Just came back from a glorius trip to Ireland. We took Rick Steve‘s advice and went directly the west coast, where many of the Gaeltracht (protected Gaelic regions). The west of Ireland is considered the most “Irish” (Gaelic) because many Irish folks migrated in that direction during the centuries of English domination to avoid the cultural laws the prevented the Irish from being Irish.
Anyway, we headed for the Ring of Dingle and Dingletown (aka An Daingean). The Ring of Dingle is a breathtakingly beautiful peninsula drive on the southwest coast of Ireland. We drove the ring twice, even though it is perilous at times with extremely narrow, winding cliff roads. Dingletown is the perfect, little Irish fishing village with amazing pubs playing traditional (“trad”) Irish music every night. This is where the magic happens: both the music and the “craic” (conversation).
So, if you have any interest in the “real Ireland”, here’s what you do: 1) go west to Dingle, Kerry, etc., 2) find a nice B&B (avoid hotels), and 3) go to the nearest pub at 9:30pm and enjoy the music and people. It helps to go back to a pub and start to feel comfortable–you will be amazed at how quickly you feel like a regular.
NOTE: Beware of large crowds of tourists in July and August (you’ve been warned). June was fine.
Here’s a few highlights of our trip:
See my “Ireland (2007)” set at Flickr for more photos…