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Image: Giuseppe Milo (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Ireland is a country that prides itself on natural beauty and historic sites. It is a country that has long been charming visitors, and has something to offer absolutely everybody.

While Ireland is an easy destination for a self drive holiday, its residents offer their warmest welcome, and are all too eager to share why they believe their country is one of the finest. In fact, so strong is the sense of national pride, that many local Irishmen and women make the choice to be tour guides!

With so much breathtaking scenery, medieval castles, rich culture, and of course, Guinness, yes, you can easily do your own thing, but you may find that by skipping a tour, there are a couple of things you end up missing!

Things You Can Get From an Irish Tour You Might Otherwise Miss

The Stories Behind Breathtaking Landscapes

The Cliffs of Moher stretch for eight kilometers along the Atlantic coast and I walked almost the whole length of them.

Ireland is a country where breathtaking landscapes unfold right in front of your eyes, and in absolutely every direction.

Explore the rugged and remote Northern Headlands, catch a wave on the Surf Coast, whale watch on the Haven Coast, or feel small hiking the dramatic landscapes of the Cliff Coast.

While these spectacular landscapes are available to anyone willing to rent a car, or jump on a bus, much of Ireland is shrouded in fascinating myth and legend, much of which you would completely miss if you weren’t being guided by someone in the know.

The Cliffs of Moher? There’s an unusual rock formation on the southern cliffs, where Irish legend says an old witch fell to her death while trying to chase an unrequited lover. The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland? This natural wonder has inspired local legends for centuries; of giants who built it to stride over the sea to Scotland.

It’s one thing to look at a breathtaking landscape, but it’s a completely different experience when you have a local guide from a company like Go Irish Tours who can give you insight into the local folklore and legends.

And, if there’s one I’ll say about the Irish, they sure know how to tell as story!

Image: Giuseppe Milo (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

The History Behind Historic Sites

With castles around every corner along with plentiful prehistoric and medieval sites, Ireland will have history lovers salivating. But, once again, what is a historic sight if you don’t have any clue as to the history behind it!

Ireland is a fantastic country in that it’s history is all very accessible, and hasn’t been over-commercialized, and doesn’t feel like it’s stage managed. Everything is very authentic, and remains true to what it would have been back in the 12th century.

While the main sites throughout the country, like Blarney Castle, Bunratty Castle and the 12th century Malahide Castle, might have information on site for the average tourist, much of the rest of the country doesn’t come with an audio guide or brochure stand.

As such, it really does pay to have someone with you who you can ask questions about the history of a site you’ve randomly found on the side of the road!

Even the city of Dublin itself dates back over 1,000 years where it has been the principal cultural centre of the nation.

Image:  TJ Drysdale Photography / Follow Me Away

The Best Community Events

Dublin Gay Pride

Whether on a short tour alone or traveling with friends, there’s always an event taking place in Ireland, and joining the local community for drinks and karaoke, or joining in on a street celebration is all part of immersing yourself completely.

When we book trips ourselves, it’s rare that we pull up the calendar of events in local counties we’ll be visiting; if we stumble across a street parade it’s often just by sheer dumb luck!

But, tours typically schedule their itineraries to coincide with these type of events, whether it’s something major like St Patrick’s Day, or minor, like knowing that the locals in Killarney on a Saturday night always head to this pub.

After-all, no trip to Ireland would be complete without trying some world renowned Irish alcohol. Although Guinness beer, Jameson whiskey, and Baileys Irish Cream can be found throughout the world, nowhere does it taste better than in the place of its birth.

But while every tourist heads to the Guinness factory in Dublin, local tour guides will be able to recommend where to go for an authentic experience of Irish pub culture, where you’ll walk away with incredible stories from friendly locals!

Image: Giuseppe Milo (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

OUR FAVORITE IRELAND GUIDES. CLICK BOOK TO LOOK INSIDE ↓

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Rick Steves Ireland Travel Guide

Ireland Book Guide

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    2 Comments

    • Absolutely Ryan, it’s like stepping into a fairytale and not being able to find the exit :D

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