10 things I wish I knew before going to Ireland

Shamil Hasanli 16 September 2020 277 views 6 min. read

Ireland is a beautiful country in the British Isles, Europe. The Republic of Ireland occupies ⅚ of Ireland Island, 70,273 sq km, and the rest is Northern Ireland, which belongs to the United Kingdom. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland has two main official languages: Irish and English. The country's population is around 5 million. Interestingly it is less than the country's population in 1841, which was 8 million. The main reason was emigration due to wars and famines. Now, there are more Irish in the United States (40 million) and Australia (7 million) than Ireland. You may ask, is it dangerous to travel to Ireland? Of course not. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. When I think of travel to Ireland, the first thing that comes into my mind is what are the things to know before going to Ireland. Then I consider what do I need to see before going to Ireland and what is the cheapest time to travel to Ireland. So, I have written about the ten most essential things to know before going to Ireland. I have also found out what is the best month to travel to Ireland?

1. What is the easiest way of going to Ireland?

dublin

The most comfortable way to go to the country is by air. Many international flights arrive at the grand Dublin Airport. From Dublin, it is possible to fly to other cities like Cork, Knock, and Shannon. The cheapest time to travel to Ireland by air is considered February, because of the low number of flights. If you like sea journey, cruise ships might be your most preferred choice to reach Ireland. From the seaports of the neighbouring countries like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, you can enter Ireland with the ferry. The most known and shortest route is from Holyhead to Dublin. Inside the country, renting a car is the best option. However, you must be an expert driver to drive on the narrow roads of Ireland. Road signs and regulations require to be a more experienced driver, too. Also, train and bus services between regions work excellently. Nevertheless, you must always remember that weather is very unpredictable on this island and take action considering that.

2. Best hotels to stay in during your travel to Ireland

merrion hotel

There are many options for accommodation in Ireland. The best hotels are considered The Merrion Hotel, The Dylan, InterContinental Dublin, and The Fitzwilliam Hotel in the capital. If you decide to stay in other cities out of Dublin, for example, The River Lee Hotel, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, and The Imperial Hotel are the most beautiful hotels in Cork. Besides these two cities, Ballyfin in Laois country, Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa in Wicklow, Ashford Castle in Cong, Mount Juliet in Kilkenny county are the most recommended hotels in Ireland. Nevertheless, I recommend taking a room from Airbnb to make your travel to Ireland more affordable. Particularly, in regions, renting a room is more interesting involved in Irish culture. Consider that children under 5 years old get breakfast for free in the hotels.

3. Which are the loveliest cities in Ireland?

kylemore abbey ireland castle

Although Dublin is the capital and biggest city in Ireland, there are many beautiful cities in the country. For example, Galway is a pleasant, seaside town with lots of classic Irish traditions. It is worth travelling to the town for a day, especially at night, to see its uniqueness and beauty. When you are going to Ireland, do not forget to visit Westport, the most picturesque town in entire Ireland. Dingle is another example of wonderful Irish cities; it is an old fishing town that has more than 50 pubs. Allihies is a small coastal town in the southwest of the country. It has a very stunning view of the mountains. There is an old mine near the town, which is worth visiting.

4. What is the best month to travel to Ireland?

February is the cheapest time to travel to Ireland, due to the low number of tourists. However, it might be too rainy to visit Ireland in winter. Then, what is the best month to travel to Ireland? I believe that May is the most suitable month to travel to this country. It is sunny and long and not rainy as much as in the winter months. Also, because many tourists are not coming yet, spring prices are more affordable than summer.

5. Is it dangerous to travel to Ireland?

policeman

Ireland is acknowledged as the twelfth most peaceful country in the world. Its bloody history and events happened in Northern Ireland cause us to ask: is it dangerous to travel to Ireland? However, all of them are just history. Now, the country has low crime rates, more safety, and tranquillity. The injuries from unfortunate issues like the Irish Potato Famine are still hurting, so it is better not to talk or joke about this event.

6. Tips and cultural things to know before going to Ireland

Ireland streetChildren are allowed to enter the pubs in Ireland!

There are really many interesting facts about Ireland. For example, people have to wear swim caps to enter the pools. Restaurants offer allergy-friendly menus to the guests. Unlike most other countries, tipping is uncommon, and not to try to give a tip to everyone. It can be offending. Ireland uses G type power plugs, so do not forget to bring adapter plugs. Euro is an official currency, but in Ireland, coins cannot be exchanged. Be sure you have spent all of them before you depart from the country. Like the United Kingdom, vehicles and roads are suitable for right-hand drives. That is why you should be careful about crossing the streets. Do not look left; look right. Sunday shutdown is common for most European countries and for Ireland too. In Ireland, buses stop when you wave them down simply by sticking your arm out.

7. What do I need to check before going to Ireland?

irish flag

Ireland is a member of the European Union but not a part of a Schengen area. Depending on the country you are coming from, visa regulations can vary. Check them before coming to Ireland. If you think about what do I need to buy before going to Ireland? Buy rain gear and an umbrella before your vacation. Additionally, it will be better to purchase a Heritage Card beforehand to visit the best destinations easily.

8. What are the must-see places in Ireland?

ireland historical castle

Every corner of the country is worth seeing; especially the Aran Islands have beautiful landscapes. If you have a few days of travel, I recommend seeing the following places: Dublin, Blarney, and Kilkenny castles. The last was the residence to the previously mighty Butlers. The tour with a guide is a better choice to know the history of these castles. The Rock of Cashel is not a castle; it is a range of memorable structures. Another place you must see is the library of Trinity College. It was founded five hundred years ago and is reasonably one of the fascinating buildings around the globe. There are two Heritage Sites of UNESCO in the Republic of Ireland: The valley tombs of Boyne (Newgrange) and The Skellig Michael Monastery. You must not miss them. The Cliffs of Moher are another stunning place in Ireland. The natural view of this cliff is very remarkable. It is on a 300 meters high cliff and seems very unimaginable. The gorgeous Killarney National Park is the best destination in Ireland to see the country's natural beauty. It has such amazing prospects, homes, gardens, and a charming waterfall, as well as historical areas such as Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle.

9. What to experience to make the travel more memorable?

aerial view of coastal village of kinvarra

First of all, you need to rent a car and drive through villages and towns or coastal roads, which have wonderful landscapes of Ireland's nature. By doing so, you have a chance to visit smaller and unpopular towns that have undiscovered excellence. Irish pubs are better than English pubs, here you can drink the best dark beer in the country - Guinness. You will make many friends in these pubs because Irish people are very welcoming and friendly. Do not forget to try original Irish whiskey in one of the oldest distilleries, such as Old Jameson Distillery. Ireland has very delicious cuisine, and its traditional dishes are the best. I recommend tasting Decadent Irish Fudge and Boxty; the last is a pancake from potato. Ireland-style breakfast is also a delicious breakfast, and there you should eat a meal called Bap.

10. What do you need to know about Northern Ireland?

northern ireland museum

Northern Ireland belongs to the United Kingdom, and they use the Pound Sterling. It is a different country with the same people on the same island. The capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, has many interesting places to visit. For example, the Belfast Titanic Museum, The Peace Wall, Albert Memorial Clock, and St. George's Market. Guildhall in Derry, Giant's Causeway in Antrim, and Crossing Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are some of the best destinations in Northern Ireland. For border crossing from Ireland to Northern Ireland, you may need a UK visa because, after Brexit, Northern Ireland are no longer in the EU.

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