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What to Do and See When Holidaying in Ireland: The Best of Eire, The Emerald Isle

Updated on February 24, 2019
Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel lives with her family on the Island of Madeira, where a warm climate provides the perfect environment to enjoy the outdoor life.

Southeast Ireland: Curracloe Beach

Curracloe Beach, Wexford: where the D-Day sequence in Saving Private Ryan was filmed
Curracloe Beach, Wexford: where the D-Day sequence in Saving Private Ryan was filmed | Source

Ireland and Her Bounty of Sights

Ireland is a beautiful lush island in the northwest of Europe. The different shades of green that creep over her landscape are just one of the reasons Ireland is also known as The Emerald Isle. The Isle has many attractions to offer the visiting traveller, with her abundance of culture, scenery and history. The local people are true to their name, being very friendly folk. The craic really is mighty and the food is amongst the best fare in the world.

Days Out

Let's start with some fun days out in typical Irish style. I have somewhere for everyone to enjoy visiting. First up: for those of you that like to place a bet.

Horse Racing:

Ireland loves her horse racing, from flat to hurdles to the exciting steeplechase. With around 26 courses to choose from you won't be disappointed.

Punchestown in Co. Kildare to Leoparsdtown in Dublin you will witness some of the best horse racing fun on any horse event calender. There is nothing quite like the craic at an Irish horse track.

Easter Monday at Fairyhouse in Co. Meath will take your breath away with Powers Gold Label Irish Grand National. An absolute must for a horse racing fan.The best way to spend an Easter weekend.


A little excitement for those of you that like to fish. With over 5000 km of coastline dipping into tranquil bays and spectacular beaches the angling opportunities are vast.

Rivers offer salmon and trout. The beautiful lakes of Cavan and Monaghan are full of bream and roach. Out to sea Irelands position enjoys a natural marine life, rich in varied proportions.

Fishing for tuna, shark, congor, ray, gunard, sea bass, dog fish, pollack and cod to name a few, should make any angler a happy chappy.


Chose a golf course from more than 300 courses over 32 counties. That's not difficult is it. No matter where you are in Ireland you're never far from a golf course.

Opt for the Royal Portrush in Co. Antrim or closer to Dublin city you have Portmarnock. The Druids Glen is a little further southeast in Wicklow.

If you read The Golf Magazine you may have seen the European Club in Wicklow and Ballybunion in Co. Kerry under the top 100 golf courses in the world.

Temple Bar: Where The Party Starts and Never Finishes

Temple bar is a well known lively spot in Dublin city. The narrow cobbled streets are lined with night clubs, good bars and places to eat. This is the hot spot, the place to be. Famous celebrities are among the visitors that mark Temple Bar as a favorite haunt. Temple bar is quite the place to be seen, so if you're in the city make sure you visit The Temple Bar.

The Temple Bar, so called after the area, offers a wonderful ambiance, amazing food and great beer. The hustle and bustle is pure indulgence. The oysters are famous here; Temple Bar oysters served on crushed ice with a squeeze of lemon. Add a little tabasco to create some heat.

Jumbo chicken wings served with dipping sauce. These are so good you'd fight off an army to get your teeth into one. There's no need for a napkin here as licking your fingers is an absolute delight. If any one should try to steal a wing, their head will fly from Dublin Castle.

If the truth be told the food in Ireland is absolutely wonderful from a local bar to a top 5 star restaurant. As we are on the subject of food. I must mention Dublin Bay prawns. In fact they are more like baby lobsters and they are often called by another name, langoustines. These guys are the best prawns you'll ever eat. Opt for lemon and sea salt or go with the dish of the day. Either way you're in for a king size treat of juicy seafood.

At this point I have to mention beef. Ireland is renowned for her wonderful meat. With caring farmers and expert butchers, it is no wonder the Irish people are a nation of meat eaters. Ordering a steak is a simple choice; T-bone, sirloin, strip-loin, rib eye, rump, fillet to mention a few. The next decision, what's going to accompany your steak.

Choose From The Following:

  • garlic mushrooms, neat or breaded
  • garden peas, mushy or green bean
  • coleslaw or potato salad
  • pepper or cream sauce
  • french fries or steak chips
  • fried onions or onion rings

All I can say is order your own onion rings, cause I don't share, and no one else will either. Delicious.

