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Top Reasons to Choose Ireland as Your Next Destination

Making a Good Case for an Irish Vacation

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Just why should you choose Ireland as a holiday destination? Good question, especially since the Emerald Isle is known for its forty shades of green due to the extremely changeable and wet Irish weather. And since Irish drinks might hold a certain respect, but the same cannot be said for Irish food. And budgeting for Ireland being rumored to be a challenge.

Rain, not too tempting cuisine and high prices - this does not sound like the ideal destination, does it? But here are some reasons why you should still consider heading for Ireland:

1. Prehistoric Monuments to put the Pyramids in the Shade

Newgrange - Entrance to the Passage Tomb
It is true - when planning permission was granted for Newgrange, other cultures were still trying to figure out how to construct a decent mud-hut. Ireland's passage graves are a few hundred years older than the pyramids at Giza. And their cosmic alignments are no less spectacular. And you will be hard-pressed to find so many large prehistoric monuments in such a small space anywhere in the world.

2. A Musical Tradition Still Alive and Kicking

Playing the Bodhran
Wherever you are in Ireland, traditional music will be played at informal sessions. We are not talking stage spectaculars like "Riverdance", new age mysticism like Enya or run-of-the-mill standards here. We are talking about a living, thriving tradition carried forward by local musicians - the real, hand-made stuff.

3. Some of Europe's Most Vibrant Cities

Dublin has been known as a favorite party destination to Europe's younger generation for some years now. And Belfast is fast catching up ... but even for those not looking for the best Dublin nightspots, both capitals as well as Cork, Galway and other major town have lots on offer. From exhibitions to parades, from highbrow festivals to traditional events.

4. Natural Wonders in a Largely Unspoilt Landscape

Slieve League is a prime example - Europe's highest sea-cliffs, accessible only via a winding local road (with gates you have to ooen and close yourself). No ticket office, no tourist facilities, just a small information sign, a car park and miles upon miles of unspoilt coastne. Not a rarity in Ireland, but the norm off the beaten tourist track. And even those costly and developed attractions like the Cliffs of Moher are still unspoilt enough for most visitors.

5. Heritage Towns that are not Museums but Thriving Communities

A lot of Heritage Towns around the world have a certain feeling of artificiality about them, looking like a stage-set created for the benefit of the visitor. Or you are hard pressed to find the heritage bits between concrete and glass. Not so in Ireland - Heritage Towns live up to their name. Sample Kells (an Early Christian monastic settlement), Trim (a medival center of power) or Birr (a Georgian market town) as examples.

6. Round Towers and Other Early Christian Heritage Sites

The Early Christian heritage of Ireland can be found almost everywhere, but nowhere as impressive and obvious as in the form of the Irish round towers. This unique form of ecclesiastical architecture literally reaches for the heavens. Excellent examples can be found in Clonmacnoise, Kells or Monasterboice - not to mention Glendalough.

7. Two Countries in One - at Peace at Last

Up to a few years ago vacations in Belfast or Derry might have ranked as holidays in hell - today Northern Ireland is a peaceful place. And you will be amazed to notice hundreds of small differences between the six Ulster counties and the Republic of Ireland - from the local currency to the reflections of the turbulent Irish past and partition. It sometimes feels like two cultures - and it may well be that case.

8. Easy to Get to - Easy to Get Around

A cornucopia of reasonably priced opportunities for air travel to Ireland has made going there easy - and with the major airports of Dublin, Belfast and Shannon you can arrive quite near your intended destination too. Car rental is widely available and safe driving in Ireland a matter of observing a few basic rules. And always remember - the geographical extremes of Ireland are just a day's journey apart.

9. The Really Original Irish Pubs

Yes, you can find "Irish Pubs" nearly everywhere from Ohio to Outer Mongolia. But these Ersatz-Irish hostelries seem to come straight from central casting most of the time. The al Irish pubs can only be found in Ireland - from sawdust-and-spit affairs frequented by Cavan pig-farmers to those top pubs in Dublin. If you haven't had your Guinness in a pub in Ireland you have not lived ... some may say.

10. It is the "Auld Country" After All

Chances are you have some Irish ancestors - if you are from the USA, Canada, Australia or any other far-flung place where the British Empire once meddled. Explore these roots.

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