Travel to Ireland: Celtic Lore and Pub Camaraderie

The signature rolling green pastures of Ireland’s landscape is enough to resuscitate the weary traveler back to life with calming beauty and refreshing hospitality. From strange stone formations to thousand-year-old churches, Ireland’s countryside is a patchwork of some of the most intriguing remnants of a unique but turbulent history, not to mention the sprinkling of jubilantly jolly pubs that will have you singing folk songs with a signature Irish dark ale in your hand in no time.

Most fascinating of Irish travel is the evidence of ancient Celtic civilization and their Viking invaders in the form of stone circles, monoliths and mounds. Burial mounds, known as Court Cairns and Tumuli, can be found all over the countryside. One such ruin in the Silvermines Mountains has lost its covering over time and the many stone chambers inside are now visible. The most impressive stone circle is The Lios in Limerick, which dates back to 2000 BCE and is given a distinctly eerie feel by the area’s abundant overgrowth and crooked trees. The giant circle is 150 feet in diameter and attached to a long stone-lined path that leads to two other smaller circles in the area.

Location, Location, Location

Part of the magic of Ireland is that booking a 5 star hotel can turn out to be the equivalent of residing in the King’s quarters of a 300 year old castle. The Ashford Castle in County Mayo is one such place where guests may fine tune their equestrian skills in the countryside, pick up a few games of tennis or enjoy full spa services. There is no question that Ireland’s countryside is best enjoyed from one of the many castles or bed & breakfasts. When you travel to Ireland, a visit should be paid to Leap Castle, but not an overnight one, as it has earned the fame of being the most haunted castle in Europe. Discover the strange and gruesome 400-year history of this tormented mansion and its “Bloody Chapel.”

After leaving the haunted halls, soak in some classic Irish scenery to settle your stomach by ascending the trails of Mount Brandon. Far below, the longest stretch of sandy beach in Ireland comes in and out of view and high up in the mountains you will encounter steep cliffs that drop down to a lake-filled valley. The surrounding Dingle Peninsula is home to two picturesque seaside villages nestled against the rising peaks overlooking Brandon Bay. Another coastal adventure not to be missed is the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. These dramatically plunging sea cliffs are heavily visited and therefore best enjoyed in the evening while the sun is setting on the water and the waves of the Atlantic are crashing thunderously into the rocks below.

Not All Enya

Ireland has long been pushing the envelope of modern music and culture. An Irish vacation is not complete without experiencing Dublin’s revolutionary rock scene or residing in Galway to find out what’s new in jazz, literature and art during one of the many festivals held from February through August. Remember, this lovely Celtic island happens to be the home of U2, The Cranberries and Van Morrison.

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