Ireland's ancient landscape exerts an unmistakable pull, inviting travellers from across the globe to explore the legendary fog-laden marshes and rocky coastal paths. Also known as the 'Emerald Isle', its nickname is entirely justified by the verdant fields, mountains and meadows that make up the majority of this country. Let the fresh air rejuvenate your spirit, and then immerse yourself in the living, breathing history of this beautiful country.
Dublin's literary highlights
The birthplace of renowned wordsmiths such as James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, the city of Dublin plays a central role in some of Ireland's best-known novels and plays. An informal tour of Dublin's heritage, the Literary Pub Crawl takes in many of the favourite watering holes of the country's writers. Alternatively, a visit to the Dublin Writers Museum offers a slightly more cerebral insight into the literary culture of this fascinating city. Ensure you spend some time exploring the architectural grandeur of Trinity College, Dublin, which counts Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift among its numerous notable alumni. Trinity is home to one of the world's most awe-inspiring libraries, boasting approximately 200,000 rare books in addition to several priceless illuminated manuscripts, which were produced by monks between the seventh and ninth centuries.
Cork's gourmet cuisine
In the south of the country you'll find Cork, home to a huge, bustling harbour that has kept the city thriving throughout Ireland's turbulent history. To this day, Cork is the prime location for the finest seafood, local produce and artisanal cuisine, much of which is sold at the eighteenth century English Market in the town centre. Just a few kilometres east of the city sits the prestigious Ballymaloe cookery school, which offers an impressive selection of courses and tutorials for those who wish to try their hand at Michelin standard cooking, including specific classes on gluten-free cooking and raw foods.
Limerick's mediaeval history
It's true that in Ireland fascinating historical tales can be found around almost every corner, but Limerick, the country's inaugural city of culture, brings them to life like nowhere else. King John's Castle rises up from the banks of the River Shannon, a triumph of 13th century construction in an otherwise quaint setting. Nearby St Mary's Cathedral, a charming Romanesque building that dates back to 1168, is a contemplative retreat after an afternoon of sight-seeing. At Dromoland Castle, a short drive from Limerick, you'll find a splendid mediaeval hideaway where guests can learn falconry, archery and clay shooting, as well as indulging in a spot of golf.
Killarney's great outdoors
For those who are still lured to the sprawling marshland and ancient monuments of the Irish country, this national park must be the final stop on your itinerary. Stretching miles across the southwest, Killarney National Park spans Mcgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range and even encompasses the famous Ring of Kerry; a firm favourite with keen walkers and hikers. As an alternative to going on foot, a horseback jaunt from Killarney Riding Stables is a charming way to take in the fabulous sights of this unspoilt area.
If you're drawn to Ireland as a long-term holiday destination, Engel & Völkers can help you find your own hidden gem on the Emerald Isle. Visit our website for more information.