Ireland: The country of Ireland, situated on the north-western end of mainland Europe, is the third-largest European island and the twentieth-largest island in the world. Ireland lies to the west of Great Britain with the Irish Sea separating the two countries. The mainland of Ireland, though politically divided into two separate regions, namely Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, is blessed by huge geographical diversity and has a significant mix of cultural heritage. This has made Ireland a vastly popular tourism destination in recent times. There are some places in this green nation that are considered as must-see destinations for any individual on a tour to the island country, a list of which follows.
The Capital City of Belfast
As the meaning of the Irish term “Beal Feirste” suggests, Belfast is a city located at the mouth of the river Farset. A sandbar formed at the confluence of the rivers Farset and Lagan caused the former to flow down into Belfast Lough that formed the hub around which the capital city developed itself. Originally a town in the Antrim Country, the borough of Belfast came into being after being granted the status of a city in 1888 by Queen Victoria. It is at present the capital city of Northern Ireland and the seat of administrative and legislative power in the country. It is also the second largest city in the Irish isles. Having undergone large-scale sufferings during the time of conflict, disruption and destruction known as the Troubles, the city was bombed heavily as a result of German invasions during the Blitz of the Second World War. It has since made a steady recovery to a position of growth and calmness. A 5000-year-old henge known as the Giant’s Ring is located close to the city while the remains of forts from the Iron Age are still visible on the surrounding hills.
Located at the mouth of the Galway Bay on the western coast of Ireland, the Aran islands are a group of three islands. Inishmore is the largest island, followed by Inishmaan while Inisheer is the most eastern and smallest of the lot. The islands, along with their towns and villages, have been named using the Irish language which is the predominantly spoken tongue on the islands. The largest island of Inishmore can be reached by a short ferry ride. This island, unique in terms of its geology and archaeology, is symbolic of Irish culture and heritage and holds a long standing tradition of gentile hospitality. A timeless land in the middle of an endless sea, Aran islands is a throwback to the Gaelic times. Patchwork fields, quite beaches, limestone labyrinths and the warmth of the local people make this largely peaceful island a place of great fun and activity. The Fort of Aengus, known as the “most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe” is the standout among several prehistoric forts on this island. A site that offers spectacular view of the surroundings, it is a popular tourist site and an important archaeological location.
Situated in the northwest Country Clare region, Burren is one of the largest unique Karstlandscapes in Europe. The region is bounded by the Galway Bay on the North and Atlantic Bay to the West. A place that is rich in archaeological and historical sites, Burren houses a high Celtic-style cross in the Kilfenora village, portal dolmens and nearly five scores of megalithic tombs in the region. One of the main scenic attractions in the area is Corcomroe Abbey. Burren is also the site of a number of ring forts, most notably the Caherconnell Stone Fort that has been exceptionally well-preserved. The rolling hills around Burren have large-scale compositions of limestone pavements giving rise to crisscrossing cracks and isolated rocks known respectively as grikes and clients. The unusual environment of the area allows it to support Alpine, Mediterranean and Arctic plants in the same space of land with the blue flower of the Alpine Spring Gentian being used as a symbol by the local tourist board. The limestone cliffs have become seemingly popular with rock-climbers visiting the area while a number of charted caves scattered over the territory is a popular haunt for potholers. Burren is also well-known for its long association with traditional Irish music, popular as the “West Clare Style” of performing on the concertina.
Ireland has been rated highly in recent times as the destination that is most favored and also with the most potential towards development. The tourist guide magazine Former’s has gone on to vote for it as a magical destination in almost every possible way.
I am Aleena Lois, a writer who writes about travel, technology, sports and much more. Apart from writing articles, I like to explore anything new. Presently I’m now concentrating on travel articles and helping people with ESTA authorization.