From the cheerful and joyful nights in Dublin at the many pubs in Temple Bar to the beautiful landscapes of Connemara, Ireland is a country that deserves a visit to fill your heart with joy from the local people and experience the real taste of Guinness. The Cliffs of Moher are an incredible landscape that is worth the travel alone. And after many Irish coffees, it will be time to discover the story of Northern Ireland and the Titanic by flying to Belfast.
Discover now the 10 tips that will make you wish to book a flight to Ireland
Ireland is very easy to reach from every European corner thanks to the low-cost carrier Ryanair, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity to discover a land full of natural and historic beauty. A destination where you can get easily lost driving in the countryside as much as in the streets of Dublin. Feeling truly welcomed by local people. To make it perfect, you’ll just need a bit of luck with the weather.
1. St. Patricks’
Dublin is, of course, a must do for everyone travelling to Ireland, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an unmissable stop.
It is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland and it was built in 1191.
Located in a peaceful garden, it is worth a visit in the inside as well as a stroll around.
Aside from the majesty of the interior, several famous personalities are buried here, among whom Jonathan Swift.
2. Temple Bar
Immediately after St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar is probably the most famous landmark in Dublin. If you are travelling with friends and looking for some fun, make sure you stay pretty close to this area, as it is naturally the liveliest in the city.
Unfortunately, it is also quite touristic but some of its bars are definitively not to be missed. First of all the historic Temple Bar, a true distillate of Irish pride, music and noise. Make sure you stop for a pint of Guinness here (it tastes so much better in Dublin than everywhere else – it is real!) and have a chat with the locals. Just be prepared for some surrealistic conversations after 10 pm.
For a more sophisticated and London-lookalike drinking experience, get a table at Vintage Cocktail Club. The entrance door is almost hidden but the atmosphere and interiors are as fantastic as the bartender mixes. Book ahead to avoid the risk of missing it.
3. Cafe En Seine
This café and restaurant is an exotic and colonial corner in the city, not too far from Temple Bar and quite close to St. Stephen’s Green.
We recommend it for a nice lunch, be wary that it can become very noisy at night when it turns into a club losing part of its charm.
For advance booking head to Cafe En Seine website.
4. Dublin Castle
Located in the centre of the city and at walking distance from Temple Bar, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College, this is for sure one of the less traditional castles you will have ever seen.
It does not look much like a castle (if not for the visible tower) and you might struggle to find the entrance (we did!) but once there, I do recommend getting a ticket to visit the interior and walk through the furnished rooms.
Probably it does not require an advance booking, however, the Dublin Castle’s website is really well done and can help with any ahead planning.
Ireland is so much more than just Dublin, and with a bit more time than just a weekend, hiring a car to travel around the gorgeous countryside is for sure the best way to enjoy it the most.
5. Galway & Connemara
With just a couple of days and a destination to pick, I would suggest to cross the island and reach the western coast at Galway.
The city is extremely enjoyable and a perfect starting point to explore the whole Connemara peninsula.
Aside from the gorgeous coast and countryside, this is a truly Irish historical area where to get lost for a couple of days enjoying fresh seafood and a nice pint at local pubs.
6. Cliffs of Moher
From Galway, this famous and impressive part of the coast is just 1 hour and a half drive. And it is absolutely worth it.
The weather in Ireland and especially in this unsheltered area can be a hit and miss.
Expect frequent rains and strong winds coming directly from the Atlantic.
But rain or shine, this majestic 8 km stretch of coast is a must stop. For its natural beauty as much as the bird life you can experience. Puffins are among the species nesting here, you should be able to spot them between mid of May and the end of June.
For advance booking and planning Cliffs of Moher website.
7. Belfast at night (Northern Ireland!)
Ireland is a split island, and as much as the major part of the territory belongs to the Republic of Ireland, the smaller land called Northern Ireland is also worth a visit once there.
When flying into Belfast you will land in the United Kingdom (If you are coming from Europe, you’ll need to go through borders!).
You will need to get ready for a new currency (the pound), however, expect an Irish (joyful and cheerful) atmosphere in the city.
If you head off to the Duke of York for a pint or an Irish Buck (Jameson with ginger ale and lime) you will probably experience a vibe similar to the Temple Bar and definitely feel miles away from London.
8. Belfast – Titanic
When in Belfast we recommend not to miss two experiences.
The first: a guided black cab historical tour.
As you know Belfast has been plagued by ethnic-nationalist conflicts called Troubles, which have left this city in terror and hate for almost 30 years. Even after reading some books, among which I do recommend Eureka Street (link to buy it on Amazon), from Robert McLiam Wilson, it can still be difficult to get a real grasp of the different places that have played a role in this long war. These tours are really valuable for the memory.
Have a look at the Belfast Black Cab Tours and book in advance.
The second, still historical but a bit less emotionally intense: the Titanic.
Located at walking distance from the city centre, here you will try one of the many available experiences and learn everything you wish about the famous transatlantic that was built here.
Wherever you travel in Ireland, you can always count for an easy stop at one of the many local pubs for a beer.
There is a wide selection, but arguably Guinness is the most famous of all Irish beers. Whether you are a black gold lover or not, an afternoon at the Guinness Storehouse is a lovely experience.
And if you are not that much into satisfying your thirst for culture and become a beer expert, don’t worry!
The tour still includes a free pint at the rooftop bar as the final achievement for all your learnings.
Sláinte as the Gaelic would say!
Don’t forget to book in advance the Guinness Storehouse website.
After your trip to the storehouse, head to the city for a hearty Irish stew. If you are not bored of the coffee taste of Guinness yet, try the version cooked in the Guinness. The meat is so tender that it will melt in your mouth!
10. Irish Coffee
When in Dublin in winter, get lost in the city watching Christmas lights.
When you’ll start feeling a bit chilly, remember there is the perfect warm up stop for you.
It gets as simple as entering a pub and ordering a reinvigorating Irish Coffee. Which means you add whisky and whipped cream to your caffeine cuppa. And it is as delicious as you think.
If you are around Temple Bar try Bad Bobs.