If you haven’t already, you should definitely visit Ireland. But prepare yourself in advance, you just may have too much ‘craic’ and you may just not want to leave.

We had so much fun in Ireland that Hurricane Ophelia must have read our minds and delayed our departure for a day. We did not complain too much at all.

We were in the seaside town of Howth, just 25 minutes from Dublin airport, enjoying the famous seafood from the King Sitric Restaurant and one last Guinness before we left. Ours is a different story from other parts of the country which did not fair too well.

 
 

Ancient History

We just spent three weeks travelling parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East, and we want to go back for more. There are over 5,000 years of history to enjoy in Ireland.

Could it have been the people, or the craic (for those of you who don’t speak Gaelic, ‘craic’ means ‘the fun or the banter’) or the Castles and the Country Homes where we stayed?

Could it have been the ancient sites? At Blarney Castle, for example, you have to bend over backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone – it is not an easy feat!

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Fabulous Food

Could it have been the food – Irish Breakfasts that fill you up for the day, hot baked scones for morning tea, if you can fit it in, and what about the perfect fish and chips after a long day of sightseeing? Not to mention the Guinness Irish Beef Stew or the local seafood.

Traditional Irish Pubs

What about the Guinness – certainly it tastes superior here than the draft Guinness back in the UK. We highly recommend you put at least half a day aside and visit the Guinness Storehouse, not only for the complimentary Guinness at the end of the tour, but for the views from the top and the lessons on how Guinness is made.

Leave your inhibitions behind as you enter a traditional Irish pub – it is the ‘norm’ to strike up a conversation with strangers.

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There is another language spoken in Ireland, like the saying that you are a blow-in, that is, a newcomer to a town or village. You could have lived there 28 years, but because you were not born there, you are still a blow-in.

In Australia, we say “one for the road,” which means one more drink before you leave. In Ireland, they say “one for the ditch.” There are plenty of ditches in Ireland, so you can see where that saying came from.

We learnt a new language from a stone carver in West Cork, in the town of Ahakista. If he was going to the pub, he was going South (which was South from his house). When he was going back home, he was heading North. If he happened to be going to town, then he was going East.

We were left wondering how that would work in our hometown back in Australia.

Quaint Fishing Villages

The best way to tour the country and see the stunning landscapes is by hiring a car. The roads are easy to traverse, and it does give you the opportunity to go down side roads and discover more little villages along the way.

Portmagee, in County Kerry, was one of those – a quaint fishing village with a lovely café serving those scrumptious hot scones and jams.

Allow some time to drive the Ring of Kerry – the landscape and the villages that you will drive through won’t disappoint you.

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Castles and Country Manors

Why not stay in a castle or a country manor house? They all have a story to tell, from one that was built by a local priest and sold to a local religious order for one pound just to irk the Protestant Rector of Ballingarry to one that dates back to Cromwellian times. You may even stay in a castle with a resident ghost or two!

However you spend your time in Ireland, you will leave with fond memories and even a tale of your own to tell.

Have you ever visited Ireland? What was the highlight of your trip? Please share any favorite places to visit in the comments below.

Jane and Duncan Dempster-SmithJane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are nomadic semi-retirees, baby boomers, travellers, House Sitters and co-founders of To Travel Too. Their motto is “Age is no barrier when it comes to travel.” Although not yet pensioners, their goal is to travel the world on what is currently the Australian Age Pension of approx. AUD 33,716 (USD 25,110) per year, or AUD 92 (USD 69) per day for two people.

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