1. Hit an Irish Pub ~
Even if you don’t drink beer or alcohol at all, going into a real Irish Pub is a necessary part of experiencing this wonderful country. My first experience in a pub in Ireland is typical of what you can expect. Here is the scene …
I walked out of the crisp air and chilly, light rain into the pub. The doors were wide open and with every step I took further inside, it became warmer. The cool air outside was streaming with the warm air inside. At first I wondered why they didn’t shut the door but then I came to understand as the whole bar sprang to life with song with live and very lively Irish music AND very busy dancing of Irish jigs! I couldn’t help but join in (even without having had a Guinness beforehand) and very quickly it got very warm which is when I understood and appreciated the open doors with the cool air streaming in, bringing a rush of vibrance to balance out the heat of the activity. To my surprise, the Irish guy I was dancing with jumped up on the bar and encouraged me to do the same to continue the jig up there! It wasn’t the last time on my trip that I witnessed people so alive with vibrance that they couldn’t help but jump up onto the bar about it.
2. Explore a Castle ~
There are so many castles in this magical place! It is hard to not be brought back to the times of knights and princesses as you traverse the endless green of Ireland. Wandering the rolling green grounds of an unthinkingly large castle and experiencing the damp chill of the massive stone walls, narrow corridors, and endless staircases is necessary to have a proper experience of Ireland. If you choose the Blarney Castle in Cork then you can also check off number 3 on my must-do list, Kiss the Blarney Stone.
3. Kiss the Blarney Stone ~
I was surprised to find that at the end of a long travel by bus, and rigorous walk up a narrow and very long stone spiraling stone staircase, that to kiss the stone, I actually had to hang backwards and upside down to reach it! I do recommend spraying the stone with sanitizer before your smooch if they still let you do that It is said that to kiss the Blarney Stone gives the kisser “The Gift of Gab”. Ha! I guess that worked for me, lol.
4. Stay at an Inn or Bed & Breakfast ~
Besides getting to experience how many people in Ireland live and how many more lived in times past, getting a wonderful dose of the sweet simplicity that is at the core of this land, staying at an Inn or Bed & Breakfast will give you the experience of some solid time with Irish people who I have found to be overridingly friendly, charming, spunky with some righteously funny phrases and ways of seeing and describing life. Running around as a tourist or a traveler can make you miss the piece of sitting down with a local for tea and hearing the stories of the land firsthand.
5. See Spray-Painted Sheep ~
As I traveled throughout Ireland, I saw endless stretches of green with a crazy amount of sheep. On many of them, I was surprised to see bright neon spray paint. I came to understand that this is a way of marking whom the sheep belong to lest they stray. Rolling green countryside and beautiful land with simple stone walls and homes define a notable amount of the experience of Ireland.
6. Hike Killarney National Park ~
Immerse yourself in an endless stretch of Ireland Oak and Yew Woodlands, take in breathtaking panoramic views of its highest mountains, and have a chance to spot the country’s only wild herd of native red deer. Maybe you will even see a magical Willow-the Wisp, showing the location of ancient treasure
7. Study Celtic & Druid History ~
The history of the Celts & Druids stretch far beyond the wizardry, magic, and spiritualism we tend to associate them with. Learn more for yourself while you are there and here is an awesome blog to give you more info.
I hope you have the Luck O’ the Irish on Your Journey