Galway City

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Salthill, Image: by me

If you’re not Irish and your knowledge is minimal of Ireland you’ll probably know two places; Dublin (the capital) and Galway. Galway is referred to as Ireland’s Culture Capital and many people say you won’t get any better when it comes to Irish Trad sessions than in Galway! You probably heard of it from Ed Sheeran’s song ‘Galway Girl’ which realistically who hasn’t heard that song, it’s everywhere. Here are the top things you have to do when you visit Galway:

Salthill

This is a seaside area of the city and is a perfect place for a walk down the Salthill Prom or swim in the ocean (if you’re brave enough to fight the freezing water) during the summer. Apart from the gorgeous views, there’s so much more you can do here: visit the Aquarium, play on the many slot machines or visit and try out one of the many pubs, restaurants, and cafés in this area and I can assure you, you won’t be stuck for choice! read more

Where was Leap Year filmed? The places you can visit!

Leap Year is a romantic comedy based in Ireland that follows a woman who is frustrated by her boyfriend of 4 years who has yet to propose to her. She decides to take the perfect opportunity of him having a conference in Dublin on the 28th of February, which is traditionally known as the day that men can not refuse a proposal from a woman but on her way to surprise him ends up on the other side of Ireland and meets an Irish lad. If you’ve seen the movie you know it’s full of cliches but if you can past all of that, it’s actually a great movie that I think is kind of underrated. When movies are set in Ireland, I always make it my mission to go see these places in person because Hollywood always makes places look so magical and endearing. After a lot of research, I’ve cracked where all the main places in Leap Year are filmed in Ireland: read more

Achill Island, Co. Mayo

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Image: wildatlanticway.com

Achill Island is located on the Wild Atlantic Way in Co. Mayo and is definitely worth the stop if you’re on a Wild Atlantic Way road trip. It’s a great place for a weekend trip or just a place to drive through and spend a couple of hours. There are things to do for all ages and all types of people. Here are all the things you need to do when you visit:

Great Western Greenway Trail

Similar to The Waterford Greenway, Co. Waterford, you can use this trail for cycling or walking and goes from Westport to Achill Island. If you’re looking for an alternative way to get to Achill Island you can walk or cycle from Westport or anywhere on the way. It’s a beautiful part of the country and if you’re doing the Wild Atlantic Way, you can read more about it here 5 places you need to visit on the Wild Atlantic Way read more

Killarney, Co. Kerry

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Killarney is probably the heart of Irishness. I swear everyone in Ireland treats going to Killarney like you’re going abroad on holidays and many people go here as part of their hen night and stag party (bachelor and bachelorette party). Here are some of my favourite things to do when I’m in Killarney:

Horse Drawn Carriages

Just by Killarney house in the main square with the roundabout, you can get on a horse-drawn carriage. This has been around for years and has become a tradition that all tourists love. You can use them as a sort of taxi but I personally think you should ask to be taken around Killarney National Park. One time I visited, I was about 9 years old and my family and I decided to take one around the Killarney National Park. I told the driver that I was taking horse riding lessons and he actually let me drive the cart most of the way around. It’s such a special memory for me and I can assure you that the drivers are some of the nicest people and can make it just as special for you too! People of all ages, young and old always talk fondly of the Jaunting Carts in Killarney and I think you have to do it at least once in your life! read more

Why you need to visit Cork City

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As I’m a University College Cork (UCC) graduate and lived there for 3 years, I would consider myself an expert on the best places to go when you’re in Cork City. Cork is Ireland’s second biggest city and is usually underrated and can be an excellent location for a weekend away. Here is why you need to visit Cork City soon:

So many things around it to visit

If staying in a city all weekend isn’t for you, Cork City is located very close to so many amazing places! It’s about 20 minutes by car from Cobh, which you can read about here: Cobh, Co. Cork, Fota Island Wildlife Park and Resort, Kinsale, Mitchelstown Caves, etc.. So if you visit Cork and you get bored, you can visit so many places that are nearby. read more

Top 6 things to do in Belfast

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Image: newmarketholidays.co.uk

Belfast is Northern Ireland’s Capital City and is most well known as the origins of the Titanic as the ship was built in the Docklands in 1911. You can fly into Belfast Airport for a reasonable price all around Europe or if you’re staying in Dublin, it’s only a 90-minute drive to Belfast. Here are my favourite things to do in Belfast when I visit:

Titanic Museum and Quarter

Of course, you can’t miss the opportunity to visit the new Titanic Belfast centre which has all the information you could possibly need on the Titanic as it is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. It was built in 2012 as an exhibition of the history of the famous ship that was built in the docklands of Belfast. My favourite part about this place is the replica of the staircase. The one on the Titanic was one of three, one went down on the ship, one is in the Vatican and one you can see in Loftus Hall, you can read about Loftus Hall here: Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford. Rumour has it that the people who built them got their hands chopped off to avoid more of them being built. When you’re finished in the museum you can go to the Titanic Quarter and see where the actual ship was built. Down here you can visit the Pump-House and walk into what was once the world’s largest dry dock and you can see the ‘SS Nomadic’ which is the only remaining original tender that served the Titanic. read more

Cobh, Co. Cork

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Image: Tripadvisor.com

Cobh is a beautiful seaside town not too far from Cork City and is best known for its gorgeous views and was the last stop the Titanic made before making its journey across the Atlantic ocean so you can be sure the history in this town is extensive. There’s also a Wildlife park and resort outside of Cobh and you can also visit Spike Island which is often referred to as the Irish Alcatraz.

