Kissing the Blarney Stone is one of Ireland's best experiences - it gives a person "the gift of the gab"
EXPERIENCE everything that Ireland has to offer
Experience Ireland's QUEST FOR FREEDOM from foreign invaders who ravaged the island for a thousand years. This is a heartfelt struggle to gain independence, to freely worship, for home ownership and to live without fear of reprisal. Attractions like Waterford's King of the Vikings, a virtual reality experience which tells the story of the Vikings invasion, or Dublin's GPO Witness History, an interactive story detailing the events of the Easter Rising in 1916 when Irish Republicans attempted to establish a free Ireland help tell the stories of the Irish fight for freedom.
Experience Ireland's EMIGRATION from the 1600s through the 1900s. Why did so many Irish leave for other lands? What impact did they have after arriving in their new worlds. What was life like on the boats that traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to America? Why were they called "coffin ships"? Why were Irish sent to Australia? Interactive museums like Dublin's EPIC - the Irish Emigration Museum and the Cobh Heritage Centre are fascinating, informative and great for people of all ages to learn about Irish emigration.
Experience the impact of the FAMINE in the mid-1800s. Learn what caused the famine and how devastating it was to families who were hardest hit by it. Visit the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park and peruse the artifacts and papers which tell the story of this period and learn about the National Famine Way which tells the ill-fated story of assisted emigration in Ireland during the Famine in 1847 when 1,490 poor and hungry were forced to walk the 165km from the Strokestown Park Estate, County Roscommon to Custom House Quay in Dublin. They traveled onward to Liverpool and almost a third of them perished crossing the Atlantic in "coffin ships" bound for Canada. Learn more about these coffin ships at the Dunbrody Famine Ship. Walk through the ship replicas and hear the stories of the hardships onboard.
Experience Ireland's ICONIC ATTRATIONS - the things you just have to do when you're visiting Ireland. You have to KISS THE BLARNEY STONE at Blarney Castle. If the legend is true, you'll have the "gift of the gab" after kissing it. You don't want to go home and tell friends and family that you didn't do this. Visit the HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL - which has been an icon, off and on, for hundreds of years. The tour is fantastic and the retail showroom just might be its biggest hit.
Experience Ireland's CHRISTIANITY which began in the 5th century with the arrival of St Patrick. Monastic cities were constructed over the next four centuries to house the monks who dedicated themselves to a life of solitude. Visit the great monastic cities of Glendalough, Skellig Michael and Clonmacnoise and view the well preserved architecture that remains - churches, round towers, high crosses. See the Book of Kells (Ireland's most important cultural treasure) in Dublin's Trinity College.
Experience things that are somewhat UNIQUELY IRISH such as seaweed baths (forage for seaweed learning about the different types and even learn to cook with it); hawk walks (discover the ancient form of falconry and learn how to "fly hawks"; after introducing you to your hawks, you and your instructor set off on a walk into the woodlands where the hawks follow you from tree to tree before swooping down to land on your gloved fist); learn how farmers herd their sheep by whistling commands to their sheepdog, experience one of Ireland's hottest new activities - coasteering (adventure swimming, jumping off cliffs into the water, climbing over rocks all rolled into one).
Experience GAME OF THRONES TERRITORY in Northern Ireland. Find out why the show's producers chose this region as the backbone of their series. Even if you were not into the show, I'm sure you'll be into the scenery. It's incredible - one of my favorite locations on the island. If you were a GOT fan, then you'll enjoy it even more - visit the filming locales and picture the scenes that took place there, do archery like the Starks of Winterfell, meet the Dire wolves, enjoy a banquet as if you were back in Westeros, learn about Doors of Thrones and Glass of Thrones.
Experience Ireland's CUISINE. There's the traditional Irish dishes like the Irish breakfast, the boxty (a potato pancake that's really good when it's filled with something creamy and delicious like chicken or salmon) and the mashed potato ("mash") dishes like champ and colcannon. The food is fresh, the quality is good, and it's farm/sea to table. Restaurants know their producers. With more experienced chefs than ever before, there's been a food revolution here for the last ten years - especially in Northern Ireland. Cork County is the culinary capital of the island. Check out the many food festivals, the food tours that introduce you to much of Ireland's cuisine and special stops like an oyster farm in the Connemara region.
Experience Ireland with your FAMILY. There's so much to do here with your children - attractions where you can relive ancient Ireland, interactive museums about Irish emigration and the Titanic that kids will find fascinating, farms where children can learn how foods are grown, animals are raised and farmers use sheepdogs to herd their sheep, and some really fun places like We Are Vertigo and W5 in Belfast. Don't even think about leaving the kids home with the grandparents. Experience Ireland as a family - you'll be glad you did.