Ireland’s a small country where you could get to almost any point given a full day.
- Head north to see the Hill of Tara and Newgrange. County Meath is the heart of so much of Irish history, including the site where Irish kings were crowned. Newgrange is the oldest building in the world and has remained dry for five thousand years. We recently went on a day tour from Mary Gibbons, though it was not my first (or second or third) trip to either site. She’s an amazing guide, and her prices are reasonable.
- Head southwest to see the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, and Cork. I keep missing the Rock of Cashel. One of these days, I’m going to manage to get there when it’s open! The Blarney Stone is of course in Blarney Castle, but kissing it is not for the faint of heart. Finally, you also visit Cork, Ireland’s second-largest city. Here’s an example tour that goes on this day trip.
- West to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. The Cliffs of Moher aren’t the tallest sea cliffs in Europe (nor even in Ireland), but they are among the most spectacular. While on the west, King John’s Castle in Limerick is one of Ireland’s more interesting castles to visit, a Norman castle dating back to Viking days in Ireland. The Burren is so devoid of most greenery that at first I thought they were farming rocks. There is actually a surprising variety of flora and fauna there. Despite the rocks.
- South to Wicklow to see Glendalough, an early monastic settlement. We did this tour last year, and it was spectacular.
- North to Giant’s Causeway and Belfast. Most visitors to Ireland never see Northern Ireland at all. It’s a pity because the Northern Irish coast is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I admit a fondness for basalt columns, but even so, the Giant’s Causeway is not only one of the more interesting of those formations, but also one of the most accessible.
Photo: Entrance stone, Newgrange. © 2014 by Deirdre Saoirse Moen