Ireland is a beautiful country rich with rolling landscapes and ancient heritage. The people are friendly, the food is comforting, the music is lively, and the history is fascinating. What’s not to love?
Why do we want to go?
Well, the photographer is, of course, going to say the beauty of this pastoral country alone makes it worth visiting! Hailing from the damp-yet-green Pacific Northwest, I believe we’d feel right at home. But there’s certainly more that draws both of us to this lush island.
Ireland is known for being a destination for genealogy seekers; in fact, my family has roots in Ireland. Ancient castles fascinate me and abound throughout the country. It served as a location for many scenes from Game of Thrones, and hiking is superb. I can’t wait to explore!
What are some bucket list contenders?
- St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Dublin
- Staying a night in a castle
- Ring of Kerry – amazing landscapes
- Connemara – national park with fantastic hiking, historical sites, etc.
- Causeway Coastal Route – scenery, stone walls, Giant’s Causeway
- The Cliffs of Moher
- Newgrange burial mound
- Antrim’s Glens – stunningly green
- Game of Thrones filming locations
- The Dark Hedges – creepy beautiful trees
- Aran Islands – traditional/authentic Ireland
|COUNTRY | Ireland|
|Best Season||Summertime is popular for tourists and festivals, though transition months are beautiful and quieter.|
|Average Temp / Weather Conditions||Temperatures are mild, ranging from occasional freezing temperatures in the winter to no warmer than 20°C/69°F in the summer. Weather is volatile with the Atlantic Ocean, and summer sees 18hrs of daylight, with light well past 11pm.|
|Key Attractions||Stunning landscapes, castles, history, ancestry, Dublin, cultural music|
|Entry / Visa Requirements||No visa requirements for U.S. citizens for visits up to 3 months, though you’ll have to answer questions about your trip to Border Control. Have documents such as a planned itinerary, hotel information, and proof of sufficient funds to get your tourist visa. One blank page is required for entry stamp.|
|CURRENCY | Euro (~€0.84 EUR = $1 USD); Northern Ireland uses the British Pound (~£0.75 GBP = $1 USD)|
|Daily Budget||€90/couple (~$107 USD)|
|Frugal Tips||Shop for groceries and hit early bird specials at restaurants; bring your student ID; purchase a Heritage Card (for cheaper access to castles)|
|THE STAY | Possible duration: a month|
|Lodging Types||Hostels, Airbnb, hotel, Couchsurfing, castles!|
|Food||Pubs, meats, seafood, potato bread, beef, chowder|
|Transportation Options||Rental car (most are manual transmission), train, bus, BlaBlaCar|
|Driving Requirements||Drive on the lefthand side of the road. It is illegal to turn on red lights.|
|Connectivity||Internet is widely available, especially in urban areas.|
|CULTURE | Language: Predominantly English; some Irish (Gaelic)|
|Customs||Smoking is generally not tolerated in closed public spaces. Roman Catholicism is prevalant, and family ties are quite strong. There is a history of storytelling, and teasing is in good humor and is used endearingly. Punctuality is important, especially if food is involved, and modesty is valued.|
|Local Laws||Sobriety checks are common, and driving drunk and posession of any drugs are severely punished.|
|Local Holidays/Festivals||Many similar to the U.S.|
Mid-March: St. Patrick’s Festival
June 16: Bloomsday (literary celebration centered around James Joyce’s “Ulysses”)
July: Galway horse racing festival
Various music festivals
|English Availability||Most speak English natively, though accents and local slang might prove challenging.|
|Attitudes Toward Americans||Very friendly and inviting to all people, local and foreign|
|Photography Concerns||Use common sense, and be respectful of others’ privacy.|
|General Safety||Low crime|
|Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone||Dublin (42 Elgin Rd, Ballsbridge, Phone +353-1-668-8777)|
|Medical Facilities||Modern facilities are widely available.|
|Vaccinations Needed||Standard vaccinations recommended|
|Water Quality||Tap water is generally safe to drink, though there has been recent concerns of chemicals used in treatment plants contaminating the general water supply.|
Have you been to Ireland? Do you have any ancestry there? What activities do we have to try out? What other countries should we consider?
Photos by Paul A., Creative Commons