Destinations

Three Irish cities that will take your breath away

As one of the most alluring and enticing destinations in the world, Ireland is fast becoming a must-visit destination on any European trip.

Because it’s impossible not to love an island so beautiful, right?

No matter where travellers go in Ireland, they are sure to be greeted with warm and welcoming people, a buzzing atmosphere, and a wealth of things to see and do.

So to help choose which cities to visit in this fascinating destination, we bring you three very different, and captivating, Irish gems.

Dublin

Strolling-through-Dame-Lane

Dublin is a living city in every respect, and visitors can constantly jump between distinctive, and often unexpected experiences. Both lively and intimate, blending heritage and a very good time, there’s no better place to experience traditional Irish culture.

Dublin Castle, Trinity College – dating from the late 16th century – and both St Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals are the perfect place to start for history buffs.

For a taste of the city’s mesmerising 18th-century architecture, the Four Courts and the Customs House is unmissable. The Little Museum, meanwhile, is home to an award-winning civic initiative called City of a Thousand Welcomes, which has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “the best free thing to do in Europe”.

The local food scene is great for both hearty traditional dishes, and innovative variations on classics like Irish coddle, with fresh local produce a staple of Dublin’s dining scene.

The natural playgrounds of Dublin Bay and the Dublin mountains frame the city on all sides, creating the perfect space for those seeking adventure.

For travellers who prefer something a little more slow-paced, the city’s charming coastal villages like Howth and Dalkey offer rich history and legends, castles and hills.

And the experience is only made better thanks to the humorous and approachable people. In fact, Dublin – as well as Galway and Cork – have just been voted as three of Conde Naste Traveler’s Friendliest Cities in the World for 2018.

This fusion of local cuisine, lively music, and friendly people, allows travellers to fully immerse themselves and makes this an unmissable city in Europe.

Belfast

Belfast City Hall, County Antrim

Famous for its music scene, vibrant history, and delicious food, every traveller should experience Belfast when visiting Ireland.

Belfast is fast becoming one of the coolest cities in Europe. Together with the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, they were named the number one region in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018.

And with numerous Game of Thrones ® locations on its doorstep, such as Winterfell, the Kingsroad and the Dothraki Sea, it is inevitable that this destination will continue to creep up the list of must-visit places in Europe.

Besides Game of Thrones ®, Belfast is also the home to the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, with Titanic Belfast named the world’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards in 2016.

This city is an eclectic medley of culture, set to a contrasting backdrop of Victorian grandeur, modern architecture, and stunning natural landscapes.

Better yet, it’s packed with delectable delis and bakeries all utilising the local produce, with National Geographic Travel commenting, “Belfast’s easy access to top-notch food products keeps the local culinary scene buzzing”.

For a taste of it all, visitors can check out the world-famous St George’s Markets each week on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

And just beyond Belfast, visitors can explore the Causeway Coastal Route, and take in remarkable natural sites such as The Gobbins, The Giant’s Causeway, and Bushmills Distillery.

Galway

Shot from the Claddagh area looking straight across Galway Harbor into Old Galway Town with it's Pastel building and swans.

On the west coast of Ireland lies the charming city of Galway, renowned for its medieval history, cobbled streets, and energetic traditional music scene.

The bohemian, laid-back flavour of Galway is typical of western Ireland.

This city is also the perfect launchpad to explore the Atlantic coast. As Galway is situated right in the middle of the 2500-kilometre coastal road that is the Wild Atlantic Way, the city offers stunning views of the stretches of jagged cliffs and latticed fields.

It’s also possessed of an infectious up-tempo vibe, which is played out with a busy calendar of festivals and events, making a trip here enjoyable all year-round.

Brightly painted pubs, live music, and authentic restaurants, also give this city a unique edge. The food scene here is booming too, with everything from markets, chippers and delis, to Michelin-starred restaurants, and buzzing pubs. There’s no doubt about it – Galway is a gourmand’s dream.

Yes, these three Irish cities will delight any traveller and – one thing’s for sure – you’ll be assured a warm welcome whenever and wherever you visit.

To find out more, visit Ireland.com.

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