My travel funds are running low.....meaning I do not have many more trips to Europe that I can afford. Soooo.....I need to choose wisely. I have been to many European destinations, but never to Ireland. I have many ancestors from Ireland. I am proud of that heritage. However, when I think of Ireland I think of drinking beer in pubs, green grass, and sheep. I can experience that locally a lot cheaper. I realize that is not a fair perception, but it is mine. Soooo......sell me on Ireland...lol. Thanks!
I have many ancestors from Ireland. I am proud of that heritage.
I like "heritage" trips, so that sounds like a fun reason to go right there! Is there an itinerary that could "trace your ancestors" back to their home villages or some such thing? I have taken several trips that were built around visiting a town or place where my ancestors came from - the whole trip doesn't have to be about that, but the itinerary just grows from that starting point!
Ireland has a rich history. For a start, read How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. It's a short, easy to read book that will open your eyes.
For me, Dublin is "little London" and much more affordable and friendly. There are two excellent theatres, two ancient cathedrals, St. Patrick's and Christ Church, an archaeology museum that's a wow, and many interesting pubs - it's fun to just wander the warren of rooms in every one (and locals who are more than happy to chat about anything and everything).
Dublin's just a start. Miles and miles of scenic, often dramatic, coastlines and small towns with friendly people and more pubs. In the US, you go to a bar to drink, in Ireland you go to a bar to spend an evening with friends. There are beautiful gardens and lakes, castles and neolithic dolmens.
Miles and miles of scenic, often dramatic, coastlines and small towns …
Chani is spot on. For it's size, it's one of the most beautiful countries we've visited.
If it were me and this was one of my last trips, I would choose something else. I have been many times and it Is just not spectacular to me. The people are super friendly, the food is not great, the countryside and the coast are pretty but nothing great TO ME. There are just other places that are much better. It just depends on what you want to see. There is nothing bad about it and everywhere we have been has been nice, but if it was my last trip, that is not where I would want to spend it..
Genuine Irish music performed in pubs has been a highlight on our 2 trips (one west/south, one north), as has fresh seafood and other, surprisingly good food. Any place in Ireland’s a lot closer to the ocean than any place in Colorado or Missouri.
Neolithic sights include dolmens in the west and fantastic, elaborate, astronomically-aligned passage tombs in the Boyne Valley north of Dublin, another highlight.
They speak English there, so communication might be slightly easier than other European places you might go. And the exchange rate for both the Euro and the Northern Irish Pound vs. the US Dollar have recently been the best in favor of the dollar they’ve been in years, so this might be a good time to go, if you ever do visit the place so many of your ancestors lived.
I agree with Mo'Pack. If you have to be "sold" on a destination, you should probably pick another destination. If the responses in this thread are still not inspiring you to go to Ireland, go somewhere else. As my mother likes to say, you can only spend money once - so spend it on something you really want to do.
For myself, I've never been to Ireland precisely because it didn't inspire me - but recently that's been changing. I find that my desire to visit places definitely changes with time, so I'll wait until I'm "feeling" Ireland to go there.
I went to Ireland for the first time in September of 2017 to see where by beloved late Grandfather was from thinking it would be my one and only visit. I went back this past March to see a little more of the country and now have another trip booked for next March. I’ve been to Europe seven times and also have additional countries I would like to see, but Ireland keeps calling me back. I have found “shoulder season” a nice, less crowded time to travel AND more affordable so this year instead of one summer trip I did two off-season trips (also going to Spain in early November). Something to consider? Ireland is not a big country and you can see an awful lot in even a week.
Do you know where your ancestors lived in Ireland? Do you know if you have any (distant) relatives there?
If the answer is yes to at least one of these questions, then I would really encourage you to do some digging to find the relatives, as that can really enrich your experience.
If the answer is no to both questions, it can still be a nice trip, but you need to decide what you want to see/do and how you will see/do, as that can greatly affect enjoyment.
If you’re not feeling that “pull” to go, then why force it? Travel to where your heart calls. Ireland is pretty but it is not among my favorite European destinations.
Frankly, the sights in Ireland aren't that special. The people of Ireland were the draw for me. I totally missed that on my trip in May. I was never able to recreate the small town pub feel, with a traditional session by amateur musicians, that I enjoyed so much 20 years ago.
My advice is stick to the northwest and visit only towns that are in no one's guide book. Skip sights unless it's important to you.