The Best of Ireland: an A to Z Guide
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
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!)
Dubhlinn House B&B, Co. Clare, Ireland (stay here when you're visiting the Cliffs of Moher)
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:
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!
Staigue Fort, Ring of Kerry
Guinness - the official pint of us.
Ice cream truck, pull off at Coomatloukane, Ring of Kerry
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
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:
- Irish music, Irish landscape
- Learning about Irish music
- Ireland in Song and Tune: Cherish the Ladies
- Ceol Chairlinn: sharing music in winter
- West of Ireland to the World
- Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula: Music of Home
- Three Irish & Celtic Albums You Should Experience
- Irish Music Festivals: a traveler's handbook
- Women of Ireland: Music
- Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way: the Music Begins
- Fiddles and the Wild Atlantic Way
- The Wild Atlantic Way: The Music Continues
- Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way: Voices of Donegal and Derry
- music, time, memory: Mary Black
And other great Irish music articles:
Belfast, Cathedral Quarter. Photo Caroline Oceana Ryan
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)
Climbing Croagh Patrick. Photo Trish Clark
ON THE TOURIST TRAIL
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
SAINT PATRICK’S DAY
WHERE TO EAT
Skelligs Chocolate Company. YUM.
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