Ireland features a landscape that’s ideal for exploration. The nation is tiny, making it possible to visit each of its corners on a single trip. However, Ireland is so filled with ancient sites, natural beauty and charming pubs, you’ll probably require several trips to feel that you’ve had a chance to experience it all.In County Galway, you won’t want to pass up an opportunity to explore Dun Aengus. Rising majestically above the sea cliffs, this ancient stone fort has been delighting and mystifying visitors for centuries. Experts aren’t certain of its true age, though some believe it may date as far back as the Iron Age. Some walls have been rebuilt to offer visitors a more complete vision of what the fortress once must have looked like. Visiting here requires a rather strenuous climb, but the spectacular views and the ancient structures are well worth the effort. It would be virtually impossible to visit Ireland without considering a trip to a site like Cahir Castle in County Tipperary (top photo). This medieval fortress is remarkably well preserved, and a guided tour highlights some of its fascinating features. Guests are also permitted to ramble at will on certain parts of the property. While enjoying Tipperary, you would do well to visit the Rock of Cashel. Atop a massive limestone outcropping sits a spectacular specimen of an early Romanesque chapel surrounded by other ruins. Ireland has long been recognized as a nation of storytellers. This rich history is put on stylish display at the Dublin Writers Museum. Bibliophiles will find plenty to delight them here, including James Joyce’s typewriter and early editions of Gulliver’s Travels and Dracula. Dublin also boasts one of the best pub experiences in the nation at the Brazen Head (Ireland’s oldest pub). Here, you can lift a glass of stout and even buy a Guinness t-shirt. You’ll be in good company, as patrons have been enjoying libations at the Brazen Head for more than 300 years. Ireland often appears at its best through its villages. Carlingford in County Louth is among the most attractive with its lanes that seem designed for exploration on foot. In addition to shops and cafes, you’ll find ancient castle ruins perched alongside a lake.
With Ireland’s endless diversity of attractions, you’re likely to fall in love and become a regular visitor to this emerald jewel of a nation.