The Travel Corner: The Emerald Isle - Top 5 Places to Visit in Ireland

Ireland, home to lush, rolling green hills and castles that once housed kings, is certainly one of the most popular countries in the world to visit. Known for their warm welcome and country charm, the Irish people seemed to have embraced their popularity. They are also very fond of Canadians, so be sure to wear a little flag on you whilst visiting! These are just a few of the most exciting and beautiful places to visit while exploring the vast countryside of the Republic of Ireland.

1. Kinsale, County Cork

Located just outside of Cork on the south west coast, Kinsale is a medieval fishing village, boasting a picturesque water-side scenery. Known for the cute shops and cafes, Kinsale attracts thousands of people every year. The harbour is always filled with boats, if you’re the sailing type, and the boardwalk is lined with quirky shops that can suite any taste. Be sure to stop into Dinos Fish and Chips, one of the most renowned fish and chip shops in Ireland!

 

2. Blarney Castle, Blarney, County Cork

Built over 600 years ago, Blarney Castle was the home of the King of Munster. Today, it is a historical site, the place where the famous Blarney Stone resides. Should you be bold enough, one must trek to the highest part of the castle, where you can gain a breathtaking view of the whole county. Once there, you can hang down from the wall (assisted, of course) and kiss the Blarney Stone, gaining the ‘gift of gab’. Said to make a person eloquent, the Blarney Stone attracts people from all over the world and is considered to be an Irish treasure. Don’t worry though, they clean it after every person takes a turn! Not only is there a castle, but Blarney also has gardens all over the property, most notably their Poison Garden that contains plants such as Wolfsbane, Mandrake and Opium! If the castle isn’t enough to strike your fancy, one look at the beautiful grounds will have you hooked for sure.

 

3. Dublin

Ah, Dublin. While many may steer you away from the hustle and bustle of the ‘big city’, I highly recommend that you stay at least a few days. The busy streets, filled with cars and people alike, provide an often chaotic atmosphere, something not normally associated with Ireland. Hidden amidst the chaos, however, are little gems certainly worth your attention. Be sure to pay a visit to Trinity College Dublin, established in 1592. Along with visiting the campus, also take time to see the Book of Kells, one of the oldest religious manuscripts in the world. The downtown core is filled with popular shopping centres and restaurants, while also providing unique locations to pique your interests. Make sure to spend some time wandering the small streets as well; you never know what sort of things you will find! Beware: Dublin is known for being a prime location to be pick-pocketed. With so many people walking around, it can be quite easy to lose sight of your wallet and phone. Be sure to keep a cautious eye on your things!

 

4. Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, County Wicklow

The estate was once a castle and after many remodels and a fire in the 90’s, it was renovated into what it looks like today. Built originally in the 13th century, Powerscourt is not only a historical site, but also a golfcourse, a restaurant and a Ritz-Carleton Hotel. Sitting on 47 acres of land, the estate displays impressive views of the gardens and its fountains. It’s a lovely place for a quiet evening dinner, or an afternoon stroll. Take in the fresh country air while walking amongst the hundreds of plants and flowers, or explore the inside of the house. Wicklow county is known for its beautiful scenery, and Powerscourt is no exception.

 

5. Cliffs of Moher

If you’ve ever seen the movie Leap Year (with Amy Adams), then you’ve already seen the Cliffs of Moher! Located on the southwestern edge of the island, the cliffs look over the Atlantic from 700 feet in the air. The cliffs receive almost a million visitors a year, making it the third most popular tourist location in Ireland. O’Brien’s Tower, located at the north end of the cliffs, was built in 1834 and still stands today. Walk along the cliffs and take in the smell of the ocean and the breeze that rolls off the water. In the evening, the sun falls so beautifully that you may need to just have a seat and take it all in. If you can, try and visit on a warm day. When the weather is bad, it’s hard to see out into the water and winds can get pretty nasty.