On any misty evening, the pubs of Ireland welcome locals and travelers alike with a hearty stew, a pint of Guinness and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Here, you can partake of the lively music or the lively discussions… all while soaking in the traditional Irish character and love of companionship.
You’ll discover plenty of pubs like this in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, which can be found on the island’s Eastern shore. Set on the edge of the Irish Sea, the city’s chic boutiques, elegant architecture and urban parks perfectly complement its unique setting.
To the west, the city of Galway lies along the Atlantic Ocean and boasts excellent seafood. In fact, the Galway International Oyster Festival—held annually for more than 50 years—draws hundreds of competitors from around the world. There’s even an oyster-shucking contest and the crowning of the “Oyster Pearl.”
A bit north in County Mayo is the Croagh Patrick, where Ireland’s Patron Saint fasted for 40 days in 441 A.D. Thousands travel from across to globe each year on Reek Sunday—the last Sunday in July—on a pilgrimage to ascend this holy mountain.
Just south of County Galway in northwest County Clare, lies a dramatic landscape known as The Burren. Outcroppings of limestone—some jagged, others worn smooth—jut out of the ground for miles. With so much material to be found, it’s no wonder that the area has more than 500 ring forts and more than 80 Neolithic tombs.
East Coast and Midlands
Vibrant and modern with a healthy dose of tradition, Dublin is home to such famous Irish exports as Guinness beer, rock band U2, and literary giant James Joyce. The High Kings of Ireland once ruled from the Hill of Tara in Meath, while Louth is known for intricately carved High Crosses.
The northern reaches of Ireland offer a quiet, natural landscape. Donegal has rolling green farmland, heather-flocked moors and rocky cliffs along the bay. Leitrim offers fishing and boating on 40 lakes, and Sligo is known for picturesque bridges crossing the Garavogue River.
Cobbled streets, abbeys and a namesake castle have earned Kilkenny its reputation as the medieval center of Ireland, while the storied Blarney Stone is found in County Cork. Killarney Lake, Carrantuohill Mountain and Macgillycuddy's Reeks are prized natural jewels of the Emerald Isle.
Boasting fewer tourists and less commercialism, the western region is a hidden gem on the Emerald Isle. The limestone landscape of the Burren gave rise to numerous megalithic tombs, ring forts and portal dolmens in County Clare, as well as the Cliffs of Mohr overlooking the ocean.