is worth the trip. If your worried about cost, don't take the vacation/holiday!!! We went up and about the castle-wonderful views. The grounds are fantastic, you can only imagine what it was like centuries ago. we went at Thanksgiving time (USA) and the waits were nonexistant.
Unique Suggestions: Kiss the damn stone, it's worth the experience. I can't believe I was upside down looking straight down 100 feet. I am/was 285 pounds and it sure was spooky.
Fun Alternatives: The whole country--I/we are going back as often and regular as I can. The people are fantastic and the most hospitable in the world. The Castle Hotel downtown has wonderful food and drink.
I definitely don't mean to say that Dublin is a tourist trap, but don't stay there too long if you want to 'do' the entire Island. Two or three days will do to give you a good idea on what the city has to offer. Fun as it is, the Irish countryside is even better!
If you have to go during July/August, you're better off staying outside tourist places such as Killarney and Galway if you have a car. It's cheaper, less crowded and you need to drive anyway as public transport is still quite undeveloped in the West.
Be aware also that Ireland has become quite expensive, but Dublin tops it all in the country, so get your wallet out!
The Temple Bar Pub in the heart of the Temple Bar district of Dublin caters mostly for tourists. The bar has traditional Irish music and serves Guinness. That's about all there is to this place! Yes it tries very hard to recreate what tourists want, but it fails as there is just no ambience in the place at all. It's noisy and crowded most of the time.
Unique Suggestions: That's not to say it's a bad place, quite the contrary, it may be just what you are looking for..But don't expect to be rubbing shoulders with men talking in broad Dublin Accents, you will more than likely hear the sound of an American, or German accent next to you.
Fun Alternatives: Look a little further away from the city centre if you want to find a true to life Irish pub.
After seeing a number of castles this was just one more on the list. The kissing the stone part was all touristy but fun for those who participated. It could be missed. While the castle was interesting - I'm sure there are other more impressive ones to find.
Unique Suggestions: The best part of the stop was the Blarney Woolen Mills store. Great selection of all things Irish. Kind of a one stop Ireland buying spot. Get it all over with at once. Looked like good quality and prices seemed fair.
Fun Alternatives: If you're traveling in the area (to or from Kerry) it's an OK stop if you want to get your Irish shopping done. I'm not a shopper - I just wanted to get it over with and this put everything Irish under one roof. Skip the castle and do the Woolen Mill if shopping is on your agenda.
The town of Killarney is a major tourist center as it's usually the base for touring around the scenic Ring of Kerry, a drive round the Kerry peninsula which is also a bit of a tourist trap in that in the summer, the traffic around the ring is just one tour bus after the next. Killarney is just to mundane for me, all hotels and tourist shops.
Unique Suggestions: There is a nice big natural park there but ther's also the jaunting cars, carts and horses that take the tourists around it as well. We did go on one as we had been in the bus all day round the Ring of Kerry and it was nice to get the fresh air but, well, it's not anything to write home about.
Fun Alternatives: We stayed in Tralee which isn't that far from the Ring of Kerry on the northern entrance, crossing the Shannon on a car ferry and then driving up into the mountains.
A nicer and less bussed route is the Dingle peninsula, just north of the Ring of Kerry, equally spectactular coastal scenes.
the word "Leprechaun" means "little people" who were shoe makers or cobblers. The origins are hazy but one theory goes that when the tall, dark, warlike and aggressive Celts invaded, the natives were small, peaceful folk who lived in ring forts which probably became the fairy rings of legend. These people seemed to disappear at will through perhaps they just fled the intimidating invaders. The cute little leprechauns we see were invented for the English tourists and it just got out of hand. Now they are out of fashion and considered tacky. I agree. Ireland to me is not the cartoon pot of gold and frisky, naughty little men in green coats. It's a place of Celtic origins, of shamrocks and a people who are easy going, traditional and open and friendly. And the beer ain't bad either!
There aren't many tourist traps in Ireland. Every Irish person i met was very friendly and welcoming. However, watch out for the leprechauns! They'll trick you and rob you! However, if you are quick and alert, you might be able to find their pots of gold!
Probably the most blatant tourist trap is Blarney Castle, in Blarney, outside Cork City. You pay to get on the grounds and though the grounds are nice, and the castle is picturesque, what they want you to do is climb a narrow stone staircase up inside the square tower, line up and bend over backwards to "kiss the blarney stone" and buy a photo of yourself doing it. Pah! I had no intentions of doing that, I had wanted to take a photo but wasn't willing to pay the entrance fee to the grounds so i walked around the area and took this photo over a wall. I think it's actually quite a good picture and enough to say i was in Blarney!
