Destination Spotlight: Ireland

Written on March 13, 2024

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Lush green landscapes dotted with castles, a charming and inviting pub culture, and friendly and hospitable people who love to laugh make Ireland a popular and beloved tourist destination.

Distinctly Ireland: Waterford Crystal, whiskey, Guinness, St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Stew and Irish Soda Bread, shamrocks, Aran sweaters, Donegal tweed, and U2

Pop Culture Ireland

Movies/TV Shows Filmed (At Least Partly) in Ireland: The Princess Bride (the Cliffs of Insanity scene was filmed at the Cliffs of Moher), Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan (the opening scene depicting the Normandy Invasion was filmed at Ballinesker Beach), Game of Thrones was filmed in Northern Ireland

Books Set in Ireland: Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt), The Tour (Jean Grainger), In the Woods (Tana French), Circle of Friends (Maeve Binchy), Normal People (Sally Rooney)

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Fun Facts

  • Ireland is comprised of two countries: Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, which is an independent country, part of the European Union, and referred to as “Ireland.”
  • The roots of Halloween can be traced 2,000 years back to Samhain, a Celtic festival that celebrated the end of summer.
  • Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument as its national symbol. (It’s a harp!)
  • The country has been the most successful in the wildly popular annual Eurovision Song Content, winning seven times since the contest began in 1956.
  • Ireland currently touts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with seven more on the tentative list. (Two were added in 2023!)
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Essential Ireland: 5 Must-Do Experiences and Must-See Sights

Brú na Bóinne

This World Heritage site in County Meath is one of the largest and most important Megalithic complexes in the world. The three largest tombs were built approximately 5,000 years ago. Through a guided tour of the largest site at Newgrange, visitors can experience the “passage of light” ritual which signaled the arrival of the Winter Solstice.

Ring of Kerry

Visitors might want to spend a day or two touring the Ring of Kerry, also called the Iveragh Peninsula, which forms the southwest corner of the island. With spectacular views at every turn, the “land of a million shades of green” is where visitors fall in love with the untouched, natural beauty of Ireland.

Blarney Castle

For the gift of gab and for a tour of some of Ireland’s most exotic gardens, head to this 15th-century fortress in the south. Those determined to kiss the famous Blarney Stone will have to venture up the slippery, steep staircases to the top of the castle and hang upside down over a straight drop.

Cliffs of Moher

Stretching for five miles along the Atlantic coast in the west of Ireland, these breathtaking cliffs stand 700 feet tall at their highest point. The 12-mile coastal trail takes adventurous travelers along the majestic cliffs and through the award-winning visitors center.

Rock of Cashel

In county Tipperary sits the Rock of Cashel, a stunning historical site that features a collection of medieval structures. The oldest sections date back to the 12th century and were once the seat of the Kings of Munster prior to the Norman invasion. It now contains one of the world’s best collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture. Cormac’s Chapel is only accessible via guided tour.

“May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”

– Traditional Irish blessing

If a trip to the Emerald Isle is on your bucket list, let’s discuss your travel plans together.