Sunday 20 March 2022
Although severely underpopulated and marked until a few years ago by a prolonged and bloody religious conflict, it is truly amazing what the small island nation of Ireland has to offer in terms of culture and, in particular, natural beauty. Impressively located castle ruins, stunning cliffs, modern museums with centuries of history and a quaint, colorful and overly decorated pub style with live Irish music and dance are just some of the unique charms of Britain’s smaller neighboring island, the all accompanied by the classic Celtic tomb crosses the dimensions of a man and that already famous Irish green that envelops the landscape.
For planning …
Despite the relatively small size of the island, planning a trip can be quite difficult – on the one hand due to the variety and good marketing of each individual show, but on the other hand due to the picturesque natural landscape, which has something beautiful to offering behind every hill. And if you’re still on the island, you shouldn’t miss a single visit to Northern Ireland, especially as there are hardly any entry formalities and border posts in the UK provinces.
That is why it is important to remain flexible and preferably to drive yourself, even if … on the “other” side and mostly on rather narrow roads where two vehicles can only pass each other. In addition to Ireland’s capital Dublin and Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast – two must-sees when visiting Ireland – traffic is still fairly light, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the hilltop island. On the other hand, travel times between larger cities are also quite short. When planning, however, you shouldn’t exceed a daily driving time of three to a maximum of four hours to make comfortable progress and not have to rush past unexpected places.
Natural beauties …
… are certainly Ireland’s greatest asset, be it the green hills or the steep cliffs on the Atlantic. That is why numerous films have been filmed here such as the famous “Harry Potter” or recently the medieval “Game of Thrones” series. A stroll along the tourist boardwalk of the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s most famous sea cliffs, followed by a short boat ride, gives film buffs exactly the same views as the popular series. And at the Giants Causeway (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the unique and uniform yet naturally shaped basalt columns are not only a stunning sight, but also one of the explanations for the hexagonal shape of British coins. Whether the cooling of the lava created these strange shapes or, according to Irish legend, the giant Fionn McCumhail built a causeway to Scotland to challenge opponent Benandonner remains a mystery.
An equally impressive site is the majestic Dark Hedges beech tree boulevard in Northern Ireland, which was planted by the Stuart family on the driveway of their mansion two centuries ago and has evolved into towering but mysterious forms. The ghost of the Gray Lady is said to wander here at night, a maid who met her death under mysterious circumstances near the boulevard.
There is a saying that the best connection between two points is not always the shortest ….. so also in the case of the island of Ireland: the most popular and beautiful connection is between the north coast of Derry and the coast. further south near Cork and remains the famous “Wild Atlantic Way”. With around 2,600 kilometers of coastal roads over bays and cliffs, it is one of the longest and most beautiful roads in the world.
And during a 2-hour rock climbing at Gobbins, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty and towering cliffs firsthand.
Palaces, castles and ruins …
… lie along the coast road and tower on almost every hill. All very well cared for and maintained. Kilkenny Castle, with its red painted interior walls, or Burnatty Castle have been elegantly restored but still remember their centuries-old history. The elegant Blarney Castle and the stone that gives fluidity to language (“Blarney Stone”) have attracted numerous personalities, statesmen and women over the years. His powers are undisputed, the locals say, although legend has it that it is Jacob’s pillow, which was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. And the towering and legendary ruins of the “Rock of Cashel” castle are still considered today the place where King Aenghus of Munster was Christianized by St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, even though the much-praised patron saint was not Irish at all. !
One of the most impressive monuments is probably Dublin Castle, currently a museum but once the seat of the British administration of Ireland. Its magnificent premises are still used today for official events, such as the 2004 European Council.
Churches, monasteries and abbeys …
… also offer an interesting and diverse image. In Ireland one can still often see the ruins of impressive Cistercian abbeys and an early Gothic style. But there is also more modern architecture, such as the 200-year-old Kyle-more Abbey: a veritable “fairytale castle” on the shores of a tranquil lake, converted into a Benedictine monastery nearly a hundred years ago.
Film, IRA and Titanic
Ireland’s natural beauty has captivated numerous filmmakers, and the tourism industry has taken advantage of it. Thematic programs should involve cinema fans as much as possible in the popular series or favorite movie. There are also movie studios that can be visited and offer the right atmosphere. A very special theme is the famous “Titanic”, for which an entire museum in the shape of a ship’s prow was opened in Belfast in 2012, right next to the original shipyard of what is probably the most famous ship in the world. former Harland & Wolff shipyard. And on the south coast of Ireland, numerous tours offer interesting information about the last Titanic landing at Cobh.
Those who still remember the IRA bombings of the 1970s and 1980s have the opportunity to explore some of Ireland’s history and independence movement – even a piece of the famous long wall that separates them – at Belfast’s Ulster Museum or the Dublin Castle at war between Protestants and Catholics that runs through a large part of the city.
And library and university enthusiasts will find the right atmosphere at Dublin’s Trinity College Museum. In addition to the architecture and the very precious books on display, you can also see the famous harp, which is the symbol of Ireland (… even if the four-leaf clover is often mistakenly marketed as such).
Last but not least, Kilmainham Gaol could also be a must see destination, as the former prison has had its gates open to visitors for years.
The famous Celtic crosses …
… are still found in many Irish cemeteries. Located at the edge of the Roman Empire, the Celts, as the original inhabitants of Ireland, were only indirectly influenced, much less and much later, by the Christian religion and have retained their pre-Christian symbols, including the Celtic cross, for longer. . The largest museum in the world of these stone giants is located in Clonmacnoise and offers a very informative insight into the different variations of Celtic crosses. And in the Durrow church, a Celtic cross doubles as an altar cross.
Pub culture …
… is an integral part of Irish culture. Small rooms with flowers on the windows and ornate decorations decorate any urban landscape. Live music is often offered and typical Irish dancing is often performed outside pubs. When visiting Dublin, a visit to the Guinness Brewery and at least one other distillery should be a must, also to do justice to the image of the Irish as global alcohol smugglers created by Hollywood. It should be noted, however, that Nigerians drink more Guinness beer than the Irish, as around 40 percent of Guinness production is actually found in Africa.