Ireland In October: Weather, Things to See and Travel Tips

October is among the best months to visit Ireland, despite its unpredictable weather. It is quite mesmerizing to witness how the emerald state turns into the stunning colors of autumn. A lot of interesting events and festivals also happen during this month and all of them showcases diverse and just a little quirky culture. Ireland in October is a bit colder as winter approaches bit most attractions are still accessible and open for visits.

Ireland In October: Weather, Things to See and Travel Tips

ireland in october

If you’re going to Ireland in October, make sure you plan things ahead to make the most of your stay. Here are a few things you might consider.

What is the weather like in Ireland in October?

Average Temperature in Ireland in October

8°C to 13°C (8 to 13 degrees Celsius)

Rain in Ireland in October

80mm over 24 days

Wind in Ireland in October

The average wind speed in Ireland according to the Irish meteorological office is 7 – 18 mph.

Sun in Ireland in October

average of between 3¼ and 3¾ hours of sunshine each day. Irish skies are completely covered by clouds most of the time.

What to pack for Ireland in October

The temperature will continue to drop from the middle of the fall season until the end as it transitions to winter. During these times, you can expect more rainfall starting mid-October and a much cooler Ireland air. Be sure to consider these items if you’re not sure what to pack for Ireland in October and November.

Wool skirt – a wool skirt is great for those who don’t want to ditch those chic clothing pieces. You can also wear leggings underneath it. Check out this classic A-line wool skirt in Amazon.

Leggings – fleece-lined leggings will also save you from the dropping temperature. When buying one, be sure to choose a high-quality and opaque fabric like this listing in Amazon.

Fleece sweatshirt – Perfect for layering, a fleece sweater is also a good consideration. You can wear it on top of a jacket or just wear it as it is. This sweatshirt from Amazon should be added to your essentials. 

Umbrella – Don’t forget to include an umbrella in your packing list to shield you from the rain. This compact travel umbrella from Amazon is a good option as it will easily fit in your luggage or in your everyday bag.

You can also check out our Ireland packing list for all season. 

Things to do in Ireland in October

1. Stroll Through the Autumn Leaves

Stroll Through the Autumn Leaves

If you’re going to be in Ireland in October, a leisurely stroll through the autumn leaves is a must. The emerald state bursts in autumn colors and every park, garden or woodland surrounding a castle or forested hill is a good place to enjoy the foliage.

Wrap up and get a cup of hot coffee or tea abs enjoy either an early morning or late afternoon stroll when it’s less crowded.

Some of the best places to visit in Ireland that you must see for its autumn splendor are the serene grounds of Birr Castle in County Offaly and the themed gardens, woodland walks and lake at the Mount Stewart Gardens in Northern Ireland. 

2. Check Out the Belfast Arts Scene

October is when the Northern Ireland capital city of Belfast holds its yearly Belfast International Arts Festival. It runs for two weeks with a diverse, impressive lineup of exhibits, performances, and other related events.

It is a must if you want to get to know Ireland’s vibrant arts scene, or simply want something different to enjoy.  The festival covers dance, film, literature, music, and theatre so there’s plenty to choose from and enjoy. 

3. Food Festivals 

The best Irish produce, food products and cuisine showcased in a fun-filled event decked in a distinctly local flavor — that’s exactly what happens in one of the best food festivals in Ireland. It also takes place in what is often described as among the most beautiful places on earth, Dingle.

It happens yearly during the first week of October, right in one of the most picturesque places you’ll ever see as Dingle is in the Wild Atlantic Way. Sample some of the best food and drinks on offer in over 70 venues.

There are also interesting activities such as cooking demos, street entertainment, live music, as well as wine and whiskey masterclasses or draft beer and cider trails. 

4. Bram Stoker Festival

This festival celebrates the Dublin-born author of Dracula, as well as kick-off Ireland’s horror-themed events. It starts on October 25th and the festival features literary events, pop-up Victorian parks, film screenings, music gigs in unusual places, parades, and a Gothic Ball.

It is also one of the most interesting festivals in Ireland. 

5. Ghost Hunting at Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol

Experience a creepy, low-light tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol, which used to house a prison for Ireland’s hardcore criminals and also a former execution site.

Aside from the usual tours that take visitors through a tunnel with horrid tales about its former residents, Crumlin Goal has a paranormal tour that happens every October.

The tour takes guests to the flogging room as well as the hot spots of paranormal activity, which are verified by paranormal experts with detection equipment.

6. Go Pumpkin Picking

Go Pumpkin Picking

Get ready for Halloween with your very own pumpkin which you actually picked. It’s a fun activity nonetheless, and among the best things to do in Ireland in October.

Go on a trip to a pumpkin patch and enjoy the autumn vibe as you sip apple cider or snack on apple fritters or pumpkin pies.

Some of the best pumpkin patches you can visit are the Ballycross Farm in Bridgetown, Co. Wexford; The Farm in Grenagh, Co. Cork; Kennedys Pumpkin Patch in Julianstown, Co. Meath, and Tinahely Farm in Coolruss, Co. Wicklow

7. Enjoy Halloween Right Where It Started

Ireland is the birthplace of Halloween, and if you’re here especially in late October, then it’s a must to join in the spooky fun.

Dublin has a Halloween parade that honors its Celtic heritage with music and dance, as well ad parties and events held in pubs. 

8. Tour the Tombs at Glasnevin Cemetery

Tour the Tombs at Glasnevin Cemetery

Being the birthplace of Halloween, Ireland and especially Dublin has quite a variety of activities lined up. There are festivals with parades, then there’s a tour that takes you through Ireland’s necropolis in the Glasnevin Cemetery.

This place has 1.5 million people buried here since 1832 so it’s massive. It’s ‘residents ‘ include famous patriots, poets, musicians, and writers.

The unusual guided tour is filled with fascinating stories, while the museums have exhibits on burial practices, a feature on the famous and infamous that are buried here and a genealogy research center. 

Practical Tips for Ireland in October

1.  Make sure to bring an umbrella and a light waterproof jacket as the weather can be unpredictable. 

2. Do not bring items of clothing that are made of denim as they get too heavy when wet and takes a while to dry. They also won’t help keep you warm. 

3.  Make sure to wear wool docks instead of cotton as they’re warmer, and knit hats and scarves. 

4. October is a good month to find good deals on accommodations as its mot peak season so be sure to check with your travel agent or your trusted online booking sites. 

5. If you’re looking for some of the best fall foliage sceneries, check out places like Wicklow and Killarney national parks, where you’ll also get to enjoy the crisp, fresh air. 


 

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Books About Ireland (That You Should Read Before Visiting)

A unique way to get to know a country aside from researching or actually visiting it is through the books that have been written about it. It’s always a treat reading something that’s not set in some vague or fictional city, town or country — but in a place that actually exists.

It’s such a delight to find that many books have been written about or set in Ireland, especially if you’re planning to visit or already there exploring. It is like a different perspective or another introduction.

books about ireland

Here are some of those books about Ireland that you can maybe read if you’re just curious, as a companion on the plane or in between exploring the country while you’re there. 

Books About Ireland (That You Should Read Before Visiting)

1. Beatlebone

by Kevin Barry

 

A book about John Lennon’s imagined visit to Clew Bay and Achill in the 1970s, this beautifully written and engaging book is a must-read for those going to Ireland for the first time.

The story captures the strangeness of the Emerald Iske’s Western part and stays true to what you’d actually see in Mayo and its people then and now. Evocative and written in a glorious language, it is something that truly captures the beauty of Ireland’s west coast, and will make you want to go there before you even finish the book. 

To buy the book, click here

2. Young Skins 

by Colin Barrett

 

Colin Barrett&s short story collection depicts post-millennium small-town life, gritty and raw, with its characters that seem to jump from the pages. They’re real, you know them, you’ve met them and as their stories unfold you see the face of Ireland and its people that speaks to you wherever in the world you’re from.

As one reviewer put it, if you ever want to read about Ireland’s very soul, this is the book. 

To buy the book, click here. 

‪3. Dubliners‬

‪by James Joyce, 1914‬

 

‪No list of books about Ireland is complete without a title from one of its greatest writers, James Joyce. If you ever had to read one of his novels in high school and didn’t quite get a lot of it, worry not, this isn’t like any of his required readings at all.

