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Travel Guide: Visitors to Ireland

Updated on October 3, 2011

Ireland was under complete English domination by the 1600s with the Protestant English rule which resulted in the marginalisation of the Catholic majority, though in the north east Protestants were in the majority due to the Plantation of Ulster. Ireland became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.

The IrishRepublic declared independence from England rule in January 1919 which provoked the Irish War of Independence, which ended in July 1921 with a truce. The Anglo-Irish Treaty ended British rule, establishing the Irish Free State, leaving six northern counties under British rule. The Irish Free State left the Commonwealth to become a Republic in 1949.

Tourists have three World Heritage sites to choose from in Ireland with Bend of the Bryne, Skellig Michael and the Giant’s Causeway, the latter formed out of volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. There are many castles to visit including BunrattyCastle and BlarneyCastle as well as other beautiful places not to be missed including the Cliffs of Moher, the Ring of Kerry and Galway.

Ireland is full of legends that visitors can explore as with the Legend of the Shamrock or the Legend of the Leprechaun, the Blarney Stone and the Legend of Ireland’s Magic Harp.

The Irish calendar consists of many pagan customs as well as Christian festivals. On 1st February is Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, and on 17th March St Patricks Day, not to be missed with its parades and festivals. Tourists can experience the culture through the many festivals. Patron Saint is St Patrick, and the national emblem is the shamrock.

Soak up the atmosphere of the Lakeland region, one of Ireland’s most peaceful and relaxing areas, where the pace of life is slow and a powerful beauty surrounds you. It prides itself on its laid-back atmosphere, fascinating history, ancient monuments and a strong sense of culture and community. Tourists will be swept up in the stunningly beautiful and utterly unspoiled landscape, and lively towns that are buzzing with excellent places to eat, drink, visit and stay.

Festivals and Events From the aphrodisiacs of the sea in Galway to the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Festival, the Irish people definitely know how to celebrate, well, pretty much everything!

In Northern Ireland you can experience the beautiful beaches, buzzing cities and breathtaking rural landscapes. Beyond its stylish and buzzing capital Belfast, you’ll find craggy coastline, lush sweeping glens and encounter the warm welcome that Northern Ireland hospitality is so well known for.

Traditional Irish music is celebrated with passion and energy right throughout the year around the country of Ireland. One of the biggest events is the World Fleadh in August, when the best national and international performers descend on Portlaoise. The largest festival of Irish music is undoubtedly All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann – a whopping 250,000 people from all over the world hit Offaly in August and over 10,000 performers take part in concerts, céilithe (Irish dancing sessions), parades and pageants. The Feakle International Music Festival celebrates the rich tradition of music over five days in the beautifully scenic area of East Clare. Then in Limerick is the Sionna Music Festival featuring traditional music, song and dance from Ireland and around the world.

Visas are not needed to visit Ireland but to study or work there if you are travelling from the USA you will need a visa. You need to apply online on the UK Border Agency website.


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