Published on April 22, 2016 | by Dan Schrock0
Traveling To Ireland? A Local’s Recommendations For Must Visit Sites
As a Northern Irishman, I wholeheartedly understand that the majority of outsiders have already developed a bad opinion about Irishmen and the country in general. In fact, most are only available with the basics, including the insatiable alcohol cravings of the Irish and the bloody Irish War of Independence. Looking at Ireland with such blinders can be restrictive and could result in you missing out on a worthwhile experience. Allow me to help! As an insider, I’ll provide you with those some of the lesser-known gems within Ireland.
It is truly misfortunate that the majority of outsiders have never heard of Waterford. The port city is incredibly popular amongst the locals for a handful of reasons. The first is the city’s extensive history. It is the oldest city of the Republic of Ireland and simply walking down the streets can take you back. The Waterford Crystal is yet another reason to visit the area. This historic manufacturing plant was unfortunately shutdown in 2009 due to bankruptcy. What people fail to realize is that the Waterford Crystal Company was responsible for Derek Jeter’s bat and ball retiring trophy! Even Americans will be able to appreciate this side of Ireland.
If you’ve got nerves of steel and want to explore Ireland at night, visiting the Ballycarton Forest is a must! If you want to enhance the experience and up the intensity, it is highly recommended that you rent a mountain bike and grab a torch. The forest is truly a magnificent site and you’ll feel amazing immersing yourself into the mystical atmosphere. Just don’t bother asking the locals about some of the myths regarding the area. If you do, you may not make it back alive!
Antrim Hills Way
Belfast can be great, but it is often too busy and hectic for my liking. If you’re like me an prefer to get away from the crowds, I suggest you travel 20 minutes outside of Belfast to Antrim Hills Way. The site requires a little bit of walking or biking, so you’ll want to wear the right attire. This amazing nature trail spans over 22 miles and the entirety is downright gorgeous. You’ll venture through green fields, until you eventually come to the magnificent Antrim coastline. Each leg of the journey will be enjoyable and very memorable! Do not leave Ireland without checking this one out!
If you are an avid fan of history and enjoy visiting medieval castles, you will need to schedule a visit to the Shannon Region. I must admit that this region provides a mythical ambience that draws you into the scenery, architecture, and beautiful surroundings. While, most of the visitors are drawn to the area, because of the various castles and Cliffs of Moher, others are more interested in fishing along the gorgeous rivers and lakes. Whatever your reason may be one thing is for sure the Shannon Region has something to offer everyone. There are several touristy adventures that you can partake in, while visiting the area including skydiving, canoeing, and sightseeing. You can even take a tour underground, exploring the Doolin and Ailwee caves, where archaeologists believe that the ancient habitants of Ireland live.
If you’re looking for an adventure and don’t mind walking, I highly recommend checking out Devil’s Glen. There is truly nothing more beautiful than Devil’s Glen, which is located in the Wicklow Mountains. The outdoor sculptures are breathtaking, stunning and will never be forgotten. The best aspect of all is that the entire walking trail can be enjoyed free of charge! Be sure to bring a reliable camera, because you’ll want to snap some shots of the gorge.
The Giant’s Causeway just happens to be the most popular landmark in Ireland. This mystical sight draws thousands of tourists each year, with many of them trying to get a glimpse of the Irish giant that mysteriously created the structure many centuries ago. The columns of volcanic basaltic clay rocks stretch upwards, with the tallest one being around 12 meters in height. The columns have anywhere from 4-8 sides, which are not visible from afar, but exists no less. The Giant’s Boot and Organ are the most popular parts of the structure, but years of weathering have taken its toll on them. If you’re interested in visiting this area, I highly recommend checking out Allen’s Tours. The tour guides are fantastic, knowledgeable and very entertaining.