Today’s blog post comes to us from API Intern in Dublin coordinator Alice Bolger! As an Ireland native, she’s sharing with us why you should travel through Ireland in 2019.
It can be very daunting trying to pick a country to study or intern abroad in. I personally know exactly what that’s like.
I have studied and interned abroad and trying to suss what the best country for me was hard. And don’t get me wrong, I loved getting to travel all over the world but to this day, my favourite place still to explore is my little glowing growing, Ireland. Which is why it’s so exciting to share with you 5 reasons to travel through Ireland.
1. THOSE views!
Think you have seen it all? Ireland is the perfect marriage of Harry Potter meets Lord Of The Rings, only in regards to landscapes and castles (I can assure you there are no ogres, orcs or sadly schools for witchcraft
and wizardry here). As an Irish woman I am obviously extremely biased and fully believe that my lovely Island is a gateway to heaven. If I was asked to compare our green enclave to a celebrity I would say it’s like the Oprah Winfrey of Europe and the Beyonce of the world- strong and fabulous.
Aesthetically speaking, the whole countryside could be described as every painting ever done by Monet.
Here is the real kicker, you can see all that from the window seat of a bus! Am I overselling it? Absolutely not! In fact I would go as far as saying I am underselling it. Don’t believe me, just come and see for yourself. Drive
down the deliciously smooth curved roads of Kerry and the Aran Islands; sit in a boat on the coast of Dingle and have a chirpy clicky conversation with the local dolphins. Go away to Galway for a night and listen to the trad ceol ie: traditional Irish music lull you into musical paradise. Run into the icy Atlantic water on a cold October day wearing your measly Penny’s best swimsuit only to find yourselves defrosting your body by doing jumping jacks in the partially freezing water but totally spellbound by the pale brave sandy beaches around you.
Climb up the Blackstairs mountain, breathe in the freshest air you can imagine, and find nirvana. Sip on a cup of Barry’s tea in Bewley’s, Dublin, munching on a warm scone that’s been generously smeared in Dairygold butter and raspberry Jam from Kildare all while you watch people stroll nonchalantly down Grafton Street. I know the phrase is ‘there is nowhere like home’ but let me tell you, ’round these parts it’s ‘there is nowhere like Ireland’.
2. So much to do, so little time
‘Too much to see, not near enough time’- the only complaint we ever get from our lovely Interns. That’s why travel through Ireland is so amazing. Every mountain, every road, every farm, every cranny of this glorious land has a story dying to be told. Why not swing on up to the Cliffs of Moher, go for a surf in Donegal, go fishing on lake Erne in Enniskillin? Or run like Forrest Gump to get away from the swans you naively tried to get close to for an Instagram selfie by the grand canal (that you originally thought were going to be sweet and friendly but Spoiler alert, they are the alligators of Ireland)?
How about you set your sights on the world’s biggest pigeons swooping down and grabbing sandwiches out of innocent passersby’s hands whilst romanticly walking in Stephens Green. Go up to Ticknock and stand dumbfounded at the other side of Dublin. Jump on a train to Howth
and grab some sinfully greasy grub from Leo Burdocks and chomp it down on the pier. Fall temporarily in love with an awkwardly brilliant, ever so charming, flaming red head on the dance floor and learn to Irish dance (and realise that only a select few can actually do the dance justice).
Learn a cupla focal (a few words) of Irish and say thank you to every person you can in Gaelic. Befriend the bus driver when you’re lost and flustered because you seriously can’t remember if you have to get of at this stop or is it the next?! Make new friends and pinky swear to see everywhere in Ireland but inevitably and unfortunately don’t keep that promise. Get lost in Galway city and have a flood of people rush over to you to help you because it’s the ‘sound thing to do lads’. Go down to south and plan to do one night in Wexford and one night in Waterford, but end up staying in Wexford for the two nights because you didn’t realise it has the juiciest biggest reddest strawberries you’ll ever see and it homes the beach that Saving Private Ryan and Brooklyn was filmed on. My advice for those coming to this effervescent country, plan diligently around your days off.
3. It’s relatively cheap to travel around
Look, if you want to travel by a fancy jet or get a taxi from one county to another you are going to be splashing out some serious cash-eesh but generally speaking its pretty inexpensive to travel around Ireland, our hearty little country. You can rent a car, go off on your merry way, finding hidden emerald treasure’s in the lush green countryside of Connemara, only to do a 360 turn around and head south to take a dip in the salty sea in search of old shipwrecks and hidden gold off the coast off Cork.
