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The Best of Ireland: an A to Z Guide

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
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Ireland reaches out and grabs you. It lures you in with extraordinary green landscapes, good food and drink, and hospitable people, and keeps you there with history, music, and new friends. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, or just thinking about things to do for St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve got you covered. I asked my travel writer friends for their best resources on Ireland, and they came through with a rainbow of goodness. Here, you’ll find recipes, guides, and more – the best of Ireland.

 

Before we dive into the A-Z Guide,

 

here are the best websites ALL ABOUT IRELAND:

 

Irish Fireside. The original website about travel to Ireland, run by our friends Corey Taratuta and Liam Hughes, this is a treasure trove of Irish goodness.  You’ll love their 15 Websites to Help You Plan Your Trip to Ireland

Ireland Yes, run by our friend Michele Erdvig – a Certified Ireland Expert. She’s the author of Ireland Dream Trip (a fantastic guide) and her site is full of great advice (and discounts!). She has a free (and fantastic) Ireland Travel Forum for people to share stories and give and ask for advice.

Ireland Family Travel, run by our friend Jody Halstead, is an amazing resource for (you guessed it) family travel to Ireland. Traveling without kids? Still dig in- plenty to learn here!

 

The Best of Ireland - an A-Z Guide

 

The Best of Ireland: An A-Z Guide

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

Oh, there are so many great places to stay, in Ireland. Here are a select few treasures:

Knockahopple Cottage (run by Liam, of IrishFireside fame)

Bunratty Castle Mews B&B (run by the friendliest person in Ireland!)

The Top Ten Benefits of Renting A Vacation Home in Ireland

Castle Hotels

Best Boutique Hostels and Unique Budget Stays Along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Welcome Home to Woodview Farmhouse near Dublin Airport

How to Choose a Bed and Breakfast in Ireland

Dubhlinn House B&B, Co. Clare, Ireland (stay here when you're visiting the Cliffs of Moher)

The Cliff House Hotel, 5-star luxury in Ardmore, County Waterford

Gregans Castle 4-star Irish country house in County Clare’s The Burren

Charming Irish Cottage Retreat With Just A Few Clicks

The Land of Céad míle Fáilte

Life at Pier Cottage, Co Kerry, Ireland
Settling into life at Pier Cottage, Co Kerry, Ireland for two weeks was pure joy. From the moment we walked into the old Coast Guard cottage, I could feel myself unwinding, to a slower, more natural pace. Observing the times of the tides, and heading down to the beach to see what the sea left, eating locally caught fish, the best croissants I've ever had in my life from a local baker and artist, and more, changed me. It left me with a joy for Ireland, and a deep sense of place, at Pier Cottage. Here's the view from our front door:

Life at Pier Cottage, County Kerry, Ireland

 

ANCESTORS

The Best Genealogy Websites for Finding Your Irish Roots

At BreatheDreamGo, writer Mariellen Ward shares her journey to find her Irish ancestors. She notes, “Researching my family history in Dublin, boarding a famine ship in Wexford and discovering an ancestral castle in Cork: These were just some of the highlights of my trip to Ireland to connect with the land my ancestors left behind more than 200 years ago when they journeyed to British North America (now Canada) for the chance of a better life. I was on what genealogist Helen Kelly describes as the “goose bump trail” to walk the ground of my ancestors during Ireland’s Year of The Gathering. And, yes, there were goose bumps indeed…” She has plenty of great resources and stories about finding YOUR Irish ancestors!

