Now that the world seems to be slowly coming to an end, we can really start thinking about our next travels again. Fortunately, the choice was quickly made for which country is at the top of our bucket list. No country arouses as much desire as the land of rolling green landscapes, rugged coastlines and warm pubs. With a growing sense of homesickness for Ireland every day, it is clear which country we want to visit again when the weather is possible: Eire!
The strength of Ireland is that it really has everything your heart desires on holiday. Not only ancient culture and beautiful nature, even the snow-white sandy beaches can be found in the north of the country. What more could one wish for? We take you digitally to Ireland, criss-cross through the country, to satisfy that travel hunger to this beautiful island, and help you prepare your ultimate post-corona dream trip to the most beautiful island in Europe!
Start your tour in Dublin
No better place to start than the capital Dublin. If only because the vast majority of flights arrive here, but Dublin in itself is a treat to explore.The unrivaled library of Trinity College is one of those places where you can really imagine yourself completely in a fairytale world, while you from the top of the Guinness Storehouse you can marvel at the beautiful views of the city (while enjoying a delicious pint, of course). As in any Irish city, Dublin is rarely far from the famous Irish countryside.
For example, you can easily take a day trip from the capital to the Wicklow Mountains, for a lovely walk and to enjoy the tranquility. Or you can look a little closer, on the Howth peninsula or in the castle village of Malahide. These two villages are easily accessible by the Dart from Dublin city center, making a great change from your visit to the city.
The hidden heart of Ireland
After your visit to the always lively Dublin, it is also wonderful not to run into tourists. A two-hour drive from Dublin puts you in the heart of Ireland, also known as the Hidden Heartlands mentioned. Although they are not difficult to find, it is difficult to spot a tourist here. A pleasant atmosphere is trumps here and it is a great region to explore by bike or on foot. The villages are small, the towns are cute and the sheep are countless. You can be sure that wonderful encounters with genuine Irish hospitality await you here.
The landscapes in the heart of Ireland can certainly be called varied. From the swamps in the south to the very impressive Marble Arch Caves Geopark just across the border from Northern Ireland, the variety is enormous. Just like the historical elements that can be found throughout this region. In the Geopark you will learn all about the origin of the landscapes that are very specific to the region, while from Athlone you can also take a wonderful cultural bike ride along the River Shannon to the ancient monastery of Clonmacnoise. Then round off your adventures with a pint at Ireland’s oldest pub in Athlone.
In transit to the south
During your trip, whether by bike or car, don’t forget to let yourself be tempted by local signage. Signs with interesting names like ‘the Shannon Pot’ or ‘Killykeeghan’ usually take you to cool places away from the asphalt. Mini trips during your trip in fact, and great for variety and a bit of adventure!
From the Hidden Heartlands it is high time to travel south. This region around Cork is by far one of the best kept culinary secrets in Europe and a visit to the colorful harbor town of Kinsale is an absolute must. But even in Cork it is already a joy to wander around the English Market and feast on the Irish delicacies.
The idea that Ireland only offers pub food has long been outdated. Irish cuisine has developed rapidly and often uses products that come directly from nearby nature. Seasonal and farm-fresh, something you will definitely taste again. With a healthy dose of flaming passion and good stories that only the Irish can tell, your restaurant experience is absolutely complete!
Follow the wild road
Once you arrive in Kinsale, you can hardly help but head the Wild Atlantic Way. This route of about 2,500 kilometers takes you from the picturesque Kinsale in the south along the phenomenal Irish coastline to the now world-famous Malin Head in the north of the country by Star Wars. You are guaranteed to encounter some highlights along the way.
For example, you follow the Ring of Kerry, you pass the world-famous Cliffs of Moher, you can see the special Skellig Islands in the distance, and you can relax in fantastic cities such as Galway and Limerick along the way. And then you haven’t even stepped out on the lunar landscape of the Burren, the much sung and fairytale Connemara or you have not yet taken a wobbly boat trip to the deserted Aran Islands.
The Wild Atlantic Way threads the best of Ireland into one impressive route and is in itself a more than fantastic trip to make. Driving in Ireland is very doable, there is no reason to be afraid of driving on the left, and because there are so many beautiful things along the route, it really never gets boring. The roads are mostly scenic, such as Slea Head Drive on the Dingle peninsula, which should be called Slí Cheann Sléibhe given the high percentage of Irish speakers here.
If you weren’t homesick for Ireland yet, you’re sure to get it after this magical car ride across the WAW.
End in Northern Ireland
From the end of the Wild Atlantic Way it is only a short distance to the border with Northern Ireland. On the left you keep driving, you just have to switch from kilometers to miles and from euros to pounds. Here too there is a fantastically beautiful coastal route available, the Causeway Coastal Route. Northern Ireland is small, but an adventure in itself. With the arrival of Game of Thrones, this part of the island has been able to show the best of itself for years. From the mystical Inch Abbey to the previously promised white sandy beaches of Portstewart and the azure waters of Larrybane Bay.
And while Ireland’s fantastic nature will never get boring, it is fitting to end this tour of the most beautiful island in Northern Ireland’s capital, Belfast. This creative city has something for everyone and is really the kind of place where there are always things to do. A worthy end point for a tour of the island of Ireland.
Practical matters about traveling to Ireland
Travel to Ireland is not recommended at this time. Therefore keep the website of Ireland keep an eye out for the latest updates on travel options. Fortunately, that doesn’t get in the way of planning a wonderful trip in the future!
When traveling to the island of Ireland you usually arrive by plane at one of the major cities, Dublin, Cork or Belfast. All three cities are great starting points for a tour and offer good starting points for various trips. Ireland is bursting with hotels, B & Bs and guesthouses in the cities and there are also plenty to be found in the countryside.
Prepare your trip well by informing yourself in advance about the current measures. Fortunately, Ireland’s biggest attraction is the outdoors and the open countryside, which offers an incredible amount of perspective for safe travel after Corona!