What is your definition of the best experience to have in Ireland? Something traditionally Irish, coastal winds blowing back rolling, sheep-dotted hills of shamrocks? Quaint fishing villages and cheery pubs? Maybe you want a little more modern Ireland – state of the art exhibits, culinary experiences and activities outdoors. Whatever route you wish to explore, there’s a way to indulge your traditional or modern Irish sense of adventure.
Traditional: Kinsale Food Tour
Traditional Irish food - you think of humble and hearty. Whether in the fields with a Shepherd’s Pie or at the shoreline with world-famous seafood, Ireland’s edible heritage is something to savor. The Kinsale Food Tour walks you through charming waterside Kinsale where you meet local restauranteurs, and while you’re tasting, they’re connecting you to the history of the seafood the region is known for. An ultra-traditional option includes foraging seaweed, shellfish and plants for a picnic of local produce.
Modern: Galway Food Tour
From simple fare to upscale options, culinary Ireland is experiencing a shift that pairs deliciousness with conscientiousness as a driving force of the Irish tourism economy. The Galway Food Tour places you right in the middle of it with gourmet food options from award-winning restaurants, cafes and the famous Galway Market. Modern menus made from traditional ingredients make a tour through this vibrant coastal something not to be missed.
Traditional: Trinity College Library
Visiting places like Trinity College Library in Dublin brings centuries old stories to life in, literally, brilliant color. Home to Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure, the Book of Kells. Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest University, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth. The book is housed in the 18th century Old Library’s Long Room, a 65-metre long chamber considered to be one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
Modern: EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum
Completely immersive and voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2019 & 2020, the EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin, contextualizes the history of Ireland through the stories of ex-pats. Less to do with folktales and more to do with tales of folk, Epic was founded on the belief that emigration is one of the most interesting ways learn about country. While exploring the lives of Irish emigrants, you can search your own family links that connect you to Ireland’s story.
A step up from traditional – Newgrange is ancient, having rested in the rolling hills of Ireland’s green countryside for more than five millennia. See the gorgeous greens of Ireland as you visit this mysterious UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ancient temple is one of the oldest Neolithic burial chambers in Europe. Complimenting this amazing Irish history location is its regional neighbor, the Hill of Tara, former home of the ancient High Kings of Ireland, and supposedly the mythic Stone of Destiny.
Modern: Biking in Killarney National Park
Get outside but make it a little modern: Scenic biking through the breathtaking beauty of Killarney National Park should do the trick. The park itself has more than 10,000 hectares of woods, waterfalls and valleys bursting with wildlife like the majestic red deer. See it all as you pedal along, escorted by a local expert guide.
Traditional: Blarney Castle
Ireland is a nation of storytellers and perhaps the gift of gab is inherent to those native to her shores. Blarney Castle is one of the thousands of castles across Ireland and is a major tourist destination in County Cork, Ireland. Clearly famous for its chatty stone resident, the castle offers mysterious grounds with plenty of tall-tale legends – and of course a smooch for those willing to climb to the top of the battlements.
Modern: Titanic Museum
This amazing city of shipbuilding industry has stood its ground through thick and thin and has produced a legend in its own right: the Titanic. At Titanic Belfast, visitors can tour a modern interactive museum that guides you through the world of early 20th century shipyard life, the passengers and their stories and the city that was home to building floating hotels.