 

 

CITY

5 Stops Not to Miss in Ireland

28 Best Bookshops in Dublin

Cork, the perfect Irish city

A Day in East Cork – an Irish gem

Things You Should NOT DO in Dublin

Dublin Details: 10 Photos From Dublin

Literary Landmarks to Explore in Dublin, UNESCO’s 2010 City of Literature

Dublin: Five Things in Two Days

Great Dublin Walking Tours

Fun in Dublin : Hidden Dublin Walks

An Unexpected Dublin Walking Tour

Galway City: remnants of a medieval town

 

COUNTRY

The Gap of Dunloe, Co Kerry, Ireland

Connemara Ireland: The Land of Bogs

Time Travel Ireland

To the Edge of Europe in Search of Literature

Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry

 

DRINK

How not to get tossed out of a pub in Ireland

The Breweries and Distilleries of Ireland and Northern Ireland

Whiskey Tasting at the Old Jameson Distillery

Finding the Perfect Pub in Ireland

Touring Guinness Storehouse in Ireland

10 of the Best Dublin Pubs and Bars

Guinness - the official pint of us. Ireland

Guinness - the official pint of us.

 

DRIVING

5 Things You Should Know When Renting a Car in Ireland

7 tips for how to drive on the left side of the road

Swallowed by a Donegal Ditch: Mishaps in Irish Travel

Driving Ireland's Ring of Kerry: Take a Detour

5 Tips on Driving in Ireland

How to Rent a Car in Ireland

Driving in Ireland: Ice cream truck, pull off at Coomatloukane, Ring of Kerry

Ice cream truck, pull off at Coomatloukane, Ring of Kerry

 

JEWELRY

Want a piece of Ireland with you? Liam Hughes (of Irish Fireside) makes the most beautiful jewelry from Irish Dishes, found in Ireland!

Liam Hughes shard jewelry from Ireland

Liam Hughes' shard jewelry from Ireland

 

LEARNING

Ireland’s culinary legend Darina Allen and the Ballymaloe Cookery School

A Journey into Ireland's Literary Revival

Adventures in Ireland - to the Rainbow!

A Waking of Worlds

Finn heard far off the first notes of the fairy harp. The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland, by T. W. Rolleston, et al, Illustrated by Stephen Reid, courtesy Wikimedia Commons - See more at: http://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/stories/waking-worlds.html#sthash.b6gJ4GpV.dpuf

Finn heard far off the first notes of the fairy harp. The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland, by T. W. Rolleston, et al, Illustrated by Stephen Reid, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

MUSIC

Who better to share the music of Ireland, than writer Kerry Dexter, of Music Road. She’s an expert on Celtic Music, our Music Editor here at Wandering Educators, and also writes at many other places, including A Traveler’s Library. Here are a few of Kerry’s greatest hits:

 

And other great Irish music articles:

Traditional Irish music in Galway pubs

Irish Inspiration with German Roots – Cluas Music

Dancing a Jig – Dublin’s Dinner Shows

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

Belfast and Northern Ireland: Safe for Travelers?

Belfast, Northern Ireland - Cathedral Quarters

Belfast, Cathedral Quarter. Photo Caroline Oceana Ryan

 

Adventures in Belfast: Tempestuous Witch

Adventures in Belfast

 

A wee guide to Northern Ireland

Is the dividing wall in Belfast a barrier to peace?

An American in Belfast: The Amateur Traveler Talks About Titanic, Murals, Meals, and More

Photos: Should the Belfast murals remain?

The Troubles Murals of Derry, Northern Ireland

A Black Cab Tour of the Belfast Murals

Northern Ireland: A Year of Change

Northern Irish Film - Top Picks: Middletown, Hunger, and Bloody Sunday

Titanic Belfast Review

The Best of Visiting Belfast: Part One

The Best of Visiting Belfast: Part Two

The Best of Visiting Belfast

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Ireland Travel Kit – an app and website featuring the best off-the-beaten-path locations in Ireland (with contributions from many, many Irish travel writers, created by Irish Fireside)

Spots the Tourists Miss In Ireland

Travel Writers' Secrets: Favorite Places in Ireland

Remarkable Places in Ireland FREE eBook from Irish Fireside

The Little Museum of Dublin

Derrynane House, Co Kerry, Ireland

Five Alternative Peninsulas to the Ring of Kerry to Add to Your Ireland Itinerary

Who Is Saint Bridget, and Why Is She In a Well?