This is a compilation of fifteen stories set at the turn of the last century. Each of the stories provides readers a closer look at the life of Dubliners, each with a distinct voice and a different story. As diverse as these characters and images though, when put together, they seem to capture a portrait of a nation. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪4. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man‬

‪by James Joyce, 1916‬

 

‪Probably one of James Joyce’s most ‘readable’ and truly timeless work, this novel is also sort of a loose biography of the great Irish writer. This is part coming of age, part autobiography and a good deal of images and sentiments that resonates until today.

Set in Ireland at the start of the 20th century, this is a masterful depiction of a young artist’s awakening, rebellion, and gradual independence. This is a side of Ireland and it’s the identity that speaks to anyone who creates or simply searching for their voice and meaning. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪5. The Princes of Ireland (The Dublin Saga 1/2)

‪by Edward Rutherfurd, 2003‬

 

‪A must-read for anyone who’s fascinated about the history of Ireland and its people’s Celtic origins, this two-part epic saga spans eleven centuries. This is a true work of art that’s compellingly written and showcases important historical research.

It is a thrilling story that has an impressive amount of interesting characters such as chieftains, druids, farmwives, monks, noblewomen, laborers smugglers, and rebels.

The story also has some of the most recognizable events in history like the culture of pagan Ireland; the mission of Saint Patrick; the arrival of the Vikings; the making of the Book of Kells and the tricks of Henry II. It is fiction that’ll probably make you rechecking your knowledge of Ireland’s history and a definite must-read. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪6. Circle of Friends‬

‪by Maeve Binchy, 1990‬

 

‪Another masterful storytelling, this one from the late great Maeve Binchy, is the coming of age story, Circle of Friends. You may have come across the film version on TV or streaming sites, and that was a good adaptation but nothing compares to the emotions that this book awakens as you follow the story of Benny and Eve.

From the sleepy small town Knockglen to university life in Dublin. It’s the kind of book you read on long haul flights or train rides, or while waiting for someone or something. It is beautifully written and shows Irish small town and city life through the eyes of its young characters. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

‪7. P.S. I Love You‬

‪by Cecelia Ahern, 2003‬

 

‪Also from an amazing Irish writer, this is a light heartwarming read that also showcases stunning imagery of Ireland through its characters and settings. This one also has a film adaptation, but the book has so much in it that it never made it in the film.

Reading the book, you’ll be in the same journey as Holly as she discovers more of the world around her even after a painful loss, set in against the backdrop of scenic Ireland. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

8. ‪The Yellow House‬

‪by Patricia Falvey, 2009‬

 

‪An intricate story that has done many layers that you peel off the chapter by chapter, this is mostly set in Northern Ireland right at the start of the first world war. At the center of the story is a woman with a complicated family history, and a dream she’s determined to work hard for.

A woman who’s conflicted by her decisions, and the position she finds herself in — torn between two men, each pulling her to one extreme. This is an exciting read one that you should check out if you’re interested in another perspective of Ireland set against the back of passion and politics. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

9. ‪In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad 1/6)‬

‪by Tana French, 2007‬

 

‪This is the first book from a compelling and thrilling six-part Dublin Murder Squad series written by another great Irish writer, Tana French. Set in Dublin and its suburbs, the story follows a new case given to detectives Rob and Cassie, which in turn opens old wounds — that of Rob’s shadowy past.

This is amazingly written, with complicated yet lovable characters and stunning imagery that will make you feel as if you’re also searching through the woods along with the detectives, looking for more clues. ‬

To buy the book, click here. 

10 Best Things To Do In Dundalk, Ireland

Dundalk in County Louth is not just a large town overflowing with history, religious, and cultural scenes. It is also a strategic tourist hub if you want to hit two of the largest cities in Ireland during your trip.

Located approximately midway between Belfast and Dublin, you can definitely do a lot during your visit to Dundalk. To start with, here are 10 things to do in Dundalk, Ireland.

10 Best Things To Do In Dundalk, Ireland

1. Bring some life to the abandoned Castle Roche

Castle Roche

This Norman castle has been standing on top of bedrock with all its regal form since 1236. Many believe that Lady Rohesia de Verdun ordered this castle to be built after her husband died.

The murder window, one of the most interesting parts of this castle, is said to be the place where Lady Rohesia pushed the castle’s architect to death after she promised marriage to him.

Up to this day, there have been some murmurs that the architect’s ghost haunts in the murder window. Apart from that, a lot of significant historical events also occurred in this castle before it was destroyed from the attacks of the Cromwellian forces in 1641.

Castle Roche has been abandoned since the 17th century but there’s definitely a lot to see here- not just the ruins of the castle but the breathtaking view from the castle grounds.

Opening Hours

Open 24 hours

Contact Information

Phone : +353 42 9352111

Email: [email protected]

Address: Castleroche, Co. Louth, Ireland.

2. Visit County Louth from the past through the County Museum Dundalk

County Museum Dundalk

This museum, brought to life from a restored warehouse, showcases Louth’s history from the Neolithic Period until the 21st century. You can find various exhibits in this museum from prehistoric rocks to industrial artifacts used in brewing, shaving, shoemaking, and etc.

County Museum Dundalk also has a theater for short films if you want to dig deeper on County Louth’s history. Aside from short films, recitals and other art performances are also conducted in the theater from time to time.

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Admission Fee

Adults – €2
Children – €1
Family – €5
Groups of 10+ – 20% Discount
School Groups – 50c per Child

Contact Information

Phone: 042 9392999

Email:  [email protected]

Address: Carroll Centre, Roden Place, Jocelyn Street, Dundalk, Co.Louth.

3. Join a pilgrimage in the Hill of Faughart

Hill of Faughart

Aside from many other historical events unfolding in the Hill of Faughart, it is also the birthplace of St. Brigid, one of the patron saints in Ireland. This is the reason why the Hill of Faughart has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in the country.

The pilgrimage site is vast- with two sites marking its vicinity. There are the old graveyard and the Shrine of St. Brigid which has a distance of about half a mile. Within these two sites, you can find a medieval church, a holy well, holy stones, and St. Brigid’s stream.

Contact Information

Phone:  53 42 9352111

Email:  [email protected]

Address: Faughart Dundalk Louth Republic of Ireland

4. Visit Saint Brigid’s Shrine and Well

Don’t miss the chance to stop over Saint Brigid’s shrine and the holy well when you’re in the Hill of Faughart. Whether you’re joining the pilgrimage for this patron saint or not, the shrine and the holy well is an interesting addition in your things to see in Dundalk.

Contact Information

Phone:  53 42 9352111

Email:  [email protected]

Address: Faughart Dundalk Louth Republic of Ireland

5. Get fascinated with St Patrick’s Church

St Patrick’s Church

Built between the 1840s and 1860s, St. Patrick’s Church in Dundalk is popular for its jaw-dropping gothic architecture. It was designed by Thomas Duff- the same architect who designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh.

During the time of the church’s construction, many people find it interesting because there were not a lot of gothic-style churches in Ireland in reference to the number of classical style churches built during that period.

The exterior of the church is not just the only fascinating part but also the stained glass window which represents the 8 Irish saints namely, St. Patrick, St. Brigid, St. Dympna, St. Malachy, St. Ita, St. Columba, St. Oliver Plunkett, and St. Fancher.

Contact Information

Phone: (042) 933 4648

Email: stpatricksdundalk.com

Address: Roden Place Dundalk, Co. Louth

6. Dive deeper into Dundalk’s cultural heritage in An Táin Arts Centre

Dive deeper into Dundalk’s cultural heritage in An Táin Arts Centre

This independent arts center has a main theater with a capacity of 350 seats, a studio theater with 55 seats, workshop spaces, and a visual arts gallery. Guests can explore art presentations from at least 3500 BC which depicts Dundalk’s rich cultural heritage.

There are a lot of events to expect in this art center such as national tours, exhibitions, workshops, and in-house productions.

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Contact Information

Phone: +353 (0)42 9332332

Email: [email protected]

Address: Crowe Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland

7. Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon in Air Bound Trampoline Park

Kids and adults will surely have the time of their lives in this fun-filled attraction in Louth. Air Bound Trampoline Park is all about hundreds of interlocking trampolines which will surely make everyone reach the sky as they leap higher and higher.

