So you’ve always wanted to go to Europe, or back to Europe in the case of our more experienced readers, or maybe it’s just time to leave the country like you said you would when Trump was elected. Either way you might find yourself wondering where you should go, and what you want to see. Perhaps Paris where you can wait in line to see the Eiffel Tower, but what about Berlin? London? Rome? Those are all wonderful destinations, but they are a little well-traveled. They are also hard to properly explore if you don’t speak a few extra languages. You’re more likely to run into mobs of picture taking tourists and overpriced drinks around every corner than the authentic European experience. No to do that you have to go off the beaten path.
The next time you are planning on hopping across the pond let your feet land in the Emerald Isle. You won’t be disappointed when you see the rolling green hills and lush landscapes, often overlooked by stone watchtowers that date back to the era of the Viking. It’s an English speaking country so whether you plan out your trip in advance or you prefer to find interesting locations yourself, you’ll always be able to ask a local for directions. Scattered all throughout the Irish countryside are ancient castles, the most famous of course being Blarney Castle home of the Blarney Stone. Though my personal favorite is The Cashel Castle, otherwise known as The Rock of Cashel, it stood on the top of a great limestone hill and from its walls you could look out over the whole town of Cashel and for miles beyond that.
Ireland also has a number of natural wonders, like the UNESCO world heritage site The Giants Causeway where 60 million years ago a volcanic eruption caused the formation of hexagonal rock structures, the Slieve League a sea cliff with a near 1000 foot drop straight into the Atlantic or the volcanic Ring of Gullion and the Mountains of Mourne.
If you’re looking to enjoy some more modern entertainment Ireland’s capital and largest city Dublin has everything you could want. Dublin itself is a lot like London, but with less tourists, walking the streets you’ll be greeted by cobblestones, and cathedrals. The beauty of the architecture is also complemented by a vibrant street art tradition and numerous art galleries, exhibits and a few museums. For bigger attractions there is Trinity College and the breathtakingly beautiful Book of Kells which are only five blocks away from Dublin Castle, which is about four blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Ireland is well known for its whiskey and beer, and Dublin reflects this by having something for beer and whiskey lovers alike, there is the Teeling Whiskey Distillery which serves as the only operating distillery in the city and for beer fans a must visit destination is the Guinness Storehouse. Which is where you can taste test the four most popular flavors of Guinness as well as learn the proper procedure for poring a perfect pint. The Guinness you can buy back in the states doesn’t even compare to the experience of drinking in the Gravity Bar with a 360 degree view Dublin around you. If you’re more of a rose wine kind of person there is also the famous Temple Bar a center for night life in the Temple Barr neighborhood. The temple bar claims to have Ireland’s largest collection of whiskeys if a visit to the distillery only whet your appetite. That’s all only on the south side of the River Liffey too, and if you really need any more convincing just think of all those Irish accents you’ll miss out on if you go somewhere else.