Small on size, huge in character and the promise of a lot of fun. You’d be unlucky NOT to visit Ireland! Just over an hour flight and regular daily services from London makes getting to Ireland so easy. Just remember, if you arrive in Dublin, you are in the Republic Of Ireland, and the local currency is the Euro. Land in Belfast and you are in Northern Ireland which is part of the UK and pounds sterling is the currency. Dublin is the perfect starting point for a shot of Irish culture and energetic hospitality. Get ready to raise a pint of Guinness and take in Dublin’s hotspots of hip bars, clubs and sophisticated restaurants at the Temple Bar district of the city centre. Expect a visit at Temple Bar to last until the early hours of the next morning. Best for going out on the town are Thursday and Friday nights as you’ll be partying it up with the local Dubliners. Saturday evenings sees this area becoming the traditional stomping ground of Stag and Hen parties visiting from England. Fun but tacky. An excellent way to get a feel for daytime Dublin is to take an open bus tour of the city. This hop on and off tour lets you explore at your own pace with 20 stops near Dublin’s main attractions. A walk around the gardens when visiting Trinity College is a must as is a visit to the historic Dublin Castle set right in the heart of the old city. Stroll along the River Liffey which flows through the town centre and revisit Temple Bar by day for a good look at its many boutiques and traditional Irish gift stores. Grafton Street is a must when looking for designer labels as is the local department store, Brown Thomas. For refreshments in Grafton Street stop at Bewleys Cafe, a Dublin institution for its famous teas with scones and jams. Spend an hour or a whole afternoon at the Guinness Store House. A hands on, interactive tour of how Guinness is made, ending with a complimentary drink at the 360 degree Gravity Bar. Don’t forget to swing by The Clarence Hotel, owned by U2’s Bono and guitarist, the Edge. With such famous owners, VIP guests are often seen staying and eating here. Set on the edge of the Temple Bar district overlooking the River Liffey, it is a very cool place to have pre-dinner drinks. After a lively 2- 3 nights in Dublin, Ireland’s emerald green countryside begs to be discovered. And there is no better way to explore than by a self-drive holiday. The highways are excellent for motoring and easy to navigate. Simply come off the highways and get yourself on to the back roads to discover the smaller towns and villages. As soon as you step foot into the countryside you will find yourself instantly relaxing. Why not treat yourself to a night’s stay in a stately country house or luxuriate in a century old castle. The options are endless for accommodation; coach houses, lodges, charming cottages, traditional farmhouses, town houses, luxury hotels & spas and really remote country inns. It is entirely possible to loose yourself in Ireland, whether it be with that one special person or a crowd of friends and family. Ireland’s countryside is spectacular and its towns and villages along the way are full of character and charm. Discover the West Coast of Ireland and prepare to be wowed. The cool bohemian city of Galway, with its pretty medieval streets is a gateway to rugged landscapes, craggy islands and pristine beaches. The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s most famous natural features and a sight that every tourist should see. South of the West Coast is the city of Limerick which is nestled beautifully against the Shannon River. Its rich medieval past is highlighted by the 800 hundred year old King John’s Castle set in the middle of the city centre. A lively music scene and excellent shopping makes Limerick a good base to explore the surrounding countryside. One of Ireland’s top tourist attractions is the mystical and unspoilt Ring of Kerry in the South West of Ireland. Its spectacular beauty is dotted with ancient heritage landmarks, golden sandy beaches and the best fishing for salmon and trout. It is a day’s drive from beginning to end, just make sure you drive anti-clockwise so as to help minimise traffic problems due to some of the very narrow sections of road. A good base to explore the Ring of Kerry from is the town of Killarney. The National Park of Killarney is at the foot of the town and boasts the famous three Lakes of Killarney plus Ireland’s highest mountain range. Further South is the County of Cork with its jagged coastline and picturesque Kinsale known as the “gourmet capital of Ireland”. Walkers, climbers and artists love the rugged beauty of this region from its breathtaking rock formations, sheer cliffs and charming villages. Not to be missed is a visit to the 600 year old Blarney Castle and a kiss of the Blarney Stone which supposedly will give you the “gift of the gab”. Kiss it and you’ll never be lost for words again! Never lost for words are the Irish and their quick witted story telling. No trip could go without a visit to a local pub which you will find is the heart of cultural, social and musical life in Ireland. Hear the talk of politics, the foot tapping folk music, the smell of the delicious pub grub and the warmth of a crackling fire. There could be no better way to appreciate the simplicities of this timeless country.
Population: Approx 6,000,000. Flying Time from NZ: Approximately 30 hours from Auckland. Climate: Average temperatures range between 4 to 16 degrees. Celsius Electricity: 240 volts, square three-pin plug, you will need a travel adaptor for your New Zealand plug. Currency: The Currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. In Northern Ireland, the currency is the same as that of the UK, which are pounds sterling. Denominations consist of: £100, £50, £20, £10 and £5 notes, and a £1 coin as well as 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p coins. Banking: There is a wide network of ATM machines. All banks accept cards that display the CIRRUS or PLUS symbol. These machines will also give cash from your Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. Credit cards: All major cards are accepted in Ireland (ie: MasterCard, Visa, American Express).
Top things to see and do
1. Don't miss the historical Dublin Castle. It's fantastic!
2. Down a pint in the Temple Bar district of Dublin.
3. Cruise down The River Liffy in Dublin City.
5. Take a stroll over Dublin's Ha’penny Bridge and take in the sights.
6. Get interactive at the Guinness Store House, Dublin.
7. Discover the unspoilt countryside of the Ring of Kerry.
8. See the stunning sight of the Cliffs of Moher.
9. Kiss the Blarney Stone and be blessed with the "gift of the gab".
10. Share a yarn and soak up the atmosphere in a local country pub.
June through to September is the best months to travel to Ireland. The weather should be milder with less rain.
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