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Introducing Ireland

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Minard © RenĂ© van Linde

Ireland Travel Guide

The land of shamrocks and St Patrick's Day, Ireland captures the imagination with its lilting charm. Though it's a relatively small country, Ireland's countryside includes an impressive range of landscapes: towering mountains, magical woodlands, rolling pastures, rocky coastlines, and shadowy peat bogs. Sleepy villages dot the countryside as cosmopolitan cities dominate the cultural landscape: urban centres like Dublin, Cork and Galway have thousand-year histories that proudly entwine with their more modern faces.

While its reputation may be riddled with clichés, a holiday in Ireland is full of pleasures and surprises, and the country's appeal has little to do with leprechauns and shillelaghs. Ireland's culture has permeated the global consciousness, particularly through literature and music: celebrated writers like James Joyce, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift called the Emerald Isle home; and Irish music and dance has circled the globe with breakout acts like Riverdance and U2.

A holiday in Ireland offers myriad possibilities: outdoor enthusiasts can hike scenic routes like the Ring of Kerry and explore the beauty of Killarney National Park; history buffs will marvel at ancient buildings like St Patrick's Cathedral and Blarney Castle; and avid readers won't want to miss the James Joyce Museum and Trinity College Dublin; while those simply looking for a good time can find one in Dublin's lively Temple Bar District, or in almost any pub in this lively and sociable society.

Best time to visit Ireland

The best time to visit Ireland is from May to September. The weather in Ireland can be cold and damp all year long, but the months from late spring to early autumn are the best for sunny and warm weather. Read more on Ireland's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Ireland

- Take a guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse.

- Drive the scenic Ring of Kerry route on the Iveragh Peninsula.

- View the majestic Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

- See the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin. Read more about Ireland Attractions.

What to do in Ireland

- Trace your Irish ancestry at the National Library of Ireland.

- Enjoy the music and nightlife of Dublin's Temple Bar District.

- Go hiking in Killarney National Park.

- Tour Blarney Castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone.

Getting to Ireland

There are plenty of direct cheap flights to Ireland on budget carriers like easyJet and Ryanair, so getting to Ireland from the UK is a breeze. Getting to Ireland from the US isn't as quick, but there are direct flights from the US to Dublin and Shannon airports. Get more information on Ireland Airports.

Read

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, Dubliners by James Joyce, and The Van by Roddy Doyle

Listen

Cailín na Gaillimhe (Traditional), Irish Washerwoman (Traditional), and Riverdance (Anuna).

Watch

Leap Year (2010), Mad About Mambo (2000), and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006).

Drink

Guinness

Eat

Boxty (potato pancake)

What to buy

Claddagh jewellery and Irish whiskey

What to pack

It's a good idea to pack lots of layers for a holiday in Ireland, as the weather can be unpredictable any time of the year.

What's on in Ireland

Dublin is the place to be on St Patrick's Day for one of the world's biggest parties. James Joyce fans can celebrate Bloomsday in style, held in Dublin each June. The Festival of World Cultures draws music and culture lovers from all over the world. More information on Ireland Events.

Did you know?

Ireland is the world's only country with a musical instrument for a national symbol: the harp.

A final word

Europe's 'Emerald Isle', Ireland is a patchwork of beautiful landscapes, quaint villages and cosmopolitan cities that form a thousand-year-old civilization with a modern attitude.

Become our Ireland Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Ireland travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Ireland or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

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