Horseback Riding Vacation in County Kerry, Ireland

Abbey Island, Derrynane Beach, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Abbey Island, Derrynane Beach, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Abbey Island

 

Outdoor Activities In Western Ireland

Alternatives to Ireland’s Most Popular Destinations

Inis Mór: As Irish As It Gets

Climbing Croagh Patrick

Climbing Croagh Patrick, Ireland

Climbing Croagh Patrick. Photo Trish Clark

 

ON THE TOURIST TRAIL

Ireland’s Celtic Ruins

Muckross House, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Ireland and Northern Ireland Driving Itinerary

Spend the Day at Wicklow Mountains National Park

Dingle Ireland: Great Blasket Island

Killarney National Park, Ireland

Family Fun in Ireland : 7 Things to Do in 2014

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs Of Moher AKA The Princess Bride’s Cliffs Of Insanity

The Cliffs of Moher - by boat!

Ireland Itinerary: 10 Days on the Ring of Kerry

Ireland’s Ring of Kerry and Kenmare

The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide: How To See Ireland In 12 days

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park – A Journey Back In Time

A podcast interview (with photos!) we did at Amateur Traveler, on the Ring of Kerry

10 Free (or Almost Free) Things to Do on the Ring of Kerry

10 free (or almost free) things to do on the Ring of Kerry

 

RECIPES

Irish Shortbread Recipe & Ireland Travel Notes

Christmas Dinner Irish Style: Great Holiday Recipes Inspired by Ireland

Irish Recipes: Guinness Stew and Brown Bread

Irish Recipes: Guinness Stew and Irish Brown Bread

 

Irish Tea Cake Recipe

Because sometimes, you've just got to make fish chowder
So what do you do, when you're in your lovely seaside cottage, fire going in the hearth, cuppa tea in hand, needing a break from your book, and it's not just the usual light, short-lived rain, but a full-blown storm? You pull out the fresh hake gleaned from the Kenmare Wednesday Market, and scrub and dice the fresh organic carrots (same market) and fresh potatoes (Tesco, not so glamorous, but we love Tesco). You chop onion and garlic, glorying in the sounds of the rain and wind. You glop into the well-loved pan some creamy Irish butter. You root around in the cupboard, and come up with fresh sea salt (no time to make your own, alas) and organic mixed herbs. And you chop the fish, which seemed so mundane when purchased (avoiding the plaice, as it is just TOO UGLY) and now has taken on a purpose far beyond what you had in mind...
 

Irish Fish Chowder Recipe

Irish Fish Chowder

 

SAINT PATRICK’S DAY

St. Patrick’s Day: Ireland travel memories

The 25 Best Articles for Your St Patrick’s Day Reading!

A Musical St. Patrick’s Day in the Pubs of Ireland

 

SHOPPING

Shopping in Ireland

 

WHERE TO EAT

Dining in Ireland: Meet Paul Flynn of The Tannery

Ard Bia: the best restaurant in Ireland

Delicious Ireland

5 Great Places To Eat In Ireland & 1 Dish You Shouldn’t

Travel Writers' Secrets: Favorite Places to Eat in Ireland and Scotland

Foodie Finds: Avoca in Moll's Gap, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Foodie Finds: McGanns, Doolin, Ireland

Foodie Finds: Bunratty Creamery Bar and Restaurant

Bunratty Castle Medieval Banquet

Savoring Handmade Chocolates Just Off Ireland’s Ring of Kerry

Skellig Chocolate Company, Ireland

Skelligs Chocolate Company. YUM.

 

 

 

Want more Ring of Kerry goodness? Check out my learn.ist boards:

 

 

 

 

Of course, this is just the tip of the goodness that is Ireland.

 

Where are your favorite places, in Ireland? Please share!

 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Jessie Voigts, except where noted

 

 

The Best of Ireland: an A to Z Guide - from the experts!

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