Postcard Press Picks:
For Traveling to Ireland
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to take a look at the country for which this cultural and religious holiday celebrates: Ireland. The small island, located in the North Atlantic, has a storied history and vibrant culture that makes it a popular destination. Still, there’s so much to do and see and experience that it can be a little overwhelming figuring out where to go when traveling to Ireland. This week, Postcard Press picks some online guides that will help you start planning your trip to Ireland (or if you just want to satisfy your wanderlust and learn more about the country from the comfort of your couch).
As I noted in our travel guide for Greece, I like a well-rounded itinerary that includes must-see tourist attractions, hidden gems, and recommendations from locals. Lonely Planet* is still my travel guide of choice and a must-have for planning a trip. You may find other guides more useful or suited to your style, and that’s okay! Get your favorite guide and take a look at the highlights before digging deeper.
Starting with the must-see tourist sights or popular destinations can help shape your itinerary. Tourist sights can be great, but you get the most out of them when you know the story behind them; be sure to do a little research to learn the historical and cultural significance.
- Culture Trip’s local blogger has her recommendations for 20 Must-Visit Attractions in Ireland: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/20-must-visit-attractions-in-ireland/, and 20 Must-Visit Attractions in Northern Ireland: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/northern-ireland/articles/20-must-visit-attractions-in-northern-ireland/
- Jetsetter shares its 5 Destinations You Must Visit in Ireland: https://www.jetsetter.com/magazine/2000/where-to-go-in-ireland?ckey
- One of the first cities you think about when you think of Ireland is the capital of Dublin. It’s a given that you’ll spend some time here, so check out some of the things you must do in Dublin, especially if you want to immerse yourself in the culture: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/24-hours-in-dublin-a-culture-lovers-guide/
- But, of course, you don’t want to spend your entire trip in Dublin. Here are 8 Places to Visit in Ireland Besides Dublin from The Points Guy: https://thepointsguy.com/2017/03/visit-in-ireland-besides-dublin/
- If you make your way to the Atlantic-side of the Island, you’ll have to check out some of these 15 Fantastic Stops Along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/15-fantastic-stops-along-irelands-wild-atlantic-way/
Once you figure out some of the main attractions you don’t want to miss, explore some of the off-the-beaten-path options so you can dig a little deeper.
- Culture Trip’s local blogger wants to take you to 11 Epic Places in Ireland Even the Irish May Not Know: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/11-epic-places-in-ireland-even-the-irish-may-not-know/, and to some of The Most Underrated Towns In Ireland: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/the-most-underrated-towns-in-ireland/
- Atlas Obscura has an extensive guide to Hidden Ireland with 102 unusual attractions: https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/ireland
- Smarter Travel also compiled a list of the 10 Best Hidden Places in Ireland: https://www.smartertravel.com/2013/03/17/10-best-hidden-places-in-ireland/
Don’t forget to look into some travel tips for your destination, so that you can be aware of the customs and idiosyncrasies and be a more educated and respectful traveler.
- Culture Trip has a helpful guide designed to make your travel to Ireland successful and stress-free with its 12 Useful Travel Tips for Ireland: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/12-useful-travel-tips-for-ireland/
- Nomadic Matt has a wonderful comprehensive Ireland Travel Guide which includes practical information, tips, and must-see attractions: https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-guides/ireland/
In addition to these links above, I wanted to add in a couple of recommendations from my own travels. I traveled to Ireland with a group from my high school during senior year and got to see a good part of the country, from Dublin to Cork, the Ring of Kerry to Galway, and more. I’m sure I’ll get into my experience in Ireland eventually, but for now, here are just a few of my picks:
- National Gallery of Ireland: On a free afternoon in Dublin when we could do whatever we wanted, the majority of my group made their way to the Guinness Brewery while a few of us decided to take in a different cultural destination. With a rich collection of Irish and European art, you can spend hours here. One of my friends and I spent the majority of our time in one room featuring the art of John Butler Yeats (the brother of poet and author William Butler Yeats), where I found a new favorite artist.
- Irish Pubs: There were a couple of nights we spent at pubs with traditional and local music. I enjoyed this activity and felt like I blended in for a night. You should definitely find a pub filled with locals and Irish music for a true experience and fun night out. Check out this article for some pubs you may want to visit in Dublin and this article for pubs all around Ireland. I would recommend asking the locals when you arrive, too. Find out where they like to go and that could give you some great options!
- Aran Islands: Towards the end of our trip, our group took a day trip by boat from the west coast of Ireland to the Aran Islands. It’s weird because I don’t remember much about what we did here—a lot of walking and casual exploration, I think—but I know I came away from the experience loving it. I loved the landscape, the people, being surrounded by water, and the way I kind of stepped back in time. I would love to go back one day and if you’re in Ireland, I would highly recommend it. Check out these suggestions for the Top 10 Things to do on the Aran Islands: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/ireland/articles/the-top-10-things-to-see-and-do-on-the-aran-islands-ireland/
*This post contains an affiliate link that provides us with a small commission at no extra cost to you; any opinions are our own and have not been influenced.
Have you been to Ireland? If so, share your recommendations below to help your fellow travelers!