Ireland holds a special place in the heart of Americans and Canadians, and with it’s beautiful geography and people, it’s no wonder why people return again and again.
Ireland is possibly the best place I have ever spent Thanksgiving, and somewhere I should have visited long, long ago. By far some of the kindest people I have ever met on my journey’s (and a social bunch at that), paired with sweeping green landscape. Typical of many, I did explore some ancestral roots, and the many historians were easily accessible to assist.
As the capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin offers a number of activities that is sure to charm new visitors. (Personally, I would use it as a beginning or end stop on your trip, and take a long road trip out west and in the countryside for the remainder to explore). Its historic buildings include Dublin Castle, dating to the 13th century, and grand St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. City parks include landscaped St Stephen’s Green and huge Phoenix Park, containing Dublin Zoo. The National Museum of Ireland explores Irish heritage and culture. his is a walking City, and there are many good hotels to choose from, pubs every where you look…let’s go!
Trinity College & the long room (for literature lovers!), Marsh’s Library, Guinness Storehouse (fun), Phoenix Park, National Gallery of Ireland. There are a number of walking tours, including literary tours for the incredible writers to come out of this City
I stayed at the Merrion – which was lovely & centrally located – and the Four Seasons, which no long exists under the company. Also grand: The Shelbourne, The Westbury, Marker Hotel, Dylan Hotel Dublin, Dean Dublin, Conrad Dublin
Balfes, Bow Lane, Catch 22, The Ivy
Life in the cities of Cork, Limerick and Galway, always offers a warm welcome, and has long been a magnet for writers, artists, playwrights and musicians. Given the country isn’t overly large, it lends well to road tripping through the stunning country side (also trains and coach buses are easy to hop from Dublin). Last time I went I actually flew from London directly to western Ireland first, which proved to be ideal (either Shannon or Galway airport) to spend a few magnificent days at Adare Manor – a castle hotel (pictured below) which recently underwent a huge renovation (I heard incredible things about Ashford Castle too) From there you can drive all around the coast, and see the many towns and wonders (like the Cliffs of Moher) and have a well-rounded experience. After which, you can hop the train or bus to Dublin and spend a couple of days (Trinity College old library and the Guinness Factory are highly recommended stops, as is Fade Street Social and Green Hen for dinner). But perhaps y favorite moment was speaking with a local historian about some of my family who had immigrated from Tipperary, including my great-great grandfather who lived to 110!
Cliffs of Moher (obviously), County Clare, Connemara National Park, County Galway, Slieve League Cliffs, and County Donegal Wander. Just road trip, stop at pubs and talk to people…walking through the countryside is simply magnificent in Ireland.