Updated: Jul 6
Millions of people across the world dream of travelling to Ireland one day. Before anyone says it, I'm talking about pre-covid. So, for the purpose of this article please let your mind wander to a world that existed before, and to a one which will exist after 'the virus'. For so many, Ireland is perched high on personal bucket lists, and rightfully so. A place you have to visit before you die if there ever was one. Maybe your urge to breath our air deep into your lungs comes from family origin. Or, maybe it's come from a romantic idea of little old Ireland and her forty shades of green. I'm sure Hollywood has something to do with that image, thank you Mr Tom Cruise! Whatever the reason, I'm here to reassure you that Ireland is still worth a visit. It most certainly is! Sitting on the edge of the wild Atlantic, Ireland offers you the opportunity to experience a rugged and beautiful landscape seldom matched throughout planet Earth. Alongside her unspoiled beauty, the welcoming nature of her people remains undimmed in the light of a modern world. We are the land of 100,000 welcomes after all, and so we remain! This article is designed to reassure you that the true Ireland remains intact, and will be open for business shortly(fingers crossed). The only problem for future visitors, is that true Ireland is getting harder and harder to find with each passing year. That's where The Irish Abroad can help. We've been to America, Australia, the UK and know what people should expect of a visit to Ireland. Nine times out of ten they don't get that full experience. So, who's to blame? Let's start with the incessant plastic-paddy PR machine which does everything in its power to dilute our rich culture. You must ignore it or you're guaranteed to be left short changed.
If you read travel agents advice very carefully, then your visit might skim the surface of what Ireland has to offer during your trip. Sure, you'll get your pint of Guinness, and your picture outside the storehouse in Dublin. You'll get your t-shirt, and your hat with a shamrock printed on the front. For sure, you'll be loaded onto a tour bus and carted off to kiss the Blarney Stone before you've even had the chance to take a breath. The inevitable promise of a leprechaun sighting as you travel along the hours of endless motor way will be ringing in your ears as you try to gather your thoughts. Finally, you arrive at your destination. You quickly realise that the only site you will fully experience is the back of the person's head in front of you. Then, before you know it, it's time to pack the bags and away to the airport. Ireland has been completed, and you can now safely tick it off the bucket list. That's what they would have you believe anyway. Strapped into your aeroplane seat, preparing for take off, you will be oblivious to what you have just missed out on. For me, that is a great shame, because I know how much more our beautiful country has to offer. I'm exhausted from those who sell our country short, all for a quick buck. There is one thing for certain, you will never see the best of Ireland from a tour bus. So many have fallen into this trap.
You might be sitting at home, or on a bus, in a car or in an office thinking that all the things I've mentioned are on your list of must see's and do's. Don't be discouraged, drinking a pint of correctly poured Guinness or 10 will be an experience you won't forget in a hurry. I can tell you that for certain, from what I remember of those nights anyway! But, my point remains, there is so much more to do and see. Most of it will cost you little or nothing and the nearest novelty store will be a two hour walk, as the crow flies. We promise. As with every travel blog out there, it's at this stage of the article they hit you with 'The List'. The top 5 or 10 things you have to do when you visit Ireland. Nonsense!! There is no possible way to cut our country and her beauty into such a tiny sample. Then, underneath each number they add the professionally written paragraph, "its mysticism will take your breath away". When you see a line like that, you better be aware that the credit card details will soon be expected! My advice is to close the page and never return.
To truly experience what the country has to offer you have to be brave. You must be willing to follow winding roads which are far from the beaten path. It is at the end of those roads you will find what you're looking for. Speak to people, let them know that you are interested in what they have to say. Irish people love sharing their stories, I am certain of that. Drink in a bar with frosted windows that doesn't have 14 flags hanging outside. You think you've had Guinness before? Just wait until you taste the cream that flows from the taps of tiny old man pubs throughout the country. It is in those places that true Ireland will be found. Take yourself away from the crowds and venture deep into the Burren for a day. Lean over the edge of the Cliffs of Moher(caution advised with this one, particularly on a windy day, which is every day!) Climb Carrauntoohil, Irelands tallest mountain, (more of a big hill really, don't worry about ropes!) Venture South to Kerry or Cork. West to Galway or North as far as the land will carry you. There is so much to see in every corner of our tiny island. It may be small in stature but in the pages of history we stand tall. An island nation who won her independence, survived centuries of oppression, famine, immigration and every other sort of hardship a country could face. But yet, here we are. One of the most desirable destinations on planet Earth. Loved by all, hated by few but still the most welcoming race of people in the world. Irish people are immensely proud of their homeland and want nothing more than to share her songs and stories with anyone willing to listen. The Irish Abroad is testament to that and we hope your dream comes true and you finally make it to Ireland. Last piece of advice, if you get lost................ Don't blame us!
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