There are hundreds of reasons people choose to travel to Ireland every year. Culture, history and beauty are alive and well all over the island of Ireland and it is especially attractive to those who love to be outdoors. Visiting rural Ireland doesn’t mean you’re likely to achieve a sun tan, but you will however find some of the most breathtaking views in Europe, and some of the best road trips imaginable (make sure you’re fitted with all season tyres though, country roads are… well, country roads!). Check out tyres.ie if you’re having issues there.
Onwards though, here are some top tips for getting the most out of your trip.
Advice to travelling rural Ireland
1. Layer up
It’s no secret that the Irish weather can be less than desirable at the best of times, but despite popular rumour, Ireland is prone to a sunny day or two, depending on what month you choose of course! If you’re visiting in the spring/summer – be sure to wear layers. This way you can wrap up warm but you can easily remove such layers when tracking around the beautiful Irish countryside. Needless to say, if you are planning a trip in Irish autumn / winter time, then you’ll certainly need to bring some warmer clothing as it can get very chilly in the Irish countryside both day and night.
2. Learn An Cúpla Focal! (A few Irish words and phrases)
Although the most of Ireland will speak English, just like in every other country, the Irish love to hear their native tongue. Learn a few basic Irish words and phrases, which will become especially useful when in and around rural gaeltacht preserved Irish speaking places like Dingle, Co Kerry. If you’d like to embrace the Irish culture and language, head up to Ireland’s north coast and plan a trip to Donegal another Irish speaking county with many Ghaeltacht areas. Donegal is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland and is a surfer’s paradise.
(Image source: Cycle Ireland)
3. Stay with the locals
Guest houses and B&B’s are thriving in rural Ireland and in staying here, you’ll experience a truly warm Irish welcome. Plenty of storytelling, great food and the chance to fully engage with the Irish locals. You’ll be a long way from any commercial way of life and so it makes sense to get to grips with the rural way of life. If you’re up for a real challenge, then try to find a farming guest house and help out, get your hands dirty and experience the authentic Ireland.
4. Pack light
Hills, muck and puddles are a big find in rural Ireland and you are likely to be trekking on challenging ground so pack light. As most back packers will know, packing light is the key to a successful trekking trip, especially in the great outdoors. Think about packing the essentials and essentials only.
5. Enjoy the accessibility
Ireland is not a huge country and so you can enjoy travelling and exploring in a relatively accessible way. Most people choose to explore by car and foot but if you’re super keen and want to time save, you can get flights from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Belfast and Derry, meaning you will cover all ground! Taking a trip to the North? Northern Ireland has remained particularly unspoilt, with UNESCO sites like The Giants Causeway calling huge amounts of tourists from all over the world regularly.
Ireland is a notoriously friendly country and the beauty which you’ll find here is hard to conceive and impossible to forget. Cities are buzzing but make no mistake about it, rural Ireland is something every traveller should see. Mesmerizingly beautiful, historically poignant and remarkably cultural – see Ireland unspoilt for an unforgettable experience.