I know what you’re thinking.. how did they whittle it down to just 10 reasons? And it wasn’t easy! As a place to visit, Ireland has so much going for it and over the years, our little island has become quite the tourist destination with 10+ million people visiting each year. However, if you need some convincing, we’ve compiled our top 10 reasons why you should visit the Emerald Isle.
1. Friendly people
As an Irish person, I’m very proud of how we’re known for our kindness, warm welcome and friendly nature. Whether you stroll into a large shopping centre in the city or pop into a small Irish gift shop, there’s a good chance you will meet some great local characters who love to chat and welcome people to the area. We will likely start the conversation with a comment about the weather, then tell a joke and ask you where you’re from!
2. Ireland is safe
Ireland is definitely safe to visit and you will likely encounter no problems when travelling here. In fact, Ireland placed 8 out of 163 countries in the Global Peace Index. However, like everywhere else, crime does take place, mostly in the cities, but most offences are things like theft. It is still advised that you take extra precaution if travelling solo, especially after dark.
3. Pub culture
There’s no doubt that pubs are a huge part of Irish culture. Every village and town in Ireland has at least a handful of pubs and even if you don’t drink, it’s worth visiting a few to experience the wonderful atmosphere and craic! Many pubs will have live music playing on the weekends and if you’re very lucky, someone will start singing a few songs! Ireland is also home to some of the world’s oldest pubs.
4. Natural Landscapes
The main attraction of Ireland for so many is the unspoiled environment and beautiful, natural scenery. Ireland has beautiful landscapes that you can walk, hike, sail or simply admire from afar. Take a look at our Top 10 Best Coastal Walks in Ireland. Also, if you love road trips, you’ll love Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s a must! It stretches 2,600km (1,500 miles) along the west coast from Donegal to Cork and takes visitors via Connemara, The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.
With 18 Michelin star restaurants, Ireland’s food scene has been improving rapidly. As you explore the Irish countryside, you’ll see a lot of cows in fields, grazing green grass which helps produce the creamiest of butter. Trust me, try our butter! There’s lots of fine dining options across the country that focus on local and seasonal produce which will give you a modern taste of Ireland.
There’s 30,000 of them.. Yep, 30,000 castles and ruins are dotted throughout the country. You can visit as many as you like while you’re here and can even stay in castles overnight! Many visitors flock to Blarney Castle to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, while other popular castles include Bunratty Castle, Belfast Castle, Dublin Castle and Dunluce Castle.
7. To retrace your ancestry (probably)
If you’re from the USA, Australia, Canada or another country once part of the British Empire, there’s a good chance at least one of your ancestors lived in Ireland. The Irish have emigrated all over the world with 80 million people claiming Irish roots! Tracing your roots has become quite popular in recent years, especially with online services such as Ancestry.com
8. Music & Festivals
We’ve already mentioned live music in pubs, but Ireland hosts some of the best music events you’ll ever experience. Traditional music and dance is a living, thriving tradition carried forward by local musicians who are creating folklore for future generations. When visiting, you must also participate in one of the many cultural festivals that the country holds annually like Galway International Arts Festival, TradFests in Dublin and Doolin and of course the St. Patrick’s Day Festival.
One of the big draws to Ireland is its rich heritage and history. Ireland’s long history is both fascinating and tragic, particularly in relation to the many rebellions against British rule, which resulted in independence through the formation of the Irish Republic, but also led to huge loss of life. As well as this, Ireland’s literary legacy is equally notable. CS Lewis, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney and Samuel Beckett are all from Ireland and Dublin itself is a UNESCO City of Literature.
Ireland is the home of Guinness, one of the best-selling beers in the world. The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is Ireland’s most visited tourist attraction, bringing in close to 1.7 million visitors each year. Guinness in Ireland is often said to taste significantly better than anywhere else.
Here’s a list of Irish words, phrases and slang that you might hear Irish people use in conversation. If you learn a few of these