The Gathering Ireland 2013 is a spectacular, year-long celebration of all things Irish.
I live in Ireland, I am Dutch, but have been here for over 6 years. There is a lot to see in Ireland (Island as a whole), but there are some locations you have to see. They are popular tourist spots for a reason, but nevertheless worth a visit. An artist on Fine Art America asked the question where to travel in Ireland, what is a must see, and basically gave me the inspiration to write this blog today.
People mention the west coast of Ireland a lot, and the west coast is indeed incredible, but Northern-Ireland is magnificent as well. The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland will take you along the coastline and its just fantastic. Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are a must see.
The route passes through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland and is widely regarded as one of the top five drives in Europe. Along the way you will pass through what was once the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada where man first settled on this island, where saint Patrick delivered his first ministeries and where many of the myths and legends of Ireland have their roots.
On the west coast you want to see the Cliffs of Moher, really breathtaking on a good day. When you are on the west coast, you can consider going down the Ring of Kerry, that is on my to do list as well. and Couty Donegal is my next destination as it has one of the most impressive landscapes and mountains. And maybe you can consider the Aran Islands while you are up there anyway 🙂
If you are on the east coast, County Wicklow and the Wicklow Mountains are absolutely amazing, Wicklow is called the Garden of Ireland, and it offers fantastic views, of Dublin, Glendalough and the Monastic ruins.
A bit more north and you can visit Newgrange in the Boyne Valley, a 5000 year old Passage Tomb famous for the Winter Solstice illumination.
In the south you can make a visit to Cork and Cork city and check out the south coast of Ireland, famous for its “relaxed pace of life and outstanding natural beauty”. The Irish from Cork do stress the raw beauty of West Cork and so does Conor Murphy:
These links should set you in the right direction, http://www.mizenhead.net/ From here you can nearly see the Torch on the statue of Liberty in New York. http://www.garnishisland.com/ This is surely the most beautiful garden ever created.
For more interesting cities in Ireland consider, Dublin (east coast and capital, I love Dublin) or Killkenny (village on the east coast), Galway (lovely little town full of Art on the east coast) and Cork in the south and Belfast (capital of Northern-Ireland) in the north.
Just remember that the island Ireland is made up of two countries, The Republic of Ireland and Northern-Ireland (which is part of the UK). Belfast is in Northern Ireland and has a lot of history about the Protestants and Catholics and their division. If you do the Causeway Coastal Route you end up in Belfast. The Titanic Docks is a great place to visit there, where the Titanic was built.
This is a good website http://www.discoverireland.ie/ that will tell you all about Ireland. Its also the year of The Gathering so 2013 is all about festivals, and tourism and loads of cool stuff will be organised throughout the country http://www.thegatheringireland.com/.
If you have any more questions, just let me know. My next blog will be focusing on photography in Dublin. Enjoy your travels in Ireland, you are going to love it !!