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It’s been just about a month since we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share about my recent visit to Ireland, or what’s known as “The Emerald Isle.” There is so much to see in this beautiful country that even a six-day tour of the southern area seemed like a whirlwind. Ireland is picturesque – from the magnificent green hills and sheep pastures, to the majestic castles, to the Cliffs of Moher – there is no shortage of attractions and radiant landscapes. It’s a country rich in heritage and steeped in history, culture and architecture dating back centuries. 

When visiting, most fly into Dublin; while there is a lot to see and do in that great city, you must travel beyond it to see more of this amazing country. If it’s your first time in Ireland, take a guided tour rather than a self-guided tour. By traveling with a local guide, you’ll cover more ground and experience Ireland through the eyes of someone who knows and loves their country. A guided tour offers answers to your questions, fun facts about historic sites, and the opportunity to snap pictures and take in the breathtaking scenery while someone else is driving. 

Although there are many sites to visit, these are some top things to see when experiencing Ireland. Towns and villages are scattered all throughout the country. Choose a tour that will give you the best of both worlds: the cities as well as the small-town villages that make you feel like you just stepped back in time. The scenery along the drive to those villages is captivating: the Cliffs of Moher, Dingle Peninsula, Enniscorthy, Cobh (pronounced Cove), Blarney and Killarney, to name a few. The Guinness Storehouse Brewery is the most-visited attraction in Ireland. Trinity College Library houses the Book of Kells. Christ Church Cathedral is one of Ireland’s two medieval cathedrals. Killarney is a quaint town that never sleeps, boasting lovely pub-lined, cobblestone streets with people milling about at the shops and pubs. 

Shopping in Ireland is wonderful, and, yes, you can find that handmade sweater you’ve been looking for at many of the local Woollen Market stores. The Irish people are incredibly hospitable and some of the most jovial people you’ll meet.  

Let’s not forget about the food! Because it’s an island, much of their produce and meat is grown and raised locally, and you can taste the freshness – it’s some of the best food I’ve eaten. Breads are all homemade, and, of course, every meal has at least two different kinds of potatoes. Their soups are also homemade, creamy, and sold with fresh bread, even in convenience stores.  

A full Irish breakfast is something to behold as well – ham, sausages, eggs, roasted tomatoes, baked beans and pudding, along with toasted bread, spread with Kerrygold Butter (produced in Ireland) and homemade preserves. 

For lunch or dinner, Irish stew made with Guinness beer and, of course, bread is always on tap. Fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage are all staple food choices as well. Their pubs are a gathering place for everyone, young and old, where people tell stories and chat over a pint or a bite to eat; it’s as if you’re eating with family. 

If you’re ready to experience Ireland, contact me about my group tour to “The Emerald Isle.” 

Alesia House is a local travel concierge who can plan and orchestrate all the details of your vacation. Her goal is to help clients have stress-free vacations that will create lasting memories. Contact alesia@ibooktravelforu.com or www.ibooktravelforu.com 

 

 

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