Ireland— The Basics
Ireland is a nation known for its beer and whiskey, the occasional European golf tour, green landscapes, and friendly people. The overseas Irish pubs and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations often pale in comparison to the true grandeur of this nation.
As you travel in Ireland, you’ll notice that the food is richer, the air is cleaner, and the sights are more stunning. It seems that the magic of this land seeps into every aspect of its being. No matter where you go or what you do in Ireland, you’ll never forget your exciting escapade into this gorgeous Gaelic land!
Sights and Attractions
Your European golf tour isn’t complete without a trip to Ireland! The Irish coastline is painted with some of the most beautiful courses that any seasoned golfer will ever lay their eyes on! If you’re by the ocean, you’ll find a golf course. Whether you’re by Waterville, Lahinch, Ballybunion, or Donabate, you won’t be any more than a couple hours away from an 18-hole afternoon!
Ireland wins the gold medal for natural beauty. The rare landscapes of Ireland cannot be found anywhere else on the planet! The stoic stillness of the Cliffs of Moher stands in sharp contrast to the bustling riptides below. Over 509 feet above sea level, the sheer scale of this natural structure cannot be overstated! No picture can do them justice. You have to be there to truly understand the awesome immensity of these colossal cliffs!
Does Ireland have impressive intact castles and forts like the rest of Europe? Yes. Thousands. When you travel in Ireland, you’ll have a hard time not seeing a castle. Slane Castle , Kilkenny Castle , Carrickfergus Castle are all worth a look. If you aren’t near any of those, then just ask a local.
Irish people are very welcoming to Irish travelers, and they’ll often give you good directions. You’re very likely to be within an hour of some sort of castle or fortification. Some are in ruins, but many are in impeccable condition, having been either well preserved or faithfully restored. If you travel to Dublin Ireland, you cannot miss Dublin Castle. Built in 1204, this sprawling stone structure still sees use for many government functions.
Ireland Travel Tips
Ireland Currency Considerations
Ireland is split between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro. Northern Ireland, as a part of the UK, uses the British Pound. Irish travelers must keep this in mind if they plan to see both countries. Say you travel to Dublin Ireland and try to use a British. You’re going to have a bad time.
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland don’t see eye to eye, so using the wrong currency in either country is a brash political statement. Each country considers itself a distinct entity. You may offend an Irish person by using the wrong currency. Also, your money won’t be accepted, and you’ll won’t be able to access whatever good or service you may have needed.
Budget for each segment of your trip. After you’ve budgeted, stock up on the appropriate amount of Euros and Pounds. To get the best deal, you should exchange your currency in your home country. Using an online currency exchange site is one of the best ways to get a great rate. If you wait until you’re off the plane, you will get absolutely ripped off at local hotspots and airport kiosks.
Ireland can be pretty affordable, depending on where you stay. From large cities to tiny villages, finding an inn, hotel, hostel, or homestay shouldn’t be difficult. Always look up the best deals in order to save the most on your lodging. No one wants to spend more than they must on the basic necessity of sleep and a roof!
Flights and Transportation
There are quite a few international airports in Ireland. Irish travelers should factor in the price of the flight alongside their itinerary before booking a flight.
Every major city in Ireland has a metro system, most of which are very punctual. While there are rail systems across Ireland and Northern Ireland, they only go to the bigger cities. To venture outside the dense urban centers, travelers will have to take a bus or rent a car.
While Irish is a national language of Ireland, there are only about 150 thousand native speakers, by a generous estimate. Almost all Irish people speak English. Anyone who speaks Irish is sure to speak English as well. Why is this? England dominated Ireland for much of its history, and at specific points, Irish used to be outlawed in schools and other public facilities.
Because of this, you won’t hear the Irish language everywhere you travel in Ireland. It is only focused in small communities. If you want to hear this language and explore this segment of Irish culture, Donegal, Erris, and Dunquin are a few places where you’re likely to run into a native speaker.
History aside, you will not have any trouble getting around Ireland with the English language. Sometimes the pronunciation of certain Irish-language place names can be tricky. Look it up or ask a local. You’ll hear a few snickers if you totally butcher the name of a local town, city, or attraction.
Thinks to remember in Ireland
The island of Ireland is not a single unified political entity. In the northeast, you have the predominantly Protestant country of Northern Ireland, which takes up about 30% of the Irish landmass. Northern Ireland is closely aligned with England, and they are a member state of the United Kingdom. The rest of the island is under the jurisdiction of the primarily catholic Republic of Ireland. Tensions run extremely high between these two religious groups.
Less than 25 years ago, people from both sides were still bombing and shooting each other in a series of terrorist attacks. In Ireland, such conflicts have raged on and off for centuries. The last bout of violence between the Catholics and Protestants didn’t end until 1998. This period of time is referred to as “The Troubles.” Most Irish people alive today were around for these heinous acts of violence. Given the recent bloody conflicts, there are a few facts that any visitor needs to be aware of.
In your home country, you may have a novelty cocktail called the “Irish Car Bomb.” It is made by dropping a shot of Bailey’s into a pint of Guinness and chugging it before the cream curdles. Don’t order one in Ireland. Not just because it’s gross. It’s highly offensive. By asking for an Irish car bomb in Ireland, you’re reducing the brutal deaths of their countrymen to act of mindless merriment. Who wants to chug a stout with curdling cream in it, anyway? Let’s pass on that one!
It doesn’t matter if you travel to Dublin Ireland in the south or Belfast in the north. Don’t take sides when someone mentions the conflict. Protestant or Catholic? Who cares, right?! Well they sure do! It may make little sense to you, but this conflict was steeped in several deep historical points of contention.
English imperialism, exploitation, famine, and ethnic prejudice all factor into the animosity behind the troubles. It’s more than a mere matter of theology. Avoid this subject altogether if you don’t want to run the risk of angering locals and looking like an insensitive foreigner.
Ireland great place for your European golf tour, linguistic foray, backpacking adventure, or castle-peeping quest. Don’t mention the troubles, and make sure you have the right currency on hand. From Cork to Kerry, Dublin to Dunquin, you’re bound to stumble across a lifelong memory on the island of Ireland!
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