Ireland is a beautiful country with a rich history. Unlike some other parts of the world, the Irish have spent a lot of time protecting and restoring historical sites instead of looking to modernize and update the country’s landscape. Visitors to Ireland can view Neolithic ruins, explore the castle of a medieval lord and learn about the country’s struggle for independence. Many tourists choose Ireland for their next trip abroad because most residents speak English. This makes it easy to travel and ensures you will be able to read signs and menus no matter where you stop.
Regardless of your motivation to visit Ireland, proper planning is required for a great trip. There are several parts of your trip you’ll want to plan for before purchasing airfare.
Before You Leave
Taking the proper precautions before you leave home makes returning much easier. Start by making a packing list; thinking about what you need weeks before you actually pack gives you time to remember important supplies like medications, waterproof outerwear and a good pair of shoes. Make extra copies of your most important documents and leave them in the care of a friend or family member as well. If you lose your passport or airfare confirmation while in Ireland, you can have them shipped to you from home. Consider purchasing an international medical insurance plan as well; most health insurance doesn’t cover treatment in other countries, and a minor accident could quickly become an expensive problem.
Seeing the Sights
Planning your travel between the major attractions of Ireland can help your trip flow smoothly and reduce lost time. Start in Boyne Valley, a World Heritage Site that’s home to a variety of ancient ruins. Most travelers stop there to see the megalithic tombs that have been dated to hundreds of years before the Pyramid of Giza. The 5,000 year old site of Newgrange is also located in the valley.
If you plan to rent a car or take a bus tour of the countryside, consider the Ring of Kerry. This loop takes you through classic vistas of rolling green hills and farms, as well as to some very important historical sites. Two stone forts, a standing stone circle and Ballycarberry Castle are all located on the route.
Dublin is the perfect stop for exploring authentic Irish pubs and learning more about the country’s culture. The city center becomes very crowded on the weekends, but it’s pleasantly bustling during the week. Stop in one of the many museums and historical homes if you want to experience life in Dublin as it was lived more than 200 years ago.
Travelers who enjoy natural scenery should take the shuttle ride to the Giant’s Causeway. These giant stone slabs look strangely man-made. If you visit on a clear day when the fog has lifted, the slabs point towards Scotland, which can be seen faintly. A nearby distillery turns a short outing into an afternoon adventure.
Finally, plan a stop at the Cliffs of Moher before heading home. A 650 foot drop to the ocean is one of the most spectacular views in all of Europe. No trip to Ireland is complete without a few hours spent gazing over the sea from this vantage point.
For such a small island, Ireland has a wealth of history, culture and attractions for tourists from all over the world. Whether you’re in Ireland for a long weekend or a leisurely two-week tour, you’ll find new things to discover about the country throughout your trip.