Even though it is a relatively small country, Ireland’s reputation goes far beyond its size. Exceptional, breathtaking, and alluring, visitors feel the magic that comes with a visit to the enchanting rocky shores of Ireland as soon as they arrive.
CIE Tours offers authentic experiences of the Emerald Island, with visits to all the gems the country has to offer.
Built in May of 1816 as the Liffey Bridge, it was an expensive replacement from the ferry service that operated across the river previously. The costs were recuperated through the half penny toll, which gave the bridge its popular name, Ha’penny Bridge. Today, 30,000 people a day walk across the famous bridge. The Bridge remained the city’s only pedestrian bridge over the Liffey for over 180 years until it was joined by the Millennium Bridge in 1999.
Located just an hour from Galway city and surrounded by stunning Connemara scenery, this 1000 acre estate is one of Ireland’s most romantic buildings. Originally built out of love by Mitchell Henry in 1867 as a romantic gift for his beloved wife, since 1920, it has been home to the Benedictine Order of nuns. Kylemore Abbey is a secret haven of peace and tranquility for all visitors. During your visit, make sure to stop by the Gothic Church for a musical performance, the Victorian Walled Gardens, the craft shop, pottery studio, delicious restaurants and tea rooms.
Cliffs of Moher
No trip to Ireland is complete without stopping to see the enchantment of the cliffs. This UNESCO Global Geopark is home of glacially-smoothed limestone hills with a stark contrast of the dramatic sea cliffs that tower over the majestic Atlantic coast. Soaring to 702 feet tall on the westernmost edge of the island, the stone reaches a staggering height. What’s even more staggering is the beautiful views at the top.
One of the most unique and precious aspects of the cliffs is the local wildlife that calls them home. Bird watchers from all over the world come to see the sad-eye puffins and to hopefully catch a glimpse of peregrine falcons. Walking along the magical landscape, you’ll soon realize why these cliffs are so famous. Pro tip: Mind the barriers, it is very windy at the top of cliffs and they are there for your safety.
Waterford Crystal Factory
In the heart of Waterford City in Southeast Ireland, you’ll find The House of Waterford Crystal, world renowned for their lead crystal stemware, time pieces and exquisite chandeliers. During your visit, from blowing to cutting, you’ll get a chance to see The House of Waterford Crystal’s most skilled craftsmen at work using a centuries old manufacturing process.
If you’re looking to indulge your passion for the world’s most famous crystal, visit the lavish retail store. It houses the largest collection of Waterford Crystal found anywhere in the world and it is a sight to see itself. From sporting trophies, to seahorse statement pieces, you’ll be in absolute awe of the glimmering beauty around you.
Located in the famous Blarney Castle, the Blarney Stone is situated 85 feet up on the east wall. The famous Blarney Stone is officially called the Stone of Eloquence, because according to legend, kissing the Blarney stone is said to give “The Gift of Eloquence” or as some simply put it, “The Gift of Gab”. Kissing the stone isn’t as easy as it sounds- one must hold on to rails, bend backwards over a drop from the castle’s tower and flip upside down while puckering up. Pro tip: Make sure you have a strong friend to guide you. In addition to the stone, the 600-year-old castle also has an array of gorgeous gardens and several interesting rock formations. To kiss the Blarney Stone or to not kiss, that is the question!
Dublin Castle is situated in the heart of historic Dublin and for more than 700 years, it was the center of the English colonial administration in Ireland. As an integral part of Ireland’s history, the complex represents some of the oldest surviving architecture in the city. Because the castle was a symbol of English reign, Dublin Castle was a key target during the Easter Rising of 1916, which marked the first step towards the end of British rule in Ireland. During its lifetime, Dublin Castle has not only been the spot for the English Administration in Ireland, it has also been used as a military fortress, a prison, treasury, and courts of law.
General Post Office
The General Post Office or GPO on O’Connell Street is one of the top unforgettable Irish attractions. It was here that the short-lived Irish Republic was proclaimed by Patrick Pearse, and just a few later, it was left in ruins during the week-long Easter Rising of 1916. It was renovated and restored to the General Post Office and has an impressive traditional interior.
The GPO is home to the Irish Philately (stamp collecting) community, so if collecting stamps is your passion, visit the separate side-room where stamps can be viewed and bought.
Pro tip: The GPO is an actual working post office, (the oldest in the world!) so you might encounter locals trying to send a letter or package. It’s also a great place to send a survivor postcard to your friends and family back home.
The Book of Kells
The Book of Kells, one of Ireland’s greatest treasures is also a European cultural icon. The book contains manuscripts, of four Gospels of New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) in Latin, along with other various texts, tables and illustrations. It was created by Celtic monks around the year 800 and is a masterwork of Western calligraphy. Oddly enough, the book was never finished, for unknown reasons, and there are some pages missing. It was transferred to Trinity College Library in Dublin for safe keeping around 1653 and is now on permanent display ever since the mid-19th century. The library usually displays two of current four volumes at a time, one showing a major illustration and other showing typical text pages.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick’s Cathedral, it was constructed in early English gothic style in 1191 on the site of an ancient well. Nearly 200 monuments and statues, as well as the beautiful stained glass, make the building a treasure trove of those who love history and art. The large cathedral tower, Minot’s Tower, you see today isn’t the original tower, as it was rebuilt in the 14th century following its collapse. This medieval gothic place of worship has been at the core of Irish history for over 800 years and is today the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.
Ireland is filled with unforgettable Irish landmarks and attractions. When visiting, you’ll quickly find the warmth and kindness of the Irish people is enough to make you feel like family. See for yourself what makes the culture hotspot of Ireland so appealing with CIE Tours.