10 Reasons to Love the Emerald Isle

Rugged, adventurous, playful, poetic and talkative, the Emerald Isle is irresistible and endlessly entertaining.

The Emerald Isle is an incredible place, one of stunning natural beauty and a vibrant culture. There are many reasons to love Ireland, but here are our top 10:

  • the emerald isle traditional Irish music

    1. It’s Musical

    Impromptu musical sessions enliven certain Irish pubs known for traditional music. When tin whistles, bodhran drums and uilleann pipes join in with guitar and fiddle, you’re in for the craic, or good times. When you visit the Emerald Isle stop by Gus O’Connor’s Pub in the tiny village of Doolin in County Clare to catch Irish folk music over creamy Guinness and fish and chips.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • the emerald isle has unspoiled natural wonders

    2. It’s Unspoiled

    One of six national parks, Killarney National Park encompasses the Biosphere Reserve, a protected wilderness with virgin oak and yew forests, the country’s only wild herd of native red deer, and MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, the the Emerald Isle’s highest mountain range. Around the park’s edge, you’ll find the Muckross House, filled with period furnishings, and horse-drawn “jaunting cars” plying the paths.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • the emerald isle art galleries

    3. It’s Artistic

    Sir Hugh Lane, a Cork-born London art dealer, began the Emerald Isle’s leading modern art museum in 1908 with his own collection of Impressionist masters. Today, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane has a wide-ranging collection, including an entire room devoted to stained glass and the reconstructed studio of Dublin-born painter Francis Bacon.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • the emerald isle road trips

    4. It’s Panoramic

    Engage in a drive-by love affair with the lush Irish countryside on the 110-mile Ring of Kerry encircling County Kerry. Arguably the Emerald Isle’s top road trip, the Ring of Kerry reveals sprawling views of 15th-century Ballycarbery Castle, Ross Castle in Killarney National Park, and stone forts, interspersed with quaint villages and windswept beaches.

    Photo Credit: iStock

  • the emerald isle museums

    5. It’s Literary

    Satirist Jonathan Swift was once dean of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Playwright Oscar Wilde graduated from Trinity College. And the annual June 16 Bloomsday Celebration honors novelist James Joyce. Stop in the Dublin Writers Museum when you visit the Emerald Isle as it pays homage to these and other Irish greats, from William Yeats to Roddy Doyle.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • the emerald isle ancient artifacts

    6. It’s Ancient

    It’s hard to think of a more dramatic, impenetrable fort than Dún Aonghasa on the island of Inishmore near Galway. The fort, which backs against a 300-foot-high cliff, is considered Europe’s best example of an ancient “ringfort,” a sprawling enclave fortified by four concentric walls. Other archaeological remains strewn throughout the Emerald Isle are further evidence of the country’s ancient settlements.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • the emerald isle celtic monks

    7. It’s Spiritual

    Sometime around the year 800, Celtic monks illustrated what would become the world’s best-known Gospel, the Book of Kells. The four-volume illuminated Latin manuscript is filled with Celtic designs, mythic creatures and ornate scrolls entwining Christian icons. The book now resides at Trinity College Library in Dublin, which displays two pages per day.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • the emerald isle monuments

    8. It’s Monumental

    Five miles of striated sea cliffs, ranging up to 702 feet high, the Cliffs of Moher gird the west coast of County Clare. At the visitor’s center, you can get close to the cliff’s edge on a safe walkway. The crenellated O’Brien’s Tower, a tourist perch dating to 1835, offers striking views of the Emerald Isle’s western Aran Islands.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • the emerald isle food

    9. It’s Delicious

    Wheels of Irish farmhouse cheeses, piles of fresh shellfish and loaves of artisan bread compete for your senses at The English Market in Cork. Established in 1788, the greenmarket is the Emerald Isle’s biggest and oldest and a mecca for foodies.

    Photo Credit: Alamy

  • the emerald isle Blarney Stone

    10. It’s Magical

    According to legend, whoever kisses the Blarney Stone will forevermore speak with eloquence. To receive the gift of gab, visitors do a tricky backbend to smooch the stone, on the underside of the parapet of Blarney Castle in Cork County.

    Photo Credit: Thinkstock

  • the emerald isle traditional Irish music
  • the emerald isle has unspoiled natural wonders
  • the emerald isle art galleries
  • the emerald isle road trips
  • the emerald isle museums
  • the emerald isle ancient artifacts
  • the emerald isle celtic monks
  • the emerald isle monuments
  • the emerald isle food
  • the emerald isle Blarney Stone

See the Emerald Isle for yourself! Call 877-396-7159 or contact a AAA Travel Counselor to plan a trip that lets you explore the treasures of Ireland.

Get in Touch

Janice Yip-Hudson, AAA Travel Counselor, Daly City, Calif.

Today, people's lives are so busy. We're thinking three days ahead just to get through our to-do lists. I love helping my clients plan vacations where they have nothing to do but relax; where time stands still, and you're just on vacation.

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