The Island is about 486 km long and 275 km wide, covering approximately 84,500 square kilometers. Ireland has 32 counties, 26 in the Republic of Ireland and 6 in Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is a parliamentary democracy with a president as head of state. Northern Ireland has its own regional government, but is part of the United Kingdom. There are about 6 million people living on the island - 4.3 million people live in the Republic of Ireland and 1.7 million in Northern Ireland. One third of the population is under the age of 29.
Dublin - Surprising moments, epic adventures and all that can happen in between - Dublin is the ultimate city experience
Welcome to Dublin, a lively capital city that’s as intimate as a village and as friendly as your local Irish pub. With its seamless blend of classic visitor sights, excellent social scene and the natural playgrounds of Dublin Bay and the Dublin Mountains framing it on all sides, this laidback city is an adventure in itself. Dublin is all about the muse behind the music, the craic (fun) of the comedy, the intimate feel of this urban hub. And, of course, the people! Dublin has been named Europe’s friendliest city twice by TripAdvisor for good reason. So grab a pint, strike up a conversation, and settle in for the experience of a lifetime.
Belfast - Home of the Titanic
Culture, history and super -friendly people are what Belfast is all about. This is a city that can trace its history back to the Bronze Age; a city that built Titanic, a city forging a unique food scene; and a city that dances to its own beat. From its mighty shipbuilding past to the dynamic arts scene that swirls around the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast likes to mix it up. Discovery the energy and the medley of cultural treasures, with its mix of Victorian grandeur, industrial grit and living history.
At Titanic Belfast, delve into where it all began for the Ship of Dreams. And if you visit on a Sunday, make an appointment to indulge in the Titanic Afternoon Tea, which takes place beside the grand staircase. If you wander down the road, you’ll find HMS Caroline, the last surviving ship from the 1916 Battle of Jutland. Explore this floating museum on the interactive self-guided tour and see the recreated cabins as if the crew were still on board.
Beyond Belfast - Causeway Coastal Route
Discover the secrets of one of the best road trips in the world. Picture-perfect villages nestled into lush hillsides, ruined castles teetering on cliff edges, the ever-present crash of the waves….there are wonders to be experienced all along this legendary coastline. One stunning site leads to another, the craggy castle ruins of Dunluce Castle, the pale cream sands of Whiterocks Beach or the stunning views of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are just some of the fine attraction.
Giant’s Causeway - Take it to the edge at this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route.
As you weave along the Causeway Coastal Route, one sight jumps out as truly spectacular: the Giant’s Causeway. Stand on the hills that gently arc this precious place and you’ll look down on thousands of basalt columns tumbling down into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an epic sight with a whopping 40,000 or so of these hexagonal shaped stepping stones, which date back to a volcanic age almost 60 million years ago. Step into the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre and you can discover a story thats close to the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The star of the show is Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) - an Irish giant who picked a fight with Scottish big man Benandonner. Legendary has it that the giants loathed each other. And so one day after enduring insults from Benandonner, Fionn built a path to use as stepping-tones to reach Scotland, which was then ripped up by Benandonner. The result was the Giant’s Causeway. A geological marvel! Take an enjoyable walk of just under a kilometre which will bring you down to the Causeway itself, where you can hop over the stones, explore the surrounding hills or just sit and contemplate the puzzling geology that has led to one of the most remarkable natural sites in Europe. Here, the light changes through the day, with remarkable beauty from sharp greens and greys to warm tobacco brown. It’s what dreams are made of.
Ireland’s Ancient East - 15 counties, 5000 years of history, 100s of festivals, 100,000 storytellers (well everyone in Ireland’s Ancient East has a story to tell). At first sight, Ireland’s Ancient East is carpeted by lush landscapes and idyllic towns, framed by the River Shannon and the Irish Sea. But this land is also full of secrets. Just ask the locals and the stories will spring to life. Every cairn has a story, every castle turret has a tale, every hill may hide heroic sagas. Ask the people you meet and you will hear them tell of the legends, triumph and sometimes tragedy that whirl around its round towers, opulent mansions and prehistoric monuments.
