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Insiders guide to Ireland & Northern Ireland

Cliffs of Moher
Inspire-2-Giant's-Causeway
Inspire-3.-Ireland-gaols
Inspire-4.-Ireland-Bars
Inspire-5-Musical-Pubs
Inspire-6-Wild-Atlantic-Way
Inspire-7-Hurling
inspire8-Ashford-Castle

Insiders guide to Ireland & Northern Ireland

story by: Tom Ricketts

1. STAND ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
Although it’s not quite the most westerly part of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher certainly feels like it’s the edge of the world. The scene couldn’t be more dramatic as the lush green meadows of County Clare abruptly end by dropping hundreds of metres into the wild, raging Atlantic Ocean below.
HOT Tip: Climb historic O’Brien’s Tower for an even more elevated view over this spectacular piece of coastline.


2. MAKE TRACKS TO THE GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
Discover the fascinating geological wonder of the Giant’s Causeway, an area of about 40,000 hexagonal interlocking slabs of rock emerging from the sea.
HOT Tip: Get off the highway and take Giant’s Causeway Coastal Route for excellent coastal scenery.


3. EXPLORE IRELAND’S NOTORIOUS GAOLS
The Troubles, the IRA, Sinn Fein, Bloody Sunday… Ireland sure has long and notorious history to be learned. A visit to old prisons such as Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin or Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast is an incredibly fascinating way of taking it all in.
HOT Tip: Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin is particularly popular. Have your agent book a tour time prior to travelling or be prepared to wait.


4. LOVELY DAY FOR A GUINNESS
To be fair… to be absolutely fair, Ireland isn’t known for its lovely weather. Nevertheless, seemingly every bar in country has that sign saying ‘Lovely Day For A Guinness’ and it would be downright rude not to enjoy a pint or ten of black stuff while there.
HOT Tip: Gravity Bar atop the Guinness Storehouse has unbeatable views over Dublin.


5. GO ON AN IRISH MUSICAL PUB CRAWL
There’s nothing quite as uplifting as a good ol’ Irish tune complete with fiddle, guitar and flute. A great place to hear the best talent is at the local pub, and this tour takes you through some of Dublin’s best pubs with great musicians along the way.
HOT Tip: Request ‘Lough Erin Shore’, an Irish favourite.


6. DRIVE THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY
Ireland’s premier self drive route is undoubtedly the Wild Atlantic Way stretching all the way from Belfast, down the west coast of Ireland to Cork. The route travels along the coast for the entire journey and features stunning coastal scenery, ancient castles, picture perfect fishing villages and lush green rural countryside. Major sights include the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant’s Causeway, the Ring of Kerry and most of Ireland’s major cities.
HOT Tip: Ask your consultant about the many different styles of accommodation available. Options include B&B’s, country manors or small hotels (pubs) and inns.


7. CHEER ON THE LOCAL HURLING TEAM
This bizarre sport is one of Ireland’s native Gaelic games and is said to be the ‘World’s Fastest Field Sport’. Players have a stick similar to a hockey stick, but can pick the ball up with the stick and run with it, sort of like lacrosse. They score by getting the ball through the other team’s goal which is the same as rugby posts, but the lower square has a net and goalie like hockey or soccer. Three points are scored if you get it past the keeper into the net, or one point for throwing it over the crossbar. Clear as mud?
HOT Tip: The best games are usually between arch rivals Tipperary and Kilkenny and the season runs from May to September with the final usually being held on the first Sunday in September.


8. LIVE LIKE ROYALTY
Castles dot the landscape across Ireland in all shapes, sizes and degrees of decay. Why not check in to one of the luxurious castle-cum-hotels for a night or two? You’ll live like royalty, although that’s a phrase you probably won’t want to bandy about too much in Ireland.
HOT Tip: One of our favourites is the spectacular Ashford Castle near Galway.

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