5 Reasons You Should Travel to Ireland NOW
If you thought that Ireland was about pints of Guinness, tall tales of history, and the disappearance of that big yellow bright thing in the sky also known as the sun well…you were right! But there is so much more to know about this beautiful country.
History, culture, music, sports, and nature. Ireland earned the nickname Emerald Isle because of its beautiful and lush countryside. It's without a doubt one of our favorite countries to visit with Under30Experiences!
Ireland trip leaders, Léa and Tom, are going to share some personal recommendations they have as to why you need to visit Ireland NOW.
If you're still hesitant about going, here are all the reasons to explore Ireland.
1. The Breathtaking Scenery
Whether you visit the West Coast, Dingle, the Ring of Kerry, or the Wicklow Mountains, Ireland offers beautiful, untouched scenery everywhere you look. You can drive to either part of Ireland and find many trails and viewpoints.
Our trip leader, Lea, has been living in Ireland for more than 7 years and has shared some insight on her favorite place on the Emerald Island:
“I love the Skellig Islands! They are about 13km away from the coast of Kerry. Some scenes of Star Wars were even filmed there!
One is a shelter for thousands of gannets who nest there every year. The second one is a shelter for puffins! It's incredible to see those birds in their natural environment.
The “puffin island” is open to the public, but the number is limited and the access is difficult. Some fearless monks built a monastery on top of the island and now you can walk around the ruins. But this place is very sentimental for me because it’s where my fiançé popped the question!! :)”
2. The People
What’s the ‘craic’? The ‘craic’ which is pronounced like krak means good fun and banter in Ireland, and is a word you will come across often. The Irish are not only friendly and warm, but also good ‘craic’ and amazing storytellers.
There’s a lot of history in Ireland, that’s for sure, but what makes it all the more interesting and more alive, are the people who tell it. The Irish will be the first to tell you that the house you just drove by used to be a bar where a murder took place and then a witch got involved and a black cat appeared. At least one of those things must have happened, right?! What I’m getting at here is that the Irish are great storytellers, and it's an experience all on its own. There are about 100 different legends behind one thing and it makes it that much more fascinating.
It’s no surprise that Ireland isn’t exactly known as the best place to go to get some sun. The weather can be quite harsh but the people are anything but. When you get to Ireland, go get infected by some of that Irish spirit. Our bike guide in Kilkenny knows the entire town, and the people we run into on the street are either a friend, a cousin, an uncle or a niece. They’re big on family values. Such good ‘craic’. Definitely.
3. The Sports
Hurling is the national sport of Ireland; it is the fastest field sport on grass and pre-dates Irish history. It has been played for over 3,000 years… In ancient times, it helped young warriors prepare for battle.
It is composed of 15 players on each team, two teams on a field, with two goals on either end. It’s similar to lacrosse because you’re passing a ball with a stick, but instead of a net you use a flat piece of wooden ash and it makes it that much more difficult to control the ball. Some big hits in the game wouldn't be out of place in an American football game either. It’s a very fast and physical sport. Hurling players don't use any padding except for a plastic helmet to protect their head. Crazy huh?!
Back in the 19th century, when Ireland was under British rule, the rise of hurling came at the same time as with the rise of the independence movement. Hurling, especially in the north, isn’t just about playing a sport, but keeping your Irish identity and Irish history alive.
In many places in Ireland, you can have the opportunity to get an initiation to this quintessential Gaelic game and we highly recommend it! It's not only an activity but also a way to experience the Irish culture.
4. History At Every Turn
Anywhere you go in Ireland, you'll learn about a piece of history and the legends that have been told for hundreds of years...
The country is full of beautiful historical sites of interest; and a popular one that we go to is The Rock of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel first dates back to the 5th century and was also once home to Brian Boru, a High King of Ireland, who’s famous for driving out the last of the Vikings in 1014. It's an ancient royal site and a fortress.
5. The Pub Culture & Irish Music
The Irish pub culture is much talked about around the world, and the novelty of it can only be experienced in the country. This pub culture originates from a social perspective, back in the day, the church, pub, and local football club were the three main social outlets for the Irish. After going to church or watching a game, the people would head to the local pub for more ‘craic’ fun.
Not all pubs in Ireland will play traditional Irish and folk music, but you’ll probably find a group of musicians on a small stage or in one area of the pub. Some sessions may be planned while others may be impromptu. It’s best enjoyed with a pint of beer or a glass of whiskey in your hand.
On that note, of course, we couldn’t end the article without mentioning one of the most popular celebrations in Ireland and in the world! You guessed that one right! St Patrick’s Day!
This cultural and religious celebration is held every year on March 17th, which is the date the patron saint, St Patrick died. Nowadays, St Patrick’s is celebrated for 4 days in Dublin with a famous parade and community events!
Want to experience St Patrick’s Day with U30X? Check out our Ireland trip March 12-18, 2020!