It’s difficult to not fall in love with Ireland. No matter where you are in the world, it’s just one of those countries that you simply can’t hate. The people are friendly, the cities are beautiful, and the traditions are like no other.
The world has taken plenty of inspiration from the Irish, from the pubs serving Guinness in all four corners of the planet, to the dozens of arcade and casino games that have been inspired by that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, you’re never far from some Irish inspired heritage. But what are the best things about Ireland?
To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we’ve put our heads together in the office to unveil what we think are the best things about our neighbours across the Irish Sea, and it wasn’t easy. With so much to tip our hats to, we just about managed to trim it down to our favourite four, in honour of the lucky clover itself…
It’s difficult to not start with the people. Any trip to the Emerald Isle will see you greeted by warm and friendly locals, always willing to give you a helping hand and enjoy a bit of healthy conversation. Step inside a traditional Irish pub and you’ll come out a few hours later with a whole new set of friends. Many studies have unveiled the country as the friendliest in the world and Galway was unveiled as the friendliest city in Europe in a study released just a few months ago.
Ireland has a beautiful and rugged landscape with rolling hills, untouched stretches of coastline, and the odd natural wonder or two. Of course, north of the border in Northern Ireland is the Giant’s Causeway, while the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, the River Shannon, and the Ring of Gullion all offer stunning walks and photo opportunities you really wouldn’t get anywhere else. The towns and villages that follow such landscapes are quaint and perfect, with cosy cottages and B&Bs and honest, hearty food with plenty of whiskey and stout to wash it down with.
St Patrick’s Day – The Folklore
Ireland is doused in mythology and fairy tales and there are many legends and creatures that the country is associated with, from the pookas which would be seen at night in rural parts of the country, causing chaos to towns and fams, to the fairies and leprechauns many people worldwide associate with Ireland.
Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool) is a legendary hero from Irish mythology. Many geographical landmarks of Ireland are associated with him. It is said that he built The Giant’s Causeway for stepping stones to Scotland so he wouldn’t get his feet wet. #FolkloreThursday 1/3 pic.twitter.com/cw3WXUo1Pi
— The Folklore Files (@FolkloreFiles) September 12, 2019
There are many more too, from Lir the Sea Lord to Finn MacCool, the mythological warrior, and even the Shamrock, which is said to ward off evil spirits. In fact, St Patrick’s legend over the years has forever grown, freeing children of curses and banishing snakes from the country.
The Guinness – Unmissable on St Patrick’s Day
Then of course there’s the black stuff. Yes, nowhere does Guinness better than in Ireland and if you’re lucky enough to visit Dublin you can enjoy a pint and shout “slainte” (the Irish word for cheers) until your heart is content.
The further south you go, you may also encounter Beamish, the Cork equivalent, which is also a silky-smooth stout that only the Irish can really do.