The perfect trip for an overview of Ireland's historic cities, wild landscapes and vibrant culture!
The perfect trip for an overview of Ireland's historic cities, wild landscapes and vibrant culture!
Exoticca Travel Stories
Creating unforgettable memories, one traveler at a time
Exactly as advertised on their website. All the hotels were up to par and very clean and breakfast in all hotels was very good. Our tour guide of Dublin, Michael was very informative about the city and our tour guide around Ireland, Bill Murray went above and beyond.
Welcome to Ireland. Are you wondering when the best time to travel to Ireland is? Known as the Emerald Isle, Ireland sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea, west of the United Kingdom. A trip to Ireland evokes images of beautiful countryside, friendly locals and pints of Guinness, best enjoyed in a cozy pub whilst watching the local musical talent! Despite the fantastic culture and landscapes of this country, you need to find out when the best time to visit Ireland is, as the climate can be a little unpredictable.relandLEARN MORE
Travel to Ireland is all about immersing yourself in the local culture, from traditional music to ancient folklore. Ireland’s cultural calendar is jam-packed with unmissable events and festivals, whether you’re into music, literature or simply want to join in the revelry on St. Patrick’s Day! So, if you’re planning a trip to Ireland, why not get involved with some of these most popular Irish events and holidays during your travels to the Emerald Isle?
Music is at the heart of Irish culture, and no other event encapsulates traditional Irish music like the Temple Bar Trad Festival. Born out of the buzzing pub district of Temple Bar in Dublin, this celebration focuses on Irish traditional music, also known as ‘trad’. During the last weeks of January, Dublin comes to life in a festival in honour of Irish folk music, and venues across the city host live music events featuring local and international talent. Part of the appeal is the wide range of venues used to host the events, including emblematic Dublin buildings such as the City Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral.
Undoubtedly, St. Patrick’s Day is the most famous Irish event! This national holiday is celebrated by Irish communities throughout the world, but nowhere does St. Patrick’s Day like Ireland! Throughout the country, crowds gather to commemorate the Irish patron saint and the celebration can be traced back as far as the 17th-century. Over the years, this festival has transformed into a celebration of Irish culture in general and the capital city of Dublin hosts the largest, most spectacular parade in the country. Furthermore, this day is known for its good-hearted revelry and consumption of all the best Irish food and drink, such as the much-loved ‘black-stuff’(Guinness)! Everyone dresses up in their best green clothes and joins in the fun, so visiting Ireland on St. Paddy’s Day is sure to be an unforgettable experience!
A festival of Irish culture, Fleadh Nua takes place in the town of Ennis, County Clare every May. Lasting for around 10 days, the festival consists of all kinds of Irish traditions, from music concerts to communal dancing and street entertainment. The whole town comes to life during this early summer celebration, and visitors flock from all over the country to join in the fun. Irish language workshops, as well as folk storytelling and singing sessions, are free to participate in and help to bring the community together!
Said to be the oldest fair in Ireland, the annual Puck Fair is one of the quirkier Irish festivals. Held every August 10th-12th in Killorglin, County Kerry, the Puck Fair is an ancient tradition that consists of the following: on day one, a wild male mountain goat is brought into the town and crowned ‘King Puck’ by a human ‘Queen’, usually a local girl of school age. The goat is then coronated and reigns as ‘King’ for three days, presiding over his kingdom from a makeshift throne, on a specially-made platform. These days are filled with revelry and celebrations such as music, Irish dancing and street entertainment. On the final day, the goat is released and returned to his home, marking the end of the celebrations alongside a fireworks display. Surely one of the most curious traditional Irish festivals!
One of the most prestigious jazz festivals in the world, Cork Jazz Festival is a musical bonanza that takes place in the scenic southern city of Cork. Held in over 90 venues throughout the city, this celebration of all things jazz has become an unmissable event in Ireland’s cultural calendar. Over the years some of the biggest names in the genre have graced the stage of the Cork Jazz Festival, including Dizzy Gilespie, Herbie Hancock and Ella Fitzgerald, and everyone can get a taste of the action with street entertainment, free music trails and workshops taking place across Cork during the festival. One of the most unmissable events in Ireland for music lovers!
A little known fact is that Halloween actually originated in Ireland! With its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, Halloween is a big deal in Ireland and every October 31st celebrations take place in all the major towns and cities. Party-goers dress up in an array of Halloween costumes to attend music events and little ones head out to go trick or treating. Some cities organise parades and carnivals, whilst ghost tours are also popular for those looking to get into the spooky spirit! Carved pumpkins and orange and black decorations adorn the streets and everyone joins in with the festivities in honour of this popular Irish tradition.
