ShermansTravel » Blog » Ireland
Belfast has risen from the ashes of troubles ever since the historic Good Friday Peace accord in 1998. Today, it brims with boutique hotels, elegant eateries, and new museums — and, yes, all those stunning landscapes featured in Game of Thrones are a few miles from the city. Locals have waited a long time to see tourists come back, and the welcome here is warm and heartfelt. Wherever you go in the city and through the countryside around it, you’ll be met with genuine friendliness and lots of Irish hospitality. Here are just a few ideas for what to do on a first-time visit.
Most of us love to visit new places and try new things from time to time, but some of us were born to travel. Are you one of them? Here, nine signs you were born a traveler.
Sometimes, the best trip is the one you take with yourself. When you’re traveling solo, you get to explore a destination on your own terms with no compromise — and to fully engage with the destination. Here are just six places that we think are great for one.
Looking for a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day that goes beyond a parade and green beer? These four Irish communities draw on their Irish heritage to infuse some meaningful fun in their celebrations.
Syracuse, New York
Many of the Irish immigrants who worked on the Erie Canal eventually settled in Syracuse and established their own Tipperary Hill neighborhood. Their descendants are so fiercely proud of their heritage that, in the 1920s, they threw stones at a traffic light because they couldn’t stand to see “British red” over “Irish green.” Fun fact: Today, the traffic light at Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue is upside down, green over red.
That Irish pride continues today in even more ways. After a traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade, revelers celebrate at an Irish Hooley — a party with music, song, and dance — sponsored by Coleman’s Irish Pub, known for its wee leprechaun entrances (and, yes, green beer during this time of the year). Or, they head to other authentic pubs like Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub, Nibsy’s, The Blarney Stone, and Ballybay Pub. As part of the festivities, you can also try your hand at Irish road bowling, an Irish game where teams hurl a small cannonball towards a target.
It is hard to believe, but despite taking numerous trips to the UK and Europe, I had never been to Ireland — and that needed to change. This New Year’s, rather than head to a sunny destination, where hotel prices and airfare were exorbitant, I decided to book an eight-night stay to explore the Emerald Isle. I wanted to enjoy the famed countryside, medieval castles, and the newly vibrant cities of Dublin and Belfast. Also, I wanted an overseas destination that — in winter — would not be freezing cold. Ireland fit the bill perfectly. Read more
Dublin is rightfully high on many travelers’ lists, and this at-once ancient and modern city is full of welcoming people and a rich culture that stretches back for millennia. While there’s more to do in Dublin than one trip often allows, here are some budget-friendly tips that won’t disappoint. Read more
Remember when it seemed like you could reach up and touch the Milky Way, the ribbon of stars that make up our galaxy? Thanks to light pollution, it’s becoming harder and harder to see — unless you get yourself out to dark and remote locales. Here are seven stargazing sites, all recognized by the International Dark Sky Association for their inky-black nights, that offer stellar views of the heavens above.
Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and many others countries speak the English language. But sometimes talking with the locals there can feel as foreign to U.S. travelers as communicating with those in, say, Thailand. To help clear these up, here are a few words that our stateside readers are all familiar with — but that mean something completely different in other English-speaking places around the world.
Flight: booked. Hotel: reserved. Language podcasts: Completed. What else do you need to prepare before jetting off on vacation?
Most of us would probably never think that feeding pigeons in parts of Venice could get us fined as much as our plane tickets there cost. Likewise, while we always leave a substantial tip after dining at a restaurant in North America, the practice is a foreign concept to many international visitors. Needless to say, very diverse cultural customs abound around the world. Here are a few quirky ones that we love and think are useful to know for preventing cultural mishaps abroad.
Barcelona has its Sagrada Familia. Sydney has its white-hooded Opera House. And other places? Well, they’ve got steps – lots and lots of them. As the examples illustrate below, epic staircases aren’t just a way to reach higher ground. They can be major attractions unto themselves. From the fabled Ha’iku Ladder in Hawaii, to Norway’s never-ending Flørli Steps, these jaw-dropping ascents aren’t for the faint of heart. But once you get to the top, we think you’ll agree the views more than make up for the effort. Read more
As you spend the weekend figuring out just how you want to celebrate Lá Fhéile Pádraig, or St Patrick’s Day as we know it here in the U.S., take a few minutes to get inspired by Ireland’s most impressive castle hotels. Ranging from intimate manor houses in beautiful County Clare to five-star abodes offering butler service, these former manors and family homes are a welcome change from the drunken parades and four-leaf clover hats usually associated with the holiday. Be sure to check our deals page for money-saving tips on getting to the Emerald Isle; or browse our full slideshow here.
British Airways has just launched its discounted “daytripper fares” for travelers flying from London to a handful of European cities. The catch? (Or, perhaps the benefit?) You have to return to London in the same day. Round-trip tickets, including all taxes and fees, will cost £79 (about $130) to Dublin and Geneva, £89 (about $149) for Edinburgh and Rome and £99 (about $165) for Vienna and Munich. You can only travel with carry-on luggage from London’s Heathrow airport, and only on Saturdays or Sundays.
These fares are tailor-made for travelers who want to cram in a second destination with their London trip — a fairly common strategy, especially considering how easy it is to get to Paris, Scotland, or other parts of England by rail. Flying expands your options even more.
Of course, taking into account check-in, transfers, and flight time, this doesn’t leave you much time to enjoy that second destination. But if you really have the urge to pop across the Channel (or Irish Sea) for a few hours, here are some suggestions for quick, interesting itineraries you can accomplish in a day.
In a country where doctors once prescribed pints of Guinness to patients and whiskey translates “ the water of life,” a hopeless oenophile might feel out of place. Luckily, wine enthusiasts visiting the endlessly affordable Emerald Isle can still get their fix thanks to the growing number of both native and transplant Dubliners who, armed with love and enthusiasm, managed to fit in a few wine vaults among the rows of pubs in the city center.
Ely Wine Bar
Tucked into a Georgian townhouse off of St. Stephen’s Green, Ely’s dizzying wine list includes more than four hundred international selections as well as seasonal offers of reserve bottles. Ely’s food menu is just as strong and it is worth staying long enough to get to know both. Check the website for upcoming events, including tastings paired with a special treat from the chef. Dublin 2
For most concertgoers, heading to a local venue is a chore accomplished for one reason: to see a band or artist. The venue itself almost never plays a role in one’s decision to purchase a ticket, but as travelers, we know that the occasional venue speaks just as loudly as the act that’s filling it. For music lovers, there are a handful of venues that are routinely placed on a higher pedestal, and for good reason, whether for their acoustics, scenery, or sheer ability to attract concert-goers to such remote locations as: Read more
We’ve all been tempted by those incredibly affordable airfare deals to Ireland. But with most of them falling in the autumn and winter months, you might be wondering what to see and do once you get there – and how many sweaters and coats you’ll have to pack. Thankfully, Dubliners take to the streets through the winter months, bundling up for plenty of outdoor activities, including al fresco dining. Thankfully, eating outdoors in the Irish capital doesn’t have to result in frostbitten fingers and hypothermia – if you take a few cues from the locals. The following local favorites take care to keep their open-air spaces and their patrons warm, regardless of the season.
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