Ireland is divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – between them, they contain a number of breathtaking views, fascinating historical sites, and some great pints of Guinness.
The Republic of Ireland occupies the majority of the island of Ireland and is located off the coast of England and Wales. Its main city Dublin is a lively city on the River Liffey and is famed for being the birthplace of famous writers Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. The world famous Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland and is among Dublin’s most significant tourist attractions on account of its beautiful architecture, and long history.
Dublin is home to two medieval cathedrals, Christ Church and St Patrick’s Cathedral, as well as one classical cathedral, Saint Mary’s, which all provide fascinating insights into Ireland’s religious past. Temple Bar, an area on the south bank of the River Liffey is famous for its high density of Irish pubs, where you can often catch a band playing traditional Irish music. Spacious public parks, romantic sandy stretches and some of the most wonderful castles in Ireland can also be found in or just outside Dublin.
The south-west of Ireland is known for having a very diverse landscape: steep cliffs, picturesque bays, lush green scenery and idyllic, colourful villages, all of which can be found around the Ring of Kerry. The famous scenic route follows the coastline of the Iveragh peninsula, taking you through stunning landscapes, charming towns, and magnificent coastal stretches. Similarly, the monumental 200 metre high Cliffs of Moher offer the most wonderful scenic walks and view of the Aran Islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay. Another scenic route is Connemara, a cultural region consisting of West Galway that has strong associations with traditional Irish culture. The Connemara loop passes ancient castles, quaint villages and atmospheric mist covered lakes.
Northern Ireland amazes its visitors with its capital and largest city Belfast, which today remains a centre for industry, the arts and is the economic epicentre of the country. There are plenty of eateries to suit a variety of tastes and budgets, fantastic performing venues for music and theatre fans and a great selection of walking tours. History buffs would be hard-pressed to find a more moving or interesting past than Belfast’s, the home of the ill-fated RMS Titanic, and the scene of an array of conflicts during ‘The Troubles’.
Other than Belfast, Northern Ireland is renowned for its natural spectacles such as the UNESCO World Heritage site Giant’s Causeway, an area of around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which are a result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
Both countries are famous for their warm friendly atmosphere, traditional Irish pubs, Irish music and unique traditions.
When it comes to places to stay in Ireland, the majority of accommodation is of European middle class and good middle-class standards. The atmosphere and décor can range from traditional Irish to very modern and contemporary in style, with larger than average bedrooms.
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