From the Giant's Causeway to the pubs of Galway, there is so much to do in the Republic of Ireland. Here are our best tips for the isle.
An Irish saying: “May today be better than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow”. This is a country of wild, natural beauty that has created its own good fortune.
“What a sober man has in his heart, the drunk has on his lips”. Another one of the Irish sayings, not mine. More than 1.5 billion pints of Guinness are sold in Ireland each year. More often than not, you’ll meet fun-loving, straight-talking people in this great nation. Most of them have little inclination to be strategically diplomatic. They are just happy, welcoming people.
This is a country that must be visited at least once in a lifetime.
The Emerald Isle
Like all places on our planet, Ireland too was at first inhabited by hunters and gatherers and later around 4,000BC.
Their descendants decided to become farmers, built settlements and thus also came about burial grounds and one of the greatest monuments on Earth – Newgrange the tomb, built with stones and it dates back to before 3,000 BC. It is even older than the pyramids of Egypt.
The society became immensely prosperous, well-organised, culturally advanced and to this day you can see fabulous metalworks in iron, bronze and gold made by their ancient artisans, in their museums.
They were Pagans for a long time and built the beautiful city of Dublin and then came the Christian missionaries in the 5th Century to ‘save their souls’ and purify the moral fibre of this great society.
Christianity became powerful and today many of the Irish identify themselves as Catholics. Neo Paganism appears to be gaining ground since the 1990s and religions such as Wicca, Druidry and Celtic Polytheism are slowly becoming popular. So is Atheism.
In the early part of the 16th Century, the brutal military of the English king captured the country, lands were forcibly taken from their people and given to the protestants from England who came to settle here.
Innumerable people were killed, the Gaelic language was banned and the Irish began to be heavily discriminated against. They finally gained independence in 1922.
This set the foundation for the Irish to begin rebuilding their economy and today the country has the second highest GDP per capita in Europe standing at close to $92,000. Compare this with $30,000 in Spain and $33,00 in Italy. The nation flourishes.
What To Do And What Not To Do
The best time to visit the country is from April to November. Try planning your trip around these months.
Conducting business in Republic of Ireland is easier than in most nations. It’s one of the most business friendly countries.
Your potential business associates will most likely tell you straight away if they can do business with you or not. In any case, they will be hospitable. Expect lunch or dinner if you’re visiting from another country.
The country is famous for pubs. If you’re the social kind you’ll easily be able to join a group and with each round of drinks someone will pay for the group including for you. Don’t forget to pay when it’s your turn.
Order your beer by the pint. While Ireland mostly uses the metric system, for beer it’s the good old pint which is 568ml.
Don’t say that Ireland is a part of the UK. Mistake or not, it doesn’t go down well.
Don’t talk about the scandals of the church.
Don’t try to speak Gaelic.
Spend some time in Dublin but try to see as much of the country as you can. The cheapest and the best way to see the country is to hire a car and drive. Otherwise use trains and buses. The transport system is quite excellent.
Don’t be surprised at the number of redheads you will see. About 10% of the Irish are redheads and even those who are blond and brunette have the redhead gene.
Pagan festivals are still celebrated. These are held to herald the arrival of Spring. Go to one if you can.
Irish dancing is quite an art and popular. See if you can practice before you go to the country. It’s fun to dance with them.
Places To See
As a matter of fact, the entire country is worth seeing. But not to be missed are :
- Giant’s Causeway – Antrim. This is a miraculous geological wonder with more than 40,000 hexagonal columns. A UNESCO heritage site
- The Burren – Clare. Another UNESCO heritage site with a wondrous limestone landscape and cliffs
- Galway. This university town is known for art, culture and Gaelic.
- Cork. Another beautiful city
- Cliffs of Moher
Another island to visit, although this one has a slightly different flavour:
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