In recent years, Irish cuisine has gained popularity and today, many travelers visit Ireland simply to indulge in the varied dishes that characterize this popular gastronomy. Traditional Irish cuisine has evolved over many centuries and is influenced by Ireland’s agricultural and fishing traditions. From hearty stews to the simple yet timeless baked potato, Irish cuisine is renowned for its ability to transform everyday ingredients into comforting and nourishing dishes, perfect for the often cold and wet Irish climate. Furthermore, Irish dishes have also been shaped by British and European influences over the centuries, so eating your way through the island of Ireland is also the chance to uncover the cultures and histories that have forged modern Irish cuisine today.
The humble baked potato is a cornerstone of Irish cuisine. Warming, affordable and versatile, you can find baked potatoes, also known as ‘jacket potatoes’, on the menu of any cafe or lunch spot in Ireland. Furthermore, they make the perfect side to many meat-based dishes. Generally, baked potatoes are whole potatoes, baked until golden and crisp in an oven before being sliced open and filled with delicious toppings. Of course, a generous lump of Irish butter goes first, followed by fillings such as coleslaw, cheese or baked beans.
At the heart of any true Irish breakfast is black and white pudding. An opinion-dividing food, black pudding is made with pig’s blood, and white pudding is made with pork liver. An Irish blood sausage, black pudding is famous throughout the world, but white pudding is less well-known. White pudding can be traced back to Medieval times when it was invented as a way to use up offal, but nowadays it’s one of the most popular dishes in traditional Irish cuisine. An integral part of an Irish breakfast, County Cork is where you'll find the best black and white pudding in the country.
Generally agreed to be the national dish of Ireland, bacon and cabbage are a part of Irish heritage and can be found on the menus of almost any traditional Irish restaurant. Nowadays, you’ll find modern restaurants in Ireland celebrating these simple ingredients in new and innovative dishes. Nevertheless, the traditional way to serve bacon and cabbage is to boil both ingredients and serve them with a creamy parsley sauce. Simple yet delicious, you cannot beat this warming Irish dish on a winter's day. Furthermore, some prefer to replicate the dish with corned beef instead!
The love of the humble potato goes far beyond the baked variety in Ireland, and Irish fries are just another way of celebrating this versatile ingredient. Sometimes known as ‘Irish nachos’, Irish fries are a modern invention consisting of thick, fried potatoes covered in a variety of toppings, most commonly melted cheese or gravy. Think of Irish fries, or ‘chips, as big fluffy finger-sized potatoes, much bigger than the French fries you’re familiar with. A filling and delicious Irish dish, these fries are often served in pubs as a sharing dish to enjoy with friends over a pint or two!
Pies come in all kinds of flavours and forms in Ireland. Traditional Irish meat pies consisting of minced meat and vegetables, encased in a simple puff pastry pocket are a particularly popular dish to enjoy during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Other variations include hearty steak and ale pies, found on the menu of any good Irish pub, and Irish stew pies, a great way to make your batch of stew go further! Any meat can be used within the pie, and this traditional Irish dish is usually accompanied by mashed potatoes and vegetables.
You cannot visit Ireland without indulging in a steaming cup of Irish coffee, a quintessential after-dinner beverage! This cocktail consists of black coffee, mixed with Irish whiskey and a teaspoon of sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, the coffee is topped with a generous layer of cream. The alcohol-infused coffee is then drunk through the indulgent creamy topping! The Irish coffee is thought to have originated in County Limerick.LEARN MORE
Going shopping in Ireland is a real treat! From quirky boutiques to big-name shops and everything in between, Ireland has all kinds of souvenirs and products to take home with you. From traditional trinkets to Guinness memorabilia, souvenirs in Ireland come in all varieties! Of course, the capital city of Dublin is a shoppers' paradise, but you’ll find plenty of interesting shops and regional gifts as you travel around the island of Ireland. Here are just a few of the most sought-after things to buy in Ireland during your next trip to the Emerald Isle.
A little known fact is that Ireland is actually the home of Cadbury’s chocolate, and buying a bar of the popular Dairy Milk is a must-do if you travel to the Emerald Isle! Furthermore, chocolate connoisseurs love Ireland’s wide variety of artisanal chocolate products and on any high street across the country, you’ll find numerous chocolate shops selling mouth-watering treats that you can easily fit in your suitcase and take back home! Some of the top chocolatiers to look our for in Ireland include Butler’s and Bean & Goose.
Famous worldwide for its high quality, Waterford Crystal is headquartered in the town of the same name in southeast Ireland. A decadent souvenir indeed, Waterford Crystal produce a variety of glassware, from wine glasses to chandeliers. But don’t worry if you’re not visiting Waterford on your trip to Ireland, as the brand is sold in department stores and homeware shops across the country. One of the best souvenirs to buy in Ireland, a piece of Waterford Crystal is sure to be a sparkling reminder of your time in the Emerald Isle!
