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IRELAND HIGHLIGHTS

Ireland is a land which is waiting to be discovered. Thanks to its countless natural attractions and scenery, rich cultural heritage and its curious folk traditions can satisfy even the most discerning traveller.

Cities to visit in Ireland

There are many beautiful cities in Ireland, starting from Dublin the lively capital.
Dublin is a city where there's always something to do or see, rich in historical monuments such as the Dublin Castle or the Cathedral of Saint Patrick, interesting neighborhoods and lovely parks such as St Stephen's Green, museums and factories to visit such as the famous Guinness Storehouse. It offers also many opportunities for having fun maybe in the famous Temple Bar district, or going shopping in Grafton Street.
Apart from this lively city, there are quieter corners in Ireland such as the fisherman villages of Kinsale, located southwest of Cork, or Galway, the capital of the Western Gaelic. Located in the Souther part of the Galway County there is another picturesque seaside village: Kinvara with its coloured houses where the gulls and wind noise sound in the ears of its visitors. It worths a visit even the wonderful medieval town of Kilkenny with its impressive castle and its narrow streets.

Fascinating castles

Ireland is also a land full of fascinating castles like that of Dunguaire, or the Blarney Castle which dates back to 1446. This castle is known for its magical Blarney Stone, also known as the stone of eloquence.
You can't miss also the ancient Malahide Castle, an architectural jewel in the Northern County of Dublin surrounded by a vast park. It is said that the castle is haunted.
And what about the lonely Tower of Rockefleet close to the lagoon? According to the tradition, the tower was the home of Grace O'Malley, a legendary pirate who was able to defy the King, laws and prejudice of men. Another important monument is Trim Castle in County Meath where there is held every year the nun run, a particular horse race where the jockeys are nuns.

Breathtaking scenery

Ireland is a country which offers visitors breathtaking scenery such as the amazing cliffs overlooking the sea of Slieve League in County Donegal, the highest cliffs in Europe. This site is difficult to reach but once reached the effort is rewarded by an incredible landscape.
There are also wonderful unspoilt views as Beara Peninsula, or wild landscapes characterized by rugged peaks, Woods, lakes and waterfalls such as the beautiful Killarney National Park. For those who do not suffer from dizziness, Carrick-a-Rede is perfect place for them: a rope bridge suspended in the sky at about 25 meters above the sea where you can enjoy a wonderful 360-degree view.

Archeological sites

Part of the historical heritage of Ireland the famous archaeological site of Newgrange situated about 8 km from Drogheda. Its graves date back to the Neolithic period and their importance has been recognized by Unesco.
The massive tumulus of Newgrange are bordered by 97 large stones. The most interesting stone is that one at the entrance, decorated with diamond-shaped motifs and carved spiral. The place has an aura of magic, especially during the winter solstice, when a sunbeam penetrating in an opening illuminates the whole mortuary.
Another famous Irish archaeological site is the marvelous Rock of Cashel on the plain of Tipperary, which dominates with its towers and walls.
Situated on the banks of the River Shannon Clonmacnoise, with its monastic complex consisting of the Cathedral a few small churches and two round towers, it's one of the most celebrated shrines in Ireland. There are also several sepulchral monuments here including well preserved Celtic crosses, including the famous Cross of the Scriptures which are carved scenes of the crucifixion and the last judgement.

CULTURE AND TRADITION OF IRELAND

There are a lot of fairy tales and ancient folk traditions related to the Celtic world in the Irish culture. Ireland is also the land of goblins, fairies, elves and spirits: the main characters of the ancient Irish tales. Undoubtedly, the most popular Irish Goblin is the Leprechaun, who is also the character who opens the parade during St Patrick's Day and that can be found in the shop Windows. It is a prankster, with a red nose and mischievous eyes. He is also the keeper of the pots of gold, which according to the popular tradition are located at the beginning of the rainbow.
The national day of the Republic of Ireland is celebrated on 17 March which coincides with St. Patrick's day. In this day the entire island is enlivened with concerts, parades, fireworks and much more. St. Patrick's day is also celebrated around the world where Irish communities are present.

GEOGRAPHY

Ireland is an island in Western Europe also known as Emerald Island, for its magnificent territory where the colour green predominates. The official symbol of the Republic of Ireland, which is present in the currency, in the official acts, and it also used as the presidential emblem is the harp of King Brian Boru. Other symbols linked to Ireland are the young clover and the Celtic Cross.
The main Irish cities are Dublin, the capital on the East Coast, Cork in the South, Galway and Limerick on the West Coast, and Waterford in the Southeast.

IRISH CLIMATE

Even if the Irish weather is quite changeable because of its strong winds, rainfalls are a certainty especially in the West. However, the amount of rain precipitation and their duration varies by region, time of year and Atlantic currents.
If you are planning your visit in the Emerald Isle the best months are May and June, because these are the sunniest months. In winter rainfall is very frequent, with little snowfall. The average minimum temperatures don't go below 3-4 degrees on coastal areas while inland the minimum temperatures doesn't go under 1°C. Generally, Ireland enjoys a mild and temperate climate, warmer than other countries located on the same latitude due to the influence of the Gulf stream. The hottest months are July and August with temperatures hovering around 20-22 degrees while the springs and autumns are around 10 degrees.

IRISH CUISINE

As regards food, even if Ireland is an island and most of the of West Coast's inhabitants are fishermen fish, except for cod and salmon, has never been typical of the local cuisine. However, meat is the main ingredient in many tasty recipes such as Cottage Pie, a baked pie composed of a mixture of beef covered in mashed potatoes or the famous Irish Stew, stew lamb or mutton served with onions, parsley and lots of potatoes.
Potatoes are present in many Irish dishes, since in the past it was an ingredient accessible also to the poorest classes. Boxty is a potato dish born in the era preceding the great famine between 1846 and 1849, in order to use potatoes considered of poor quality. Another Irish speciality is the Dublin Coddle, one of the most loved dish in Dublin made with chopped sausage, ham and Bacon with stewed potatoes and onions. This course is so famous and ancient that it's even mentioned in many literary works of James Joyce.
During your stay in Ireland you absolutely have to try the traditional Irish breakfast with sausages, bacon, eggs, porridge maybe accompanied by a good cup of tea.
You can't say that you've been in Ireland if you haven't enjoyed a good Irish beer in one of the many pubs in the area! Here, you can choose among various dark stout including the famous Guinness, Kilkenny Red Ale to finish with the blonde Harp. Or why not try a good Irish whiskey, Jameson or Baileys perhaps?!

LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN IRELAND

According to the the Constitution of Ireland, Irish is the first official language, and it is taught in all schools while English is recognized as the second official language, but it is actually spoken by almost everyone in Ireland.

CURRENCY

Until 1 January 1999, the currency in the Republic of Ireland was the Irish pound. Euro is the accounting currency.

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