What Are The Top 5 Places to Visit Outside Dublin – A Locals Choice
The tourism industry in Ireland is on another level. People from East to West come pouring in to see our cultural heritage, often times this being their own cultural heritage, and even partaking in it with the spectacle of dance and merry song. With half-built construction projects still casting a shadow among different parts of the country we are often reminded of how much we suffered and were forced to endure in the still-recent recession. With your help, our tourism industry helped to push us back into financial security. It is the backbone of the country’s success and so we always aim to please our visitors from across the globe. Unfortunately, many tourists have a pre-conceived notion that Dublin is the be-all end-all of places to visit in Ireland when there are, in fact, many beautiful places across Ireland that give you a far more authentic and less plastic feel of the country. And so, here are my top five places to visit in Ireland outside of Dublin:
The Cliffs of Moher
Oh, to be standing on the Cliffs of Moher right now, to cast my eyes out at the Atlantic Ocean and taking in that sweet air. Watching the day turn to night with a pink sky oppressive in the interim. If you’re a photographer then you already know what I’m talking about because it’s been on your “Top Places to Visit Before I Die” list since God only knows when. But did you know there are over 30,000 birds of 20 different species to see? For nature lovers and bird-watching enthusiasts, this is a must see. Moreover, are you bringing any film buffs on your trips with you? Off the top of my head, I’ve seen The Cliffs of Moher in films like Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Princess Bride. Needless to say, this natural wonder of the world must be visited during your visit… Before or after you visit Ennis, County Clare of course.
Galway City is still a very metropolitan city, just like Dublin, but what it lacks in this comparison of modernity it more than makes up for in it’s traditional holdings. Galway City will fulfill all your fast-fashion wants and Starbucks needs but most importantly, there isn’t a high street or street corner where you won’t hear traditional music or men and women of all ages drinking creamy pints of lager. Furthermore, Galway is home to some of the greatest brews you can scarcely find anywhere else with Galway Hooker (yes) being one of my favorites. Every summer flocks of young people drink cans of Irish beer beside The Spanish Arch (‘Sparch, as we call it here) without any interruption from the Gardai. It’s a peaceful and relaxing city with a visit you won’t forget. PS don’t forget to visit Claddagh Jewelles to get yourself a piece similar to Connell’s chain from Normal People. I bought myself a Claddagh ring from there made of sterling silver, and I bring it with me everywhere.
The town’s very punny motto is “Your Taste of Ireland”. Visit Kinsale, truly one of the most spectacular towns in all of Europe, to eat up and chow down on some of the finest foods and drink you’ll have on your visit to Ireland. Bust out your best linen shirt and embrace the quiet breeze that comes to you as you drink a County Cork-distilled gin in the outside dining area of a seafood restaurant. Take a look out from Kinsale Harbour full of luxurious boats and yachts. That’s an experience you won’t forget.
The Aran Islands
You cannot afford to miss out on the Aran Islands on your journey here. Those boats you see as you stare out from the Cliffs of Moher? Those are carrying people coming between Doolin, County Clare and the Aran Islands. These islands come to life with tourists every summer who bring the spark that ignites the islands into the world-famous tourist destination it’s known as. Don’t fret, because these islands keep their cultural heritage intact. So intact, in fact, that the most commonly spoken language out there isn’t English, but is in fact Irish, or Gaeilge. Past the typical craic you’ll find forts and castles from the Bronze and Iron Age waiting for you to learn their secrets.
Ennis, County Clare
A quaint medieval town a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher and the boats that bring you to the Aran Islands, Ennis is a town full of boxes waiting to be ticked off your to-do list. Full of history dating as far back as Brian Boru, High King of Ireland to The War of Independence and beyond, Ennis is a little town of miracles. Muhammad-Ali visited our town to discover his Irish heritage. Jennifer Aniston from Friends wined and dined in one of our pubs. Quentin Tarantino has come to Ennis to watch Clare hurling matches and Conan O’ Brien even filmed an episode of his show here. Hungry for more? Look for Ollie’s Tours and he’ll give you the rundown of every foot that’s been set in the place on his Ennis walking tour, before or after your trip to The Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
Written by our very own Kieran Cunnane!