The Republic Of Ireland


A Visitor’s Guide To The Republic Of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland occupies over three quarters of this island that lies to the west of the United Kingdom, and was formed following a large rebellion in the country that culminated in the majority of the island being granted independence in 1922. While Ireland suffered significant poverty as a part of the United Kingdom, the economy grew significantly during the twentieth century, although it is still recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 which hit the banks in Ireland particularly hard. The country also has strong links with the United States, with many thousands of people having emigrated, while its location at the western end of Europe meant it was also the base for many of the early communication attempts with the New World.

While the US State Department does advise that Ireland is generally a safe place to visit, they do advise visitors to avoid any public demonstrations and to stay in well lighted tourist areas to avoid any risks of petty crime.

Top Attractions To Enjoy In The Republic of Ireland

Dublin – The jewel in the Irish crown, the capital city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with a wonderful collection of historic buildings, a strong culture and a wonderful night life centered around the Temple Bar area of the city.

Kinsale – This beautiful town on the south coast of Ireland was historically one of the most important ports in the area with the ruins of two forts around the mouth of the harbor worth exploring, while visitors can also enjoy activities such as angling, yachting and golf.

Ring of Kerry – This is one of the most popular tourist routes starting from the town of Killarney and exploring the beautiful scenery and historic buildings along the route such as Ross Castle and the home of Daniel O’Connell.

Hook Lighthouse – At the tip of the Hook Peninsula on Ireland’s south east coast, this lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in Europe, and was built by monks at a nearby monastery in the twelfth century to help protect mariners from becoming shipwrecked on the rocky coast below.

The Cliffs Of Moher – On Ireland’s west coast, these spectacular cliffs run for several miles, and at their highest point the cliffs drop over two hundred meters into the cold Atlantic Ocean below, and visitors can explore the attractive visitor center, and take boat tours near the base of the cliffs.

Bru Na Boinne – Located in County Meath, the stunning complex of standing stones and burial chambers in this area is older than the Pyramids of Egypt, with the circular mound at Newgrange among the most impressive sites.

The Donegal Coast – Donegal is an area that is often overlooked by visitors to Ireland due to its remote geographic location, but the west coast facing out into the Atlantic is well worth visiting, with wonderful scenery, and hiking and surfing among the popular activities in the area.

Guinness Storehouse – This iconic building in Dublin is where Guinness was produced for decades, but while the production process has moved elsewhere, this has been converted into a  museum, with a spectacular sky bar at the top offering a pint of Guinness and great views over Dublin.

Birr Castle – There have been several castles on this site in Central Ireland, but the current building took shape in the seventeenth century, and visitors can enjoy the Historic Science Center on the site, and also see the Leviathan of Parsonstown, which was once the largest telescope in the world.

Skellig Michael – Located some eight miles off the south west coast, this island was home to a monastery for at least seven centuries until it was dissolved in 1578, and the beehive huts and the monastic graveyard on the island have helped the site achieve World Heritage Site status.

Where To Stay In Ireland

Dublin

Stauntons On The Green Guesthouse – This lovely hotel is situated right in the city center facing St Stephen’s Green, and offers visitors charming accommodation in a traditional style, with airy and attractive bedrooms that are tastefully decorated with wireless internet access throughout the hotel.

The Glen Guesthouse – An attractive hotel that is just a short walk from the main sights in Dublin, this hotel offers visitors clean and simple rooms at a good price, with wi-fi internet and televisions in the rooms.

Galway

Salthill Hotel – This wonderful hotel has a great position facing the sea, and offers a wealth of leisure facilities including a wonderful large indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and a hot spring bath, while the rooms are spacious and welcoming with stunning luxury bathrooms.

Rusheen Bay House – Some of the rooms in this hotel have lovely views over the bay, while they are also attractively decorated with relaxing deep baths, and have a great location for exploring the surrounding towns and villages.

Cork

Isaacs Hotel – This hotel occupies a prominent position in a charming traditional building, and provides guests with tastefully decorated and comfortable rooms and sleek bathrooms, with a garden area and easy access to Cork’s main attractions.

Belvedere Lodge – The attractive location of this hotel is just a short distance outside the city center with some beautiful views over the River Lee, with modern rooms at a good price, and features such as a television and wi-fi internet.

Killarney

Muckross Park Hotel – Located in a beautiful building with its own tower fortification, guests are treated to a relaxing jacuzzi, indoor swimming pool and spa, while the rooms are beautifully decorated and surrounded by well kept gardens just a short distance from Killarney.

Gleneagle Hotel And Leisure Complex – This attractive hotel offers great value for money with competitively priced rooms that are beautifully decorated with attractive views, and access to leisure facilities including an indoor pool, tennis courts and a jacuzzi

Irish Cuisine

The cuisine that has developed in Ireland over the centuries has been based on the ingredients that were widely available in the country, and has good nourishing dishes to support the men who went out for a hard day’s physical labor. Irish Stew is one of the most common dishes that visitors will encounter when they visit Ireland, and is usually prepared with mutton, which was a cheaper and fattier meat than lamb. Many dishes are served with soda bread, which is made with bread soda instead of yeast as a leavening agent. Another popular meal is a full Irish breakfast, which includes the traditional ingredients of bacon, sausage, fried eggs, toast, fried mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans, and will also include locally produced black pudding and white pudding, soda bread and sometimes a fried potato farl.

Currency And Visa

Ireland is a country which was among the first to adopt the Euro, which makes it a great country for those who are visiting several European countries, and those exchanging US Dollars will usually be able to exchange around 1.37 US Dollars per Euro. Unlike many European countries, Ireland is not a part of the Schengen Agreement, and visitors from the United States will not need a visa to enter the country for journeys up to ninety days.

Further Reading

One of the most popular sports to enjoy in Ireland is golf, and with a series of courses from coastal links to the challenging inland courses, this article looks at the experience of playing golf in Ireland. This is another interesting article that looks at the most popular attractions in Ireland, and also features a look at the Giant’s Causeway which is located over the country’s only land border in Northern Ireland.