underground springs, caverns, chasms, and cracks. The Ring of kerry and the area around Killarney are great for hiking and biking as well. Add to it the Aran Islands, Clonmacnois , and Connemara, Galway and Sligo and you are sure to have a wonderful time close to nature.
Ireland is one of those ideal traveling destinations except for one thing: the weather. But you would be foolish to let this stop you. If is should pour down, you can always take refuge in one of the small cities or in Cork the biggest city of the south.
Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland, with a population of over a million people. Plan to stay at least two nights to take advantage of its superb cultural offerings (theatres, museums and bookstores) as well as its lovely parks, friendly pubs, interesting historical sites and vibrant street scenes.
Dublin is about 200 kilometers northwest of Cork . Though the river liffey is in many ways the artery of the city, pumping with the tides, the riversides are not really exiting. But don’t miss the Four Courts on the north bank of the Liffey designed by the great architect James Gandon and The Custom House along the same quay.
In this part of Dublin south of the O’Connell Bridge you’ll find some of the most important Sights (museums, churches, castles and public buildings) concentrated in a relatively small area. At the College Green there’s the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university. A little further there’s Grafton Street, the center of a luxurious shopping area. Other shopping locations include Nassau Street near the city center.
If you want to have a taste of Eating Out , you can try one of the Pubs . They don’t serve anything fancy but simple pub food and often is quite tasty. Here you can also have an Irish beer like Guinness and sing along with traditional folk music. It’s one of the fastest ways to get to know the Irish culture. For a more thorough acquaintance visit the National Museum and see the portraits of famous Irishmen in the National Art Gallery (free admission). Of course you have already read James Joyce, Jonathan Swift and Patrick Kavanagh. Dublin keeps her dead poets and writers very much alive.
Cork City is Ireland’s FIRST city, and is the rightful capital of the entire island of Ireland. Ignore those scummy places called Belfast and Dublin – Cork has it all.
It began on an island in the swampy estuary of the River Lee (the name Corcaigh means a marsh), and gradually climbed up the steep banks on either side like a bogman emerging from a stagnant pool.
As the hilly streets go up and down (all marshes are hilly as we know), so do the voices of the citizens. They have a characteristic sing-song cadence, beloved of national comedians, and Corkonians are regarded as the most talkative of all the Irish.
Key places to visit would be the English market in the centre of the city, Shandon Steeple , which overlooks the city on the north bank, the University through which the river Lee passes and the very steep Patricks Hill , from the top of which are magnificent views over the entire city.
For such a relatively small city (population roughly 200,000) , Cork has a bewildering plethora of pubs and restaurants to go to in the evening. Many of pubs offer live music – check out the The Lobby pub , next to the City Hall or An Spailpin Fainac opposite Beamish and crawford brewery. THE MOUNTIN BAR
Limerick is the Irish Republic’s third largest city. It is one of Ireland’s leading tourist and business centres. Limerick’s most striking feature is the river shannon, flowing majestically beneath the city’s three bridges.
Historically Limerick is a city of many contrasts. It contains a medieval core with a later Georgian addition. Of particular importance are King John’s castle, built between the 12th and 16th century and St Mary’s cathedral, built c.1172. Othe highlights include the Old Exchange facade and Almshouses, located on King’s island. Close by are Bunratty castle and folk park, one of Ireland’s leading tourist attractions.
You can make many great daytrips in the environment. Within easy driving distances of Limerick are the cities of Galway and Cork , the Burren and Killarney national parks, Lough Derg and the cliffs of Moher.
famous for the old folk song ‘Limerick, you’re a Lay-By’
Kenmare by the sea, nestles among the mountains of Cork and Kerry, hence its IRISH Name “NEIDIN” meaning “Little Nest” or “Little Craddle”. The charming picturesque town is a good example of one of Ireland’s planned towns. It was founded in 1670 by Sir William Petty. His descendent William Petty-Fitzmaurice, 2nd. Earl of Shelbourne and 1st. Marquis of Lansdowne, commissioned the present design of the town which was completed in 1775.