It has a wide range of activities perfect for all age groups. If you’re interested to visit, the park has an entrance fee of 10 euros. It is also important to keep in mind that grip socks are compulsory upon entering the park too.

Opening Hours

Monday to Tuesday – 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Wednesday to Thursday-  11:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Friday-  11:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Saturday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

€16.00 per person.

€10.00 per hour (have your own trampoline grip socks)

Air Bound Grip Socks €2 ( re-usable )

Contact Information

Phone: +353 42 9333433

Address: Unit 19 Northlink Business Park, Coes Road, Dundalk, Co Louth

8. Visit thousands of birds in Dundalk Bay

Stretching 16 km from Castletown River in the North to Annagassan in the South, Dundalk Bay is the home of over 20,000 birds. There are various species occupying the bay like the Shelduck, Great Crested Goose, Greylag Goose, Dunlin, Curlew, Wigeon, and many others.

9. Bring your family to Stephenstown Pond Nature Park

Stephenstown Pond Nature Park is a unique nature park that is ideal for families with children. It has lakeside walkways, woodlands, and various wildlife. Families can enjoy a picnic or feed the wildlife inhabiting the park.

Aside from that, there are also other interactive and educational activities for the children such as a nature quiz where children can learn about flora and fauna and wildlife. Adults can also enjoy a course of carp fishing.

Cozy snacks are also served within the park’s vicinity where anyone can enjoy a warm and fresh soup, home-baked scones with jam and cream, an afternoon tea, and other baked stuff.

Opening Hour

Monday to Sunday – 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM

Admission Fee

Per Car – €3.00

Contact Information

Phone: +353 42 9379019

Email: stephenstownpond.com

Address: Knockbridge Dundalk Louth Republic of Ireland

10. Hear the local legend surrounding the Proleek Dolmen

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Proleek Dolmen is a portal tomb located in Dundalk which can be dated back to 3000 BC or the Neolithic era. It was said to be a place for cremated bodies that are often accompanied by grave goods.

However, there’s a legend that says that it was brought to Dundalk by a Scottish giant. On the other hand, others also believe that if someone can land three stones on the dolmen, he will be granted a wish.

Opening Hours

Open 24 Hours

Admission Fee

free

Contact Information

Phone: +353 42 9352111

Email:  [email protected]

Address: Proleek Dundalk Louth Republic of Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day: History and Trivia

One that’s uniquely Irish is the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. This formerly religious turned secular holiday has been adapted by other countries over the centuries, particularly those with a large concentration of Irish emigrants such as the United States.

Most of us non-Irish would most likely just think of the color green and parades when asked what we know of St. Patrick’s Day, but there’s more to the celebrations than what color to wear or how much beer to drink.

Here are a few noteworthy things about St. Patrick’s Day, and as fun as it is, the story behind is actually quite fascinating.

St. Patrick’s Day

The St. Patrick's Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day, which is every March 17, is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. This day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, which was in the year St. Patrick arrived back in the country tom preach Christianity to the people. March 17 is also the day that St. Patrick died in 481.

For over a thousand years, the Irish observed St. Patrick as a religious holiday. A typical St. Patrick’s day celebration among the Irish Catholic involves attending church in the morning than watching the parade after.

Later on, however, the Irish emigrants, particularly those who are in the United States, transformed St. Patrick’s day from a relatively tame religious holiday into a bright, colorful, and fun secular holiday of revelry and celebration of all things Irish.

‪In Ireland meanwhile, from 193 to 1970, most pubs are closed during St. Patrick’s day because it was a religious holiday.  March 17 ‬ was eventually reclassified as a national holiday and the whole of Ireland started drinking to celebrate that it became embedded into the St Patrick’s Day tradition.

Each year, March 17 is a national holiday in both Ireland and North Ireland, while it is observed as a provincial holiday in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. It has also become the biggest festivals in all Ireland.

About St. Patrick

st. patrick

St. Patrick’s real name was Maewyn Succat. He was born in Toman Britain (other records say Wales) in the late 4th century. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave.

He was able to escape but he returned (to Ireland) in 432 to convert its people to Christianity. During his lifetime, he established a number of churches, monasteries, and schools. He died on the 17th of March in 461 AD.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade

St. Patrick's Day Ireland

A celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is not complicated without a parade, and the first was held in 1762 not in Ireland but in the United States.

In 1762 Irish soldiers who were then serving in the English army celebrated St. Patrick’s day by marching through the streets of New York City. These days, the parade is an official city event. Meanwhile, in Ireland, the first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade was in 1903 and it took place in Waterford, which is the oldest and most populous Irish city.

Nowadays, the United States holds more than a hundred St. Patrick’s Day parades every March 17. Nearly 12% of Americans are said to be of Irish ancestry, and it is said that more people with Irish lineage live in America than in Ireland.

Still on the topic of St. Patrick’s Day parades, there are two locales that known to have the shortest parade. ‪Dripsey in County Cork, Ireland used to be known as the one with the shortest — 77 feet, or the distance between the pubs The Weigh Inn and The Lee Valley.

These days, however, the shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade is in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This parade passes through a 98- foot route where the recent participants include the Irish Elvises and the San Diego Chicken.‬

Wearing Green

Wearing Green

Among the traditions that are part of the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is the color green. Wear green and a shamrock, which one could use as a necklace pendant, earrings, shirt print, tattoo, headpiece or face paint.

This hasn’t always been the case, however,  as for many years, the color often linked with St. Patrick was blue. Green was even said to be unlucky. Wearing blue on St. Patrick’s Day is more symbolic and the Presidential Standard is still blue.

There is a story though why green is the more popular color during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  Green was, historically, the color associated with the series of Irish rebellions that took place to gain independence from the English crown. Green is the color worm by Irish emigrants in America, along with the Irish flag, to show their pride for their native country.

In Other Countries

St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious holiday typically celebrated with a mass and parade. However, it was the United States’ Irish emigrants and those with Irish ancestry that made it into a colorful day of revelry and everything Irish.

Cities and towns with a large number of emigrants have more lavish celebrations that include elaborate parades. These cities include Boston, New York, and since 1962, Chicago. This capital of Illinois even colors their river green to mark the holiday using food-grade vegetable dye which lasts for several hours.

‪St. Patrick’s Day is also a holiday observed in Sydney, Australia, and in 2010 the Opera House turned green to celebrate 200 years of this festive holiday.‬

Other St. Patrick’s Day Trivia

Guinness Irish drink

1. St. Patrick’s Day is another excuse to drink more beer, especially for the beer-loving Irish. It is a known fact that every year on March 17, Guinness sales soar. Every day around the world, 5.5 million pounds of a pint is sold but that figure is automatically doubled come to St. Patrick’s Day.

RELATED READ: 15 Drinks In Ireland You Should Try

2. ‪A traditional St. Patrick’s Day food consist of corned beef and cabbage, then dyed green beer after. The food combo is British in origin while the dyed beer is American, but they are eventually adopted by the Irish every St. Patrick’s Day mostly for the benefit of tourists. ‬

3. Wearing green attire or shamrock is another St Patrick’s Day tradition. It is also a tradition that if you see someone on St. Patrick’s Day who’s not wearing green, you have every right to pinch them.

4. Lastly, it is said that if you find a four-leaf clover on St. Patrick’s Day, you’re bound to attract good luck. There’s only one in 10,000 chance of finding it exactly on March 17 though, as you’ll typically find a shamrock so if you do, you are very lucky indeed.

 

Ireland Facts – 25 Interesting Things You Should Know About Ireland

From a musical instrument as its national symbol, am an official language that’s not English to a certain slithering creature that won’t make it to the Emerald Isle — there are many Ireland facts and things about this country that are not quite usual.

Here are some facts about Ireland that may delight, surprise or to make you grab a pint of Guinness.

 25 Interesting Things You Should Know About Ireland

Ireland Facts Number 1:

Ireland’s landscape apart from the rugged mountains and dramatic cliffs are made up of lush greenery and rolling hills which are mostly forested, which is why it’s called the Emerald Isle. The grass, plants, and trees are kept green and blooming because Ireland receives a lot of rain every year.

