Ireland

For travellers who want to explore more
Explore the map
Meet IrelandItinerariesStoriesFurther Reading

Meet Ireland

The unique guide

The home of the fabled Irish charm, Guinness, and leprechauns. The Emerald Isle has plenty to offer everyone, regardless of whether you are a history buff, nature lover, or just trying to have fun. Everyone can find something to enjoy in this little but formidable nation, which offers everything from the bustling streets of Dublin to the untamed shores of the Wild Atlantic Way. Not to be overlooked are the Irish people themselves, who are as hospitable as they come. The locals are always glad to help, whether you need instructions or just a nice chat. But the Republic of Ireland's extensive cultural past is what really makes it unique. This is a nation that cherishes its past while embracing the future, from its historic monasteries and castles to its contemporary music and literary scenes. Not to mention the food, which is delicious whether you're eating into a bowl of hearty Irish stew or a dish of fresh seafood. Prepare to have the time of your life by packing your luggage, grabbing your lucky four-leaf clover, and getting ready to have a blast. You're invited to the Republic of Ireland, and we promise you won't be let down.

Shamrocks and Struggles

Imagine this: the Celts have just landed in Ireland in 500 BCE. They say, ‘Hey, this location seems fairly cool. Let's move in and establish a thriving society with myths, tales, and a complicated social system’. And that's what they did! Then, however, the invaders and long-term rulers of Ireland, the Vikings and the Normans, arrived like latecomers. It’s similar to that one neighbour who frequently interrupts your barbecue and commandeers the grill. Ireland thereafter joined the British Empire when King Henry VIII of England proclaimed himself ruler in 1541. Then the Irish were like, ‘Excuse me, but we didn't sign up for this’. A group of Irish nationalists attempted to overthrow British rule and create an independent Irish Republic in 1916 during the Easter Rising. It resembles the movie scene where the underdogs battle the powerful villains. Despite being put down, the uprising helped pave the way for the three-year Irish War of Independence. Despite being put down, the uprising helped pave the way for the three-year Irish War of Independence. Eventually, a treaty establishing the Irish Free State was reached in 1921, although Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom. It was like going through an extremely messy breakup and ending up with your ex's tacky jumper. The Irish Free State was transformed into the Republic of Ireland in 1937, a completely autonomous country with a separate government, constitution, and flag. It’s comparable to finishing college and ultimately leaving your parents' home. Ireland joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973 and the United Nations in 1955. Ireland saw considerable social and cultural upheaval over the course of the second half of the 20th century. The Catholic Church's influence waned as the nation became increasingly secular. Increased prosperity brought on by economic growth helped the nation establish a reputation for having active music, literary, and art scenes. It appeared as though Ireland was finally assuming its rightful place as the life of the party. Today, the Republic of Ireland is a contemporary, multiethnic country with an illustrious past and a promising future.

Beyond the Green Fields

We'll start with the sweeping hills that dominate much of Ireland's scenery. You'll swear you're in the Land of Oz because of how lush these hills are. And despite their seeming gentleness, these hills can actually be rather steep, so be sure to pack your hiking boots. But don't worry, Ireland has plenty of locations to rest your weary feet, including the sandy beaches and natural harbours that dot the nation's coastline. Swim in the chilly Atlantic Ocean, or simply relax and read a nice book in the sunshine. Let's now discuss Ireland's lakes and rivers. If you enjoy fishing, this is the perfect place for you. Although the River Shannon is the longest river in the nation, its name is deceiving because it won't serenade you with ‘Let Her Go’. The River Liffey in Dublin should also be avoided because it is a river with a city on top, not just any river. Last but not least, there are Ireland's distinctive geological features, such as the Giant's Causeway. With its 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, this UNESCO universe Heritage site is like entering a fantastical universe. It was created by volcanic activity millions of years ago. We don't want to have to send out a search party, so please be careful not to get lost in the maze of columns! That being said, the Republic of Ireland's terrain is wild and beautiful, filled with verdant hills, sandy beaches, and geological wonders. Ireland has something for everyone, whether you're seeking adventure or just a peaceful location to unwind.

