World Travel

Visit Ireland: The Emerald Isle wins 16 travel awards

Breathtaking scenery steeped in history: Ross Castle in Killarney National Park during early morning, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Ireland, the Emerald Isle has been nominated as Europe’s leading adventure tourism destination for it’s stunning scenery, heritage and outdoor pursuits, receiving 16-prestigious awards for the quality of it’s superb sights, places to stay, tours and museums. Visit Ireland. Things to do in Dublin. Things to do in Limerick.

Close to home for our UK readers, Ireland is a must visit and once you have been, you’ll want to return time and time again. Things to do in Dublin.

Visit Ireland, things to do in southern Ireland.  Things to do in Limerick.  Things to do in Dublin.
Dublin pinned on a map of Ireland

Most will fly into Dublin, a magical city that itself deserves at least 3-days to explore, before heading further south towards Limerick or further to County Cork, or west to Galway, the stunning harbour city where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The North is also not to be overlooked, the whole of Ireland is brimming with culture, the people are lovely, hospitality is superb and there is so much to see and do. Visit Ireland.

History visit Ireland

From the beginning of time, Ireland has been a big hit for the global traveler and settlers. In 852, the Vikings landed in Dublin Bay and established a fortress. The great High King of Ireland, Brian Boru, defeated the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014, leading to the decline of Viking power on the Island. Visit Ireland. Things to do in Limerick

One of the most prosperous reigns of any High King was the reign of Toirdelbach Ua Conchobhair, who had overthrown Muircherteach and partitioned Munster in 1118. By 1261  Fineen MacCarthy defeated the Norman army at the Battle of Callann, with the wars ensuing between earls and lords over dominance for the next 100 or so years, wreaking havoc in and around Dublin.   Visit Ireland.

The Black Death arrived in Ireland in 1348. Because most of the English and Norman inhabitants of Ireland lived in towns and villages, the plague hit them far harder than it did the native Irish. After the Black Death, the Gaelic Irish language dominated and the English-controlled territory shrank to a fortified area around Dublin known as “the Pale”.

By the 15th century the English were driven out, but from1536, Henry VIII of England decided to reconquer, seeking to bring it under crown control. The re-conquest was completed during the reigns of Elizabeth and James I, after several brutal conflicts. Visit Ireland.

The 17th century was perhaps the bloodiest in Ireland’s history. Two periods of war (1641–53 and 1689–91) caused a huge loss of life. Ireland became the main battleground after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Catholic James II left London and the English Parliament replaced him with William of Orange. The wealthier Irish Catholics backed James to try to reverse the Penal Laws and land confiscations, whereas Protestants supported William and Mary in this “Glorious Revolution” to preserve their property in the country. Things to do in Limerick.

In 1800, following the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Irish and the British parliaments enacted the Acts of Union. The merger created a new political entity called United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with effect from 1 January 1801. Things to do in Dublin.

In September 1914, just as the First World War broke out, UK Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1914 to establish self-government for Ireland and the country became independent of England, Scotland and Wales.

Ireland is steeped in history too long for us to cover in this article, it needs to be explored to reveal it’s many wonders.

Places to stay and things to see and do – Visit southern Ireland

Dublin – Things to do in Dublin – Things to do in Limerick

Things to do in Dublin, Ireland. Visit Ireland. Things to do in Limerick.
Dublin, Ireland. Night view of famous illuminated Ha Penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland at sunset

Vibrant Dublin City, in the mouth of the River Liffey, will have you coming back time and time again. Its historic buildings include the13th century Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral, dating back to1191 and the huge Phoenix Park complex also containing Dublin Zoo. Things to do in Dublin.

The National Museum of Ireland, exploring diverse Irish culture and heritage is one not to be missed and you are spoiled for choice of restaurants, bars and clubs in the city centre. You can party all night like the Irish at The Temple Bar, absorb live Irish folk music and drink proper Guinness as it should be poured. A visit to the Guinness Storehouse Factory is also a must. Visit Ireland. Things to do in Limerick.

There’s so much to see and do in Dublin alone, we would take up this entire page listing them all, we’ll save that for the next article, covering the top 10 things to do in Dublin.

Limerick – Things to do in Limerick

Adare Manor in County Limerick has been nominated as Europe’s Leading Hotel, as well as Ireland’s best, it’s a magical hotel by the riverside. The food, service and quality of accommodation is excellent.

There’s certainly no shortage of superb hotels throughout the Island or Ireland, but the two hotels featured are highly recommended for families and couples alike.

Watch this short video on Adare Manor – things do to in Limerick

The stunning Adare Manor hotel in County Limerick, southern Ireland

You will be spoiled for things to see and do when staying in County Limerick. From taking in the magical scenery during riverside or countryside walks, fishing on the Shannon River, offering some of the best salmon and sea trout fishing in the world, or boating, where you can hire a boat at the Limerick Boat Club and admire the views from the water, Limerick is fantastic. Things to do in Limerick

Some of the sights and attractions not to be missed whilst in Limerick are: What to see in Limerick.

King John’s Castle – things to do in Limerick

Visit Ireland. Things to do in Limerick, southern Ireland.  King John's castle
King John’s Castle in Limerick, southern Ireland is one of the best preserved castles in Europe

The beautifully preserved 13th-century castle located on King’s Island in Limerick on the banks of the River Shannon is a must visit. The castle was built for King John in 1200 and the site dates back to 922 when the Vikings occupied the Island. There’s loads to see and to for the whole family. Visit the King John’s Castle website for further detail.

