1. Go to a GAA match
Whether it’s hurling or football, this is a definite must on your visit to Ireland.
Hurling is believed to be the world’s oldest field game as well as the fastest game played on grass. It is an amazing game to watch full of speed and skill. GAA football is probably the most popular team sport in Ireland and is played in all counties as well as many major teams across the US, Australia and various places around the world.
To experience a GAA match in full, get yourself to Croke Park Stadium. “Croker” has been described as the spiritual home of Irish cultural nationalism. Hurlers, Gaelic footballers and their fans speak of Croke Park as a sacred ground. The majority of games are played here around Summer time. If you’re lucky enough to get to a match here you’ll truly be sampling a unique slice of Irish life.
2. Get off the Beaten Path
Ireland has some of the most beautiful cities and towns, from Dublin’s fair city to the cultural streets of Galway. However if you get the chance try out some true country living life and take yourself to one of the many quaint villages Ireland has to offer.
Get off the main roads and take that little road with grass growing in the middle of it. Don’t expect maps or GPS to help you out too much on these roads. The beauty of it is seeing what will surprise you around each bend, from stunning lakes, to mesmerizing mountains to the stunning coast line.
3. Try a Guinness
We probably don’t have to tell you this one twice but as the saying goes you haven’t tasted Guinness until you’ve tried one in Ireland.
Pouring a pint of Guinness is practically an art form in Ireland, and no trip would be complete without at least one pint of the black stuff. Savor an expertly drawn pint at the Guinness Brewery itself in Dublin or down the country where it’s said to be at its best in the smaller bars where the keg is just inches away from the tap.
4. Try out the Surfing
Ireland is one of the world’s best surfing spots. We are blessed with a rugged coastline, filled with a variety of beautiful beaches and stunning reefs that draw international surfers in annually.
Dive into Donegal and experience the waves at Bundoran, surf the seas at Mullaghmore in Sligo or experience the thrill in Lahinch in Co Clare and take in the captivating beauty of the surroundings as you ride on the gigantic waves of the Atlantic Ocean. When you’re done surfing the ocean waves make the most of the après surf in one of the many traditional Irish pubs dotted throughout every town!
5. Explore Ancient Castles
Ireland is filled with the remains of beautiful castles surrounded by gigantic cliff faces, remote rivers, beautiful old towns and more. Some remain ruins with vines and trees growing throughout, the other have been restored to their former glory and filled with stunning furniture and fittings. Whichever type tickle your fancy, don’t miss out on the chance to see some living Irish history in one of these truly majestic buildings.
6. Get off the Mainland
Experience the true rural beauty of Ireland and visit one of the many beautiful Islands lying off its shores. Choose one of the 365 islands in Clew Bay, visit the beautiful Aran Islands or the spectacular Blasket Islands off the coast of Co Kerry. Many of these islands still use horse and carriages and remain living in the very old traditional Irish lifestyle.
7. Go further than Temple Bar
The majority of tourists stick to Temple Bar whilst staying in Dublin. It’s a great lively spot with traditional Irish music bellowing from the pubs all day long. However go off the path slightly and experience the other great pubs Dublin has to offer. Take a trip the Brazen head, Ireland’s oldest pub or try out all the great bars along Camden Street, Georges street and off Grafton Street.
8. Meet the Irish People
While in Ireland make the most of talking to the Irish people. Don’t worry about being stuck for conversation, we tend to ramble on, and if you’ve no interest in what we’re saying, at least enjoy the Irish accent!
Whether you’re in the pub, at the shops or in a hotel or hostel, you’re sure to meet some characters along the way. As the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats said — “There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.”