It is hard to belive that four years ago I began my first international trip to Ireland. Four years!? Gosh time flies. The beginning of the trip did not go too smooth. I traveled with my high school band and the group I was in was going to be the first to arrive in Ireland. Well…. we ended up being the last. We got stuck over night in Dallas and our group had to split into different routes. I ended up in a group that flew from Dallas all the way to Frankfurt, Germany and then back to Ireland. Did I mention this was the first time I had ever flown? I was a complete mess. Then while I was in Ireland having the best time of my life, I ended up being the sickest I have ever been with what I think was the flu. Even though the trip had its drawbacks, it was still one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen!
1. Blarney Stone
A few miles from Cork, the Blarney Castle is located. At the very top of the castle is the famous Blarney Stone. According to legend, any one who kisses the stone will receive the gift of eloquence and persuassiveness. Now if you are like me, the first thought in your mind is, “I am not kissing a stone that millions of people have already laid their lips on.” But, I was in Ireland and I do not know if I will be back, so of course I HAD to kiss it. The stone is set bellow the battlements of the castle and the only way to reach the stone is to lay on your back, hold some poles and lean off of the castle. It sounds a lot scarier than it really is, but this is definitely a must see and do on your trip to Ireland. Do I think I have received the gift of eloquence? I am not sure. Maybe. I have realized I am able to speak instead of just talk to people. Is it because of the stone or the many communication classes I have taken?
2. Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher were absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The cliffs are beautiful all in itself, but there is a tower that was built 1835 that allows visitors to climb to the top and have a remarkable view. There is also a visitor center that has a snack bar, gift shop and areas that allow tourists to learn more about the geology, nature and beauty of the cliffs.
3. St. Patrick’s Day Parade
If you are ever in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, you cannot miss the parade in Dublin.This parade is 2 miles long with a variety of different things involved. There are so many colors and very interesting floats from all around the world. If you ever get an opportunity to actually march in the parade, take it! (Even if you are running a 102 fever and feel like you are going to pass out the entire 2 miles) I only saw the floats that were in front of me, but I am sure there were really amazing ones throughout the entire parade.We also marched in a different parade the next day, but I had so much cold medicine in my body that I do not even know what it was called or what city it was in.
All throughout Ireland you will find many beautifully built cathedrals. One cathedral that I visited was the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The architecture of this cathedral is gothic and is said that St. Patrick himself would baptize converts while he went through Dublin in a well near the cathedral. I definitely recommend visiting some cathedrals because of the history and to look at the building and how it was artistically built.
5. The Book of Kells at Trinity College
The college campus was beautiful all on its own, but the Book of Kells is definitely a must see while in Ireland.The old library, built in the early 18th century, was absolutely breath-taking. The bookshelves go from the floor all the way to the ceiling and are packed with books! The Book of Kells that is on display in the library is a manuscript composed of the four Gospels of the New Testament. It is beautifully written and illustrated.
6. Knappogue Castle
I already mentioned the Blarney Castle and there are many castles all throughout Ireland. One castle that I visited during my time was the Knappogue Castle. If you have ever been to Medieval Times in the United States, this is basically the Ireland version, except you experience it in an actual castle that was built in the actual Medieval period. At this castle, dinner and the show that follows takes you on a journey to the past. I really enjoyed the show and it is perfect for all ages. And the lemon cheesecake is to die for!
I really enjoyed my time in Ireland, but I certainly wish I was not sick the whole time. If I ever get a chance to go back I would take it in a heartbeat so I could actually take it all in and appreciate it more. I hope that these 6 things give you an idea of activities you should do if you ever take a trip to the Emerald Isle.
If you have ever been, I would love to know things you would put on this list? Or if you have not, but have always wanted to, what is something you would want to experience?