Wild Atlantic Way
From the wind-whipped tip of Malin Head to the safe haven of Kinsale Harbour, wrap yourself in the wilderness of the west coast of Ireland on the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. The Wild Atlantic Way is a sensational journey of soaring cliffs and bussing towns and cities, of hidden beaches and epic bays. So whether you drive it from end-to-end or dip into ti as the mood strikes, it’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Untouched, off-radar and crying out for exploration, this rugged and remote area marks the northwestern contour of the Wild Atlantic Way. Nature is the star here, from the sheer granite walls of some of Europe’s highest sea cliffs at Slieve League, to Northern Lights dancing in clear winter skies. But there’s warmth and wit to be found among the vibrant, Irish-speaking community. This is a place that will lift your spirit.
The jagged stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way, leading from Donegal Town through Sligo to far-flung Erris in Mayo, is renowned for its surf and attracts some of the world’s top waverers. But that’s only the beginning. There’s a cultural richness along the Surf Coast too, from the Neolithic Ceide Fields to a lively festival scene and of course the legacy of poet WB Yeats, who immortalized the landscapes of his childhood in some of his best known works - including the Lake Isle of Inishfree.
From distant Erris to Connemara, the Wild Atlantic Way skims south around huge bays. The largest of these - Clew Bay - is said to have 365 islets and islands, one for every day of the year. In Connemara, water and land merge in a lacy shoreline of loughs, covers, islands and bogs. There’s history and culture too: elegant Georgian Westport House; the stronghold of legendary pirate queen Grace O’Malley on Clare Island…and Connemara’s Derrigimlagh Bog - where the world’s first transatlantic flight landed. Drive across the road bridge to Keep Strand on Achill Island, with its towering sea-cliffs, exposed mountains and sweeping sandy beaches. On Achill, while sheltering under Slievemore Mountain, you can wander through a strange and long abandoned settlement know simply as the Deserted Village. Simply walk from cottage to cottage, imaging life here through the centuries in this remote and poignant spot.
Cliff Coast - Raw beauty and timeless traditions on the Wild Atlantic Way
Speaking about the Cliff Coast, Lonely Planet said, “The land is hard, the soul is not.” It’s here that Ice-Age landscapes meet west-coast warmth and unbroken views connect the mountains to the islands that dot the Atlantic. Improbable landscapes like The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher hum with rare plants, puffin colonies and dolphins, while Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney described it as a place that can “catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”
No Ireland bucket-list is complete without a trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Part of a UNESCO Global Geopark and Special Protection Area, these iconic rock stars soar to heights of 214 metres (702 feet) at their highest and are home to over 20 species of seabirds. Signposted routes and nature trails make walking here a pleasure, as do the panoramic seascapes of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, Twelve Bens mountains and the Dingle Peninsula.
In Ireland’s beautiful south-west, five great peninsulas - Dingle, Iveragh, Beara, Sheep’s Head and Mizen - stretch miles out into the ocean.Breathtaking views unfold at every turn here, and there’s a distinctly edge-of-the-world feel to these Southern Peninsulas. Make friends with whales and dolphins, take a cable car over a crashing ocean, or stargaze under Ireland’s darkest skies. Whatever you do, you will leave the ordinary far behind.
Zigzaggin gently from dreamy Bantry Bay through Skibbereen and on to Kinsale, the Haven Coast is perfectly named. Hedgerows thick with fuchsia and monbretia border lush gardens; endless inlet and Blue Flag beaches promise long days spent relaxing in the salty air. There’s something restorative about the temperate Gulf Stream climate, the peaceful vibe and creative scene , the wonderful artisan food, arts and festivals. And echoing all along this coast is it’s history: ancient sites, coastal forts and - out on the horizon - ‘Ireland’s tear drop’, the Fastnet Rock