Guinness and Ireland go hand in hand, and indulging in a pint of the black stuff is almost obligatory if you travel to this country! One of the most popular activities to enjoy in Dublin is a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, and here you’ll find an incredible gift shop with all kinds of Guinness-inspired souvenirs. Furthermore, gift shops throughout Ireland sell Guinness merchandise, so no matter where you travel you can pick up one of these popular Irish souvenirs!
Distinct from its Scottish counterpart, Irish whiskey is spelt with an ‘e’ and is one of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Ireland. Known as ‘uisce beatha’, or the ‘water of life’, whiskey plays an important role in Irish culture and a bottle of local whiskey is the perfect gift to take home with you. Jameson, Black Bush and Bushmill are three of the most popular and well-regarded Irish whiskey brands.
Dating back to the 17th-century, Claddagh Rings are one of the most charming and popular Irish souvenirs. A Claddagh ring is a ring with a design of a heart being held in two hands and the way in which it is worn can symbolize several different things. For example, wearing the ring on your right hand with the heart facing away from your body shows that you’re single. If you wear it on your right hand with the heart facing inward this symbolizes that you’re in a relationship. Wearing a Claddagh ring on your left hand with the heart facing out shows that you’re engaged, whilst wearing it on the left hand with the heart facing inwards shows that you’re married. An excellent, meaningful souvenir that would make a beautiful gift for a loved one!
We all know that Irish weather can be unpredictable, therefore a cosy Aran wool sweater is an incredibly practical souvenir to buy in Ireland. Made from pure merino wool and hand-stitched, Aran sweaters use traditional patterns steeped in centuries of history. These chunky knit jumpers can be purchased throughout the country in specialist shops and are a great investment piece for your wardrobe, sure to keep you warm for years to come!
Countless high-quality potteries are based in Ireland, and as such, you’ll come across all manner of beautiful ceramics and pottery wares during your trip to the Emerald Isle. From flowery motifs to traditional Celtic designs, you’ll find pottery to suit all tastes and decorative styles. Department stores are a good place to look for Irish pottery, but you’ll also find artisan designer shops in many of the major towns and cities. The Dingle Peninsula is particularly well known for its potters.
A country rich with history, folklore, traditions and character, Ireland is a fascinating destination to explore on a package tour. Separated from Britain by the Irish Sea and with a rugged Atlantic coast to the West, Ireland is a small island with a tremendous history that captivates the imagination of all who visit. Its mild yet rainy climate ensures the landscapes remain lush and verdant green, characterised by leafy woodland and rolling hills. Ireland is composed of three provinces; Leinster, Munster, Connacht and a part of the province of Ulster. Within these provinces are counties, which the population strongly identify with.
Aside from the vast open spaces and fairytale landscapes, evocative of the wonderful folklore stories so intrinsic to Irish culture, a vacation to Ireland will also introduce you to the notoriously warm and friendly locals and a lively arts scene. The Irish language continues to be taught in schools and the Irish people are keen to preserve their Gaelic heritage. From iconic Irish Dancing to literature, limericks and music, Ireland is a hotbed for the expressive arts. Sports also occupy a significant space in the Irish identity; from golf to fishing and the famous Gaelic Games, sports enthusiasts will be catered for when they travel to Ireland.
The country’s Celtic heritage, more pronounced than in Britain, can be seen in several ancient sites, such as the Hill of Tara, and its Viking history can be explored in Waterford, the first Viking settlement in the country. The ancient East of the country is a fabulous place to begin a tour of Ireland and the Atlantic Coast is perfect for nature lovers and home to neolithic ruins such as the Bru Na Boinne, which predates Egypt’s Great Pyramids! In the 20th century, the Troubles on the island of Ireland were of great significance and still occupy a part of the public memory, so a trip to Ireland can also give an insight into the struggles that happened here and the recent resolution, marked by the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
The Irish are very sociable and famous for their hospitality and their lively conversations are very welcoming. The tight-knit nature of the community is one of the most characteristic features of the Irish way of life and almost everywhere you can feel that intimate atmosphere of a small town. The social life of the community often revolves around their famous Pubs and visitors are well received in any part of the country. The lush green scenery has led the country to be christened the Emerald Isle and it is renowned for its folklore, including tales of leprechauns and the patron Saint Patrick ridding the island of snakes.
A trip to Ireland is incomplete without a pint of Guinness, and although tourists might be counting on living the old stereotypes of Irish Pubs and Four Leafed Clovers, Ireland offers so much more than this, seen both in its cosmopolitan capital, Dublin and it’s ancient ruins and woodland. The small size of the island makes it the perfect place for a guided-tour vacation, where a short-drive can link medieval castle ruins with vibrant city streets so that the traveller can experience the complete essence of this magical country in just one trip.
Valid passport with at least six months validity.
No visa is required.
Tourist Office websiteVisit website
230 V. Adapter required.
Other useful information
Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.
There are no mandatory vaccinations.
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