The island of Ireland contains two separate entities, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Both are located on the third-largest island in Europe where Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom (UK). Politics aside, the island of Ireland is a charming place that many people fall in love with after arriving. Its not the type of place that will stun you with any single monument or event but grow on you as a place you could live in. Many students arrive to the city on summer holidays or for quick weekend trips on cheap flights from Europe and begin their travels by backpacking in Ireland. Its actually on of the best places to begin your travels because its safe, easy to get around, and has a well worn backpacker trail.
Dublin also happens to be one of the best places for a European vacation and you’ll do yourself a favor by planning a trip there. Starting at the Guinness Storehouse you can learn about the beer that has its name all over the city. You cant get very far without seeing the name Arthur Guinness made so famous more than 200 years ago. Both beer lovers and casual drinkers will enjoy the tour which is the most popular tourist attraction in all of Ireland. Aside from the Guinness Storehouse, some other places you should visit while vacationing in Dublin are the Dublinia and The Viking World Museums. Its a great place to bring kids if you have them since the exhibits are so interactive.
From Dublin you can venture out to the next popular tourist destination in the country, Blarney. There you can visit and do something thousands of others have kiss the Blarney Stone. Its a tradition at Blarney Castle since kissing the stone is said to bring good luck to those who do it. Blarney isn’t too far of a ride from Dublin and you can use the rail system to get there. For those of you who are starting out in Dublin, you can also take the Perimeter rail line south to the city of Cork. The town has a different feel than its larger neighbor to the north, Dublin and it has a reputation for its strong character. You’ll get a much better feel for the entire Irish culture by taking a few days to visit Cork.
Many people who visit Ireland never go to Northern Ireland and see Belfast. Its worthy to mention because there is so much to do there but people may be worried about violence due to the struggle there during the last few decades. Belfast has plenty to be proud of and is often ranked one of the best cities to visit in Europe. You can taking many walking tours, see where the Titanic was built (a very fascinating history), or enjoy a show at the Grand Opera House. There are plenty of ways to get to Belfast, many of the cheap European air carriers fly there, you can rent a car if you happen to be in Dublin, take a ferry from the other parts of the UK, or hop on the Irish rail system. For those of you traveling with one, you can search and book with Kayak for the iPhone.