The Hunt Museum visit Ireland – Things to do in Limerick

Visit Ireland, things to do in Limerick, things to do in southern Ireland
The Hunt Museum on the banks of the River Shannon in Limerick

This superb gallery and museum holds one of Ireland’s best private collections relics and works of art, dating from Neolithic times through to the 20th Century. Exhibits include ancient artefacts from Rome, Greece and Egypt, with Irish Bronze age archaeology. There’s also lots of medieval material, including some fantastic statues, painted panels, antique jewelry, ivories and ceramics, along with artworks by Picasso, Renoir and Yeats.

Other attractions in Limerick include St Mary’s Cathedral, the Frank McCourt Museum, Limerick City Museum, the superb Milk Market in the city centre, a foodie’s paradise, People’s Park, Limerick City Gallery of Art or Curraghchase Forest Park, to name a few.

County Mayo Things to see County Mayo

County Mayo on the west coast is stunning, with impressive cliffs meeting the Atlantic Ocean you will find unspoiled secluded sandy beaches, great nightlife in Westport, sumptuous seafood and some of the best steak we have ever eaten.

If you are looking for unspoiled tranquil countryside, beaches and great food, this is the place to come, you will find plenty off the beaten track. There’s some amazing islands off the coast of Mayo that provide superb diving, fishing and scenery for those into a bit of Island hopping.

Downpatrick Head – Things to see in County Mayo

Things to see in County Mayo
Aerial view of Downpatrick Head and the Dun Briste

With its breathtaking views, famous for the Dun Briste (“Broken Fort”), the sea stack was formed around 350 million years ago, standing at 45 metres high and 63 metres long around 200 metres offshore, it looks like slice of cake cut out of the mainland.

For those into hiking and mountaineering, there’s Croagh Patrick, nicknamed the Reek, a 764 metre high mountain, located around 4.5 miles outside Westport above the village of Murrisk, traditionally the site of the pilgrimage in Mayo. Croagh Patrick is traditionally climbed in Reek Sunday, the last Sunday of July every year.

County Mayo: The steps on the approach to Croagh Patrick – Things to do in Cork

Located in the Owenduff and Nephin Mountain range, Ballycroy National Park in northwest County Mayo is a huge peatland area, one of the largest in Europe, with over 117 square kilometres of Atlantic bogland providing a rich and unique habitat for plants and wildlife, superb for hiking.

Ashford Castle in County Mayo has been nominated for Europe’s leading honeymoon resort, it’s a truly unique and exquisite place to stay. Enshrined in history, the original castle was built on the perimeter of a monastic site in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke.

In 1715, the estate of Ashford was established by the Browne family and a hunting lodge in the style of a 17th-century French chateau was constructed. The double-headed eagles still visible on the roof represent the coat of arms of the Brownes.

The castle has played host to many notable guests, including but not limited to: The Prince of Wales (later King George V) and his Consort, the future Queen Mary; John Lennon; George Harrison; Oscar Wilde (whose father, Sir William Wilde, had an estate adjacent to Ashford, President Ronald Reagan; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; US Senator Ted Kennedy; John Wayne; Maureen O’Hara; Robin Williams; Brad Pitt; Pierce Brosnan, Prince Rainier III of Monaco and his consort, Princess Grace and more recently, Professional golfer Rory McIlroy married Erica Stoll there on 22 April 2017.

Watch this short video on Ashford Castle

The superb, historic Ashford Castle in County Mayo – Things to do in Cork

County Cork – Things to do in Cork

About 3 and a half hours drive from County Mayo and covering much southwestern Island and down to the southernmost coast, County Cork is the largest county in Ireland. The capital of the county, Cork City is magical.

To the northwest of the city is Blarney Castle, the world famous 15th century castle and home to the Blarney Stone, known for over 200 years as “The Stone of Eloquence” and said in Irish folklore to give the “gift of the gab” to those who kiss it. Steeped in history, Blarney Castle is a must visit, top of the list for things to do in Cork.

Things to do in Cork
The famous 15th century Blarney Castle in County Cork

There’s so much to do in Cork, you would need weeks to appreciate all it has to offer, we list a few of the many;

Cork City Gaol, a former prison transformed into an impressive museum where you can step back in time to discover what life was like in a 19th century prison. Not to be missed.

Fota Wildlife Park, a fabulous 100-acre wildlife park on Fota Island, near Carrigtwohill with Bison and home to nearly 30 mammal and 50 bird species. A great day out for all the family.

Jameson Distillery – The Jameson Experience, Midleton, the famous Irish whiskey museum and visitor centre located in the Old Midleton Distillery in Midleton.

We have given just a taster of travel throughout Ireland, but there’s so much more to see and do.

Covid-19 travel requirements – Visit Ireland – Things to do in Cork

All passengers arriving into Ireland are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form and passengers who are not vaccinated will need to quarantine for 14-days.

From 19 July, subject to the prevailing public health situation, Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU/EEA.

A DCC will show if a passenger:

  • is vaccinated against COVID-19;
  • has recovered from COVID-19; or
  • has a negative test result

Passengers arriving into Ireland with a DCC will not have to undergo quarantine.

However, passengers with a DCC based on a non-PCR test (for example, antigen), or those arriving without a DCC, will require proof of a negative RT-PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.

For the latest travel advice we suggest visiting Gov.ie.

Check out the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland in our top 10 amazing weird and wonderful animals and natural phenomena page.

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