Ireland is the land of James Joyce, Guinness, and beautiful scenery. But that's for all the tourists. Take it from me, a real Irishman, to tell you the must-sees. Here's what to do.
Just think about it for a second: you're standing at the entrance to a seven story pint shaped building, that is so big it could hold 14 million pints. Have I mentioned that the top is the Gravity Bar with 360 degree views of Dublin and free Guinness? This is Ireland's most visited tourist attraction. It's the world's biggest pint glass. It's actually informative and enjoyable, too! You may also get treated to live music in one of the many bars, and you have the opportunity to pour your own pint!
This is on the west coast, but it's worth the trip. Plus, while you're there you can go to Galway, which is Ireland at it's rawest, most rugged and most beautiful. Photos will give you an insight, but seeing is believing. There's nothing as amazing or dangerous as the real thing! You can also see The Aran Islands.
If you're lucky enough and you can go here, do it. It's is the most amazing place, comprised of 3 islands, big, medium, and small. Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr are where you'll find incredible history, like forts from the Bronze and Iron Ages, that's as far back as 2,000 BC. Yes BC! Irish is the main language spoken here, and you can also pick up a world famous Aran Knit sweater while you're there!
Down south is the home of Jameson. Here is where they make all your favorite whiskies, like Jameson, Middleton, Paddy, Powers, Tullamore Dew and Redbreast. The tour will take you to a journey through all the steps of creating the perfect whiskey, wherever in the world you're drinking it. Jameson is currently the fastest growing spirit in the world. (Note: Due to renovations, the distillery will be closed until March 2017).
Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is Ireland's oldest university, with over 16,000 students. Its libraries have over 4.5 million books, including the Book of Kells which is a 1,200 year old manuscript containing 4 Gospels from the New Testament.
Do not. And I mean do not think that this is a place where Irish people hang out and have a few drinks. Go see it for sure, but please don't purchase a pint or anything at all for that matter. Prices can be up to double in Temple Bar as it is a tourist trap and no Irish people ever venture there for enjoyment.
The author is not only 100% Irish, but has visited each of these places in the past 12 months (even Temple Bar!). Enjoy your trip to my homeland!