Dramatic scenery, centuries-old history and a music-filled culture… is there a more alluring country than Ireland for a self-drive vacation?
Naturally, when one is assessing potential roadtrip destinations, there’s the obvious top-of-the-list factor to consider: the environment in which you’ll be driving. Given that a significant proportion of your time will be spent within the confines of your car, it’s critical you’ve got something pretty to look at out the window. The Emerald Isle, as Ireland is otherwise known, is awash with beautiful countryside, from vast rolling hills to dizzying cliffs and dazzling beaches. Regardless of the eventual route visitors embark upon, every self-driver heading to Ireland can rest assured they’ll been surrounded (on an almost permanent basis) by arresting scenery – be prepared to pull over a lot, and always keep that camera at the ready!
Particular natural highlights worthy of inclusion on any Eire roadtrip are the gorgeous County Kerry, a region of the country famous for roadtripping. The Ring of Kerry, which skirts the edges of the Iveragh Peninsula, is a world-famous driving route full of mystical beauty, while the trails of Killarney National Park are an absolute must for those who fancy parking their wagons up for a while and going on a scenic romp – whether you’re after woodland walks or a trek across moorland, there’s a route for all.
The Cliffs of Mohor, located in County Clare, are one of Ireland’s most stunning and famous natural wonders – almost a million people visit the cliffs every year. Stretching for five miles and with a maximum height of more than 200m, they truly are a sight to behold. Best of all for drivers, they are accessible, with the road running relatively close to the edge at certain points. As such, there are plenty of areas where one can park up and enjoy the view, as well as a lungful of that beautifully fresh Atlantic sea air of course.
Burren National Park offers something completely different once again, but just as dramatic. With a name derived from an Irish word that means ‘rocky place’, the moonscape scenery that typifies the park should come as no surprise to visitors. But with grasslands, woodlands, lakes and springs all found within the park’s borders, this is a place that offers variety as well as beauty. It is a stunning landscape to drive through.
The wonder of Ireland, though, is that it isn’t just about natural scenery. Its history and culture are significant draws too, offering visitors plenty to admire on those occasions when they’re out of their car…
The capital city of Dublin is an absolute must. Dublin Castle, which dates back to the 13th century, and the imposing St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is a century older, are two fine examples of what awaits self-drivers in this famed city.
Also worthy of a visit is the city of Galway, a harbour city with an 18th century central square full of historical architecture and vibrancy. If you’d like to listen to some Irish folk music while on the island, Galway’s pubs offer plenty of authentic opportunities. That said, wherever your journey takes you, the jaunty notes of Irish jigs will inevitably find you. And that, along with the beauty of the land itself, is the magic of Ireland.