Rolling patchwork farms, cozy pubs, friendly locals, and dazzling scenery around every corner are just a few of the things that make Ireland such a special place. From the towering cliffs of Moher in Clare to the wild beauty of the Skelligs in Kerry, the allure of this majestic island is enthralling. It spans nearly 33,000 square miles in the North Atlantic with over 4,000 miles of coastline and is home to 32 counties, each with its own distinct personality and landscape.
Dublin, the country's capital, is a historic and charming city with an exciting culinary scene and lots of new places opening up. In recent years it's also become a hub for tech giants headquarters such as Google and Facebook. While the cities are more modern, as you travel out to the countryside it can feel a bit like stepping back in time. Travel to Ireland and experience the land of a thousand welcomes-you'll never want to leave!
WHERE TO STAY
The Marker Hotel (Co. Dublin) boasts an award-winning spa and sleek accommodations with a stylish and modern feel. Grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar and take in views of surrounding Dublin.
The Europe Hotel & Resort (Co. Kerry) is a luxury resort and spa located at the edge of Killarney's largest lake with stunning views of the nearby McGuillycuddy's Reeks Mountain Range. Make sure to book a treatment at ESPA and carve out a full day to enjoy the spa's gorgeous amenities including an infinity pool overlooking the lake.
Ashford Castle (Co. Galway) is an exquisite 800-year old castle set on a lake amongst 350 acres of pristinely landscaped grounds. With a fabulous spa and 6 restaurants run by renowned chefs, this hotel certainly makes for an extraordinary stay.
FOOD & DRINK
DUBLIN- Michelin starred Variety Jones is a tiny restaurant in the liberties (the oldest district in Dublin) with a fabulous tasting menu and knowledgeable staff. For small plates and French-Italian cuisine with a brilliant wine list, head to Etto where the mascarpone prunes are the star of the show.
Pi was voted 10th best pizza in the world last year-need we say more? For Italian fare using Irish produce and wine on tap from the guys at WineLab, try Sprezzatura. Their menu changes weekly and they're committed to sourcing local and producing as little waste as possible.
GALWAY- Ard Bia has been around for a long time for good reason. The food is to die for and the location looking out at where the Corrib river flows into the Galway Bay is unbeatable. For the freshest seafood straight off the boats make your way to Hooked and give the Steamed Killary Harbour Mussels a try.
KERRY-Sip a perfect pint and enjoy a trad seisún (traditional Irish music) as you're transported to the days of old at Dick Mack's, a historical Irish pub in Dingle.
LIMERICK-For an unforgettable experience, make a reservation for afternoon tea at the astonishing Adare Manor. Indulge in whimsical sandwiches and savories and sip their signature blend, 1832, as you take in the magnificence of your grandiose surroundings.
THINGS TO DO
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are one of Irelands' most famous landmarks. Spanning 8 kilometers and towering over the ocean, these mighty cliffs are situated along the Wild Atlantic Way and part of a UNESCO Global Geopark. Take in staggering views of the rugged coastline, observe a variety of seabirds, and even spot some rare fauna as you walk along the trails of this majestic place.
The Ring of Kerry is a gorgeous scenic route that tours through the county known as "The Kingdom". Drive the winding roads during the day stopping as you please to explore, and spend a night at one of the many charming B&B's along the way. Don't miss Killarney National Park- a nature lover's oasis.
If you're visiting Dublin, there's plenty to see and do in this lovely city. Stroll through Saint Stephen's Green Park, take a tour at The Little Museum of Dublin and do some shopping on Grafton Street. Walk the beautiful grounds at Trinity College where you can see The Book of Kells and marvel at the architecture of its famous Old Library. Take a stroll along the pier at Dún Laoghaire on the outskirts of the city, and don't forget the obligatory visit to the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.
NOT TO BE MISSED
THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY
The Wild Atlantic Way is a breathtaking 1,500-mile route along Ireland's west coast from Cork to Donegal. You can explore this scenic route (which is the longest coastal route in the world!) by planning out your journey any way you'd like.
Make stops in local villages, visit national parks, and take in the stunning scenery. Discover sweeping beaches with great surfing, tiny islands, old monasteries, castle ruins, and much more as you experience the culture and pristine beauty of the west of Ireland.
Have you been to Ireland? What are some of your favorite things to see and do? Let us know in the comments!