Imagine the magic and fun of a trip to Ireland, land of lucky leprechauns, romantic castles, and wondrous emerald cliffs. Check out these top reasons to travel to the Emerald Isle.
1. Kiss the Blarney Stone
Myth has it that those who kiss this stone high up on the windswept battlements of Blarney Castle will be granted the glorious gift of gab. You’ll have to be hung upside down to pucker up to this bit of stone, but there’s usually a long line to climb the remains of this romantically ruined castle.
2. Slip Away to the Aran Islands
The tiny islands of Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer, situated in Galway Bay, have drawn artists and writers for decades with their ethereal beauty. Ancient garden walls, stone forts, and a unique cultural heritage evoke a way of life long vanished from the rest of the country.
3. Drive the Wild Atlantic Way
Traverse the whole western seacoast on this magnificent touring route. Considered the longest defined coastal drive in the world, this 1,500 mile journey winds through charming villages, along rugged coastlines and past hauntingly beautiful castles. Highlights and super photo ops include the monstrous sea cliffs of Slieve League in Donegal, Limerick’s King John’s Castle, and even musical events in County Clare.
4. Hoist a Guinness at the Pub
Chat, hoist a Guinness or two, and join an exuberant sing-along at one (or several) of Ireland’s more than 10,000 pubs. Chummy public houses are great places to meet the locals, down some super stout, and get a true feel for social life on the Emerald Isle.
5. Hike the Giant’s Causeway
An otherworldly mix of towering cliffs and dramatic surf, the over Antrium Causeway was formed by volcanic eruptions some 60 million years ago. Over 40,000 towering basalt columns jut out of the thundering surf, forming one of the most dramatic landscapes on earth.
6. Marvel at Illuminated Manuscripts
Considered by many to the be the most beautiful book in the world, the Book of Kells was fashioned by monks in the 8th century and is housed in Dublin’s Trinity College. Take a break from rowdy pubs and windswept cliffs to admire the marvels of the intricately illustrated pages of this and other manuscripts including the book of Armagh, the Book of Dimma and the Book of Durrow.
7. Play on a True Links Course
Golfers rejoice! Fully one-third of the world’s seaside links courses lie along the coast of Ireland. These early types of golf course are known for their extreme challenges, with obstacles including 200-foot dunes, strong winds and mercurial weather. Favorites include Royal Portrush Golf Club and County Kerry’s Ballybunion Golf Club.
8. Tour the Ring of Kerry
Hand-down the most popular scenic route on the island, the Ring of Kerry offers a magnificent mix of dramatic coastline and sublime mountains. Rather than sitting in traffic on a tour bus, drink in the majestic scenery on foot, by bicycle or on a horseback tour.
9. Hit the Trails at Killarney National Park
Ireland’s first tourist destination, the enchanting town of Killarney is home to Killarney National Park, largest national park in the country and a great place to hop out of the tour bus and get active. Roam the trails around the Lakes of Killarney, tour Ross Castle, slip away to Innisfallen Island or explore ancient Muckross Abbey.
10. Head West
Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula is the westernmost point in Europe and the 25 mile drive around the peninsula encompasses the highest concentration of ancient monuments on the Emerald Isle. Along hiking trails and in museums you’ll see beehive huts, standing stones, a sixth century monastery and ruined battlements.
Let this be your lucky St. Patrick’s Day at Isle Casino® Bettendorf, open 24 hours for your dining and entertainment pleasure. Better yet, the Isle® will be running a batch of exciting specials as we celebrate our favorite saint’s day. Pick up a St. Patrick’s Day scratch card on Thursday, March 17 and enter for a chance to win a grand trip to the Emerald Isle or $1,000 cash.