Chosen by The Irish Tourist Board, the town is the first Heritage town in County Kerry. The Heritage Centre is located in the Courthouse where modern interpretative techniques are being used to recall it’s history.
Craft people, both native and foreign, have found the area inspirational to their work. Designed and produced locally are Lace, Knitwear, Jewelry, Pottery, Wooden Crafts. Needlework, Weaving, Musical Instruments. Paintings and Smoked Salmon.
that should be crafty people….as all kerry people are crafty (or cute hoors to the rest of us)
Athlone is located in the centre of Ireland. With a population of approximately 23,500 (within a three mile radius) it is a small pleasant town. The modern name Athlone comes from two words ‘Ath’ meaning ford or crossing and ‘Luain’ a man’s name, meaning the ford of Luain.
Throughout the centuries Athlone has developed from a rural market town and military base into the industrial and commerical capital of the midlands. Its beautiful riverside location opening onto the largest lake on the river Shannon is the cornerstone of its outstanding natural beauty and enchanting atmosphere. There are quite a few things to do and see in town so it is worth to stop over on your way form Dublin to Galway .
Athlone is miles from anywhere and is the cultural mecca for all midlanders (flat earth society)…it has a Tesco and and a heroin problem. It’s miles from Cork and not worth the effort unless you’re lost or need to stop for petrol.
Waterford has some of the most spectacular river scenery with the Rivers Suir and Blackwater running through the County.
Waterford City has been strongly influenced by the Vikings and has a distinct medieval atmosphere with narrow alleyways, fine Georgian houses and the area around Reginald’s Tower is particularly attractive.
Today it is a thriving commercial City and Port, but the City has become best known for its World famous Waterford Crystal Factory, producing the finest of handmade crystal and visitors can take a tour of the factory to see at first hand the entire process of glass making.
Up until the 17th Century, Waterford was Ireland’s second City and to this day, has the best remaining City walls after Derry.
In September the Waterford Light Opera Festival is held. Waterford is generally seen as a brief stop between Cork and Dublin but we suggest spending at least one night there and using it as a base to visit the surrounding area.
Klikenny is Ireland’s most beautiful medieval city. Narrow streets, a great castle on a hilltop and many old buildings make the town a lot of fun to stroll around.
From 1641 to 1650 Klikenny was the centre of power of an attempt of the Irish resistance to unite against the English. The Confederation of Kilkenny had its own parliament in town.
Galway City has undergone an unprecedented revival in recent years and is now brimming over with excellent Pubs, Restaurants and super shopping areas.
Most travelers say, Galway is the liveliest City after Dublin. In fact, it has everything a major cosmopolitan City has to offer, but in a more relaxed laid back atmosphere. The City is renowned for its thriving Irish Theatre, arts, music and culture scene and Galway plays host to a number of Internationally renowned festivals throughout the year.
From Galway you can arrange a trip to the Aran islands, three small islands just off the coast.
Cashel and the famous Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most important historical sites. The starne shaped rock with the ruins on top of it and Cormac’s chapel are the major attractions.
Cashel is most easily reached from Waterford, change bus at Cahir. The town has two hostels so it is possible to spend the night here, but it is not necessary.
Sligo is located in the North West of Ireland. It has been a popular destination for centuries. The town of Sligo gracefully combines its busy market role with a relaxed attitude. The tightly packed streets and laneways are crowded with a diverse array of shops and pubs, while bridges and benches are welcome points for quiet reflection.
Most of the sights of Sligo are to be found in the town Centre.
Absolutely beautiful, I lived there for about 6 months. It has everything you need convenience wise. (record stores , electronics, video store, drycleaners, upscale restaurants, fast food, supermarkets) while maintaining a very rural feel. it has about 19 000 residents. you only have to walk for about twenty minutes and you can be in the countryside
Not Dublin. Can’t stress this enough. Has recently become the largest housing estate outside of China. Made up of long narrow car parks that were formally called ‘roads’. No car has moved on a Kildare ‘road’ since 1987. Also has horses and sheep, we ride the horses and eat the sheep (note to tourists: not the other way around). Watch out for well-meaning but underachieving Dublin people trying to pass themselves off as locals.