Ireland: The Emerald Isle

The ruggedly beautiful landscape of rolling green hills and valleys naturally lends Ireland its nickname as the Emerald Isle.

In addition to its natural beauty, the people of Ireland are friendly and welcoming. This post highlights a few of the many attractions and sights that make Ireland such a great vacation destination.


Dublin is the most densely populated city in Ireland, over one quarter of Ireland’s total population live in this region.

Visit the lively Temple Bar district which features many pubs, shops, and restaurants. While you are there, take in some live traditional Irish music performed every day of the week at The Temple Bar.

Formerly a prison and now a museum, Kilmainham Gaol is known for the many leaders of Irish revolutions, from the late 1700s to early 1900s, that were detained and executed here.

Dublin Castle was originally a medieval fortress, built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier Viking settlement. A fire destroyed most of the original castle in 1684. It was then rebuilt as the structure that stands today. Sections of the original medieval castle and moat, as well as some of the original Viking defences, can be seen during your visit.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral – the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is said to have passed through Dublin in the 5th century and used a well near the vicinity of where the Cathedral now stands to baptize new converts to Christianity. Irish author Jonathan Swift is buried here as well.

If you love Guinness’ famously unique dark stout, you must add a tour of Guinness Storehouse brewery to your itinerary.

John Jameson opened the Jameson Distillery Bow St in 1780. Tour the facilities and experience an Irish whisky tasting experience.


Cork is Ireland’s second largest city. The center of Cork is on an island between the north and south channels of the River Lee.

There, you can visit Killarney National Park, Ireland’s first national park, which was created in 1932, when the Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State.

As a part of the larger Wild Atlantic Way, the Ring of Kerry is roughly 100 mile circular route, which includes the majestically rugged coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. Be sure to stop along the way at Derrynane Beach and Waterville Beach.

The Skellig Islands – Star Wars’ “The Last Jedi” featured Skellig Michael as Luke Skywalker’s remote refuge. There are daily departures from the Portmagee landing.

The Blarney Castle was built nearly 600 years ago by Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster. It has been said that to kiss the Blarney Stone is to gain the gift of eloquent speech, but it isn’t easy to do! One must first climb 90 feet of winding staircase and lean backwards while holding on to railings (along with support from castle staff).

Galway and Mayo

Kylemore Abbey and the Victorian Walled Garden was built as a castle in 1868; it is now the Abbey and home of the Benedictine community of nuns.

Ashford Castle is a medieval and Victorian castle over 800 years old. Once the home of the Guinness family, it is now a luxury hotel.

There’s still a lot more!

All of this is just a small sample of what Ireland has to offer as a top vacation experience. Contact me to book your unforgettable Ireland vacation today!

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