Lough Corrib best lakes in ireland

Ireland Facts Number 2:

There is evidence of the human presence in Ireland dated 12,000 BC. This was proven by a bear bone that was found in a cave. The bear bone had clear cut marks from stone tools.  The bone was discovered in 1903 but it was re-examined in 2010 using better technology. This bear bone proves that Ireland was already inhabited by humans during the Palaeolithic era.

Ireland Facts Number 3:

There’s only one ‘isle of Ireland’ but it is divided into two parts: the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is under the United Kingdom, while the Republic of Ireland is an independent country.

In 1998, a peace agreement was signed between Great Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland. As part of this agreement, Ireland gave up control of Northern Ireland to the United Kingdom.

Fact Number 4:

With its lands that are ideal for farming, Ireland is able to export potatoes as well as lamb and beef. The country also exports zinc and lead, machinery and pharmaceuticals. Ireland’s imports meanwhile include aircraft parts, oil, petroleum gases, and vehicles.

Ireland Facts Number 5:

Ireland has a unique, and beautiful national symbol and it’s the harp. It is the only country in the world that uses a musical instrument as its symbol.  Trinity College in Dublin is home to some of the oldest harps in the world.

The Harp

Ireland Facts Number 6:

English was not always the main language in Ireland. It was only introduced here in the 12th century. English may be the widely spoken language in Ireland today but the native language is Irish Gaelic

Fact Number 7:

Irish is the Gaelic language that belongs to the Celtic side of the Indo-European language tree, and it is not like English at all. It remains to be the first spoken language in Cork, Donegal, Galway and Kerry, as well as in the smaller parts of Mayo, Meath, and Waterford.

Irish Gaelic is still taught ten kids in schools, where it is a required subject. Irish Gaelic is also still the country’s official language.

Read: 30 Irish Slangs That You Need To Know

Ireland Facts Number 8:

If any of your grandparents are Irish, you can claim Irish citizenship. If you can prove it, then you most definitely can and should apply for Irish citizenship. Once you become Irish, you can get a passport that’s quite useful when traveling as it covers most European countries.

Ireland Facts Number 9:

The Celtics or Celts — mysterious ancient people is known for being treacherous warriors and for their intricate symbolic art are often associated with Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Recent findings showed though that the Celts did not originate or were exclusive to these countries, as they were of Indo-European origin.

However, Ireland is among the known distinct Celtic regions and is called Eire. Most Irish people also consider themselves to be of Celtic origin.

Tree of Life Celtic Symbol
Tree of Life Celtic Symbol

Ireland Facts Number 10:

A lot of non-Irish people often associated the color green with St. Patrick or Ireland itself.   Historians say that the right color for St. Patrick and his feast day: Itush National Holiday is light blue. However, green actually became popular during the 1798 Irish rebellion when the clover became a symbol of Irish pride and nationalism.

Ireland Facts Number 11:

With its diverse, dramatic ic and stunning landscape, Ireland is a favorite filming location to some of the more notable films of the past decades. These include Star Wars which was filmed on the magnificent Skellig Michael and Braveheart in some of the country’s medieval castles.

The picturesque Cliffs of Moher meanwhile was the setting in some of the memorable parts of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‬, ‪The Mackintosh Man‬ and ‪Princess Bride. ‬

Skellig Michael things to do in ireland
Skellig Michael – filming location for Star Wars films

Ireland Facts Number 12:

Sean’s Bar in Athlone is said to be the oldest pub in Ireland, as it’s said to date back to 900 years, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ireland Facts Number 13:

Ireland has a turbulent history that’s filled with battles, conquests, invasions, rebellions, and all put wars. This is why fortresses were built to protect certain areas or even families, and these structures are all over the country.

Ireland is now known all over the world for having the most number of castles, totaling to more than 30,000 including ruins. Most of these castles are converted into private homes, hotels, cultural centers, offices and museums.

Ashford Castle - Castle Hotels in Ireland
Ashford Castle

Ireland Facts Number 14:

The oldest occupied castle in Ireland is the Killyleagh, Castle, which is located in Castle in County Down.

Ireland Facts Number 15:

Ireland has some pretty strange and difficult to pronounce names for some of its towns, villages, and cities. The longest name of them all is Muckanaghederdauhaulia. That one’s a tiny village in Connemara in Co. Galway.

It has 22 letters and considered to be the longest name in the English language. The name was taken from  Dhá Sháilemeaning, which means ‘pig-marsh between two salt waters’.

Ireland Facts Number 16:

Guinness Beer is the most popular drinks in Ireland, where it also originated. This beer which is also referred to as the ‘dark stuff’ can be bought all over the country in pubs and grocery stores.

Guinness Irish drink

Fact Number 17:

The Irish are known as heavy beer drinkers, and all over the world, the country ranks as the sixth-highest consumer of beer per capita. It ranks behind the Czech Republic, Namibia, Austria, Germany, and Poland. The average Irish person is said to consume 100 liters of beer each year.

Ireland Facts Number 18:

With that interesting statistics, there is actually a law in Ireland that says it is illegal to be drunk in public. It was enacted in 2009 for the purpose of maintaining public order and safety.

Fact Number 19:

One of the most devastating periods in Irish history is the Potato Famine of the 1800s when the country’s staple crop failed. Approximately a million people died of starvation and disease between 1946 and 1951.

From 1945 to 1955, around two million emigrated to seek a better life in other countries.

 

potato famine memorial in dublin
The Famine Memorial in Dublin

Ireland Facts Number 20:

The Potato Famine in the 1800s led to the significant population decline in Ireland when Irish people left the country en masse to escape the famine. The country has yet to recover from this, as the current population of both the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is below seven million.

Fact Number 21:

Around 70-80 million people worldwide claim to be part Irish or have Irish ancestry. It’s not easy to get the exact numbers but countries like Australia, Argentina, Canada, and South Africa are among the countries with the highest amount of those with Irishlineage outside of the United Kingdom.

Ireland Facts Number 22:

One of the oldest legends in Ireland is that its patron saint, St. Patrick, rid the country of snakes. There is no proof of that, though, but it is true that those slithering creatures never made it to Ireland from Britain.

Ireland is isolated, and many animal species usually found in Europe are mot found here such as moles, polecats, weasels, and snakes.

Ireland Facts Number 23:

Despite being the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick is not Irish. He was in fact British and according to historical accounts of his life, he was kidnapped as a teen and brought to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but came back years later to convert the Irish people to Christianity.

st. patrick

Ireland Facts Number 24:

Halloween is of Irish origin. It came from the Irish festival called Samhain. It is a Celtic harvest festival, where the Celts believe that at the end of summer, the gulf that separates our world from the world of ghosts becomes thin.

This occurrence makes it possible for bad creatures to wander the earth. It was the Irish immigrants in the US who made Halloween popular in the 19th century.

Fact Number 25:

Did you know that there’s a national Leprechaun Museum in Dublin?  These green creatures that look like an elf and gnome hybrid are a huge part of Irish tradition. These tiny men (female leprechauns don’t exist apparently) who can fit on top of your shoulder are harmless, maybe a bit mischievous sometimes but they are said to have lots of treasures buried all over Ireland.

 

 

Ireland Currency: A Guide For the Non-Irish Travelers

When traveling, most expenses are either part of a set budget or at least, one has an estimate on how and where to spend when in a particular destination. In Ireland, money matters can be a bit tricky as there are Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland with different official currencies.

If you’re traveling between both Irelands, it is best to know how you could pay or make purchases without any trouble. Here are some things you need to know about currency, money, and spending in Ireland. 

tipping in ireland

Ireland Currency: A Guide For the Non-Irish Travelers

Ireland Currency 

Since Ireland is divided into two parts, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, they have different currencies. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and therefore uses the British ‪pound sterling‬ (£), while the Republic of Ireland’s official currency is the Euro (€).

This means that the British pound cannot be used in the Republic, in the same manner, that the euro is not accepted in the North. If you are visiting both Irelands, you’ll need some of both currencies, but know that shops located right on the border accepts both pound and euro. 

ireland currency

Northern Ireland’s British currency has notes in the following denominations: £5, £10, £20, £50, and £100. Coins meanwhile,has £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p, and 1p denominations.

The Euro, on the other hand, comes in the following denominations: coins have  1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2 while banknotes have €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500. 

