Visiting Ireland can be the trip of a lifetime, especially if your family has roots here. It’s a chance to soak up the culture and see the amazing places that have inspired the designs on so many Irish gifts. Dublin is a vibrant city with a thriving music scene, museums covering Irish history, the famous homes of Guinness beer and Jameson whiskey and beautiful Georgian architecture (those gorgeous doors!).
Much of Ireland’s most iconic scenery is in rural areas. Standing crosses, ancient ruined abbeys and picture-perfect fields of green are found in almost every county.
Some Wee Surprises Await
The Irish are famous for extending a warm céad míle fáilte to visitors. But all the good will and friendliness on all sides doesn’t prevent misunderstandings and an occasional cultural faux pas. Here are some potential pitfalls to be aware of while visiting Ireland.
- Buying a round of drinks is supposed to be reciprocal. If someone buys you a pint, try to return the favor. They might object, but that’s part of the culture.
- Some ruins, fairy circles and the like are on private lands, often farmland. Trespassing will annoy the farmer, and it might enrage their bull. Don’t risk it. Admire the site from outside the fence.
- The same goes for hiking. Stick to trails on public lands. An angry bull is even more dangerous than an annoyed farmer.
- You can hail a taxi on the street in most cities and towns by standing at the side of the road and extending your arm. It’s usually faster than phoning for one. If the sign on top of the car is lit up, it is available. If not, it’s booked.
- Asking directions can be confusing. This is a very small island. Locals might list off a series of landmarks along your route, and they might literally be next door to each other.
- What people actually call a business or street might not be the same as the signs. A pub or shop, for example, might go by a previous name for decades after a new owner changed it. All signs might refer to the ‘old Dublin road’ by it’s numerical name, but locals never use that.
Don’t Miss the Inspiration behind Your Favorite Irish Gifts!
If you are a fan of Ireland’s most famous pint, a visit to the Guinness brewery in downtown Dublin is a must. Does your jewelry box contain a few pieces with that distinctive triple spiral design? That’s from Newgrange, and a visit to see it at Brú Na Boinne in County Meath is a great day trip from Dublin.
If you are heading to the rugged west of Ireland, don’t miss the home of the Claddagh ring – Galway city! The old Claddagh fishing village is no longer standing, but you can stroll along where it was and enjoy gorgeous views of Galway Bay.
Visiting these places gives an even deeper meaning to the Irish gifts you bring home for loved ones – and to the ones you keep for yourself.