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Ireland’s spellbinding natural beauty, idyllic countryside and rich cultural heritage make it a spectacular destination. Whether you are planning a trip to Ireland on your own or with a family, the Emerald Isle is full of delights. Get inspired by the Cliffs of Moher, towering 700-feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Go hiking along the scenic 180-kilometers-long Ring of Kerry. Explore the 9,000-year-old Irish history at the Irish National Heritage Park, or tour Dublin’s world-class museums and art galleries. Ireland is a gem of a country that will not disappoint visitors.
- Peter Sam
The best time to visit Ireland is between June and September when the country’s weather is at its mildest. But hotel tariffs are relatively high during this period. November to February is the low tourist season but you can grab excellent discounts. Between March and May and from September to October, the weather is far more agreeable compared to the otherwise cold winter months. Plus, you can get good deals on hotels.
Here is a list of things to do and places you should visit for a memorable Irish holiday:
- Discover Dublin: Soak in the top sights of Ireland’s capital. See St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which hosts Ireland’s oldest choir; admire the artwork at the National Gallery of Ireland; learn about the 250-year-old history of the famous Guinness Storehouse.
- Visit Cork: Check out the quirky 18th-century English Market in the heart of Cork. Stroll along Fitzgerald Park, a lovely green space on the outskirts of the city. Climb St. Anne’s Tower to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
- Towering glory: Trek to the iconic Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited destinations, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Also, visit the Aran Islands to explore its ancient sites.
- Dream drive: Embark on a road trip of a lifetime along the west coast of Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way, which is famous for its rugged beauty and panorama of exquisite views of the country.
- Celebrate Ireland: No matter what time of the year you’re planning a trip to Ireland, the festival season never stops. The annual festivals include the Dublin Theater Festival in September-October, the Galway Arts Festival in July, and Kilkenny Cat Laughs in June.
You might be wondering how many days to spend in Ireland. A five-day trip to Ireland will allow you to spend a couple of days in Dublin before heading to the Wicklow Mountains National Park and Glendalough Monastic Site. In a one-week-long itinerary for Ireland, you can include Galway and Limerick on your travel list. In a 10-day itinerary in Ireland, you can visit the lovely 7,000-acre Connemara National Park and the medieval Blarney Castle.
Once you plan a trip to Ireland, taking a flight is the best option. But if you are coming from Britain, you can also consider a train and ferry.
- By air: Ireland is easily accessible from the US and Canada, with many nonstop flights. It is very well connected with Britain, with dozens of routes and cheap fares. Ryanair is the biggest carrier from Britain. From Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the route is typically via London.
- By ferry: Several ferry big operators like Stena Line will take you from Britain to Ireland. These include catamarans that can also carry cars, but services may be suspended in winter if the weather is poor.
- By train: You can also consider a combined train and boat journey to Ireland from Britain. The main routes are Stranraer to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin, and Fishguard to Rosslare. London to Dublin takes around eight hours by train.
Ireland is not a very large country and there are multiple ways to navigate it.
- By air: The fastest way to reach a specific area is by taking a flight through operators like Aer Arann from Dublin to one of the regional airports around the country. The prices are very reasonable and, of course, you save a lot of time.
- By rail: Train services are operated by Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) and journeys are quicker than a bus. The rail lines link the capital with the southern and western coasts, but not all counties have a rail link. You can buy single, day return, monthly, and family tickets, among other formats. Depending on your travel plans, also consider buying a combined bus and rail pass like Irish Explorer.
- By bus: Express coach and slower local services are run by the operator, Bus Éireann, throughout the country. Ticket prices are usually much lower than train fares.
In order to plan a vacation to Ireland, you will have to account for the costs involved. Here is a snapshot of money-related things to know when traveling to Ireland.
- Food: You can sample local cuisines and have a drink or two daily without burning your bank. But it will set you back by around *USD400 per week.
- Local transportation and tickets: If you plan your trip smartly, you can save on buses and trains. This can be kept under USD300 per week.
- Hotels: This naturally depends on the kind of accommodation you want. But mid-segment hotels should not cost you more than USD600 to 1,000 per week.
*Note: The prices mentioned are of June 2022 and are subject to change.
Here are some basic cultural etiquettes you should know while planning a trip to Ireland:
- When driving in rural areas, acknowledge other drivers. You can do this by either raising a hand or a finger from the steering wheel.
- When ending a phone conversation, some in Ireland might say ‘bye’ multiple times before hanging up.
- You should steer clear from religious or political subjects when bantering with locals.
Ireland has it all—spectacular hills, superb hiking trails, majestic castles, and cities like Dublin, Cork and Galway that are bursting with culture and creativity. Planning a trip to Ireland? Our local travel experts are always at your service to help you finalize a customized tour to Ireland according to your budget and interests.