There are countries that people dream their whole lives of visiting. Maybe it’s because they’re fascinated by the culture. In some cases, there’s a family connection begging to be explored. Regardless of the reason, Ireland is that country for many people.
The reasons to visit Ireland are endless, though there are a few big ones. But when you’re planning your trip, there is definitely a city or two you should keep in mind. Dublin is a fantastic place to spend time, but it’s not the only option by far.
Inland from the Atlantic Ocean and on the River Shannon is the city of Limerick. Founded in 812 AD, Limerick’s history is thoroughly intertwined with that of Ireland as a whole. As such, there is no shortage of sights to see in this beautiful city.
The Frank McCourt Museum, King John’s Castle, and Newtown Pery are all classic stops that are more than worth a look. But take the time to check out Milk Market, an incredible farmers’ market that gives you a great way to experience the bounty of the county.
Deep in the south of Ireland, visitors will find Cork resting comfortably on Lough Mahon. This is the second-largest city in the country and is home to some of its most interesting history. That alone is a reason to add it to the itinerary.
The English Market is a great stop, both for its unique architecture and for the fabulous vendors that call it home. In addition, St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral is a classic spot as is Fitzgerald Park and Cork Public Museum. Plus, the Ballycotton Cliff Walk is stunning on another level.
Sticking to the coast and heading east will take you to Waterford, one of the most beautiful cities in Ireland. It’s not the biggest community on the island but it is a wonderful one to spend a few days exploring, so make the time for it.
Waterford was founded by Vikings, so swinging by the Viking Triangle just makes sense. The Medieval Museum is interesting and offers an important view of the history of the region. And you have to stop by the House of Waterford Crystal, the business that made the city famous.
Back on the west coast of Ireland and almost directly across the island from Dublin is the city of Galway. After going through some major ups and downs over the centuries, Galway is now home to several major events and festivals that draw in visitors from around the world.
This is the city to get your food and drink on as it has an impressive range of options to choose from. Shop Street is a lively shopping district featuring independent and artistic opportunities. And an hour or two wandering Eyre Square is a good afternoon.
Okay, so I know I said this would be about cities other than Dublin but it’s hard to put a list together and not talk about it. This is the biggest city in the country, after all, not to mention one of the top cities in Europe.
Eat. Drink. See the sights. These are all things you’re going to do in Dublin, and you absolutely should. If you’re so inclined, take it to another level at the Guinness Storehouse Factory. Or take a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery. There are also probably things to do that don’t involve alcohol.