With one week in Ireland, you can pack in almost anything you set your sights towards. The country is sprawling with gorgeous green fields and mountains, and its cities are easy to navigate with simple directions. But, be mindful: each place is one that you can spend hours walking around, so the best shoes to bring are a supportive pair of sneakers.
Ireland is a majority Catholic country, so it is filled to the brim with churches to visit, each of which are artfully constructed and more common than any fast food restaurant. Some of these churches are worth the visit for the history they hold and the beautiful stained glass they preserve.
© Amanda Karp
For those who are more metropolitan minded, the best places to visit are Dublin, Galway and Ballyferriter.
Dublin is filled with activities to do, from visiting the Guinness Storehouse to the National Museum of Ireland, but walking around finding a good place to eat is also a fun adventure. There’s almost always a restaurant on every street corner, so picking a place is not only easy but convenient.
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Galway is much like Dublin in that there’s a great deal to explore. Nun’s Island is a historic area that is incredibly scenic to walk around, and the Galway Cathedral on the northeast side of the island is a must-see. Just across the Salmon-Weir Bridge and to the south is a mass of restaurants and shopping opportunities across Quay St., High St. and Mainguard St. Can’t leave out Ballyferriter, which is densely packed, much like the previous cities, but is much more of a hike due to the hills it is settled upon.
© Amanda Karp
If you prefer to be outdoors, the best places to go are the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara National Park.
Located in Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher are dazzling, and even more so if they’re caught in the sunlight, which is a rare occurrence for Ireland. People can walk across the Cliffs on a path that increases in steepness at times, but provides an incredible view.
Connemara National Park is also host to paths for people to hike on, and the Diamond Hill has three paths ranging in difficulties for people to choose; however, the most difficult and time-consuming of the three is the most worthwhile: at the top, you can gaze across the expanse of the park all the way to the coast.
© Amanda Karp
For those who prefer to take a road-trip, utilizing the Ring of Kerry is one of the best things to do.
It is roughly 100 miles of collective national secondary roads – the rough equivalent of highways – connected in a ring that takes you through national parks all the way to beaches.
One of the best stops along the way is in Fordal: the Kissane Sheep Farm. It is a functioning farm that hosts group and individual tours; visitors get to watch a demonstration of sheep being herded by the sheepdogs and sheep being shorn, and get to interact with the dogs.
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North of Fordal is Muckross, and hidden away in the countryside is the Muckross House, a nineteenth century castle that features a beautiful garden and an in-depth tour about the history of the castle.
No matter what you choose to do in the country, there are many places to visit in Ireland, each with a unique history waiting to be explored.