Ireland Vacations

Ireland is an island and a country but they are not identical. Ireland, the island, is located off the west coast of England. The lower 3/4 section of the island is known as the Republic of Ireland and is an Irish Free State, or a Sovereign State which is the same as a nation. While Northern Ireland is considered part of the United Kingdom. Ireland considers its culture and history to be strongly tied to the Celtic culture which is identified according to a group of people from the Iron Age and Medieval Europe. Ireland has been gifted with some famous writers: William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. The Irish public house or Irish Pub, has gained international recognition for being a the local social hub for an Irish neighborhood.

Ireland Vacation Rentals and Boutique Hotels

Ireland Vacations: Things to see while on vacation in Ireland

Ireland Geography

Ireland is located in the north Atlantic Ocean. The island is located on the European continental shelf, and it’s known for its low central plains. Coastal mountains surround the plans, the highest of which is Carrauntoohil. That peak is a whopping 3,414 feet above sea level. People who travel to the western coastline are often surprised by how rugged it is. The rugged coastline is home to several islands, along with headlands, bays, and peninsulas.

The island of Ireland is divided into 4 major regions or provinces. These provinces follow the boundaries that existed in the 1st century that were borders defined by the kingdoms in Ireland. The four kingdoms were the Kingdom of Connacht, the Kingdom of Munster, the Kingdom of Leister and the Kingdom of Ulster. Today these Kingdoms are the major provinces of Ireland. Each region has their own attractions that make Ireland vacations a popular destination.

The far southwest rugged area is comprised of the Munster Province and includes Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Waterford, and Tipperary counties. It is an area that has a long and beautiful coastline that includes the Cliffs of Mohr. There area is known for the beautiful sandy beaches, small fishing villages and the wild Atlantic Ocean.

The central part of the west coast is the Connacht Province and includes the Counties of Leitrium, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Galway. Within the region you will still here the ancient language of Irish Gaelic spoken. Connacht is one of the least populated regions and has a beautiful coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean.

The Leinster Province is extends along the east coast of Ireland and includes the city of Dubline. This area is comprised of the combination of 3 ancient kingdoms: the Kingdoms of Meath (Mide), Osraige and Leinster. Within its borders are 12 Counties. The major county is the city of Dublin which was originally a British settlement established by the Norman invaders from England in 1169. The counties found within the Leister Province include: Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow

Ireland History

Ireland has one of the richest histories of any country out there. Humans settled in Ireland about 10,000 years ago, which was relatively late as far as European settlements go. Farmers arrived in Ireland around 4000 BC, and they ushered in the arrival of the Stone Age. Then, the Celts came to the area around 3000 B.C. You can still see the influence of these Iron Age warriors on Ireland to this day. Ireland saw a substantial change around 600 A.D., when Christianity replaced the pagan religion. During the same time, creativity and art flourished in Ireland, creating an artistic renaissance of sorts. The carved stone crosses of the time can still be viewed in Ireland today. Vikings made their way to Ireland in the 8th and 9th centuries, and they started to settle on the land. In 900, the Vikings founded Dublin.

The Normans came into Ireland in the 12th century. They doubled down on both commerce and agriculture in the country, and they built churches, castles, and walled towns. The Irish Parliament declared King Henry VIII the King of Ireland in 1541. This meant that Ireland had to adhere to the English law of “plantation,” opening up the borders for Scottish and English Protestant settlers. Thousands came into the country, and soon, sectarian conflict occurred. Blood spilled through the 17th century, leading to strict penal laws. The laws were mainly aimed at Catholics and even stripped them of their right to own or lease land that was above a predetermined value.

The country continued to evolve, and as it did, it took issue with England’s control over it. That eventually led to the War of Independence that lasted from 1919 to 1921. The blood didn’t stop when the war was over, as the people of Ireland dove right into a Civil War between 1922 and 1923.

While the country has a bloody past, it is much more stable now. Northern Ireland has enjoyed cooperation between the political parties, while Southern Ireland has enjoyed a huge economic growth. Because of that, this is now a great time to go to Ireland. You can enjoy the landmarks of the past without experiencing the bloodshed that came with growth.

Ireland Landmarks

*St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located in Dublin and is easily one of the most recognized landmarks in Ireland. More than 300,000 people visit the historic church every year, and many leave offerings. That money has let the church serve patrons for over 800 years. The church still offers daily services, although you can just stop by and admire the architecture. You will enjoy countless photo ops at the church, so bring your camera along and snap some photos. It makes the perfect backdrop for vacation photos.

*The Cliffs of Moher
You’ve likely seen a photo or two of the Cliffs of Moher before. Located in County Clare, the cliffs overlook the Atlantic Ocean. They are about 700 feet tall, and if you make it to the top, you are in for a real treat. There aren’t any barriers in the way, so you get an up close and personal view of nature when you look off the cliffs. Just be careful. No barriers mean you don’t have a safety net if something goes wrong

*Rock of Cashel
You would be remiss to go all the way to Ireland without seeing the Rock of Cashel. This large green hill is surrounded by limestone outcrops and ancient fortifications. When you walk up to the Rock of Cashel, you will see sturdy walls that protect a round tower, 12th century Romanesque chapel, and 13th century Gothic cathedral. Many go to see the chapel, which is considered as one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the country. Be sure to pay attention to the round tower as well, though. This 12th century tower was built without mortar. It’s truly a sight to behold.

*Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Causeway is located in County Antrim. According to legend, the giant Finn McCool built the causeway because he wanted to cross the water without getting his feet wet. Science has squashed the legend. Now, it’s believed that volcanic activity that occurred around 60 million years ago formed the 40,000-ish hexagonal basalt columns. Regardless of how they were formed, it’s a treat to walk on the causeway. When you do, realize you are following in the footsteps of countless people before you. Who knows. You might even be following in the footsteps of a giant.

*Dunluce Castle
Located on top of a rocky crag in County Antrim, Dunluce Castle is reached by a bridge that was built over a ravine. That used to be a drawbridge, but now, it’s much easier to get to the castle. The bridge is always accessible, so you don’t have to wait for someone to drop it. The castle was built in the 13th century, and it features an arched cate, defensive tower, ruins, and gorgeous views of the Antrim Coast.

*Guinness Brewery
Some of the most well known sights to visit while on Vacation in Ireland:
Stop by the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and learn about the history of the famous brew "Guinness".

*Blarney Castle
Travel to the Blarney castle just outside Cork Ireland and kiss the Blarney stone. You will be rewarded with the fit of charming folks as the words roll off your tongue.