Ireland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and there are many reasons for that. It is regarded by the outside world as being a romanticised and magical land of ancient mystery, poetry and of course then there is the famous ‘craic’. Ireland is seen by many as a place to come to escape the trappings and stresses of modern life and to enjoy a more relaxed and traditional environment. Of course there are many areas of Ireland that are modern metropolises and it is a major world player in digital media and modern advances but there are also many areas you find that will take you back to ‘the good old days’. So let’s take a look at the top things to see in the emerald Isle in your life time.
The Aran Islands the collective name for a group of 3 small islands off the west coast of Ireland. They have famous because of their adherence to tradition and Irish culture. If you visit the Aran Islands you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a time warp as the residents live and work much in the same way as their ancestors did centuries earlier. In a mystical land filled with legend and history there is nowhere more traditional and rooted in ancient Irish culture than the Aran Islands. So if you want to see the real Ireland then it doesn’t get any more real than these beautiful secluded islands.
The Giant’s Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is a world famous heritage site on the North Coast of Northern Ireland. It’s famous for its incredible natural rock formations and the legends that surround it. The Irish created a myth to explain the unusual looking rock formations which involved a giant called Finn MacCool who built a causeway so that a Scottish giant called Benandonner could come across and he could challenge him to a fight. To cut a long story short the myth goes that the Scottish giant fled Ireland and cut up the causeway behind causing the odd rock formations. In truth the formations were caused by a volcanic eruption millions of years before. It has become one the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland and a great place to walk along the stunning North Antrim coast.
The Blarney Stone
Once again this popular Irish attraction is surrounded in myth and legend. The blarney stone, located in Blarney Castle just outside Cork is said to give anyone who kisses it ‘the gift of the gab’, which means that they will be able to charm and flatter anyone they meet. There are several stories of how the blarney stone came to be but no matter where its origins lie it is still a popular thing to do for Irish people and tourists alike. If you are planning to kiss the blarney stone like millions before you then beware as it isn’t a simple task, you must lean backwards over a parapet’s edge whilst holding on to railings and kiss it with your head upside down, but it’ll be worth it for the gift of the gab.
Guinness Store House
Located in the centre of Dublin, the Guinness store house is an ever popular Irish tourist attraction. Never has one brand become synonymous with a country as Guinness has with Ireland. The Guinness Storehouse isn’t just a place you can go to see where the famous stout is made; it’s also a huge museum full of exhibits and exhibitions. You can learn more about how it’s made, its origins and the cultural impact Guinness has had on the world. The old Guinness advertisements are really worth checking out and you can end the tour with a free sample of the black stuff.
Sean Ferguson is a tour guide for Luxury Ireland Tours. He guides visitors through the length of Ireland on his all Ireland Tours.