By Johnny Ward of Onestep4ward.com
Whether you’re looking to take in miles of lush green scenery, immerse in centuries-old myths and legends or drink your body weight in Guinness until the wee hours of the morning, Ireland is the place for you. It’s a country richly steeped in folklore, dotted with ancient castles and filled with some of the friendliest people in the world.
Hop a plane or boat to the Emerald Isle and check out these 5 things you aren’t going to find anywhere else in the world…
Another unique thing happening in Ireland this year: The Gathering, where local events are put on throughout the country for visitors with Irish heritage. Visit our Ireland page for info on places to stay.
1. Blarney Stone
Ever wish you had the ability to speak with perfect eloquence and persuasiveness? Well according to legend, this desirable “gift of gab” is granted to anyone who climbs the tower of Blarney Castle and kisses the Blarney Stone.
It’s pretty touristy, but definitely worth the journey- after you lean backwards over the walkway to brush your lips across the stone, you’ll be able to sweet-talk your way into or out of anything.
2. The Burren
If you want to feel like you’ve walked onto another planet, the amazingly strange landscape at the Burren is a must-see. Here, plants from the Arctic meet plants from the south, and plants normally found in the mountains grow at sea level.
Vast limestone plateaus and grassland make this “lunar landscape” unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in the world. You can hike along 45 km of trails, and it’s best to go from April to October when all the flowers and plants are blooming, exploding with color among the grey rocks.
3. Guinness Storehouse
In the heart and soul of Dublin lies the home of Ireland’s most-loved liquid: Guinness beer! It’s absolutely not a trip to Ireland without at least a pint or two of this fantastic beverage.
Take a journey through the past, present and future of the world-famous beer in the fascinating exhibition within a seven-story atrium shaped like- you guessed it- a massive pint of Guinness. Afterward, head up to the Gravity Bar, the highest bar in Dublin, to enjoy a frosty pint with a panoramic view of the city.
4. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Want to test your bravery crossing a chasm 80 feet deep and 66 feet wide on a bridge made of…rope? This famous bridge links the mainland to Carrickarede, a tiny island off the north of the country.
It was originally built for fisherman to check their salmon nets, but today it exists for height-loving travelers to take the rope bridge challenge! But you’ve been warned: many people have been known to make it across the bridge once, only to chicken out on the way back and hitch a boat back to the mainland!
5. Giant’s Causeway
Intense volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago created this crazy-looking natural sight, made up of hexagonal columns forming an amphitheater of sorts by the sea. Tons of myths and legends surround the formation of this place, and you’ll find everything from the Giant’s Boot to the Wishing Chair and even the Giant Organ.
You can take a guided tour or just explore on your own- either way, it’s a guarantee that you wont find anything like this elsewhere in the world.