What should I do when I’m in Ireland? I get asked this a lot. But the thing is, you can have a completely different trip depending on where you go—city or country? east or west?—and what your personal interests are.
The first time I visited Ireland, for example, Gerry and I scheduled easy drives from one locale to another so we would have plenty of time for dawdling* … and for following the brown signs. (Brown signs indicate a site of significance, whether historic, prehistoric, natural, or whatever.) We laughingly call that trip the Brown Sign Tour: every time we saw one, we followed it. We might just as easily have done a National Parks Tour. Or a House Museum Tour. We ran into some folks who were doing the Golf Course Tour.
I’m being silly, of course, but the point is, I can help you plan a trip if I know what your interests are. Do you like museums, or does that sort of thing bore you? Are you an outdoorsy person? There are some beautiful places to hike or bike.
Of course, as much as I’d like to help, I can’t plan everyone’s trip. 🙂 But you can plan your own trip if you know the sorts of things you can expect to see. There’s a lot to choose from! Here’s a list that will help you crystallize in a very basic way what a tourist headed to Ireland should consider.
Things You Might Want to Do in Ireland
1 See prehistoric sites
2 See very old ruins
3 Visit or stay in a small town or village
4 Visit or stay in a city
5 Visit historic house museums
6 See beautiful countryside; take scenic drives
7 See unique natural wonders
8 Walk on the beach
9 Visit museums, art galleries, arts and crafts venues
10 Have a drink in a traditional Irish pub
11 Hear traditional Irish music
12 See sites of historic interest
13 Visit public or private parks and gardens
14 Visit sacred sites
15 Visit islands or lakes
16 Observe wildlife
17 Stay in or visit a castle
18 Shop for uniquely Irish items
19 Enjoy the food
20 Enjoy golf and other sports
21 Enjoy an annual event
22 Experience the local weekly/monthly markets
23 Work on your genealogy
24 Wander … dawdle … relax
Now, the good news is you don’t have to pick just one. 🙂 In fact, you’ll probably experience some of these things on your way to doing others—there’s some overlap. And even if you’ve only got a week, you’ll easily be able to see/do one each of the first dozen items on this list.
In my next post, I’ll give you some examples—things I’ve enjoyed—of the sightseeing opportunities listed above (and after that we’ll move on to food, drink, and shopping). For now I just want you to be thinking about the sorts of things that make a vacation fun—for you.
Mind, I don’t advocate checking off things on a list just so you can say you’ve seen them. Instead, consider your interests, and consider the interests of your traveling companions. (There may need to be some compromising.) Then choose things that will bring you joy. I’m a big advocate of joy. 🙂
*Actually, it may be that he wasn’t sure how I’d do driving on the (ahem) wrong side of the road. As it turns out, I managed fine. I only scared him a couple times. 🙂