So, you’ve made it to Ireland. But what do you do now? To keep you from being stuck inside your hotel room all day, I’ve found a couple day trips for you. Some are closer to Dublin (where your plane will probably land) than others, but they’re all pretty sights and can’t be skipped. Be warned: many tourists visit these places, but the view will more than make up for that.
Cliffs of Moher
Of course, the first on the list are the Cliffs of Moher. These gorgeous cliffs are located on the west coast, near Galway. They look their best on a sunny day in the summer or fall. With a clear sky, you can look really far out on the ocean and see… even more ocean. There’s a long trail you can walk to the end of the cliffs. For the daredevils there’s even a part of the cliff you can sit on, bungling your legs off the edge.
The Blarney Stone is part of the Blarney Castle, which is located near Cork. The castle itself is a nice attraction to see, but the Stone is pretty much what attracts all the tourists. The reason the Stone attracts many visitors is because of the legend. There’s a legend that says that when you kiss the stone, you are endowed with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). One small thing: you have to hang upside down when kissing the Stone. Who wouldn’t want to be blessed with the gift of the gab? You do have to keep in mind that you’ll be kissing a stone that’s been kissed by millions of people from all over the world…
So technically this is in Northern Ireland, but seeing as it’s still on the island of Ireland, I’m going to let it count. The Giant’s Causeway is near Belfast (which is a nice place to visit as well), and just plain gorgeous. The story is that it’s the remnants of a causeway made by a giant (hence the name), so he could cross the North Channel to fight another giant. (Un)fortunately, there’s no sight of giant’s left except for these remnants. The Giant’s Causeway is gorgeous, especially since the columns all differ in height. The only advice I would give to you is to be careful when walking around; the columns might be slippery because of rain and/or seawater and it won’t be a soft landing.
Ireland is home to six national parks, of which the first one (in Killarney) was established in 1932. Do we all remember the movie P.S. I Love You from the previous blog? The place where the two main characters meet is in Wicklow National Park, one of the other five national parks. Honestly, they’re all pretty. They do all have different characteristics making them unique from one another, although Wicklow National Park is closest to Dublin; the other five are all spread out over the length of the west coast and may be a long ride if you’re staying in Dublin.
This site is not as exciting as the others, but if you’re into ruins and cemeteries built in as early as the 6th (!!) century, you have to visit this. The monastery has become a major center of religion, learning, craftsmanship and trade by the 9th century and even was the most famous one in Ireland with visitors from all over Europe. Clonmacnoise is situated on the River Shannon (which is the longest river in Ireland) and is home to graves of kings of Tara and Connacht.
So we’ve covered all the island wide tourist attractions, which honestly, you have to see. You will be missing out if you don’t. But if you’re so inclined to stay in Dublin, then stay tuned for next week’s blog; I will give you a list of many hot spots in and around the country’s capital that sure deserve a visit!