Unique Suggestions: Avoid the castle malarkey. The town is nice, with some attractive shops. I found an interesting cemetery near the center of town as well. The Blarney Woolen Mill complex is actually a very good place to get your Irish sourvenirs, including woolen goods, Aran sweaters, Waterford and other crystal, China and other miscellaneous things. As much as it is a tourist shopping store, the prices are actually decent and there is a wide variety of goods under the one roof. for instanc, we were at the Waterford factory and crystal prices here matched or beat the factory. The cafeteria serves ok food but there are probably some nice pubs and cafes in the town as well.
Fun Alternatives: There are hundreds of castles and castle ruins all over Ireland far better for photos and exploration. Some are set up with medieval banquets for the tour groups. I might avoid these though you may enjoy it. We did go during the tour and the entertainment was nice and the food tasty (mind you, you are supposed to eat with your fingers as they did in medieval times but the wine is free flowing)
Blarney Castle was not on my list of "must sees", but when you travel, you have to make some compromises. The Blarney Stone is located at the top of the castle and a man is there to help lower you backwards so you can acquire the "gift of gab" You are allowed to take pictures of your friends bending backwards from a not so great angle ,but there is a photographer who snaps pictures from an excellent view. If you desire to purchase this picture, it is 7 Euros. You can also buy a small certificate with your name on it verifying that you have indeed kissed the stone for 2.50 Euros.
There are the rumours that I am sure most people have heard about what locals do to the stone. Although I doubt these stories are true, I didn't feel like slobbering on it.
Unique Suggestions: I wouldn't visit here during high season when there are crowds of people from the tour buses climbing the narrow steps and then waiting in line to kiss the stone. In December, there weren't any lines at all.
Fun Alternatives: If you are with people who insist that they can't visit Ireland without kissing the Blarney Stone , you can of course, visit the castle with them(it is worth checking out) and snap their pictures for them. You can also take a stroll around the grounds which have pretty winding paths with a stream ,bridges and a rocky glen. It is a pretty place.
see > nightlife :)
or go to: www.temple-bar.ie/
Unique Suggestions: .. to make this bearable there is only one thing to do - join in with a guinness and a jig... or stay home ;)
Fun Alternatives: ... soggy fish' n chips from "Barrys" around the corner.. :P
The brazen head Pub is reknown as the oldest pub in Dublin. While this claim it's possibly true, it's also true the fact that it attracts the tour-bus crowd and the unimaginative tourist. traditional music on most night - of the worst kind. It's in the Liberties, at 8 Bridge Street
Unique Suggestions: The only way to make the experience bearable is to ignore your neighbour and get drunk as fast as you can.
Fun Alternatives: go to any other pub
There is no such thing as Leprechauns!! And Don't let any persuade you there is you would be surprised at the amount of people who come looking for them!
Fun Alternatives: Insted of looking for Leprechauns go to the pub!! Where you might meet some real Irish people!!
Find the most run down looking pubs as these tend to have the best characters.
The story with the Blarney stone is that if you kiss it you'll "gain the privilege of telling lies for seven years".
After kissing it you can even pay a few euro to get a signed certificate that you kissed it :-).
Unique Suggestions: Don't kiss the stone! There are stories that local teenagers take a leak on it and laugh when see all the tourists kiss it..
In the V century ther was a custom in Ireland. One night the king lighted a candle when everything was dark. But one night in 432 there was a candle lighted in Slane Hill and the king who was in Tara Hill got angry. He sent soldiers to bring the man who lighted the candle before him.
It was St Patrick. And St Patrick explained the king and his soldiers about the Cristian faith and all of them converted.
This is (more or less) the begining of the Catholicsm in Ireland
Unique Suggestions: There is an exibition and a film with explanations in the information center in the Hill of Tara.
It is located about 40 miles north of Dublin.
To get there: take the bus in Busaras (Dublin) to Navan.
Burial chambers from the 4.000 BC. There is a guided tour: you will take a bus from the information center of Newgrange to visit the 2 tumbs which are currently openned to the public. You will need an hour for each tumb and more time to visit the exibition
More Regions in Ireland