good reasons to go to Ireland

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Want to know more about heritage? To attend rugby matches in an atmosphere of madness? To discover breathtaking landscapes? Ireland offers many possibilities for visits and activities according to your desires… To inspire you, here is a thematic selection of the best the country has in store for you.

The picturesque villages

Abandon the main roads to dawdle on small winding roads, which hug the slightest indentation of the shore. To the south, between Kinsale and Baltimore, the coast is dotted with villages, bursting with color. Further west, Hook Head or Kilmore Quay offer adorable whitewashed cottages.

The village of Glandore on the south coast, IrelandThe village of Glandore, on the south coast, Ireland       © morrison/Shutterstock.com

Interactive museums

Irish museums forgot to be boring. They make extensive use of new technologies, and extras in costume regularly lead tours of a famine ship (the Jeanie Johnston in Dublin), a prison (Wicklow Historic Gaol in Wicklow) or a castle medieval (King John’s Castle in Limerick).

The lush gardens

The passion of the Irish for gardens is phenomenal. Powerscourt, Muckross House, Glenveagh Castle , Mount Stewart… not a castle, not a historic residence that does not have its Italian, French or… Irish garden. They even succeeded in transforming a rock, which was considered sterile, into a lush garden island (Garinish Island).

Powerscourt, IrelandPowerscourt, Ireland       © Misa Maric/Shutterstock.com

The scenic routes

The Wild Atlantic Way is for you. On the Atlantic seaboard of Ireland, from Malin Head in Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, this wild coast stretches over 2,500 km of the most grandiose landscapes. Dizziness is at the rendezvous at the edge of the cliffs of Slieve League or along the Sky Road at the very end of Connemara. The Ring of Kerry is also one of Ireland’s finest scenic drives.

Dolmens and other megaliths

More than 1,200 megalithic sites are listed in Ireland. Newgrange and Poulnabrone Dolmen are among the most famous. Others remained in relative anonymity, like the cairn perched on Knocknarea Mountain, near Sligo. Construction techniques, funeral rites associated with them… these megaliths retain many of their mysteries.

Walks face to the wind

Walk and dream… Ireland is a walker’s paradise. Of course, it has its mythical “paths”, very often linked to ancient pilgrimages like the St Kevin’s Road or the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail. But it is also teeming with small loops, the famous loops , on which we commit ourselves for an hour or a day. You can even find them on the outskirts of Dublin, on the Howth peninsula, or Belfast, in the Cave Hill Country Park.

Crazy stadiums

The Irish have no equal when it comes to “warming up” a stadium. Clares, circulating beers, flapping banners… a hellish atmosphere awaits you at Croke Park (Dublin) or Thomond Park (Limerick), whether it’s football in Gaelic mode, hurling , one of the sports toughest in the world, or rugby.

Local cuisine

Everywhere, you will enjoy local cuisine, tasty, without fuss. The Irish stew , the Irish stew where the meat, lamb or beef, has been simmered for a long time in a stout -based sauce (dark beer), is one of the fundamentals of this cuisine. But if you’re a foodie, County Cork is the place to go. Fish smokehouses, markets and cheese shops are famous there. And Kinsale is known as the gastronomic capital of Ireland.

The homeland of U2 has its rock museum in Dublin. But, on the rock side, all of Dublin is an open-air museum, in which the track of rock stars from yesterday (Phil Lynott) or today (The Script) is still hot. Rock addicts can also choose Derry to find The Undertones or Galway for Sharon Shannon. And, if you want to hear the new Irish sound, the Button Factory in Dublin or the Oh Yeah Music Center in Belfast is where it’s at.

Photo safaris

Between April and May, appearing out of nowhere, Atlantic puffins invade the Irish cliffs (Skellig Michael, Rathlin Island) before returning to the open sea in mid-August. We fall in love with these colorful “sea clowns”. The slightest cruise in Kenmare Bay or on Lough Strangford will allow you to admire many touching seals from near or far. Finally, you will sympathize in Dingle with Fungie the dolphin or one of his friends.

puffin,Puffin, Ireland

There’s an Irish word for it, round like a champagne bubble: craic . Whatever the weather, the nights of Dublin, Belfast or Galway sparkle until dawn. But the whole country is ablaze for St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). And, on sunny days, festivals ( fleadh , to be pronounced fla ) follow one another at a steady pace throughout the country. Contemporary dance in May in Dublin; street arts in Waterford end of July-beginning of August; all-out arts in August in Kilkenny; jazz in October in Cork. Traditional dance and music also have their itinerant festivals, such as the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

The peace of the monasteries

During the High Middle Ages, Christian Ireland was criss-crossed by vast monastic cities, which could count between 2,000 and 3,000 souls. South of Dublin, the ruins of Glendalough lost in the middle of the woods, or those of Clonmacnoise in the hollow of the Shannon marshes, are moving. Rare thing: you will be able to climb, in Kilkenny or Devenish Island , at the top of one of these famous round towers which guarded the pious places.

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