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In Honor Of St. Patrick’s Day: My Favorite (Irish) Things

Somehow, it’s almost the middle of March already. Seriously guys, wasn’t it JUST Christmas, like, a week ago? Time is flying, and spring is right around the corner. And you know what that means—if spring is just about here, then it’s time for that annual rite of green beer and parades. Yes, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day. So put on your sparkly shamrock antennae and shamrock-shaped green sunglasses, and sip a shamrock shake (possibly the best thing about March). Rock every shade of green as you read about all things Irish.

I thought it might be fun to take a virtual tour of some of my favorite Irish sights, since I’m not independently wealthy and can’t buy us all tickets to Dublin. Everyone knows about the Blarney Stone, but I thought I’d concentrate on some other aspects of the Emerald Isle. (Note: I’ve only visited in and around Dublin (aside from an epic day trip North) and I’m sure there are a ton of non-Dublin sights worth visiting. Tell me about them in the comments!)

Giant’s Causeway: This natural wonder is in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, but it’s worth the trip if you can do it (I should know; I day-tripped it from Dublin and it was looong, but it was one of the highlights of my entire vacation). Natural basalt columns rise from the water, just begging for kids (and adults) to scamper over them. It’s a beautiful natural wonder, and whether you agree with the scientific version of how it was created, or indulge your sense of whimsy and go the Finn MacCool route, it’s something to see.

Howth cliff walk: The seaside village of Howth is more than just picturesque boats and winding streets. There’s a gorgeous walking path that loops around the cliffs there. Admittedly, it took some convincing for me to agree to the jaunt (especially after reading the wind warnings that said you could get blown off of the cliff), but it was gorgeous. You feel like you’re in a Victorian novel, traveling back in time, wandering along a lonely but beautiful road. I didn’t meet any mysterious strangers, but you might get lucky.

Wicklow Mountains: Feeling the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin for a few hours, I went on a tour of the Wicklow Mountains. This was the Ireland I’d imagined…rolling hills in a hundred shades of green, tiny white cottages, even an ancient monastery with Celtic crosses. If you can’t get over to the fabled west of the country, Wicklow will give you a taste of the countryside.

Trinity College library: I love books. I love libraries. And when I entered the Trinity College library, I knew I had found my perfect spot. Beautiful wooden arches line the main room, with two floors of books rising high above you. The smell of old paper fills the room, and I was tempted to apply to Trinity College right then, just so I could hang out in the library for a few years.

Butlers Chocolate Café: I have it on very good authority that the hot chocolate here is TO.DIE.FOR. I didn’t know about this spot when I was in Ireland, but the glowing reviews from a friend who lived in Dublin has me seriously considering booking a flight soon, just to sample it myself. It’s completely logical to base travel plans around chocolate, right?

What’s your favorite thing about Ireland? Or what are you dying to see/do on the Emerald Isle?

Come tweet with me @StephSpitler

Featured Image by Jason Steele

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