Ireland: Your Eyes Will Smile Too
As impossibly green as you could possibly imagine, Ireland certainly lives up to its nickname, the Emerald Isle.
Of course, all that green comes with a fair amount of rain, but don’t let that dampen your spirits, or your plans to visit this country. There’s so much to see and appreciate, rain or shine, that you’ll soon fall under the spell of its pagan history and stories.
The stories are born out of the landscape, like the Giant’s Causeway at the top of the island where 40,000 basalt hexagonal columns spill out of the cliffside into the North sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the formation is said to have been created by two giants, one Irish, one Scottish, so they could cross the North Channel to meet each other for a fight, (supported by the fact that there are identical columns on the opposing Scottish shore.)
Storytelling is part of the country’s culture, and any opportunity to engage in fun, entertaining conversation (‘the craic’) is part of the authentic Irish experience, ideally over a pint at the ‘Local’, or neighbourhood pub. The pubs are storied as well, with many over a hundred years old, and still featuring private ‘snugs’ at the front where female patrons often chose to sit out of sight at a time when it was frowned upon for a woman to drink. Ha!
Ireland’s castles, cliffs and craic are sure to win you over when you visit, but if these aren’t charms enough, the Irish accent itself will surely make you smile!
TIP: Driving in Ireland can be quite a challenge if you’re not used to it – not only do you drive on the left side of the road but country roads can be very narrow and bordered with stone walls. Smaller cars are easier to manage both here and in cities, and even if you drive stick-shift at home, you may want to rent an automatic, to have one less thing to think about (especially if you’re not left-handed!) And like in any unfamiliar destination, it’s always a good idea to get great insurance coverage (read how to save on rental insurance).
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