A small, breathtaking country characterized by magical myths and medieval castles, Ireland is truly one of a kind. St. Patrick’s Day in particular calls for celebrating the island’s charm – leaving all who have visited (or studied abroad there) eager to return. If you haven’t been yet, we’ve summarized some of the things that make the Emerald Isle extraordinary.
Here are 17 reasons why you need to visit Ireland at least once.
1. The welcoming environment
Called the land of a thousand welcomes, Ireland is world-famous for its hospitality. The welcome you feel upon arrival will extend throughout your visit (however long that may be).
2. The traditional music
Lively, traditional music is a huge piece of what makes Ireland so special. Whatever the weather, day of the week, or town that you’re in, you’ll likely find at least one pub with a live “trad music” session.
3. The “craic”
Fun – or “craic” as the Irish call it – can be found all over Ireland. Finding exciting things to do in Ireland is as simple as asking a local, “Where’s the craic?”
4. The greenest grass you’ll ever see
Ireland’s nickname the Emerald Isle is no exaggeration. A lush, green blanket of grass tucks the country in and makes for a refreshing retreat.
5. The thousands of castles and early medieval sites
Castles, fortresses, and prehistoric sites exist all around the country. To put it into perspective: when you pull off the highway in the United States, you can expect to see a fast food chain; in Ireland, you can expect to see ancient ruins.
6. The fact that you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time
It’s incredible how much it can feel like you’re traveling back in time while in Ireland. A ferry to the Aran Islands is essentially a portal to the past.
7. The remarkable rolling hills…
In Ireland, the destination is just as much the drive as it is the final stop. Main roads cut through rural areas with rolling hills and a largely unspoiled landscape.
8. …And the deep turquoise water
The turquoise water around the Dingle Peninsula is just as magnificent as the steep cliffs that drop into it.
9. The Cliffs of Moher
Ireland’s premier tourist destination, the Cliffs of Moher have served as a backdrop for famous films like Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and attract over one million visitors each year.
10. The national parks
Whether you choose to explore them via car, foot, or bicycle, Ireland’s handful of national parks are all uniquely magnificent.
11. The sheep… everywhere
Seriously – they’re everywhere! As are some of the best wool sweaters in the world.
12. The many festivals year-round
From Cork’s Jazz Festival to Dublin’s Writers’ Festival and food and art festivals all over, there’s something to celebrate year-round.
13. The tradition of storytelling…
Storytelling is a key piece of Irish culture, and the stories people tell there are captivating.
14. …And the fairytales that’ll make you believe in magic
Whatever your age, Irish legends about fairies and leprechauns will leave you believing in magic.
15. The rapidly evolving foodie scene
Called a “culinary renaissance,” Ireland’s food scene is rapidly evolving – partially due to a shifting focus on farm-to-table ingredients.
16. The Wild Atlantic Way
One of the world’s longest defined coastal routes, the Wild Atlantic Way winds along Ireland’s west coast past enchanting villages, ancient monuments, and natural wonders.
17. The fact that you’ll never want to leave
There’s this strange feeling you get when you visit or study abroad in Ireland. It’s as if a small piece of your heart remains there even after you’ve boarded the plane home. Although this feeling’s inexplainable, one thing’s for sure: once you visit Ireland, you’ll likely never want to leave.
Experience why Ireland is a must-see destination for yourself – study abroad in Ireland with AIFS! AIFS offers study abroad programs in Dublin, Limerick, and Maynooth, Ireland. To learn more, visit our website today.