Ireland was the first country I traveled to solo! After that, I was hooked. After much research, I found that Ireland was one of the most safest countries to visit as a solo female traveler. It is a beautiful country, rich in history, with so many things to see and do. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do that I recommend when visiting this amazing country!
(I went in December, so yes, it was cold! But I wanted to see all of the beautiful Christmas lights and displays)
1. Visit the Guinness Storehouse
This is a definite must if you are in Ireland! Even if you are not a huge fan of Guinness or even beer in general, this brewery is beautiful! You first walk in to a huge open space with a beautiful chandelier hanging down. There’s a little section where you can buy little souvenirs and also things made from Guinness beer, such as chocolates, snacks etc. (Buy your souvenirs after the tour) The tour is self guided but very easy to follow. You get to see how it’s made and the whole brewing process. They also show you how to pour a Guinness beer correctly (yes, there is a right and wrong way!) At the end, you get a free coupon for a beer at the bar on top of the brewery. Like I said before, even if you aren’t a fan of beer, the view at this bar is worth the visit! You can see all of Dublin with the 360 degree views the Gravity bar has to offer.
2. Cliffs of Moher
What can I say? It was like a postcard. One of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. It was a very surreal feeling standing there admiring the waves crashing against the cliffs and the wind blowing in my hair. If it wasn’t so cold when I had gone, I would have stayed and sat there all day!
You have to hike up a bit to the top to see the cliffs but it’s not too bad! There’s also a small gift shop and cafe at the bottom. Grab a hot tea at the end to warm yourself up!
(How beautiful is this??!)
3. Trim Castle in County Meath, Ireland
If you’re a fan of the movie Braveheart, this is a must. But even if you’re not, I would still recommend checking it out. The castle is absolutely beautiful and on the tour, the guide will give you a brief history lesson on the castle, which I found very interesting. The castle is really used in the movie in various scenes! After visiting, I immediately wanted to watch the movie again so I could see it!
4. Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland
Located way at the top of Northern Ireland near Ballintoy in the county of Antrim is where this amazing but scary bridge is! It connects the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. In the far distance, you can see the tip of Scotland as well. The bridge suspends over water that crashes against the rocks… don’t look down! But, actually do, that’s the fun in it!
5. Tour the Jameson Factory
Not too far from the Guinness Storehouse, is the Jameson Factory. If you’re visiting a beer factory, might as well add in a whiskey factory as well right?! The tour is guided and you’ll actually learn a lot about making whiskey… I didn’t think I would be that interested but I actually had a lot of fun. At the end, they also give you a few different samples of whiskeys such as Scotch whiskey and American whiskey so that you can taste the difference between the different types. You also get one free cocktail after the tasting! How can you beat that!
6. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Another postcard worthy place. The views here are amazing! It’s an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. There are many myths and legends about Giant’s Causeway that are very intriguing. One of the myths is that some Giants came and created these columns and that they lived here. Great place for great photos!
7. Take a walk down O’Connell Street (Dublin)
Since I went in December, close to Christmas, there was an abundance of Christmas lights, decorations and displays all over the city. I got lucky and caught a Christmas performance right on the street. O’Connell street is a famous street in Dublin with many shops, bars and restaurants.
8. Take a trip to Belfast, Ireland
Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, not too far from Dublin. It’s a cute little city with a lot of things to do and see as well. It’s the birthplace of the Titanic, which includes the Titanic museum.
9. Visit the real statue of Saint Patrick
Many people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and they don’t even know who he is or what the holiday is about. Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish! Can you believe it?!
Located on the beautiful, green hills of Tara is the actual statue of Saint Patrick. Along this tour, you’ll learn the real story behind him and how the holiday came about. Definitely worth visiting.
10. Eat a traditional Irish breakfast
This is a must! But, I must warn you, make sure you are HUNGRY!… or plan on sharing with someone because their “breakfast” is a huge plate of hearty, fatty foods that will definitely fill you up. A traditional Irish breakfast typically consists of sausage or bacon, potatoes, grilled tomatoes, eggs, beans and black and white puddings. Black pudding is a type of blood sausage usually made from pork fat and pork blood. White pudding is the same just minus the blood. Don’t be alarmed, it sounds weird but it’s not too bad! Wash all this delicious food down with a pint of Guinness and you’ll be fine!