Whether you’re there for business or pleasure, Ireland is an amazing country steeped in Celtic culture. Here are some handy tips for the next time you find yourself traveling in Ireland.
Traveling in Ireland
1. Beware of Tourist Traps (Except Castles)
We all know tourist traps are everywhere, but the key is to find them and avoid them. If you can, stay in local Bed & Breakfasts instead of chain hotels. You’ll be able to meet many more Irish natives and most of the time, the staff at the B&B will send you to some local haunts instead of the touristy pubs. However, many people consider the castles to be tourist traps, but those are just too cool to miss! So many of the ruins and castles have so much history, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by avoiding them. If castles, aren’t your thing, that’s fine too. They are at least beautiful to drive past.
2. Hire a Driver
Hiring a driver is one of the best ways to spend your money if you aren’t comfortable driving on the right side of the car on the left side of the road. Very few cars are automatics, so if you can’t drive a stick, you might be stuck without a driver. Also, rental companies like to give American tourists “Yank tanks,” which are average sized sedans. However, an average size American sedan is a beast of a car in a country with narrow roads. Most drivers charge by the day depending on what you want to do, so it helps to plan ahead. Many of the hotels and B&Bs can provide contact information for a reputable driver.
3. Wear Quality Shoes
This may seem like a silly travel tip, but when you’ve been traipsing around castles, country sides, and cities, you’ll be happy. The most important thing about your shoes is that they be water resistant. It doesn’t matter the time of year in the Emerald Isle, it will inevitably rain. It may only rain for a short time, but Ireland never really “dries out.” There is always a very slight dampness to the soil and ground, but that is why it’s called the Emerald Isle. It’s lush, green, and beautiful from all the rain.
4. Know the Sports
If you’re a die-hard American football fan, don’t try to compare football to any of the Irish sports. Remember, Ireland tends to produce very lovely, short-tempered, passionate sports fans. While you’re at the pubs, check out a few of these sports:
- Soccer/Football- What Americans call soccer, the rest of the world calls football. Football is revered in Ireland and they have several leagues in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have competed in three FIFA World Cup events and well as the European Championships. Many Irish players have gone on to play in England and the USA.
- Rugby- Perhaps one of the most well-known European sports not popularly played in America. Ireland is the third oldest rugby country in the world. Rugby can be a bit confusing, so when you’re the pub, buy a mate a Guinness, and ask to be taught a bit about rugby!
- Hurling- Hurling is native to Ireland and played around the world. To an American, hurling looks like lacrosse, hockey, and rugby came together in a game. It’s been played for over 3000 years and thought to be the world’s fastest field team game. With this sport, like rugby, it’s best to ask your mate to explain it to you over a pint.
5. Have a Guinness, My Goodness!
It’s practically blasphemy to visit Ireland and not have a Guinness! Even if you’re not a fan of the deep, dark drink, try it in Ireland. Since it’s brewed there, you might find it tastes much better. In the 1700s, Arthur Guinness began brewing ales and exported them for the first time in 1769. The rest is a deliciously smooth history. If you’re so fortunate to visit St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, stop in and go for a tasting!
PRO TIP: For dessert, get a warm chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream, and a Guinness. Best. Dessert. Ever.
6. Eat at Pubs (a lot!)
You’re in a country which has produced some of the best beer, potato dishes, and angry people in the world. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not eating at a lot of pubs. Unlike American-style “pubs,” Irish pubs are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While you’re traveling, start off with an Irish breakfast (don’t worry, the blood pudding doesn’t have blood in it- anymore) and stop at pubs for lunch and dinner. Some of the best meals in Ireland are in small town taverns. And you must have the fish & chips at least once a day. It’s one of the finest dishes in the country. Wash everything down with the most amazing apple pie in the world. You will love every moment of pub-life.
Megan Vick is a blogger, entrepreneur, tech-geek, fitness fiend, animal and environment lover, green goddess, and world traveler. By day, she is a creative content specialist for Fridge Filters and by night, she uses organic and vegan ingredients to make bath and body products for Shorganics.