Giants Causeway 1

A Glimpse Into the Allure of the Emerald Isle

 Steve McKenna head shot
by Steve McKenna

November 27, 2019

4 minute read

Perched on the edge of Europe, blessed with ancient relics, pub-packed cities, quaint, colourful towns and villages and some of the most beautiful countryside on earth, Ireland is a destination that lingers long in the memory. Travelling with Collette is a great way to savour the Emerald Isle, with 10 different tours showcasing its myriad charms, including options for those seeking luxury and intimate, small group tours. Guests can expect expert tour managers, accommodation that is 4-star and above, and plenty of things taken care of, such as meals and admission to heritage sites. Wondering what to do in Ireland? Affable local guides will bring the past to life with witty, engaging stories, and there’ll be immersive experiences to help you get under Ireland’s skin. Here is a flavor of what Collette's Ireland itinerary is like.

 Irish Pub

Food and Drink

Dublin, one of Ireland’s vibrant cities, is the springboard for many adventures and you’ll quickly get into the spirit of things, whether you’re enjoying cocktails in the crypt of a medieval cathedral or pulling your own pint at the Guinness Storehouse, where they’ve been brewing that world-famous dark stout since 1759. If whiskey (or the Water of Life, as the Irish call it) is more to your liking, the Irish countryside is dotted with iconic distilleries that do behind-the-scenes tours and tastings, including Tullamore and Old Bushmills. Some Collette trips take in organic farms and offer cooking classes, where you’ll try out age-old recipes passed down the generations and learn about the new trends influencing Irish cuisine. Throughout your travels, you’ll dine at restaurants where chefs tap into the bounty of seasonal produce that is gleaned from Ireland’s land, sea and rivers. One of the most tantalising places on any Irish itinerary is Kinsale, a photogenic harbour town in County Cork known as “Ireland’s culinary capital” thanks to its delectable array of family-owned eateries.

Blarney Castle 

Irish Folklore

Across Ireland, but especially in the likes of Galway and Ennis, you’ll find pubs with good craic (vibes) on almost every corner and other convivial venues where you can watch talented performers doing authentic jigs and dances alongside musicians singing heart-felt tunes and playing fiddles, flutes and accordions. It’s a similar story in Killarney, where you can also embrace Irish tradition by taking a ride on a “jaunting car” (horse-drawn carriage) through the town’s photogenic streets or past the lakes and mountains of the stunning national park on its doorstep. It’s fascinating, too, absorbing the timeless customs of the Aran Islands, which are anchored in the Atlantic Ocean, a short ferry ride off Ireland’s west coast. The islanders speak English with an Irish lilt, but Gaelic is their first language and they’ll be happy to teach you a few words, as well as showing you how to knit woollen Aran sweaters and hand-crafting a St Brigid’s Cross, which folk here have traditionally placed outside their cottages to ward off bad luck.

 Dublin City

Awe-Inspiring Hidden Gems

From walking atop the majestic Cliffs of Moher to tip-toeing over the incredible basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland is crammed with sites that take the breath away. But as well as visiting destinations that you’ve always wanted to - say, Dublin’s Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and Blarney Castle (where you can, if you so choose, kiss the famous Blarney stone) - with Collette you’ll also discover places that tend to elude tourists’ radars. Places like The Burren, an extra-ordinary region that is a dramatic contrast to most of Ireland’s rolling green scenery. Teeming with myths and legends, The Burren’s jagged limestone landscapes are tufted with wildflowers, the remains of Iron Age forts and a Neolithic tomb that is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza. You’ll be amazed at what you find in Ireland.

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