Alternatively you could always do the whole thing from south to north by bus and hire a black taxi to drive you through Belfast staring partially paralyzed in shock at the muriel’s covering the pained walls, from days of the Troubles. You could then hop on a train and go over to Derry and advance your knowledge of Ireland’s chequered long history. And the great thing is you can all this on a super tight budget all to include your hostel overnight stay, food, petrol, possible car rental or bus/train tickets. If you are meticulous at planning include you can count yummy discounted food along the way.
Now if you really want to go of the beaten track and are a fan of the wild, you can rent a car pick up an affordable tent and set up camp! Hundreds of campgrounds make it relatively easy to travel through Ireland on a budget.
Fall asleep looking at the bright stars and big warm moon. And for the cherry on top, the cherry that makes traveling through Ireland even more of a financial bargain is the fact that most of the ‘must sees’ in Ireland can be done for free. Yup, you heard that right, and straight from the horses mouth. Most of our art galleries, museums and even some festivals are free. And all those stunning landscapes, those natural wonders- FREE. Quick question now -have you booked your flight yet?
4. The food!
Okuuuurr, I know what you might envision when you think of Ireland. Throngs of people on streets dancing a jig with pints of Guinness in their hands singing and eating nothing but potatoes cooked twenty different ways, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. There is definitely that element to Ireland.
I get it, if you are a ‘foodie’ you might be concerned about the food scene in Ireland. Am I going to eat a burrito that could give Taco Bell a run for its money? Will I ever find a stack of ribs as soft as butter that’s as heavily doused in Bbq sauce like in Sonny’s BBQ or Rivers Smokehouse? But if I may interject right here and stop that trail of thought because at this very moment Ireland is in the throws of a culinary revolution.
Ireland prides itself on its organic home grown produce, so combine that with talented kitchen artists looking to thrill taste bud’s with new and exciting flavours and it makes for some very happy filled stomachs. But if that doesn’t sound like a little bit of you that’s okay because you can take my word for it when I say, we have something for everyone here.
Travel through Ireland and eat some of the best food your taste buds will encounter. Fancy some Greek food, hop on over to the Mykonos Tavern on Dame Street and tuck in to some mouth watering feta and hummus. Or maybe you are craving a juicy well tendered beef burger – then we got you covered. Hop on over to The Counter Burger, Five Guy’s, or the thousand other places fighting for title of best beef burger in Ireland. Or maybe you are dreaming of that creamy carbonara, that home-made lasagne, so take my hand and let me lead you into the delectable hands of Bellucci’s. And what kind of Irish woman would I be if I didn’t mention Ireland’s favourite delicacy? Our 99 ice creams, perfect for those hot palmy summa days. I get it, you might think that Ben and Jerry’s is the key to your heart. However, you don’t know what love is until you taste a 99 ice cream with a flake slapped in the middle of it.
But here is the best thing, I’m just giving you a glance, an
emouse bouche if you will to Ireland’s incredible rich and diverse culinary tableau. We cater for everyone and for everything, and boy, we cater goooooood.
I know you guys have Burning Man and Coachella and I get it, they are the bomb.com and you might think we can’t compete with that. And yeah, to a certain extent you might be right, our festivals aren’t as big and they might not be as cool but I promise you this, our festivals are the maddest, weirdest and undoubtedly the most fun festivals possibly in the world.
Here’s some great examples that will make you want to travel to Ireland immediately:
We have a festival that celebrates our farmers and livestock where you boot up in your wellies and charge through muck. Yes, it is the highlight of many people’s year.
We have a festival, called Lisdoonvara to help singles on their quest for love which all takes place in a town with 756 inhabitants. It will home 12,000 people all to help single Pringles mingle.
There’s also a festival to celebrate strawberries that lasts a full week in the south of Ireland; a festival that celebrates grilled meats and another for fish (so the fishes don’t feel left out); We have a festival dedicated to wellness; as well as a festival for surfers and music lovers alike.
We have a festival with ASAP Rocky as the headline act and another one for the old school souls with the WU Tan Clan as the main event. And I’m not even scratching the surface here.
In regards to our sports, belt up and buckle in. Now, bare in mind, our sporting events don’t come close on the sizing scale when compared to American sporting events, but the atmosphere is next to none. You haven’t lived until you have jumped furiously out of your seat in a home stadium, in your green green jersey, shouting like a pirate at the referee in unison with the other 20,000 Ireland supports. Honestly, Its a real thing of beauty. You haven’t seen real passion until you have seen any county hurling team play against Kilkenny’s hurling team… dam Cats!(When you arrive here, you will full comprehend and feel that hurling reference!)