Ireland: with its rolling green hills, dramatic mountain ranges, and light rainfall, it is no wonder that it is known as the “Emerald Isle” – and is the perfect backdrop for all travelers alike.
Ireland’s History & Past
Ireland lies to the north-west of the European continent, with Great Britain directly to its north-east. While Ireland functions as one island, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland function as two separate jurisdictions of Ireland as a whole. The significantly larger and southern area is known as the Republic of Ireland, with the largest city in Ireland as its capital: Dublin. Like many other cities and populated areas in Ireland, Dublin was founded as a Viking settlement. The River Liffey, which runs through the middle of Dublin, was a main passage for traders and Vikings alike. Thus, Dublin has been a significant part of Irish history and Gaelic culture since Mediaeval Times.
To the north of the Republic of Ireland is a second jurisdiction: Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and Great Britain. Its capital is Belfast, which is the second largest city in Ireland. Within the past century, Belfast has been the site of a great deal of conflict, including the period in Ireland’s history known as “the Troubles,” and accordingly, is also an important part of Ireland’s history and ideologies.
Ireland is a mix of the modern and myth. Viking history, Celtic and Gaelic culture, and St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, echo loudly in today’s Ireland: St. Patrick’s Day, Van Morrison and U2, brilliant minds like that of Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, Guinness, and modern art and architecture are visible throughout Dublin.
Travelling to Ireland: Must See’s and Do’s!
When visiting Ireland, be sure to take the time to get away from all the busyness and pub-crawling in Dublin. A visit to Ireland is not complete without a visit to its castles and 5 thousand-year-old ancient sites. Amongst Ireland’s most famous sites is Blarney Castle, located nearby the city of Cork. It was first built in 1200 and later in the 1400’s. Its main attraction is the Blarney Stone, which is also called the “Stone of Eloquence.” Tourists from all over the world come to kiss the mythical stone which is said to endow the gift of eloquence and ability to flatter and coax others.
Another tourist site which needs no real introduction is St. James’s Gate Brewery. During the middle ages, St. James’s Gate was western entrance into the city of Dublin. Later, the brewery was built at the site, and it was here at the St. James’s Gate Brewery in 1759, that Arthur Guinness began brewing ale. Arthur’s result is what is now known all over the world as Guinness Stout. The production of Guinness was moved to London between the 1930’s to 2005, but has returned to its original site at St. James’s Gate Brewery, which is also called the Guinness Storehouse.
Visit Ireland today and experience all its sights and wonders for yourself!