In honor of Saint Paddy’s Day, it’s only fitting I write something Ireland related. While Ireland is by no means a complete utopia and has its fair share of issues to overcome, I am extremely proud to be Irish. I feel lucky to have been born and raised in such a soulful little county, rich in culture, history and natural beauty. My Irishness is a hugely important aspect of my identity and has shaped much of my personality and behavioral traits. Although I’ve been living in here in the States for almost 4 years, there’s nowhere I love returning to more than Ireland’s lush shores.
With all of that in mind, here’s a run-down of my top 5 favorite places in Ireland:
Glendalough is my favorite place in the entire world and always will be. It’s natural beauty stuns me every time I visit and there’s nowhere I feel more at peace. This glacial valley is the site of an ancient monastery dating back to the sixth century, adding a slightly eerie aura to the place. The air feels so crisp and fresh, it’s as though time stands still at Glendalough. The upper and lower lakes make prime Instagram shots too. Double score.
- Dublin’s City Centre
Dublin is one of the best cities in the world. The city itself is gorgeous, the nightlife is amazing, most museums are free (holla) and restaurants galore are dotted around town. Dublin is a bustling cultural hub, with a unique ambience. Street performers and buskers are part of the city’s soul. Sunsets over the Liffey river that runs through the city will take your breath away. You’ll find some of the oldest buildings in Europe side by side with new, modern structures, creating a vibrant, compelling ambience. Everyone who visits Dublin falls in love with it.
- Bray Beach
Anyone from Bray, the little seaside town I grew up in will probably lol at this one, but I miss Bray beach more than I thought possible! During the summer months the atmosphere along the promenade is so joyful. I can’t spend too long on this one or I’ll get nostalgic about the countless carefree days I spent here as a teenager. It may not compete with the likes of Venice Beach or South Beach, but it’s winner in my books.
- The Wicklow Mountains
My childhood weekends all pretty much consisted of climbing up one trail or another in the Wicklow Mountains. The views are amazing and the climbs are so satisfying when you reach the top. My family used to bring a picnic and sit down to stuff our faces once we reached the top. Something I miss terribly when I am in Florida is being surrounded by majestic mountains and hiking trails.
- The Giant’s Causeway
Situated in Northern Ireland, The Giant’s Causeway is a true natural wonder. Quickly cooling lava resulted in over 40,000 interlocking plateau columns being formed around 50 million years ago, but legend has it that the causeway was created when a giant ran across the sea, breaking it up as he fled to avoid fighting another giant across the sea in Scotland (you can read more about that HERE). This striking landscape looks like something from a mystical land. Northern Ireland is home to an abundance of stunning scenery, which is why a big chunk of “Game of Thrones is filled here! So, if you come up to check out The Giant’s Causeway, book a tour of the set while you’re here.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!!!