Since the Euro is the official currency of the Euro Zone, the Euros you buy for use in Ireland is also accepted in many countries across Europe such France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain, the Euro cannot be used in the United Kingdom.

‪International travelers and locals alike can buy euros in ATM machines in Dublin airport and in most banks or currency exchange outlets within the city. ‬

ATMs in Ireland

‪Using an automated teller machine  (ATM) is the best and most convenient way to get cash if you’re traveling. Also referred to as cash machines or cash point, ‬the ‪Cirrus‬ and ‪PLUS‬ ATM networks are all over the world. 

Most Republic and Northern Ireland ATMs accept PINs of four to six digits, but they often do not have alphanumeric keypads. If your PIN includes letters, you may use a telephone dial to figure out the numeric equivalents. 

In Ireland, most cities and large towns typically have an ATM. In the rural counties though, such as Clare, Galway, and Limerick — there are not enough easily accessible ATMs. If you cannot locate an ATM, there are convenience stores that have their own cash machines.

However, these establishments charge a few euros or pounds for every transaction, and it’s even higher for international travelers as it goes up to $5 or more. Before traveling, it is best to ask your bank regarding international transaction fees, to ensure that you won overspend and be short of cash in a foreign country. 

euro coins

Credit / Debit Cards in Ireland

In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland’s major cities, credit or debit cards are usually accepted. As a precaution though, you must inform your local bank that you will be traveling and most likely will use your credit or debit card.

This is to be certain that your transactions in another country won’t be marked as fraudulent and to ensure that payment and purchases will go through. 

Aside from being a safe and easy way to carry money, credit cards also provide a record of all your transactions so you can easily track them, as well as offer good exchange rates when purchasing. 

You can also withdraw cash advances using a credit card in most ATMs. Just make sure you know all transaction fees so you can better manage the way you use your cash cards. 

The most widely accepted credit /debit cards in Ireland are Visa and MasterCard. Most major hotels meanwhile, accept American Express and Diners Club. Keep in mind though that in Ireland, most small businesses and B&Bs do not accept credit cards so make sure you also have enough money ready. 

Personal and Traveler’s Checks

‪Just in case you’d ever consider using checks to pay for anything in Ireland, you should know that these days,  it’s not encouraged or recommended. There may have been establishments where they’re accepted but nowadays, checks are almost facing extinction.

Whether it’s a personal or traveler’s checks, there’s no guarantee that they can be encashed in international banks based in Ireland. It is best then to not bring checks and just either use a card or pay in cash.‬

Banking Services in Ireland

Irelands banks typically open around 9:30 in the morning and close at 4:30 in the afternoon from Monday to Friday and until 5 p.m. every Thursday,  while some banks may open on Saturday morning.

Most of these banks have on-site automated teller machines, and there are banks in most major cities, towns, and villages. 

Security 

In Ireland, safety and security are not much of a problem. However, it is best to always take precautions against crimes like robbery. Make sure you do not carry a huge amount of cash or leave your valuables unattended or on display. 

Tipping in Ireland

When traveling to any country, one typically spends on transportation, accommodations, tour guides, and food. Ireland does not have a tipping culture or a set rule in giving tips. However, as a courtesy and to show appreciation for good service, and if the receipt does not have a service/table charge — a typical amount to give would be 10 to 15% off your total bill. Tipping also varies per industry. Check out this tipping guide in Ireland article for more details. 

 

Kilkenny Castle (Travel Tips and Guide For First-Time Visitors)

Recently hailed as one of the most beautiful castles in the world alongside Versailles and Windsor by the Architectural Digest, Kilkenny Castle is among the largest and most important castles in Ireland’s history, dating as far back as the 12th century. If you are planning to visit Kilkenny, this castle is one of the must-sees in town.

So here’s our quick guide for everything that you need to know about Kilkenny Castle.

Kilkenny Castle facade

 

Kilkenny Castle Travel Tips and Guide

History of Kilkenny Castle

The foundations were laid by the Norman Knight Richard de Clare, who was nicknamed Strongbow and one of the devout knights. Strongbow helped Henry II of England seize control of some regions of Ireland, from 1171 onwards.

He also laid the original wooden castle buildings in 1172. When he died four years later,  his lands eventually passed to his daughter’s husband – William Marshall. Marshal, who eventually became the 4th Earl of Pembroke, rebuilt the castle after it was devastated during the Norman conquest.

It then became home to the powerful Butler Family, also Normans in origin who dominated much of the South East of Ireland for several hundred years until they signed over the castle to the state.

kilkenny castle ireland

The magnificent castle is now one of the top places to see in Ireland. It overlooks the River Nore and along with the gardens, its winding woodland trails and ornamental lake provide the perfect setting for an idyllic stroll.

Only parts of the original castle built in the 12th century remain and the majority we see today is from the 19th-century reconstruction and restoration efforts.

Things to see and do in Kilkenny Castle

Entrance Hall of the castle
Entrance Hall

A must see inside the Kilkenny Castle is the Long Gallery, a dramatic room with painted ceilings and portraits of the Butler family, and the Butler Gallery, a room filled with art and rotating exhibitions. Make sure you also visit the Picture Gallery on the first floor, decorated in pre-Raphealite style, and the Carrara marble fireplace which is adorned with carved foliage.

Kilkenny Castle Drawing Room
Drawing Room

Other rooms you should see while inside the castle are the richly furnished Chinese Bedroom, the impressive wood-paneled dining room, and the nursery, with its beautifully made Victorian toys.

Chinese Bedroom in the castle
Chinese Bedroom

Outside in the castle grounds, stroll along with the formal rose gardens at the front to the rolling open green area at the back, wander down the hill to the riverside or along a shady route to the hidden duck pond. There’s a small cemetery there where members of the Butler family are buried including the grave of Sandy, a much-loved pet dog.

Kilkenny Castle Admission Fees

There are two admission fees for Kilkenny Castle. It depends whether you like a self-guided tour or a guided tour. For the rates, please see the admission fees below.

Self-Guided Admission Fees:

CATEGORYPRICE
Adult€8
Senior (60+)/Group (20+ Adults/Seniors)€6
Child (12-17)/Student (with valid ID card)€4
Family€20

Guided Tours Admission Fees:

CATEGORYPRICE
Adult€12
Senior (60+)/Group (20+ Adults/Seniors)€10
Child (12-17)/Student (with valid ID card)€6
Family€30

Guided Tours Availability Hours

October to February09:30 – 16:30
March09:30 – 17:00
April and May09:30 – 17:30
June to August09:00 – 17:30
September09:30 – 17:30

Kilkenny Castle Opening Hours

January09:00 – 16:00
February09:00 – 16:30
March09:00 – 17:30
April08:30 – 19:00
May, June, July and August08:30 – 20:30
September08:30 – 19:00
October09:00 – 17:30
November09:00 – 16:30
December09:00 – 16:00

Kilkenny Castle Tours

Kilkenny Castle is also one of the best day trips from Dublin and Cork. If you can’t stay in Kilkenny, you can also take one of these guided tours as well.

Kilkenny Castle Day Trip from Dublin

This guided castle tour from Dublin also includes a stop to the filming location of Braveheart, Wicklow Mountains, and Glendalough. It is also only € 33 per person. To book, click here.

 

 

Kilkenny Castle Day Trip from Cork

This guided Kilkenny Castle tour from Cork also includes a stop to the Rock of Cashel and Youghal. It is also only € 45 per person. To book, click here.

 

Tips for Kilkenny Castle

1. Don’t miss the beautiful souvenirs and gifts from Ireland from Kilkenny Design Center. It is just across the road from the castle and it used to be a part (as stables) of the castle grounds. They also serve nice pastries if you get hungry touring around the castle.

2. If you don’t want to pay extra for the guided tours, don’t worry about missing out. You can download this Kilkenny Castle Mobile Tour and Info app to help you navigate the castle and help you with history and information. The guided tours also fill up quickly and waiting time can be long so this is a good alternative if you are in a hurry.

3. There aren’t parking lots within the castle ground but you can park to the nearby Ormonde street parking area and by the Castle Road.

4. The castle ground is also pet-friendly so if you are looking to take your dogs, the surrounding area can be a good playground for them.

