March 17, 2014

7 Reasons Why You Should Experience the Luck of the Irish in Ireland. ~ Jen Weddle

St. Patrick’s Day should be less about green beer and the standard “Kiss me I’m Irish” T-shirt that everyone wears—and more about the beauty of travel and experience.

It’s never too late to experience the luck of the Irish for yourself or too early to start planning your next vacation.

Ireland is a place where magic and reality intertwine together in beautiful scenic views and historical castles. While you’re there, stop and enjoy the pub scene and sip on some Irish whiskey: I can’t turn down a good whiskey or a Guinness.

So before you actually decide that Ireland will be your next destination, there are a couple things that you should be asking yourself.

Do you like rain?

The Emerald Isle is known for its extremely unpredictable weather and wetness, so if you’re not one to enjoy stomping in puddles and singing in the rain, then consider a different place to let your adventurous spirit run wild.

Do you want to travel somewhere but you only know one language?

The language barrier of other countries wouldn’t be a problem because although Ireland uses its native language of Irish Gaelic, you’ll rarely hear it spoken in popular travel destinations of the country. One of the hardest things about a vacation in Europe is the language barrier that you’ll experience.

It’s hard to get around if you expect everyone speaks English, because they don’t, and sometimes you might find yourself playing an intense game of charades—only to end up disappointed. So unless you’re planning to travel to a remote village on the western coast of the island, you’re unlikely to hear Irish Gaelic.

If you answered yes to both of these questions, then may a little fortune be with you as you start to plan your next great adventure. I’ve compiled a list of seven lucky reasons why you should experience the Emerald Isle:

1. Party like it’s 1998…or St. Patrick’s Day.

The Irish know how to party, and they will find any reason to celebrate with a festival. It’s especially evident on Ireland’s day of pride. Although, St. Patrick’s Day is a national celebration in many other countries, you won’t find a party as big or bold as Ireland’s.

The whole country comes together to think green and the world seems to be a festival of entertainment and celebration. While 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed worldwide daily, that number increases to 13 million on St. Patty’s Day. We know the Irish love a good party, but Dublin uses the holiday as a four-day festival where one can see everything from salsa dancing to céilís (traditional Irish dances).

If you’re not a fan of St. Patrick’s Day (oh, the humanity!), then consider one of Ireland’s many other festivals, such as the Lisodoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, Festival of World Cultures, Galway Races, or the Cork Jazz Festival, just to name a few popular ones.

2. Convenience of travel.

Planning a vacation can be difficult and strenuous at times, so make it easy by choosing Ireland. There are a number of great and reasonably priced sites that offer air travel to Ireland.

Dublin, Belfast, and Shannon offer major airports where one can arrive near popular destination spots. Car rentals are also available at a reasonable price so that ones can see the geographical extremes that Ireland has to offer in an adventurous road trip.

3. Local musical traditions can be found anywhere.

Ireland is known for its traditional music, but some people don’t want to see stage spectaculars like Riverdance, so they can go and see a living, thriving tradition that is carried on throughout the country by local musicians. It’s the type of music that you would never be able to see anywhere else in the world: It truly is special and one-of-a-kind.

4. Self-cater your next vacation.

The Internet has so many wonderful capabilities, but it also has the capability to give us true local recipes. Can you imagine all the Irish food you could make with ingredients straight out of the Emerald Isle?

Live locally, and you could save a lot of money on food by buying from local grocers and making as many meals as you like. Consider a rental instead of a hotel so that you can have the privacy a hotel can’t offer you and your own kitchen. Of course, I’m not staying steer clear from Irish cuisine or the restaurants; just make the food yourself if you’re a natural in the kitchen.

5. Plentiful marine life.

I love animals, so this is why I think that Ireland is so great. A lot of people go for the beer, but there are those few that know about the beautiful marine life you can find. You can scope out some dolphin, whales, orcas, and seals on the coast of Ireland.

The waters are home to some of the greatest wildlife, and you won’t have to spend a lot of money on those boat tours for whale watching when you’re not guaranteed to see anything.

If you have some patience and a pair of binoculars, you may even be able to see sharks that are known to splash around in the shallower waters. The water isn’t the best for swimming because of the wildlife and the temperature; you’ll more than likely capture some beautiful photography and experience something you won’t see anywhere else.

6. Irish coffee.

If you’ve never experienced Irish coffee, do yourself a favor and try it immediately. Ireland offers a sampling of different coffees and it’s often one of people’s favorite culinary experiences in the country.

Irish coffee is served with Irish whiskey and a soft, thick clump of unsweetened whipped cream floating on top in a glass mug.

If you’re a coffee connoisseur, be wary because many of the restaurants will serve instant coffee rather than brewing it fresh. Be vigilant in your quest for the perfect cup of Joe for a quality culinary experience you won’t soon forget.

7. Shop ‘til you drop.

Shopping is kind of an important part of vacation. It’s a way to explore markets and shops that you’ll never be able to see anywhere else. Dublin has everything from the antique to second-hand items at the Black rock Market. Self-catering is a great way to experience local cuisine made by your own hands, and Ballymun Farmers’ Market offers plenty of fresh food and local produce.

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Assistant Editor: Jen Weddle/Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: James Pion / Pixoto

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