More Than Just A Soundtrack

Irish music is sure to keep your toes tapping, whether you enjoy the classic jigs and reels or would prefer something a little more modern. With its vivacious rhythms and contagious melodies, traditional Irish music is the stuff of legends and is guaranteed to get your feet tapping. The accordion, fiddle, bodhrán, and tin whistle are just a few examples of the instruments frequently used in traditional Irish music. Not to mention the well-known Irish pub sessions, where residents and tourists alike congregate to enjoy a pint and some upbeat music. But don't for a second believe that Irish music is out of date. There are many rock, pop, and indie bands making waves in Ireland's vibrant contemporary music industry, both domestically and overseas. There is no shortage of Irish talent making their imprint on the music industry, from U2 to Hozier. And if you want to have a good time, don't forget to attend one of the many music festivals that are held in Ireland every year. Top Irish and worldwide acts are drawn to events including The Electric Picnic, Longitude, and Indiependence. So whether you're a devoted traditionalist or a fan of contemporary music, Ireland has the songs to keep you moving. Just be aware that it's difficult to stop once you start tapping your feet to that addictive Irish beat!

READ MORE  

Wander and wonder

Ready-made itineraries for your Irish adventure

Get inspired with these travel stories

Read up on the best Ireland has to offer

Explore the Map

Meet Ireland

Let's discuss Ireland's people, religion, and landmarks in a style that will make you feel as though you are already downing a pint of Guinness at the local pub. The Irish are fun-loving, hospitable people who enjoy good times and good company. You will undoubtedly encounter some personalities who will make you laugh and provide you with some wonderful memories, whether you're in a warm pub in Dublin or out in the countryside.

There are plenty of churches, cathedrals, and holy places to visit in Ireland because the majority of the country self-identifies as Catholic. But if you are not religious, don't worry; you may still appreciate the magnificent architecture and fascinating history of these locations, or simply take in the serenity of being in a hallowed setting. Of course, we also need to remember Ireland's best features. There is something for everyone here, from the energetic streets of Dublin to the breathtaking Moher cliffs. But let's face it, the people and the craic are the actual highlights. You'll have a terrific time whether you're drinking a pint of the black stuff with the locals or dancing a jig at a traditional music session.

Don't forget about the arts either. Literature, music, and theatre all significantly contribute to Ireland's history and identity, and the country has a rich cultural past. There is art for every taste, from the writings of Oscar Wilde to the eerie strains of Irish folk music. So there you have it; the Republic of Ireland's people, religion, and attractions all contribute to the uniqueness of this nation.

The Republic of Ireland is made up of 26 administrative regions:

1

Carlow

2

Cavan

3

Clare

4

Cork

5

Donegal

6

Dublin

7

Galway

8

Kerry

9

Kildare

10

Kilkenny

11

Laois

12

Leitrim

13

Limerick

14

Longford

15

Louth

16

Mayo

17

Meath

18

Monaghan

19

Offaly

20

Roscommon

21

Sligo

22

Tipperary

23

Waterford

24

Westmeath

25

Wexford

26

Wicklow

Cultural Catch-Up

There are many reasons why the Republic of Ireland is an intriguing and valuable place to visit, beyond its verdant hills and lucky charms. To begin with, the Irish are well known for their friendliness and fantastic craic (that's Irish for fun). Ireland will make you feel at home and welcome no matter where you are, whether you're in a welcoming bar, out on a country walk or experiencing a vibrant city. Another reason to visit Ireland is its rich cultural heritage, which includes works by literary greats like James Joyce and W.B. Yeats as well as traditional music and dance. You could even take up Irish dancing to channel your inner Michael Flatley! Ireland has what you're looking for if you're into natural beauty. There are endless chances for exploration and adventure, from the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher to the tranquil serenity of the Wicklow Mountains. Just remember to pack a raincoat because Ireland's weather can be erratic. Don't forget about the cuisine either! Despite the fact that Ireland is best known for its potatoes, the food scene there is thriving, offering everything from traditional Irish stew to contemporary takes on age-old favourites. You're in for a treat if you wash it all down with a pint of Guinness or a regional craft brew. Finally, Ireland's history and culture are both complex and interesting. At the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, at historic locations like Newgrange, or by touring Belfast, you can learn about the country's struggle for independence. Overall, the Republic of Ireland is a fantastical location brimming with charm, excitement, and craic.