Contact Information

Address: The Parade Kilkenny R95 YRK1

Phone: +353 56 770 4108

Email: [email protected]

 

 

 

10 Best Castles in Galway, Ireland

With its scenic landscapes and colorful building facades, County Galway has more to offer when it comes to best tourist destinations. If you fancy walking on the carpeted floor and admiring the grandeur of a medieval castle, then visiting some of the best castles in Galway is a must. 

These Galway’s castles boast interesting history, artifacts, and treasures that lasted beyond generations. So without further adieu, here are the 10 best castles in Galway, Ireland.

10 Best Castles in Galway, Ireland

1. Aughnanure Castle, Galway

Aughnanure Castle

Built by the O’Flaherty’s during the 15th century, the captivating and green surroundings of this Irish castle can be found near the shores of Lough Corrib. Take a picture with you and your friends on its ancient banquet halls, or even outside of the well-preserved tower itself.

The castle’s rich history, including the royal families and clans that have fought over and preserved it, will be told by expert guides found in the vicinity. Venturing further outside will take you the clean, green, and wide castle courtyards of Aughnanurre Castle. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

Adult: €4,

Child/Student: €2

Senior/Group: €3

Family: €10

Free guided tours with an admission ticket.

Contact Information

Phone: +353 (91) 552 214

Address: Aughnanure, Oughterard, County Galway, H91 PX20

Email:  [email protected]

2. Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle

 

Crowned as one of the most photographed castles in West Ireland, Dunguaire Castle awaits your visit near the shores of Galway Bay. Some of the biggest highlights of your tour around the castle is a four-course meal with the finest wine and honey mead in their grand banquet halls, with the spirit of the medieval Irish era.

Experience live Irish music and entertainment as you pass along the halls of this castle in Galway. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Admission Fee

€6/adult

€3.50/seniors/students

€3/children

€17.50/family (2 adults + up to 6 children)

Contact Information

Phone: +353 61 360788

Address: Kinvara Galway, Republic of Ireland

Email: [email protected]

3. Menlo Castle, Galway

Menlo Castle

If you’re looking for an eerie, nature-inspired, and royalty-feel backdrop for your next wedding or vacation photos, then Menlo Castle is a good stop for your Ireland itinerary. The abandoned castle sits on the banks of River Corrib and is overgrown by moss and other green vegetation. It was the home of the Blake family and was established during the 16th century.

The castle is a bit difficult to spot due to the overflowing vegetation that covered its walls and edifices. But this uniqueness is the reason why this is one of the interesting castles in Galway.  

Opening Hours

Open 24 Hours

Contact Information

Phone: +353 91 536 547

Address: Menlo Castle, Galway, Ireland

4. Portumna Castle and Gardens

Portumna Castle and Gardens

This historic estate and gardens were built by the late Richard Burke around 1618 and still remains as one of the most well-preserved castles in all of Ireland.

The Jacobean-style architecture of the building makes its façade more austere and formal-looking, but stepping inside of its intricate and geometrical courtyard will make you feel transported into an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed castle. A garden maze called the Willow Maze can be found here, with different varieties of willow trees and espalier fruit trees perfectly set in its gardens. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

Adult: €4.00
Sen/Group: €3.00
Child/Student: €2.00
Family: €10.00

Contact Information

Phone: +353 90 9741658

Address: Portumna Galway, Republic of Ireland

Email: [email protected]

5. Claregalway Castle, Galway

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The fully-restored castle will make you feel like a King or a Queen for night, as it has lodging options fit for royalty. The friendly welcoming hosts and the expert guides will help you learn more about the rich history of the castle.

If you fancy staying for a night, you will not be disappointed. Their amenities include free parking space, free high-speed WiFi, hygiene essentials, with laptop-friendly workspaces, and a bottle of fine wine to top it all off.

The rooms are also sparkling clean, the floors are heated, and a healthy breakfast awaits you to this medieval-themed paradise. Various private events can also be held in the castle’s great halls, available upon reservation. 

Opening Hours

Thursday to Sunday -12:00 pm to 4:00 pm from June to September 2019

Admission Fee

€6 per person

€4 per child, student, concession.

Contact Information

Phone: +353 (0)91 799666  

Address: Claregalway, Co.Galway, H91 E9T3, Ireland.

Email:  [email protected]  

For the latest rate, click here.

6. Lough Cutra Castle

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The beautiful and long history of the Lough Cutra castle makes it even more exciting by knowing the His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Duchess of Cornwall Camilla and the famous poet WB Yeats were once exclusive guests. The private family home houses a wide art collection in its galleries. Weddings, corporate events, and location shoots and photography are also available.

For those who wish a more luxurious lodging, the courtyard houses of Lough Cutra are excellent places to stay for a royal-themed night.  The castle can accommodate up to 17 guests in its 9 luxurious bedrooms plus its 23 courtyard houses.

Contact Information

Phone: +353 86 2229184

Address: Lough Cutra Castle, Gort, Co. Galway, Ireland.

Email: [email protected]

7. Ballindooley Castle, Galway

Ballindooley Castle

If you wish to lodge in one of the most ancient castles in Galway, Ballindooley Castle is available for castle or castle room rental on Airbnb. Guests can stay at the Old Mill as it overlooks the courtyard and a great lime lake near the castle. Guests can choose from six Medieval-inspired bedrooms, and stay at their homely reception, or explore its gardens, as you take in the beauty of this historic castle. 

Opening Hours

Open daily for 24 hours

Contact Information

Phone:  087 2463748

Address: Ballindooley Castle, Ballindooley, Co. Galway

Email: [email protected]

8. Carraigin Castle

Carraigin Castle

Built 700 years ago, and still inspiring royal splendor in Galway until today is Carraign Castle. The castle has been authentically restored with the materials and techniques used by 13th-century foremen and architects. It is enclosed by woodland, meadows, and acres of green lawns.

The gothic details of the roofs of the castle and its lakeside setting make it a good place to take photos, and enjoy walking, boating, fishing, sightseeing, or just simply relaxing with family and friends. The great hall of the castle features old oak and modern furniture. Pets are welcome to stay, and high-speed internet access is available in the castle, a good chance to upload your beautiful photos and moments inside and outside of the edifices of Carraigin Castle. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Contact Information

Phone: +44 207 736 9834

Address: Cargin Castle, Clydagh, Headford, Co. Galway, Ireland

Email:  [email protected]

9. Dunsandle Castle and Woods

Dunsandle Castle and Woods

Enjoy the beautiful landscapes and interiors of the great Dunsandle Castle and Woods which was first owned by the De Burgo or Burke family. The castle is filled with unique architectural features, which includes a large banquet hall, an anti-clockwise spiral staircase, secret chambers, and the minstrel’s gallery.

The castle is surrounded by 20 acres of native woodland, which makes it perfect for picnics, walks, and spotting various wildlife that lives in harmony within Dunsandle Castle. 

Opening Hours

Open 24/7

Admission Fee

Adult: €6.50

Students/OAP: €4.00,

Child: €3.50 (under 2’s go free).

Contact Information

Phone: +353 91 867651

Address: Dunsandle Castle & Woods Kiltullagh Athenry Galway, Republic of Ireland

Email: [email protected]

10. Ballynahinch Castle

Ballynanhinch Castle

If you wish to stay in one of the most fascinating castle hotels in Galway, then Ballynahinch Castle is a good stop for you. Found in the middle of a 450-acre woodland, the four-star luxury hotel is a great lodging place filled with fun activities. These activities include hiking, pony riding, and game bird hunting.

The castle overlooks a sparkling salmon fishery. River and lakeside walk along the castle’s pathways is a popular activity among guests as well. 

Opening Hours

Open 24/7

Contact Information

Phone: + 353 95 31006

Address: BALLYNAHINCH CASTLE RECESS CONNEMARA, CO. GALWAY H91 F4A7 IRELAND

Email:  [email protected]

For the latest rate, click here.

13 Celtic Symbols And Their Meanings

The word “Celtic” refers to people who lived in Britain and Western Europe from 500 BC and 400 AD and with its rich history and culture, Ireland has been home to various civilizations for thousands of years. The Ireland Celts used symbols that now have become part of the Irish identity and heritage, and have even become symbols of Ireland itself.