Lunch: Steak Sandwich and a Pint of Guinness

Steak Sandwich
Steak Sandwich | Source

Wells House: Where The Real Fairies Live

Wells House in Castlebridge, Wexford
Wells House in Castlebridge, Wexford | Source

Take a trip to Wells House in Wexford. A beautiful grand Victorian House set in attractive landscaped gardens. Delve into the Fairy Forest and count the fairy doors as you meander down the leafy trail. Discover cute characters peeping out at you as you run through the woody lanes. A great adventure for little kids and big kids.

Take a picnic and lunch on the lawn or treat yourself to a cuppa in the onsite coffee shop complete with outside patio area. Views are expansive and rest-full. An open playground will help extinguish some youthful energy will you enjoy a break.

Visit the small on site farm with friendly fluffy creatures and a few bigger four legged pals. Take a look at more unusual animals in the form of rescued reptiles longing in their favourite habitat.

Wells House is a truly lovely way to spend a relaxed morning or afternoon soaking up the magic of Ireland's little people. Take a little of that magic with you, and buy your very own Fairy Door. Wells House is a truly delightful treat for little kids and big kids that haven't lost their sense of wonder.

A Fairy Door Sits High up in a Tree

A Fairy Door
A Fairy Door | Source
Fairy Door
Fairy Door | Source

Famous Landmarks in Irish History

  • Trinity College, the first university in Ireland. Founded in 1592. This amazing building gives shelter to old Irish treasures such as the famous ancient Celtic manuscript The Book of Kells.
  • The Custom House built in 1781-91 is designed to look good from all observing angles.
  • Dublin Castle, built in 1204 by King John built as a fortress to defend Dublin, although it never had to put up too much of a defense.
  • Saint Patrick's Cathedral, built in 1192 believed to be on the site of the first baptism performed by St Patrick.
  • The Ha'penny Bridge an old Georgian pedestrian bridge that spans over the river Liffey. Built around the 18 century. The bridge was called many names until finally the name the locals used, Ha'penny bridge, so called because it used to cost half a penny to cross over it, became it's proper title.
  • The GPO or The General Post Office, situated on Dublin's main street, O' Connell Street is one of the last Georgian buildings left. The building was built around 1815.
  • The Guinness storehouse. The most popular tourist attraction in Dublin. Housing relics of how Guinness used to be brewed. The core of the store is modeled on a pint glass. If it was full of Guinness you'd be looking at 14 million pints of stout. The gravity bar which is the head of the pint offers panoramic views of the city and more importantly a complimentary pint of the black stuff. Thanks to Arthur Guinness who founded St James Gate Brewery in 1759, today they are the largest brewer of stout in the world.

More Delightful Irish Sites to See

  • The garden of Ireland aka Co. Wicklow is a beautiful serene location. Amazing mountain range, beautiful water falls and a superb coastline create the most intriguing scenery. Visit Avoca the home setting for Ballykissangel; a favourite fun entertaining Irish drama. Cruise the set, enjoy the buzz and sip on a pint in Fitzgerald's.
  • Co. Wexford is definitely worth a stop. A delightful town perched on the river slaney, offers an abundance of good restaurants and elegant hotels. The town is steeped in history. A short drive from the town you'll come across Johnstown Castle built between 1810-55. Pretty gardens complete with lakes stretch before you, surrounded by numerous flowers, plant life and trees. A small museum houses old agriculture implements to add a little intellect to your day. Take a walk along the strands of Curracloe beach, pictured above and enjoy miles of white sandy shores.
  • The Giant's Causeway in Co. Antrim is an area of interlocking basalt columns. The fine sculpture of an ancient volcanic eruption many millions of ears ago. One of many legends says Fionn Mac Cumhail built the causeway to reach Scotland as another giant had challenged him to fight. An old sailor told Fionn he'd seen this giant and he was a huge ferocious animal of a giant. Having told his wife, Fionn disguised himself has a baby. When the giant arrived Fionn's wife showed the giant the baby, saying his father would soon return from his work. The giant stared at this huge baby and without further ado he took to his heels and fled back to Scotland ripping up the cause way as he ran.
  • A story tells of a magical stone, given to Cormac Mc Carthy the King of Munster in gratitude from Robert the Bruce for the Irish support during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, resulting in the defeat of the English. The stone was later incorporated in the stones of a fine castle. The Blarney Castle.
  • If you'd like to improve the eloquence of your speech, perhaps you should visit the Blarney Castle in Cork. Hang bravely upside down holding unto the iron bars and pucker up and give the blarney stone the kiss of your life. According to legends you will be presented with the gift of the gab. In other words you'll talk anyone round to your way of thinking. A crowned expert in the words of flattery. And where does flattery get you? Why everywhere of course!

Would You Kiss The Blarney Stone?

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© 2010 Gabriel Wilson


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