“Everybody’s a bit Irish,” someone once said. You would think so, what with all the visitors Ireland welcomes each year. But, did you know not all island countries are the Republic of Ireland – Eire, in Gaelic? Most of it is, but six counties in the north makeup Ulster and are part of Britain. Did you know the Titanic was built in Belfast in the north of Ireland? World-famous flyer Amelia Earhart set her plane down just three miles north of the city of Derry in 1932, and Americans have been flocking to Ireland ever since. A small country about Arkansas, Ireland is packed from sea to sea with things to do and sights to see. There are more tours than Finnegan has tales to tell. Ireland is full of Craic (sounds like crack), the Gaelic word for fun. Everywhere you go, you’ll find friendly, fun-loving people who’ll make you feel right at home. Below are ten fun things you can do in Ireland to enjoy some of that Craic.
A top-rated tour in Ireland is the Irish Genealogy Tour.
Get in touch with your roots! Everybody knows how thousands of Irish came to America after the potato famine. Now their descendants are all flocking back to find the little towns and villages where their ancestors lived. On the Genealogy Tour, you can have a consultation and guidance by an accredited genealogist who’ll help you unwind your family history. You will also have the opportunity to arrange a family or clan reunion. As a result, you’ll leave Ireland more connected to your family history than ever before.
In a land of fiery passions for love of country and all things beautiful, a favorite trip young folks are taking these days is the Irish Wedding and Honeymoon Tour.
Imagine being married in a country church or a castle. Instead, the happy couple will start a life together in the romantic beauty of Ireland. Renting a cozy cottage in the green hills that gave the Emerald Isle its name will provide the solitude a young couple needs. However, when it’s time for good food and music, they can drive into the village to mingle with the local folks at the pub. It’s not your ordinary honeymoon!
Do you have a love of the land and all things natural?
An Agri-Tour might be just the thing for you. On this tour, you’ll stay on a working farm in Ireland. There you can take part in everyday farm life. Depending on which farm you stay at, you might be invited to participate in such chores as milking cows or following the sheepdog as he keeps an eye on the herd. These tours offer everything from simple cottages to four-star luxury suites. If long walks in the country and the quieter atmosphere of rural life appeals to you, book an Agri-Tour in Kilkenny or ask for a cottage with a sun lounge overlooking Galway Bay or stay on a dairy farm in County Adare.
Do you like boats? Does water have a calming effect on you?
Then it would help if you considered a River Cruise in Ireland. A tour on the River Shannon offers gourmet meals and luxury comfort. You will take excursions to the places of interest along the way, which includes Galway City. You can kick back and enjoy the picturesque countryside as you glide down the river. You have a choice of a cruiser, a barge, or the canal narrowboat, which hasn’t changed much since it was first built over a hundred years ago. Your biggest decision will be deciding which village and pub to moor your boat.
Speaking of pubs – have you heard about the Pub Tour?
On this tour, you stop at some of the grandest places in Ireland. From the 12th Century Brazen Head Pub near Kilbeggan to the Cliffs of Mohar in the magnificent Connemara region, where you can enjoy the cozy atmosphere and local music at Station House Pub. Next, you’ll want to check out Blarney Castle, where you can kiss the “Stone of Eloquence” – otherwise known as the Blarney Stone. After that, you’re ready to find the hidden pub tucked between the little shops for lunch.
No doubt you know Ireland is famous for its salmon fishing.
Did you know Ireland is the birthplace of such famous fishing flies as the Thunder and Lighting, the Black Doctor, and the Connemara Black? If you book a Fishing tour, you can enjoy the greatest fly fishing in the world. In addition, Ireland is one of the few remaining refuges for wild salmon. You can fish on the rivers and lough (from the old Irish for lake or sea inlet) and enjoy your days work for dinner. Besides salmon, the wild brown trout, called Breac Donn in Gaelic, is a local favorite. These Irish native species are found in mountain streams and limestone rivers, and loughs. Each tour includes great accommodations and excursions back into civilization.
In the land of legends galore, have you thought about taking a Ghost Bus tour?
Spooky and fun, the Ghost bus is a Gothic-style mobile theater. You rock along on a trip through Dublin with a spellbinding storyteller who will tell the real story about Dracula. Passengers are given access – after dark, of course – to a little medieval graveyard. Here you’ll learn about body snatching. After a trip down the Forty Haunted Steps, you may need a pint to settle your nerves after this tour!
Did you know Gaelic is still spoken on the Aran Islands of Ireland?
On an Island Tour, you get a feel of the land as it was in ancient times. A trip to the Heritage Center will take you back two thousand years in the life and culture of the Islands. Inis Mor is a big island. Here artists come to paint and sketch the unique landscape and breathtaking views of sea and sky. Inis Meain is the middle island, and Inis Oirr is the eastern island nearest Doolin in County Clare. The native islanders speak English as well as Gaelic, so you’ll have no trouble shopping. But, of course, no trip would be complete without buying one of the beautiful Aran sweaters the islands are so famous for.
You can take a self-driving tour through Ireland if you want the excitement of remembering to drive on the left!
Or, to stay on the safe side, you should sign up for a Coach or Rail Tour. On this tour, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the sights. When you stop at the many points of interest like Dublin, Tipperary, Killarney, Ring of Kerry and Galway, you’ll have a sightseeing guide who’ll give you a tour you’ll never forget. Bring those cameras so you can document every adventure.
You’ll come home with this blessing said to be from St. Patrick’s breastplate:
Hills as green as emeralds
Cover the countryside
Lakes as blue as sapphires-
And Ireland’s special pride
And rivers that shine like silver
Make Ireland look so fair-
But the friendliness of her people
It is the richest treasure there.