Ireland is often referred to as the Emerald Isles for its lush greenery and this country, which is in the North Atlantic is reputed to be one of the oldest countries in the world. Its rich history is worth a study of its own and many have found it to be absolutely fascinating. With its castles and cliffs and historic sites and Dublin itself being such a draw, it is no wonder then that people are intrigued by Ireland and can’t wait to visit it.
The numerous scenic sights, the undulating hills, the rugged landscape and the rich sense of history have persisted over the centuries. Dublin has a strong literary background, having been the birthplace to famed writers such as Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. Ireland tourism takes all this into consideration, allowing people to see the side of Ireland they want to best remember in their memories.
Ireland is located in north west Europe and separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea and North Channel. The island has several geological features with mountain ranges such as Blackstairs and Bluestack, and sea cliffs on the coast, especially the enchanting Cliff of Moher which is often included in Ireland tours. There are several coastal islands such as Aran Islands and Valentia Island.
With frequent rainfall and mild climate, Ireland has lush vegetation which has earned it the nickname, the Emerald Isles. Typically, Ireland’s climate is oceanic but is also known to have a few extremes. Rainfall occurs throughout the year but is light and not disruptive. However, west Ireland does seem to have a wetter climate and is prone to Atlantic storms. Summers are warm and winters are quite cold. During winter, temperatures can go below freezing in some areas.
Ireland has had a combination of cultural influences – Gaelic, English and now recently, American as well. The country is known for its distinctive traditional music and dance and Ireland tourism often focuses on these elements when people come to visit. Irish culture owes its existence to the strong literary and arts culture that has thrived in the country for centuries. But there are also architectural elements which will enthral you undoubtedly.
The presence of three World Heritage Sites are a huge plus point in making Ireland tourism attractive for visitors. The first among these is Brú na Bóinne, or the Boyne Valley Tombs in County Meath. It is known to have an important prehistoric landscape which goes all the way back to the Neolithic period. The structures that you will get to see here are fascinating – chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and other prehistoric enclosures. History buffs will undoubtedly be fascinated by this place.
The other World Heritage Site is Skellig Michael, a crag with two peaks. Although the mountain itself seems to have been formed around 360 million years ago, archaeologists find it fascinating because of the remains of a medieval monastery reputed to be from the 6th century. The monastery complex has been preserved amazingly well, even after all these centuries and is a constant source of amazement for visitors. The other site which also features on most Ireland tours is called Giant’s Causeway, which emerged due to an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.
But Ireland tourism is not just about these prehistoric sites. Castles like Bunratty Castle and Blarney Castle as well as other sites such as the Rock of Cashel, Holy Cross Abbey and Cliffs of Moher draw several tourist gazes as well.
Dublin however, is the most visited place. After all, this is where you can see the famed Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript gospel book in Latin which is believed to have been created in 800 AD. This masterwork is on permanent display in Trinity College Library which usually displays two of the current four volumes at a single time.
Trinity College itself is a source of fascination for many. Founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, it remains one of the most illustrious universities ever established. Famous alumni from here include Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift to name a few.
For non-literary pursuits, there’s always the Guinness Storehouse which offers a brewery experience to visitors, showcasing how Ireland’s most famous beer is made and includes tastes from the barrel directly.
Other Irish cities like the harbour city of Galway is known for the Eyre Square, where there are several traditional pubs and shops and plenty of live Irish folk music. The Latin quarter with its winding lanes is fascinating as ever and Galway has a few popular festivals to its name which make it a popular destination for tourists.
Cork is a university city but also has some awe-inspiring monuments such as Shandon Church whose tower can be ascended if you want to see sweeping views of the city. Killarney in the southwest is known for the famed Ring of Kerry scenic drive and several 19th century buildings such as St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Other cities that people love to include on their Ireland tours are Kilkenny, Limerick and Kinsale. There are plenty of medieval castles and other such monuments in these cities which have always been a tourist attraction.
The thing about Ireland is that you have to see it to believe and appreciate its gentle beauty. If your holiday plans are now in favour of this island country, then do take a look at the SOTC website for some excellent offers and deals on Ireland holiday packages.