St Patrick’s Day is probably the most famous Irish tradition known around the world. The next would be the leap year rule where on the 29th February (every 4 years) a woman can propose marriage to her partner, this was best demonstrated in the movie Leap Year featuring Amy Adams
But I digress.
On St Patrick’s Day, the Irish, and those who love the Irish traditions of drinking and hanging out in Irish themed bars, do just that to celebrate the best in Irish culture.
So as it’s St Patrick’s Day, I wanted to celebrate all the places that I love from my trips to Ireland by sharing some amazing places that you should make sure you visit on your next trip to the emerald isle.
If you have always wanted to discover your inner Galway girl, make sure you have a decent amount of time to see everything you can in the Galway region. Galway has a lot to offer as the tourist mecca for Ireland, being close by to the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, the Aran Islands plus it’s also the party city hosting many hens and bucks parties every weekend!
For your daylight hours there is plenty to do, from a free tour of the town which gives a great history of the city, culture of the region and the legendary Claddagh ring. The Claddagh ring traditionally let potential suiters know if your heart is taken or open for love, this makes a great souvenir and can be picked up at many jewellers in town for not too much.
The most enjoyable thing about Galway is definitely the nightlife, and almost every pub has live local music running all night! Don’t worry if you are a solo travel as both the locals and tourists alike are extremely friendly and welcoming, you are sure to have a great time and make friends on a night out in Galway!
All tours for the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Aran Islands leave from Galway.
Cliffs Of Moher
The Cliffs or Moher, while not the largest cliffs or Ireland, they are incredibly beautiful and easy to get to, just a short trip outside of Galway – definitely worth braving the tourist! If like me, you are a Harry Potter fan, then they will look very familiar from the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince films.
The best way to visit the Cliffs of Moher is on a day trip that will take you out to the cliffs and some stops along the way including a visit to a fairy castle, which you have to see to believe!
The Aran Islands
If you are in Galway during the summer months, then the Aran Islands is a great day trip if you have some additional time in Galway. The only way to get out is to catch the twice daily ferry to the island which you can either get a return day pass or stay the night at an Island B&B. It’s easy to travel around the Island in a day, hiring a bike is the best way and almost everybody does this, giving you access to all areas of the main island. The Aran Island allow visitors to see historic sights and nature including some local seals that rest up each afternoon on one of the local beaches. This is an adorable town to visit!
Make sure you pick up an Aran Island wool jumper, it’s what they are famous for. Tours to the Aran Islands depart from Galway Town Centre.
Donegal & Slieve League
Donegal, is a charming little village full of life, day and night! An underrated destination, I have to admit that this is my favourite location in Ireland.
The town is small and brimming people, tourists are there to see the Bungass Cliffs, also know as Slieve League, which is the areas main attraction. There are two ways to see the cliffs, from the tourist viewing station or as part of the Pilgrim Walk. If you have the time and are a competent climber then I would suggest either the full pilgrim walk or part of the walk. The Bunglasss Cliffs are at least double the height of the Cliffs of Moher and I also think they are twice as beautifu, so the view is incredible.
At night time, make sure you unwind from a big day of climbing by listening to some local music and hopping from bar to bar.
Other sights you can check out in town is the local castle and the graveyard (I promise that’s not as weird as it sounds).
Oh Dingle, this is the sweetest town in all of Ireland!
Dingle is a beachside town, home to Fungie the Dingle dolphin, great adventure walks and Irish music.
A trip to Dingle should be on your list for the music scene alone, each night you can hop from bar to bar checking out different performers throughout the evening in a casual and friendly environment.
During the day, there are many things to do, if adventure is your thing then there are day hikes around the gorgeous countryside or if you want to enjoy the sights, take to the ocean in search of Fungie!
The Giant’s Causeway & the Antrim Coast
Northern Ireland get’s left off a lot of people’s itineraries when touring Ireland, but Northern Ireland has so many incredible wonders including the Antrim Coast and the Giant’s Causeway.
A trip to the Giant’s Causeway will take you into the mythology of the Irish culture, so that you can see how this incredible natural phenomenon came to be. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to play on the basalt columns!
While in the area, it is a great chance to check out the rope bridge, which is just that, a rope bridge.
If you are travelling by car, and you are a Game of Thrones fan, make sure that you make some time to explore Co. Antrim in search of The King’s Road, Dark Hedges so you can briefly feel that you too could one day rule the Iron throne.
Day trips to the Giant’s causeway leave from Belfast or Derry.
In the last 10 years Belfast has seen a lot of positive change, it’s almost unrecognisable from my first visit. It not only offers great day trips out of the city, but there is so much to do whilst staying in the city.
To see the sights and get a rich history of the city in one hour, I recommend taking a Black Cab Tour, which will take you on a tour of the murals all around Belfast city.
A lesser known fact is that the Titanic was built in Belfast before departing for New York from Southampton. There is now an interactive Titanic museum in the docks of Belfast that offers a rich history of the construction of the ship as well as some interactive rides, plus on Sunday’s there is a afternoon tea in a replica of the grand ballroom – but make sure you book in advance.
After a long day, I enjoy relaxing in a park, and the Belfast Botanic Gardens are a great place to relax, take a picnic or wait for a friend.
For a black cab tour speak to any black taxi driver to negotiate a tour fee for your group.
Dublin is a city full of life, bussing with culture, music, tourist and students it’s hard not to have a great time in Dublin city, which is why I keep going back!
Free walking tours run and are great to get a layout of the city, from there you can enjoy a tour of the Guinness factory which includes a free pint at the end of the tour, a tour of Kilmainham Gaol – a highlight of any Dublin trip, or just chilling out on St Stephen’s Green on a warm sunny day.
Spending your evening in Dublin’s Temple Bar area is a real treat, while packed with tourists, it doesn’t detract from the incredible atmosphere of the music and the relaxed and friendly Irish nature.
Other things to do in Ireland
Make sure you add some of these to your Irish #BucketList
Catch a glimpse of a Fairy Tree
If you believe, then the Fairy Trees of Ireland bring lots of luck, unless you cross a Fairy. If you don’t believe, then it’s a phenomenon to behold all across the country.
Try an Irish coffee and a Guinness
Travelling is all about trying the local cuisine, in Ireland that means alcohol, so give these a go. I’m not a big fan of either so I usually go for the Bailey’s Irish Coffee instead!
Listen to live music and have a go at Irish dancing
I know I keep going on about the atmosphere and the culture around the live Irish music, but it’s electric, emotional and beautiful. Just sit back and listen or grab a partner at hit the dance floor (any spare piece of floor in the local pub).
Spot a Leprechaun
Keep your eyes open, there’s a pot of gold in it for you!
And lastly, have a great St Patrick’s Day! I’ll be the one in green.