Travel guide to Ireland

Planning a trip to Ireland

The Emerald Isle is a lush land of deep history and broad smiles. Celts, Vikings, Normans, and the English have all trod this country's verdant slopes, leaving behind ancient ruins as well as a rich and varied heritage.

Steeped in strong religious beliefs and scattered with the broken remains of vast medieval abbeys and monasteries, Ireland is home to literary giants, Guinness beer, and stupendous music.

Although Dublin is alive with museums and some of Europe's greatest nightlife, a visit to Ireland is really about the countryside: the gorgeously green rural landscapes and the friendly welcome waiting in each small town.

How much does a trip to Ireland cost?

Transatlantic airfare is not cheap. However, there are some great packages that bundle air, rental car, and B&B vouchers and make a trip to Ireland one of the great bargains of European travel—especially now that the ongoing economic crisis has brought prices on food and such back from sky-high levels to within a modest budget... Full Story


NYC – Shannon
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7 days: air, car, B&B
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Glasha Meadows, Doolin
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3-course meal
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Day trip

Newgrange & Monasterboice
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Irish travel topics

Whatever you do, don't call them "British"

Although Ireland is part of the British Isles and the people speak English, drive on the left, and even eat fish 'n' chips, Ireland is most emphatically not part of the United Kingdom. (Except, confusingly, the bit called Northern Ireland.)

The Irish fought long (some 750 years) and hard for their independence from the British crown, and most of Ireland been its own country since 1921. We call this the Republic of Ireland, and it includes the 26 counties that make up most of the island.

Six counties in the north of Ireland, however, did not throw their lots in with this new country, and hence are still part of the U.K.

Northern Ireland's decision to stay with the United Kingdom was far from unanimous. The pro-U.K. residents (mostly Protestants of British descent) and pro-independence ones (mainly Catholics of older Irish lineage) are constantly at odds over the future of this corner of the Emerald Isle, fighting heated battles on both the political and paramilitary fronts (though, thankfully, increasingly less so of the latter in recent years).

These "Troubles" have come to a head in numerous terrorist attacks, mainly centered on Belfast and other Northern Ireland cities (plus a few in London)‚ though, again, those have been on the wane for a while now.

Though it appears that a delicate peace has finally been achieved, details are forever being hammered out, and both sides must continue to court approval from their supporters.

Ireland remains a land divided.

The author stands above the green fields of Ireland's Ring of KerryRound Ireland on Four Wheels - How to spend a week in Eire from $719, including airfare, countryside B&Bs, and a rental car... Full Story

The Heritage Card is your ticket to mroe than 80 of Ireland's greatest sights, including the romantic ruins of Mellifont Abbey just north of DublinThe Post-Modern Pot o' Gold - Ireland's Heritage Card can save you as much as €157 on sightseeing at 80+ sights—€10.50 even if you hit only the top five. But some of Ireland's best sights are well off the beaten path... Full Story

Cavangarden House, outside Ballyshannon on the road to Donegal, is a gorgeous Georgian manor house built in 1750, surrounded by farmland, wooded glens, and burbling streams, and is but one of the 1,700 B&Bs in the Town and Country voucher catalogueBed, Breakfast, and Beyond - How to pick the right Irish B&B—whether it be a farmhouse cottage, country manor like this one, or modest modern home in town—and where to find alternative cheap lodgings in Ireland... Full Story

Castle Hotels in IrelandTop 10 Irish Castle Hotels - From the Dublin suburbs to the wilds of Western Ireland, some of the most gorgeous medieval castles have been converted into hotels—and double rooms start at €89... Full Story

O'Flaherty's, a corner carvery in the Co. Meath town fo Navan, serves up heaping platters of roasted carved meats for $9—and the Guinness with which to wash it downOf Pub Grub and Toasteds and Cakes Made of Guinness - On navigating the dangerously expensive waters of Ireland's culinary scene with the aid of a good, strong pint... Full Story

With the aid of the Internet, and a handy-dandy postcard rack filled with family crests, you can start tracing your Irish heritageDigging for Your Irish Roots - No, not potatoes—though those are yummy. Today we'll share the best resources for tracing your Irish heritage... Full Story

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in August 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.