If you’re going to Ireland, you will most likely come across these symbols in decor, clothing, etched indoors or furniture even in statues and some popular Irish brands. To better understand Ireland and its unique culture, here are thirteen Celtic symbols, a bit about their origin and their meanings.

13 Celtic Symbols And Their Meanings

Celtic Symbols and their meaning

1. The Shamrock

The Shamrock

Probably the most recognizant and popular among Irish Celtic symbols, the shamrock was derived from the original word for the plant of ‘seamrog’ which means the summer plant of young clover.

It is also a symbol that is associated with good luck, and if a 4 leaf clover is ever found that is thought to be especially lucky.

Adapted as the unofficial symbol of Ireland, this 3 leafed green plant became famous during the time of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who arrived in 433AD and brought Christianity to the nation.

It is said that he used the 3 leaves of the shamrock to illustrate and explain the Holy Trinity to early Christian followers and as an example of the father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.


2. Tree of Life Celtic Symbol

Tree of Life Celtic Symbol

Known as Crann Bethadh in the ancient language, the Tree of Life appears in many different counties, cultures, and religions.

In the early times, the Druids of Ireland were known to hold their important meetings under trees which were highly regarded for their ability to provide food, wood, and shelter.

The ancient Celts also believed that trees were the ancestors of man and the door to the spiritual world.  Oak is the most highly regarded tree of all, said to be the most sacred of all the tree species.

Frequently depicted with the branches reaching up and the roots pointing down, the Tree of Life is said to represent the connection between heaven and earth. These days, this symbol is seen in many forms and used for jewelry and tattoos.


3. The Triskele

The Triskele

Derived from the Greek word ‘triskeles’ which means 3 legs, Triskele is sometimes referred to as Triskelion and is constructed from spirals in various forms. The spiral is said to be an important spiritual marking which dates back to ancient origins in Irish culture.

Made up of 3 joining spirals, the ancient Irish believed that everything happens in batches of 3, or ‘the 3rd times the charm’ – a belief that still exists today.

The spirals are also said to symbolize the inner and outer worlds and the themes of birth, death, and rebirth as well as the unity of mental, physical and spiritual self.


4. The Harp

The Harp

Still played commonly in traditional Irish bands and pubs that support their music, the roots of the Harp as a symbol are somewhat vague. The use of it, however, dates back to before the 6th century and that Irish King Brian Boru circa 1000 was an accomplished harp player.

The Irish harp, also known as the Gaelic harp, Celtic harp, or Clarsach, is a lesser-known traditional symbol of Ireland and believed to represent royalty and the immortality of the soul.

In ancient times, bards and musicians played the harp for their chieftains and the tradition continued for later kings.

Since 1922 the harp been used by the government of Ireland as its state symbol and now appears on many logos of Irish based companies such as Guinness, Ryanair, Irish Independent Newspaper, and Harp lager to name a few.


5. St Brigid’s Cross

St Brigid's Cross

St Brigid was the daughter of Brocca, who was a Christian woman believed to have been baptized by St Patrick himself, while her father was a Chieftain. Her name means ‘exalted one’ and she is best known during her time for her acts of charity.

The image of Saint Brigid is often seen holding the circular cross that is associated with her name. The Saint Brigid’s Cross is used to celebrate the Imbolc, or the beginning of Spring which is also the festival of Brigid, the pagan goddess.

The cross is hung in Irish houses, usually in the kitchen, to ward off evil spirits and fires. Since Saint Brigid is also known as a goddess that was a giver of life, the Cross is associated with spring lambs and blooming spring plant life.


6. The Trinity Knot

The Trinity Knot

A symbol that is made of three interlocking circles, the Trinity Knot is also known as the Triquetra, which means 3 cornered or triangular. Not much is said about the Trinity Knot’s origin because it is too old, but some say it’s based on solar and lunar cycles. It is prevalent in Irish history, though, and can be seen depicted in many different areas today.

There is no definite meaning for the Triquetra, but it is commonly associated with earth, fire, and air. Others say it represents the mind, body, and soul.

The Trinity knot, however, is known as one of the earliest symbols of Christianity, pre-dating the cross by hundreds of years, and it used to symbolize the 3 in one of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. It can also be seen in Celtic metalwork and is present in the Book of Kells.


7. The Shillelagh

The Shillelagh

Another symbol that has become uniquely associated with Ireland and its culture is  The Shillelagh, which is a short, stout, wooden club with a rounded end that was originally a fighting stick used to club enemies.

Pronounced as ‘Shill-lay-lee’, it looks like a walking stick and is typically made from oak or blackthorn wood. The Shillelagh was also historically used for settling disputes, similar to the way of old duels.


8. The Green Man

The Green Man is a man’s head surrounded by foliage and used as a symbol of life and rebirth. He is known by many other names, like Jack O’ the Green, The Man in the Tree and Derg Corra Viridios.

The Green Man is associated with ancient Celtic or pagan culture and dates as far back as 400 BC where an armlet found in a Celtic grave in Germany depicted an image similar to that of the Green Man.

Today, the Green Man has become an emblem used to represent the environment. He can also be seen today on many buildings, particularly those that are religious in nature.


9. The Dara Knot

The Dara Knot

A Celtic symbol that has several different forms and can be seen in several different variations, the Dara Knot can trace its roots back to the mighty Oak tree,

The word ‘dara’ comes from ‘doire’, which means oak tree in Gaelic. The knot is designed to represent the intricate root system of the oak tree which was considered sacred by the Druid and Celts.

The Dara Knot is known to signify wisdom, strength, leadership, destiny, and power.

Like a lot of ancient Celtic symbols, the Dara knot has regained popularity throughout the years and is used in modern culture in jewelry, clothing and as tattoos.


10. The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh symbol is made up of hands that symbolize friendship, the crown that represents loyalty, and the heart that is associated with an everlasting love.

This symbol has been used in various items but the most popular is the ring, which first became popular in the 17th century.

Claddagh rings are  examples of the ancient Roman ring category called fede rings, from ‘mani in’ which means ‘hands joined in fidelity.’ Due to the meanings behind the symbols, these rings became associated with engagement and marriage.

Famous wearers of the Claddagh ring included Queen Victoria and Princess Grace of Monaco.


11. Celtic Knotwork

Celtic Knotwork

The Knotwork is made primarily of entwined and looping knots or circles, which emblems can be found worldwide but Celtic in origin. The knotwork images date back as far as 450 ADbut has prevailed through the centuries and used in decor, tattoos, and clothing design.

The Celtic Knotwork were used to illustrate the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow by ancient monks. Not much is said about the origin of the Knotwork but as something that is widely used and seen across Ireland, this symbol is said to bring good luck, health or prosperity, or to represent luck, fertility, and similar themes.

Some knots were also used to symbolize the interconnections of man and nature or to ward off evil spirits.


12. The Motherhood Knot

The Celtic Motherhood Knot is a lesser-known symbol of ancient Irish culture and knotwork. It is a variation on the more familiar Trinity Knot and is supposed to resemble a parent and child intertwined. The motherhood knot symbolizes a mother and child’s bond and their connection to the Celtic faith.

The motherhood symbol of Celtic culture resembles two-knot work hearts that are linked with one heart being higher than the other.


13. The Celtic Cross

The Celtic Cross

The most popular among the existing Celtic symbols, the cross which has a circle on its intersection was said to have originated from Saint Patrick.

Also known as the Irish Cross, the Cross of Iona, or the High Cross, the Celtic Cross has first emerged in Ireland in the early Middle Ages.

There are various interpretations as to what the Cross means, and some say that this symbol represents knowledge, strength, and compassion.

Others say that the four points are linked to the four cardinal directions, or the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), or as a representation of our mind, soul, body, and heart.

But, since it is also widely recognized as a Christian symbol the ring surrounding the cross, is believed to symbolize God’s never-ending love for mankind.


 

12 Things To Do In Cobh, Ireland

Cobh was developed as a Victorian spa retreat in the mid-19th century and became Ireland’s most important port for trans-Atlantic travel. If you would like to create some memories that will last a lifetime, take the plunge and visit Cobh. It is a captivating town that it will hold you in its spell long after you’ve left.

There’s so much to see in this town so we put together a list of top things to do in Cobh, Ireland. And if you are staying in Cork, this can be a good day tour from the city.

