Ireland is even more awe-inspiring in person. Recently, I traveled throughout the country’s southern part — the Republic of Ireland. Verdant pastures, historic estates, and grazing livestock provided picture-postcard scenery around every corner.
Gazing at the Cliffs of Moher will leave you awestruck. The bluffs tower 702-feet over Clare coast and stretch five miles. They’ve been featured in movies including Harry Potter and The Princess Bride. It’s only one of the natural beauties along the 1,500 mile Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s west coast.
Castles dating back hundreds of years dot the landscape. Blarney Castle in Cork County was constructed in 1446! Climbing the stone stairs to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, you imagine those who lived in the castle during the middle ages. The surrounding, award winning 60 acres of gardens add to the spectacle.
Ashford Castle in Cong was built 800-years ago by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family. After numerous iterations, including home of the Guinness family, it became the five-star luxury hotel it is today. The owners painstakingly restored it back to the original grandeur while incorporating modern day amenities. A one night stay in this majestic manor is highly recommended.
Ireland and sheep go hand-in-hand. If census numbers are correct, there are over five million sheep on the Emerald Isle! The fluffy bovidae are ubiquitous and add charm to the roadside meadows.
Another quintessential animal throughout the country are Irish Wolfhound dogs. They were bred in Ireland to hunt wolfs, hence the name. Their substantial size is menacing. But, when I participated in an organized walk with four wolfhounds, I found them to be docile and sweet with people.
The following photos are a snippet of the charm that makes Ireland a destination to put on your bucket list.
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