I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Ireland for quite some time. While I’ve never considered myself Irish, my DNA test says I’m 4% Irish. That’s a good enough reason to take a trip to Ireland, right? But, mostly, it’s the Irish landscapes that appeal to me.
There are certainly more than five things I want to see and do in Ireland, but that would make this article too long. So let’s just think of this as the first installment. 😉
In Ireland, there are about 190 dolmens, the most recognizable type of megalithic monument. Dolmens are known by many different names: cromlechs, Giants Graves, Diarmuid and Grainne’s Beds, and stone tables. Dolmens generally have an entrance feature, the ‘portal,’ although a blocking stone often closes this. The most characteristic feature is a massive roof stone, weighing tons and inclined at an angle with the highest part over the entrance. Portal dolmens are known as Irish mythological stories and folklore. Most dolmens are covered with mounds of stone, but little remains of these cairns at most sites. The impressive structures we see today are like the skeletons of the monuments.
Coastal walks and drives
From lush glens and magical canal banks to daredevil cliff paths and quaint towns, Ireland has got you covered for walks and drives. Being an island, Ireland naturally offers unique opportunities for coastal walks. The Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coast are stand-out locations. Still, don’t overlook the likes of the stunning Beara, Dingle, and Inishowen Peninsulas – each nicely varied with mountainous paths for adventurous souls, as well as gentler terrain. There’s also the Copper Coast in the southeast, a breathtaking shoreline of cliffs, coves, and sea stacks, named after the mining industry that once prospered there. The hilly routes around Achill Island, County Mayo deserve a mention too.
Mountains in Ireland come in many shapes and sizes, but they all come beautifully. The Mourne Mountains boast a host of heavenly hikes. The Wicklow and Kerry Ways traverse stunning mountainscapes with plenty of calmer stretches. Walks and hikes in these verdant surroundings are dealt a dash of color, thanks to the area’s mythical heritage. For every step you take, a fairy, a warrior, a banshee, or a ghost may have taken it before you. Keep it quirky with bog walks in the likes of Tipperary, Laois, Offaly, and Connemara. They are prettily planned with wooden walkways to keep you away from the stickiest terrain. For something a little less muddy, pick a canal and walk its banks under the cover of leafy canopies.
Irish pubs have existed for roughly a millennium and have been a center for cultural gatherings in Ireland. They are a social hotspot where people from all walks of life come to gather. In addition to the casual social atmosphere, hearty food and drink, sports, and traditional Irish music are hallmarks of pub culture. The menu is usually regular and straightforward, featuring classic Irish dishes. Drinks include a variety of spirits and beers on tap, while televisions show games such as football or hurling.
The Long Room at Trinity College and the Book of Kells
Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, was founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1592. Its library is home to the Book of Kells, which dates back to 800 AD. It is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It is known for the complexity and extravagance of its illustrations.
Is Ireland on your list of must-visit destinations? Are you looking for a trusted advisor to help you make these trips happen? I’d love to chat with you and determine if I’m a good fit for you. Contact me.