The whole of Ireland can be discovered in a rather short time, due to the island’s small size. Renting a car from Dublin Airport will give you access to all that this ancient isle has to offer.
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Dublin is the largest and capital city of the Republic of Ireland, and as such is the main stop off point for tourists and visitors. It is a city with rich cultural history, and feels surprisingly modern to visit.
Here you will find medieval monuments, the National Gallery and National Museum. As well as a stark contrast of city life to be found just south of the city in the Wicklow Mountains. The airport is located 10km from the city centre.
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Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland. Being built up from profits of Victorian England during the days of the empire, it is a highly developed city and many grand public buildings and the notable Donegal Square, the hub of Belfast life. Spend a few days here to really get the feel of the city and make sure to check out the Queen’s University and Ulster Museum.
Galway and Limerick
The university cities of Galway and Limerick can provide for the party goers and night life seekers all year round. Festivals and buzzing nightlife are here just waiting for you to discover.
Derry is another hotspot for tourist traffic. The city itself has been built around extremely well preserved medieval walls. Known as the crossroads city, it is the meeting point for many travellers and locals alike. The nearby river Foyle is a sight to behold as the sun is setting or on a crisp winters eve.
Armagh in the north, is where St Patrick founded and established Christianity in Ireland. The town has enough to keep visitors occupied for a day or two and the city is full of churches and cathedrals of varying ages.
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There is a great deal of natural beauty to behold in Ireland for all types. The city hoppers of the world will find hundreds of years of history and cultural developments in Dublin and Belfast.
The walkers of the wilds will get the most of Ireland, from scenic coastlines meeting the Atlantic ocean all the way to the ashen deposits of natural granite which can be found at the Wicklow Mountains.
A ring of coastal mountains defend the inland low plains in the centre of the isle. The highest of these is Carrauntoohil in County Kerry, which stands at a staggering height of 1038 m above sea level. Arable lands form up the province of Leinster. Western areas of the island are mountainous and rocky, with green panoramic vistas, which are a joy to behold.
“Beautiful Ireland, where the lovers meet and sleep under the stars”
For political reasons dating back hundreds of years, Ireland is currently shared by two separate countries. Northern Ireland decided to stay a part of the United Kingdom, whereas the Republic of Ireland separated from the union and is now a fully independent state.
Ireland’s culture is a mix of ancient peoples and foreign invaders, as well as cultural influences that spread from England and Europe. Ireland itself is regarded as the most Celtic nation in the European area.
This can be seen visibly with the intricate knot work designs in architecture and the famous Celtic knot of various medieval religious and secular buildings. This Celtic style is still popular today in many different forms including jewellery, art, tattoos and graphic art.
Religion has been a major driving factor to the rich culture which Ireland has so valiantly protected since ancient times. Unfortunately, this has led to many wars and disagreements between various groups of the Irish People and has even led the city of Belfast to be walled off down the middle in order to keep the Protestant and Catholic populations apart from each other.
Sights to See
On the west coast of Ireland you will find the town of Clare, whose beaches and coastlines come to a head at the vast Cliffs of Moher. Head inland to find The Burren, an ancient limestone plateau left desolate for many years, and slowly returning to nature. South of Clare lies Limerick, a small settlement which houses the Hunt Museum with a massively diverse collection of fascinating pieces.
If you like to get your boots muddy then perhaps you should venture to the north of Clare. County Galway plays host to the township of Connemara. Here you will find prehistoric bogs and untamed marshlands, remember to pack the wellies! Further north lies Donegal, which holds a vast range of mountains, lakes, beaches and tundra like peninsulas.
County Kerry lies to the south of Limerick and features gorgeous scenery with a mixture of coastal views, peaceful lakes and towering mountains. Often a popular visiting place of tourists, the Ring of Kerry can reward the avid explorer with seclusion to enjoy its sights.
The well-known town of Cork sits peacefully on the southern coast of the isle. Lonely estuaries, rolling hills and memorable harbours dot the coastline. Pay a visit to Cork City as you pass through for great nightlife and timeless cultural sites.
Eastbound from the town you will find Waterford city, which holds the impressive collection of Viking and medieval collections at the Waterford Treasures. The south-eastern tip of Ireland is where you will find Wexford, with its rolling hills, ideal for bird watchers and dune covered beaches.
Inland you will find a lot of agricultural land and peat bogs, with the famed River Shannon hosting many great sights and views.
Dublin is the capital and located in the east of Ireland.
Northern Ireland has a great amount of unspoilt beauty. To the north you will find the Glens of Antrim, a wide expanse of green lands with the world famous Giant’s Causeway as its centrepiece.
South east Northern Ireland will relax you with the peaceful views of the Strangford Lough which sit in the shadows of the massive Mourne Mountains. Westward will lead you to Fermanagh and the unrivalled lake scenery of Lough Earne.
Islands off Ireland
Achill Island, which can be found off the coast of County Mayo is the largest island in Ireland. It is particularly popular with tourists, especially in summer as it boasts 5 blue flag beaches and one of the highest sea cliffs at Croaghaun.
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Vast Irish History
For the history buffs out there, Northern Ireland and the Republic hold a dense amount of scenes of interest, with numerous archaeological sites dotting the countryside where you will find evidence of ancient peoples, all the way through to the grand estates forged by the 1800 English monarchy.
Newgrange in Meath is a host to the prehistoric tomb which bears the same name, the fortress of Dun Aengus can be found here as well. County Cork features many great stone circles, with hundreds more to be found along the southern coastline with plenty of ring forts and tombs as well.
Early Christian monuments can be located on Skellig Michael and the Rock of Cashel. The Anglo-Irish nobility had planned numerous vast country estates to be created, not all of them made it through the construction process however, many eighteenth and nineteenth century neoclassical mansions can be found right the way across Ireland.