If you are looking for a holiday experience that gives you entertainment, adventure, history and culture then the one place that you need to head for is the East Coast of Ireland. This lush green Island which lies opposite the UK is made up of 32 counties of which 6 remain in the UK while the remaining counties became self-governing in 1922. When spoken about, Ireland usually refers to the remaining counties that make up the Republic of Ireland and not Northern Ireland that is still part of the UK.
Ireland has had a rich and turbulent past which has formed the country as we know it today. The Republic of Ireland has many castles, abbeys and stately homes, many of which have come from occupying forces that date back over many years. During the 4th Century Celtic tribes settled in Ireland and then later the Norman invasions began in the 12th Century. This led to the beginning of a lot of conflict with England as it was the start to over 800 years of English rule. As the English ruling classes moved over to Ireland during the boom period of the eighteenth century vast estates were built many of which survive today, with a lot having been turned into hotels and accommodation for paying guests. This all combines to Ireland being rich in cultural heritage with many things to see and do as well as some of the most beautiful scenery you will encounter anywhere.
This is the country of wild landscapes, picturesque villages and lush green pastures, after all it’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing, this is a place to go to really relax and enjoy yourself ensconced in a warm and welcoming embrace.
East Coast of Ireland Travel Guide the Best of What to Do
One of the first places to visit if you are holidaying on the East coast is the country’s capital Dublin. It is here that you will be able to indulge in many forms of entertainment. Dublin has long been known for its great social scene with areas such as the Temple Bar area being a great place to drink and party.
The top tourist attraction in Dublin is The Guinness Storehouse, which is located in St James’s Gate Brewery. This is the place to come if you are a lover of Guinness, the bitter traditionally associated with Ireland and famed the world over. The home of Guinness since 1759, when a 9,000 year lease was signed by Arthur Guinness, this former fermentation plant has since been converted into a seven storey visitor attraction that is dedicated to the history of this much-loved beer. Whilst here you will be able to enjoy everything to do with Guinness from its history, seeing how it is made to tasting as well, a real must for any Guinness fan.
Another not to be missed experience whilst in Dublin is to visit The Book of Kells. Written around 800AD this has to be one of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts in the world and for anybody interested in history or literature it is a once in a lifetime experience. Almost 1/2 a million people a year make the trip to Trinity College where the book is housed to take a glimpse at this most magnificent book. Originally one text it was turned into 4 in 1953 for conservation reasons. Two volumes are usually on display one a text and one an illuminated image. As well as seeing the Book of Kells there is an exhibition detailing its history and whilst in Trinity College you can also view the famous library The Long Room, all in all a trip worthy of any bibliophile.
The National Museum of Ireland is another great day trip whilst staying in this beautiful city. Located on Kildare Street, the doors where first opened in 1890 and this fascinating museum has been enlightening people on the history of Ireland ever since.The museum has large archeological exhibitions that chronicle life in Ireland from pre-historic times. There are many fascinating pieces to see here and it is a great day trip if you find yourself in Dublin on a rainy day as you can be kept entertained for hours.
One of the best things about a visit to Dublin though is just walking through the streets and soaking up the atmosphere. So much history has taken place here from the Easter Uprising of 1916 at the General Post Office on O’ Connell street, to the famous literary figures such as James Joyce who have walked through this city. After a day of sightseeing nothing can be more entertaining than going into a traditional pub and listening to a ceilidh and enjoying a drink with the locals as there is no welcome anywhere like the one you will receive in Ireland
If you are looking to get away from it all and experience the Irish landscape in all its glory then head an hour North from Dublin to The Boyne Valley. This seemingly endless green landscape sums up what many people think of Ireland, lush countryside dotted with monastic ruins, a castle and ancient tombs. This is the heritage hot spot of Ireland.
The River Boyne carves its way through the valley between Louth and Meath and has a rich history of settlements in the area, indeed one of Europe’s largest megalithic sites, Brú na Bóinne is located here. The landscape here is dominated by three large passage tombs Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth which were built over 5,000 years ago. As well as these three magnificent sites the area contains over another ninety monuments meaning that this site is one of the largest groups of megalithic art in Western Europe.
As well as these amazing sites, the Boyne Valley is also home to Trim Castle that any fan of Mel Gibson’s Braveheart will be familiar with as it was a major location for the film. This imposing Norman Castle is the largest in Ireland has been apart of the landscape in Trim, County Meath since the late 12th Century. The Castle is open to the public and is well worth looking around with full guided tours to give you a comprehensive history of the Castle and also lovely grounds to walk around in and soak up the atmosphere.
Nestled in the countryside in County Meath you will discover the Hill of Tara. This is another are rich in archeological sites and ancient monuments and it was here according to tradition that the High King of Ireland held his seat. Whilst here you can walk through history itself and discover an Iron Age hilltop enclosure, a standing stone Lia Fáil (the stone of destiny), Roman artifacts dating back to the 1-3rd centuries and a Neolithic passage tomb known as the Mound of the Hostages that dates back to 3,400 bc. A trip to this part of the Country will sum up perfectly all the beauties of the wonderful Isle and you will still have plenty to do discovering other areas on your next visit because one trip to Ireland will never be enough.