Irish Ink

The Irish have a knack with language that is nothing short of wonderful, whether they are writing classical or modern works. The Irish are known for their storytelling, and this trait is evident in their literary works as well. Irish literature has a way of escorting you to another realm, whether it's a story about a mythical hero or a contemporary romance. Not to mention the illustrious Irish authors—from the renown James Joyce to the humorous Oscar Wilde—whose works continue to enthral people all over the world. However, Irish literature isn't solely historical in nature. Irish contemporary literature is flourishing, and new authors are appearing often. There is no shortage of Irish talent making their imprint on the literary world, from the absurd tales of Roddy Doyle to the exquisite writing of Eavan Boland. And if you enjoy reading, make sure to attend one of the many literary festivals that are held in Ireland each year. A few of the occasions that honour the nation's great literary tradition are Mountains to Sea, Listowel Writers' Week, and the Dublin Book Festival. Ireland has the literature to keep you turning pages, whether you're a fan of the classics or a lover of everything modern. Just be aware that it can be difficult to return to reality after you've become engrossed in the words of an Irish author.

When to go

Depending on your specific preferences and travel plans, there is no set optimum time to visit the Republic of Ireland. The nation experiences a temperate maritime climate, which implies that the entire year is mild and wet. Nevertheless, there are several seasons of the year when the weather is generally nicer and the number of tourists is easier to handle. The summer months (June–August) are your best bet if you're seeking for the warmest and driest weather. Additionally, this is the busiest travel period, so anticipate larger crowds and increased costs. With better weather and fewer visitors, spring (March through May) and fall (September through November) are other popular periods to visit. Even though the winter (December to February) might be chilly and rainy, it's a fantastic time to enjoy the warm ambiance of an Irish pub or the joyous ambience of Christmas markets. You'll also benefit from lesser costs and fewer crowds.

icon
Tourist Season: June - August (Summer)
icon
Best Weather: June - August (Summer)

Essentials

icon
Time-Zone: Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and Irish Standard Time (IST)
icon
Currency: Euro
icon
Cost/Expense: $$$$
icon
Languages: Irish and English
Dates for your calendar
Jan - New Year’s Day
Feb - St Brigid’s Day
Mar - St Patrick’s Day
Apr - Easter Sunday, Easter Monday
Dec - Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day

Languages 101

Irish and English are the official languages of the Republic of Ireland. The Celtic language of Irish, or Gaeilge, has been around for centuries and has been the source of many tongue twisters. On the other hand, the majority of Irish people speak English as their primary language. Even if Irish usage may not be as common as it once was, it is still a significant aspect of the Irish identity. Irish is a language that must be learned in school, so you can imagine the joy on Irish school children's faces when they learn that their homework involves conjugating an Irish verb. There are many possibilities to test your Irish proficiency for those who are willing to take the risk, particularly in the Gaeltachts along the west coast where Irish is still widely spoken. Fear not, non-Irish speakers; English is widely used in Ireland, so you won't need to rely on facial expressions and hand gestures to communicate. And who knows, you might learn a few Irish words and phrases in the process. Whether you are interested in the language or simply wish to immerse yourself in Irish culture, there’s something for everyone.

Transport

Getting There

By Plane

There are many international airports in the Republic of Ireland, including Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and Knock, making travel by plane very simple. These airports are all regularly connected to popular European cities as well as North American and international locations. There are many choices for travelling about once you get there. For instance, if you are flying into Dublin, there is a frequent and dependable bus service called Airlink that can take you right into the heart of the city.

By Train

Irish Rail runs the nation's well-developed rail network, which is another well-liked method of transportation in Ireland. Regional routes connect smaller towns and villages, and there are frequent connections between big cities. Particularly spectacular is the route from Dublin to Cork, which passes through some of Ireland's most breathtaking scenery.

By Bus

Another means of transportation in Ireland is by bus, with various organisations providing services all around the nation. The national bus company is called Bus Eireann, and private companies like Citylink and GoBus offer transportation between major cities and towns. Buses can take longer to get to your location than trains, but they are typically less expensive.

Getting Around

By Car

Renting a car is an excellent alternative if you want to see Ireland at your own pace. Ireland offers branches of all major automobile rental firms, and its road system is in good condition. It's important to keep in mind that Ireland uses the left side of the road, which might be challenging for anyone used to driving on the right.

By Public Transport

Cities like Dublin and Cork have substantial bus and tram networks that are simple to use for public transit inside the Republic of Ireland. In most cities and towns, cabs are also an option, albeit they can be fairly pricey. Finally, if you're up for it, you may walk some of Ireland's many beautiful routes, like the Wicklow Way or the Dingle Way, to discover the country on foot.

On Foot

Last but not least, walking is a fantastic method to discover a new place for the daring traveller. The iconic Wild Atlantic Way and the Wicklow Way are just two of the hiking and walking trails that can be found throughout Ireland. These pathways provide breathtaking views of the Irish countryside and are a wonderful opportunity to take in the natural beauty of the place.

Share this find!

arrow up