12 Things To Do In Cobh Ireland

1. Experience Titanic in Cobh

Experience Titanic

Titanic Experience Cobh is a visitor center located in the original White Star Line Ticket Office in the center of Cobh town (formally known as Queenstown). Cobb was the departure point for the final 123 passengers who boarded the Titanic before heading to New York. The Titanic Experience will let you experience how it was to be in Titanic in 1912 as you learn about the historical British passenger liner.

Aside from the visitor center, you can also visit the Titanic Gardens and relax with views overlooking where the Titanic last dropped its anchor.

Opening Hours

Summer

April 1st – September 30th

9:00am to 6:00pm

Tours run every 15 minutes throughout the day
(last tour at 5:15 pm)

Winter

October 1st – March 31st

10:00am to 5:30pm

Tours run every 30 minutes throughout the day

(last tour at 4:45 pm)

Contact Information

Address: White Star Line Building, 20 Casement Square, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Phone: (021) 481 4412

Email: [email protected]

2. Marvel at the beauty of St. Colman’s Cathedral

cobh ireland

Visit St Colman’s Cathedral and marvel at the wonderful French Gothic architecture and beautiful stained glass. The cathedral is the only Irish Catholic Victorian cathedral to preserve its interior fully intact.

It took 47 years to build this cathedral which started in 1868. In 1916 a Carillon of 42 bells was installed. The largest bell is 200 feet above the ground and weighs 3.6 tons. The Cathedral organ, by Telford and Telford, contains 2,468 pipes. The Cathedral is a regular venue for Recitals by choirs from all parts of the world. St. Colman’s remains one of the top attractions in Cobh.

Contact Information

Address: 5 Cathedral Pl, Kilgarvan, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland

Phone:+353 21 4813222

Email:  [email protected]

3. Learn the history of Spike Island

Spike Island is a 103-acre island in Cork Harbour. This island is Ireland’s Alcatraz and it was used as a prison. Since the early 21st century, the island has been developed as a heritage tourist attraction in Cobh and it was named as the top tourist attractions in Europe by World Travel Awards in 2017.

Opening Hours

Daily- 12pm-2pm

Admission Fee

Please ring in advance to check admission fees and bookings.

Contact Information

Address: c/o Cork County Council, Carrig House, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland

Phone: (021) 237 3455

Email: [email protected] 

4. Feed the ducks or relax at Cuskinny

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Just 10 minutes from Cobh center is a natural hideaway set on beautiful Cuskinny Bay. Cuskinny Nature Reserve is a serene bird sanctuary with lots of water-based activities, stunning woodlands to explore, and hiking routes. If you want to find things to do in Cobh with kids or for families, the relaxing scenery is ideal to have a picnic while feeding the ducks and swans in the area.

Opening Hours

Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm

Contact Information

Address: Cuskinny Court, Cobh, Co. Cork Ireland.

Phone:+353(0)21 2428868

Email: [email protected]

5. Visit Cobh Museum

Visit the Cobh museum and learn about the rich maritime history of the area. Cobh has a long maritime history and is known throughout the world for its association with emigration and was the last port of call for the RMS Titanic. The Museum holds the last written record for the RMS Titanic in the Pilot’s Logbook.

Cobh Museum is housed in the former Presbyterian Church overlooking the harbor. It is a small but excellent museum. There is so much information on display here. Its well laid out with areas where you can sit and look through the various booklets which contain paper cuttings and records.

Opening Hours

Monday-Saturday

11am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm

Sunday

2.30pm – 5pm

Admission Fee

Adult 4.00

Student/Senior 2.50

Child 2.00

Family 10.00

Contact Information

Address: Cobh Museum Scots Church High Road Cobh County Cork P24 AY26 Ireland

Phone:+ 353 21 4814240

Email: [email protected]

6. Check out Fota Wildlife Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Fota Wildlife Park is a 100-acre wildlife park located on Fota Island, about 9 km from the center of Cobh. This park is a not-for-profit charity that is also one of the leading tourism, wildlife and conservation attractions in Ireland. It is home to several species of mammals and birds.

The Wildlife Park in Fota can be enjoyed by all the family with a wide range of activities to keep everyone entertained.

Opening Hours

Mon-Sun: 10.00 a.m.

Gates closed: 6.00 pm

Last entry: 4.30 pm every day (5 pm for members)

We are closed on Christmas Eve to St Stephen’s Day (24th, 25th & 26th Dec).

Admission Fee

Adults: €16.70

Children (Under 16)  €11.20

Students (with valid student card), Seniors: €12.30

Toddlers (Up to 36 months): Free

2 adults + 2 children: €49.00

2 adults + 3 children: €57.00

2 adults + 4 children: €65.00

Car park/visit: €3.00

Group (20+) Adults: €12.30

Group (20+) Children, Seniors, Students (with valid student card): €8.20

Contact Information

Address: Fota Wildlife Park, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, Ireland

Phone: +353-21-4812678

Email:[email protected]

7. Explore Cobh Heritage Center

Cobh Heritage Center

The Cobh Heritage Centre is a museum located in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland. It is attached to Cobh railway station. The “Queenstown Experience”, located at the center, has mostly permanent exhibitions of Irish history and Irish Emigration.

From 1848 – 1950 over 6 million adults and children emigrated from Ireland. Over 2.5 million departed from Cobh, making it the single most important port of emigration in Ireland.

Opening Hours

Summer

Open 7 days a week.

April 15th to October 13th ( Last admission is 5pm)

9:30 am- 6pm

Winter

October 15th-April 14th

Monday- Saturday

9:30 am-5pm

Sundays and Bank holidays

11 am- 4pm

Closed December 23rd-27th and

December 31st -January 8th

Admission Fee

Adults: €10

Concession: €8.50

Child: €6

Family: €25

Contact Information

Address: Cobh, The Queenstown Story Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Phone: + 00 353 (21) 4 813591 

Email: [email protected]

8. Relax at St. Benedict’s Priory Bible Garden and Tea Rooms

St. Benedict’s Priory Bible Garden & Tea Rooms are located at the high end of Cobh, behind St.Colman’s Cathedral. It is the perfect getaway in Cobh Ireland. Once you enter, it becomes one’s own personal sanctuary. The tranquil surroundings are perfectly conducive for a calm and peaceful atmosphere that makes people feel completely relaxed.

Admission Fee

donations only

Contact Information

Address: St. Benedict’s Priory, The Mount, Cobh, Co.Cork

Phone: +353 21 481 1354 

Email: [email protected]

9. Take a trip around town on Cobh’s very own Road Train

The most relaxing, informative and fun way to view Cobh’s historic sites and beautiful sea vistas are aboard the Cobh Road Train. The Cobh Road Train takes you on a tour through the historic town of Cobh from the point where passengers boarded the ill-fated Titanic to the magnificent St. Coleman’s Cathedral.  All key historical areas are also covered and there is no better way to quickly learn everything you need to know about Cobh than taking the Cobh Road Train.

Admission Fee

 Adult – €8.00 Child – €5.00 Family – €20.00 (2+2)

Larger family, Special Group Rates and Private Tour Bookings can be arranged on request.

Contact Information

Address: Westbourne Place, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland

Phone: +353 (0)85 – 1363 393

10. Relax in the Promenade in Cobh

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The promenade in Cobh is where many locals and visitors come to take it easy and to do a bit of people watching. Great views out over the harbor, regularly visited by huge cruise ships, and back into the town itself where St Coleman’s Cathedral dominates. You can also listen to band performances in the promenade

11. Call into the Sirius Arts Centre

Sirius Arts Centre is a multi-disciplinary arts organization and a fantastic arts center with a great program of events in the middle of Cobh. The center holds regular art exhibitions offering the visitor an eclectic range of contemporary art from global artists. The center also offers artist in residency positions annually.

Opening Hours

Wed – Fri  10.30-17:00

Sat-Sun  13:00-17:00

Mon – Tues Closed

Contact Information

Address: The Old Yacht Club Cobh Co. Cork

Phone: 021 4813790

Email: [email protected]

12. Learn history in Haulbowline

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Haulbowline is an island in Cork Harbour off the coast of Ireland and only 10 minutes by ferry from the center of Cobh. Fortifications were built here in the early 1600′ along with the world’s first yacht club. The island was also an important base for the British army.

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