Titanic Museum

Cobh was originally known as Queenstown and was the final stop before the Titanic’s maiden voyage to New York. The museum is located in the terminal where the people went through to board the ship. This building and museum gives you a great insight into what it was like then and the history behind it. I’ve been three times and I loved more every time I went. When you first enter after you get your ticket, you’re given a boarding card of a real person who boarded the Titanic from this port and at the end, you can see what the outcome of this person was. It’s really personal when you’re given a real name of a real person who passed through the building in 1912 to board the Titanic. The tour guides are very informed and the informational videos and exhibitions are amazing. You get brought through the story of the people and it’s heart-wrenching but also great to hear and remember those who tragically died. At the end of the tour, there’s an interactive room you can look around and listen to different videos and information. I’d highly recommend this museum to all ages if you’re in the area. read more

Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford

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Located in the Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford, this is one of my favourite places to go for a scenic drive or walk. The falls themselves are over 80m tall and I can tell you is well worth the trip because it’s absolutely stunning. When you go to Mahon Falls you can take the scenic drive along the Comeragh Mountain drive and make it into a road trip as I find it to be very underrated for how beautiful it is. It’s also close by to The Waterford Greenway, Co. Waterford

When you get to Mahon Falls the first thing you’ll encounter is the Magic Road. If you’re not from the area, you may be unfamiliar with it but if you look out for it, directly after the cattle grids on the left side there is a stone on the grass which says ‘Magic Road’. Originally this used to be marked with a tree but someone cut it down and now there’s a stone in its place. If you’re unfamiliar with it, basically you stop the car and turn off the engine on the hill. When you leave off the brake on the car instead of going down the hill, the car will roll back up the hill against gravity and all laws of physics. When I was a child, I always thought my dad was trying to trick me but when I got my first car you can be sure I went here almost immediately to try it and it’s true. It’s where I bring anyone visiting me who isn’t from the area and I haven’t met one person that isn’t in awe of this road. If you visit and want to try, make sure to watch out for cars behind you as the road is very narrow and it might take you a few times going up and turning around just so there’s nobody in the way for you to try. I’ve added a video of it from youtube here so you can understand it better Watch the Magic Road in action read more

Most Haunted Places in Ireland

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Image from: citmagazine.com

Ireland has so much to offer around Halloween time such as The Nightmare Realm in Cork and Dublin, which I can tell you first hand is absolutely terrifying and I encourage you not to do it if you don’t want to be afraid of the dark for at least a year after you go. Just as Halloween is around the corner I thought it would be fitting to make a list of all the most haunted places in Ireland but you can visit these places all year around if you dare.

Ballygally Castle, Co. Antrim

This castle was built in 1625 by a Scottish man who was given land in Ireland and it is the only building from this time still being used in Northern Ireland. The castle was used to protect Protestants during the Rebellion in 1641 but apart from this, it didn’t have much of a hectic past like other building in Northern Ireland have. The only tragedy that happened in Ballygally Castle is the death of Lady Isobel Shaw who fell to her death from a window of the castle mysteriously. People who stay there have claimed that they hear noises, knocking on doors when nobody is in the hall, sounds of children running in the halls and some have even reported feeling the presence of someone in their room or the feeling of someone touching their face in the night while they sleep. It is said that these are Lady Isobel Shaw haunting the castle. There has been so much paranormal activity in one of the rooms in the hotel, it’s no longer open to guests. read more

Filming locations for ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ in Ireland

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Ireland is home to some very famous scenes from Star Wars: The Last Jedi so if you’re a fan of the series or just a film fan like me you’ll enjoy going to see where all the Hollywood directors and actors made Ireland into a far away galaxy. Here are a few places you should visit that are shown in the movie

Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry

Located in the South West of Ireland in Co. Kerry, you can find the small island that Luke Skywalker met Rey for the first time. You can visit Skellig Michael by a boat tour that is usually a reasonable price, providing the weather is fine as often the weather can prohibit the boat tours from going. Also because of the steep steps up to the monastery that you can see in the photo above could be hard for people who are not great on their feet and not that active due to the lack of handrails.  If you can, the view from the top is incredible and you can get some amazing photos from the top, very worth the visit in my opinion. read more