Experience the Emerald Isle

We often refer to Ireland as the “Emerald Isle”, but visitors are often surprised to find two Irelands with distinct characteristics and unique destinies that live side by side and share a common land. One could even say that there are dozens of Irelands, each varying according to its region, weather and people.

Take a guided tour, or choose a more independent approach. The options for seeing this epic destination are endless! 

Immerse yourself in the potential in this article by Transat Holidays:

The Republic of Ireland

Captivating Dublin, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland, features a castle, various religious sites, museums and countless pubs where lively discussions get even livelier after a few pints of Guinness. Dublin is the birthplace and adoptive city of an incredible number of writers (Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, to name but a few), the majority of whom are still widely read. Plenty of plays, dance performances and shows of all kinds can be enjoyed in this bustling city that never ceases to attract artists from all over the world.

The rest of the country is both vast and diversified. The southeast region is quite sunny and is where you will find the most popular beaches in the country. The southwest, for its part, includes a large number of coastal villages and endless bays. In Killarney and its national park, you will find a fortified castle, a manor, lakes and mountains, as well as a vast network of hiking trails.

The western part of Ireland includes the magnificent Shannon River region. This river is the longest in the country, stretching over a distance of some 360km. Wide bays, islands and peninsulas dot a landscape that is known as the most Irish in Ireland. The Aran Islands and Achill Island are also worth a visit. On the other hand, the northwest region, adjoining Northern Ireland, remains largely unknown to travellers. Replete with wilderness and endless coasts, this region has successfully preserved its authentic natural state.

Northern Ireland

Enticing and somewhat mysterious at the same time, Northern Ireland surprises and charms those who take the time to explore it. Proud and unique, it is a land that has fiercely preserved its traditions; its landscapes, dotted with breathtaking hills, lakes and coasts, leave unforgettable memories of a place where beauty and tranquillity go hand in hand.

Belfast, the gateway to Northern Ireland, offers much more than what the daily news would have us believe. A visit to the capital of Northern Ireland will reveal a dynamic and artistic city that loves to don its best finery and celebrate. You will leave with a completely different image in mind.

Although much less tourist-oriented than most European cities (which can actually be quite refreshing), Belfast does feature many attractions that can be visited at one’s leisure without having to endure line-ups. The city boasts several buildings that exhibit a remarkable architectural style, such as its castle, city hall and university, as well as a lovely botanical garden. Belfast is also home to a multitude of pubs where visitors can savour a delicious traditional ale while chatting with the locals or enjoying musical performances.

Although quite small in size, Northern Ireland is more than its capital. Indeed, visiting all of its six counties is a must, as you will discover wild coasts dotted with fishing villages, inviting mountains, refreshing lakes, stunning islands and the legendary Giant’s Causeway. Not to mention the proud men and women you will find everywhere, who always seem to go about their daily tasks with a slight hint of mischief and good cheer.

South of Belfast stretches the Ards Peninsula, located between the choppy Irish Sea and majestic Lake Strangford. One never tires of visiting the many small, peaceful villages found along its coast. In the southwestern region, Newcastle features some of the best beaches in the area. Nearby, visitors should not miss hiking through the Mourne Mountains, even if it’s only for a short while; this range is composed of some 15 mountains, including Slieve Donard (850m), the highest mountain in Northern Ireland.

Armagh has not one, but two cathedrals named after St. Patrick. Its Anglican cathedral was built in the 13th century, replacing the original that had been built eight centuries before. Its Catholic cathedral is much more recent, dating back to the 19th century. North of Belfast, the splendid coast that stretches from Larne to Derry, the second-largest city in the country, is an absolute must-see. The Causeway coast abounds with cliffs, beaches, villages and impressive stone columns. In this region, visitors can admire the famous and intriguing Giant’s Causeway, which is made up of thousands of basalt columns, a dark-coloured volcanic rock. Although this site is often packed with visitors, its beauty is truly worth the trip.

More info on Ireland can be found on the DISCOVER IRELAND site.

Ready to go and experience ireland for yourself? Contact me to help plan your dream trip!

2 Responses to “Experience the Emerald Isle”

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