Here’s why Ireland is a bucket list essential

Let the savage landscapes and good-natured locals of incredible Ireland stir your soul in 2023. Feel the upbeat rhythms of folk music, taste frothy Guinness at the source, and discover how the Emerald Isle got its nickname when you visit yourself. Beyond culture it’s the natural beauty that will find a crack in your heart, from the lush green hills to dramatic rugged coastlines, Ireland’s unexpected beauty will make you feel alive.

If you’ve not been lucky enough to visit the Emerald Isle yet, hit the green button, start chasing the end of the rainbow and lock in a tour of this lush island. Here are 11 reasons why we think a trip to Ireland should be essential in 2023.

1. Have joyful encounters with strangers

The Irish are a particularly friendly bunch, so when it comes to strangers there’s no better nationality to bump elbows with. Conde Nast Traveller readers voted Dublin the sixth friendliest city in Europe last year, and a trip to Ireland in 2023 will help you shake any hermit habits you picked up during the pandemic. Whether you’re speaking with a cafe owner or tapping your toes to a busker, seize on the capital’s zest for life as you find the spring in your step again.

2. Feel the raw beauty of Ireland’s enchanting landscapes

It won’t take long to confirm how the Emerald Isle received its poetic nickname. As the coach laps the lush Ring of Kerry, famous for its ‘forty shades of green’, you’ll soon see why. Following the coast along the Wild Atlantic Way will only confirm how enchanting, mysterious and raw the beauty of Ireland is. As will standing at the Giant’s Causeway as you soak up every drop of the island’s stunning scenery.

3. Stay in the magnificent Ashford Castle

The sound of a lone piper marks your arrival to the incredible Ashford Castle. He’ll escort you over the drawbridge and into the palatial 13th-century building, set on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib. This special Stay With A Story is one you will truly never forget. Check into your room, rest and refresh ahead of an elegant royal dining experience where you’ll be treated as lords and ladies. Gentlemen, you’ll need to bring a jacket for this one. Ladies, bring the glamour!

4. Enjoy a pint of the ‘black stuff’ at the source

Even those that don’t like Guinness find themselves ordering a pint when in Ireland. There’s something about being swept up in the atmosphere of a cute Irish pub that does things to you! City breaks are back in 2023, according to trends research from Expedia, and without a doubt you’ll have a blast enjoying Dublin’s quaint pubs and colourful performances on Grafton Street.

5. Kiss the Blarney Stone

If it’s always been on your bucket list, then make 2023 the year you venture to Ireland in pursuit of the ‘gift of the gab’. At Blarney Castle you can kiss the fabled Stone to join a legion of pilgrims, world statesmen, and famous actors who have climbed the step to gain the gift of eloquence. The castle itself is magnificent too, built almost 600 years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy. Give the special (sanitised) Stone a smooch and you’ll never be lost for words again!

6. Jig your way to happiness

No matter where you go in Ireland, music seems to follow. From folk dancers performing on the streets to fiddle players squeezing into pubs, there’s always a tune giving a backdrop to your Irish adventures. Dive deeper into Ireland’s music heritage in 2023 with a special Irish Ceilidh evening. This optional experience takes you back in time to rural Ireland and how they celebrated special occasions. Expect plenty of craic at this fun and informal evening of song and dance.

7. Stand atop the magnificent Cliffs of Moher

Feel alive as you stand atop the dramatic Cliffs of Moher that rise 200 metres above the pounding Atlantic Ocean. No matter the weather, Ireland’s irresistible beauty will be on full show at this raw, rugged destination. Keep a keen eye out for curious-looking puffins hiding in the cliffs, and get to know this natural phenomenon more intimately with the interactive Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience centre.

8. Ireland’s pride

This June Dublin’s Pride festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary – so expect a big celebration! Dublin is considered one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities in the world, and 2023 will be a huge rainbow flag celebration for the city. There will be an agenda of cultural and creative events throughout the month, with the main march and parade on June 24.

9. Explore Viking legacies and the potato famine

Travel is an opportunity to bring legends to life and to follow in the footsteps of historic events. Waterford might be best known for its crystal (and on some trips you can witness talented master craftsmen at work), but its history actually dates back as far as the Vikings. A Local Specialist brings these stories to life as the “best history lesson ever”, according to one past guest. Travel is your chance to dive into more recent events too. Learn about the plight of starving Irish emigrants who boarded the Dunbrody Famine Ship. You’ll get to explore a replica ship like the ones used in the 1800s.

10. Experience a real St Patrick’s Day

Where else in the world would you want to be other than Ireland on March 17? As expected, the Emerald Isle puts on some serious St. Patrick’s Day celebrations all throughout March. If you can’t make it in 2023, make this the year you plan ahead for that St. Paddy’s Day trip. On any trip to Ireland any month of the year, you can always join a Local Specialist and tour St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

11. Join the real Halloween

Halloween might feel like a very American holiday, but the festive event actually came from Ireland. Head back to the origins this October and join the Púca Festival, a folklore-infused celebration at the birthplace of Halloween. Or in Northern Ireland, Derry Halloween has delivered plenty of folklore, feasting and festivities in the famous Walled City for more than 35 years.

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