01 Nov 2018
They say Ireland has it all. Set your sights on making it there next year
Set your sights on making it to Ireland next year. You won’t forget it
Check out these 18 reasons why the island’s haunting natural beauty, dramatic coastlines, urban buzz and thousands of years' worth of history and culture won’t fail to surprise in 2018.
1. St Patrick’s Day
The annual celebration of Irishness is world-renowned, but there’s nothing to beat celebrating St Patrick’s Day on home soil. Dublin, Belfast, wherever – 2018’s version will be epic.
2. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Ireland boasts three World Heritage Sites: the hexagonal stones of the Giant’s Causeway, the towering sea crag of Skellig Michael and the stunning Neolithic burial site, Newgrange. With three more UNESCO geoparks dotting the landscape alongside numerous other protected sites, natural beauty is all around.
3. Super-friendly people
Irish people are generally super-friendly, laid back and always up for some fun. Ask for directions, you might get taken there. Walk into a pub and start talking. The engaging locals will make your trip memorable.
4. Major attractions
Titanic Belfast was voted the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ for 2017 and it’ll be even better in 2018. If you haven’t make it to this signature Belfast experience, now’s the time. Or try the Guinness Storehouse, the Ulster Museum, Dublin Zoo… the list of big Irish attractions goes on and on.
5. Star Wars film locations
The cast, crew and various Jedi Knights made the western edge of Ireland their home during the filming of two Star Wars blockbusters. The Force has been out in force in Donegal, Clare, Cork and in Kerry, where the island of Skellig Michael starred impressively. Make time for some set-jetting next year, it will be out of this world.
6. Game of Thrones experiences
And if Star Wars were not enough, the biggest TV show on the planet is filmed around Northern
Ireland’s mountains, castles and shorelines. There are Game of Thrones adventures and experiences aplenty to be had in what they now call the ‘Real Westeros’.
7. The Wild Atlantic Way
Experience something different and magical on this epic road trip, stretching 2,500 spectacular kilometres from Donegal to Cork. The journey of a lifetime awaits along every coastal feature you could possibly imagine. Let 2018 be the year you uncover its secrets.
8. Fantastic festivals
Ireland is a land of festivals, especially during the summer months. There’s everything you could think of – food, arts, horseracing, fashion, film, matchmaking, literature, music, theatre, and much, much more. With a little planning, you can easily join 2018’s fun.
9. Island escapes
There is an array of islands scattered off Ireland’s ragged coastline. They are fantastic places to experience traditional island life and get away from it all. Set yourself apart next year and escape to the Aran Islands, Rathlin Island, Achill Island and many more.
10. Gaelic games
Alongside music and dancing, Gaelic games lie at the heart what it is to be Irish. A must-do is a trip to Croke Park, the fourth largest sports stadium in Europe. Feel the passion in a game, see the museum or take a stadium skyline tour, ranked as one of the best things to do in Dublin.
11. The Cliffs of Moher
A stunning natural destination located within yet another natural wonder in the Burren region in County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher are a big reason to visit Ireland on their own. The views from these 200-metre-high cliffs is breathtaking.
12. Golfing greatness
With some of the finest links courses in the world, a stable of major-winning champions, a plethora of outstanding tournaments and an abundance of top resorts, the island of Ireland is one of the world’s best golf destinations. Golf is a great reason to visit Ireland any year.
13. Ireland’s Ancient East
Peel back the layers of time in Ireland's Ancient East and get lost in 5,000 years of history, heritage and culture. Stone Age monuments, early Christian monasteries, looming castles, Waterford’s Viking Quarter and Cork’s many cultural attractions – it’s all there in a compact area.
14. Dublin Festival Season
In the autumn, Dublin reaps a harvest of contemporary arts, drama, music, comedy and heritage like no other. The city’s world-class festival season is one of the best times of the year to immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of culture.
15. Causeway Coastal Route
Take one of the world’s great road journeys from Belfast to the historic walled city of Derry~Londonderry. Discover amazing scenery, pretty coastal villages, fantastic beaches and some of Northern Ireland’s most iconic sights, including the Giant’s Causeway, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the 400-year-old Bushmills Distillery.
16. The food culture
The entire island of Ireland is one of the most talked-about food destinations in Europe. So, if you want 2018 to be about indulging your foodie passion, everything from fine dining, food tours, festivals and craft beers and spirits are on the table countrywide.
17. Halloween time
It started in Ireland, and so nowhere does Halloween better. Spooky events across the island offer good reasons to be there at the most haunting time of year. The best is to be found on the banks of the River Foyle, where the city of Derry-Londonderry puts on the biggest Halloween parade in Europe.
18. Castles, castles and more castles
Need more resources? View our images and videos from across Ireland