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Why Ireland is the greatest place to visit on your travels

The first thing a non-irish person thinks of when you mention Ireland will usually be, Leprechaun’s, potatoes, and Guinness.

Yes, there are many Irish people who enjoy a pint of Guinness now and again. Yes, Irish people do eat a lot of potatoes for breakfast, lunch and most definitely dinner. No, Leprechaun’s don’t exist. But in fairness, we have not done much to curb those myths and in fact, probably have accelerated them.
 
Ireland is more than these three things.  I am going to explain all the Irish quirks that you will not read in the guide books. Here are the reasons why this fair isle should be on your bucket list

“Make tea not war”

There is nothing an Irish person loves better than a lovely cup of freshly brewed tea. There is no ailment or anguish that can’t be resolved by sitting down and enjoying Ireland’s favourite beverage. Tea is always breakfast tea, the majority of the time milk and sugar is included but this is optional.  Tea is always brewed in a kettle or for the extreme traditionalists in a teapot over the stove. If you are one of those nations that make tea in a microwave, never admit this to an Irish person. Shame, disgust, and disdain will appear in their eyes. If you want to start an argument amongst Irish people simply say ” Lyons is far superior to Barry’s” and let the battle commence.

Had this lovely cup of Tea at Hippetys Cafe in Temple Bar, Dublin

“Mary and the way she looks at you”

We are a nation obsessed with love, romance and finding your soul mate. Every second reality show on RTÉ has something to do with relationships or weddings. There is even a festival in Lisdoonvarna dedicated to match-making, a long-held Irish tradition. If you ever get the chance to come to Ireland and get invited to a wedding, go. You will not regret it.

The Pint Men

In Dublin or in urban centers, there is an abundance of Irish Pubs offering “the real Irish experience”. If you want a real Irish pub you need to scout out the “local pub”. You know you are in a local pub when the following things happen
  • There are at least two old men sitting at the bar usually talking about GAA or local politics
  • An impromptu sing-song comes out of nowhere. Feel free to join in even if you don’t know the words
  • Some local pubs may offer a more extensive menu but generally speaking, food usually consists of Taytos, Bacon Fries, and toasted sandwiches.
  • There will be some memorabilia of that time the local GAA team won the senior county championship, even if it was 20 years ago. If you are there on a Saturday night you may get accosted to enter into the local lotto draw to support said team.
  • If it goes past closing time, the doors begin to shut but no one leaves, you have hit the jackpot. You have become part of what is known as a “lock-in” which means you get an extra sneaky pint or two. If this happens, play it cool, don’t draw attention to yourself and enjoy soaking in the beloved Irish culture of the “lock-in”

    A photo of Fitzgeralds Pub in Avoca, Co Wicklow. Used as the local pub in the TV show “Ballykissangel”

If you want to be famous, you have to be in a Guinness ad

Guinness courses through the DNA of every man woman and child in Ireland.  So much so that if you plan to be a world-famous actor you need to be in a Guinness ad. Michael Fassbender understood this and got himself featured as the main character in a Guinness ad/documentary of him travelling across to the USA to make a career for himself. Thus a star was born.

“Where an inch is a mile and a dolphin is a mans best friend”

The Crown Jewel of Ireland is Kerry. So beautiful is this rugged country it has been featured in many adverts and films, most notably the recent Star Wars franchise. If you plan on travelling to Ireland make sure you spend some time in this county. My home town of Killarney is a great base to explore the Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way. The locals accents may be hard to understand but you will enjoy it so much you will never want to leave.

When the going gets tough, we get going to Pennys

If you compliment an Irish person on an item of clothing and they respond with the word “Pennys” this is not an Irish phrase.  It is actually a clothing store.  If you forgot something when you were packing, head to this fashion haven where you can get a whole outfit for less than 30 euros. Since starting out in a small store off O’Connell Street it has completely dominated the fashion market in the UK, Europe and most recently the USA. Even though it is known abroad as Primark it will always be Pennys in our hearts.

“So fresh its famous”

There is nothing more delicious than an Irish Mammy’s cooking. Even though potatoes are often used in Irish cooking, Irish Mammies are well-travelled. They have explored the globe sampling different cuisines and have brought them back home with the mammy seal of approval.
The Irish have a love of food with an emphasis on fresh local produce. “Farm to Table” is the phrase of the day when it comes to cuisine globally but this is something we have been doing in Ireland for centuries.  It is everyday life in Ireland and we would expect nothing less from our restaurants. If you want to find out where the best restaurants are to get the local gastro experience, don’t rely on TripAdvisor. Ask a local and they will steer you in the right direction.

Having delicious apple crumble dessert in the Puffin Cafe, Castlefreak, Co Cork

If you’re one of those #fitfam types, Ireland is the place for you

Ireland is a beautiful place for hill walking, cycling, and general exercise. We have amazing cliff walks and mountains. From Irelands Ancient East to the Wild Atlantic Way there are plenty of opportunities to take beautiful photos of your outdoor adventures to share with all your Instagram followers. The likes will be rolling in, in no time. One of my favourite walks is the trip I took last year through the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney

Winter has come to Northern Ireland

If you are a serious Game of Thrones buff there is no place better to scout out locations than in Winterfell (AKA Northern Ireland). Follow in the footsteps of your favorite Stark characters and maybe even re-create a few scenes of your own. There are plenty of places to visit and a number of day trips from Dublin.

Dublin is technically the capital, but the real capital is the people’s republic of Cork

This Statement is slightly controversial depending on which side of the country you are from. Dublin is the spot that every tourist either starts or finishes their trip to Ireland. Do all the touristy things in Dublin like the Guinness Storehouse, the Book of Kells etc. But if you want to get the real feel of an Irish City set out for Cork. You will be spoilt for choice with wonderful bars and delicious restaurants, the problem will be choosing which ones to visit.

Blackrock Castle in Cork City

“It’s me the guy from the bar” 

Irish people love to talk. Our musical singsonged tones are the envy of many nations. Don’t be afraid to talk to locals. We are a wealth of knowledge and are always willing to have a chat or give advice about the best places to visit. It will make your whole Irish experience a 100% more amazing. 
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