The Best Irish Cities Beyond Dublin
Ireland has so much more to offer than just the beautiful Dublin. This capital is great for a weekend away, but if you have more time on your hands, visiting some of these other cities will complete your trip to the Emerald Island. You see, each county in Ireland has its cosy towns and astonishing landscapes. Whether you are in County Donegal, County Kerry or County Wicklow, there’s something to see in all of them
Galway is located in the western part of Ireland along the Corrib River. The city dates back to the twelfth century. While Galway had some difficulties throughout history, it has greatly flourished and awakened in the past decades. Nowadays, Galway is known as Ireland’s cultural city due to its many music festivals, events and deep connection to Irish culture. Because of the National University of Ireland, the city is also growing and its population is noticeably on the younger side.
Tourists are attracted to Galway because it is situated in one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland, Connemara. Every July there is the big international Galway Arts Festival where thousands of artists come together. But, if this festival is not happening when you visit, there are still plenty of other things you can do and see. The Galway City Museum showcases you Galway’s heritage and history. This building is actually part of the city’s past because it is connected to told 15th century city walls. But after a busy day exploring town, a trip to Galway isn’t complete without relaxation and food at some of the colourful pubs located in the city centre. Cheers!
Along River Lee, you can visit the city of old Cork in county Kerry, another of Ireland’s core cities. Cork is referred to as ‘the rebel city’ and ‘the real capital.’ This last nickname was formed during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920s, but the city itself dates back at least another 10 centuries. Like Galway, Cork is also a cultural centre and especially known for its traditional music culture and local dishes. You can buy your in ingredients at the famous English Market, an indoor market with a Victorian atmosphere that has been running for over a hundred years. It is open every Monday till Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
After lunch, I would suggest you take a bus to see Blarney Castle! This medieval castle is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions. Some rooms in the ruin are visible and when you ascend the castle all the way up, you have the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone. You hang upside down over a high drop to kiss the stone which is said to give kissers the so-called Gift of Gab, the fluency of flattery!
Limerick, another old city, is located in the west Ireland. With almost 100.000 inhabitants, Limerick is smaller and cosier than Cork and Galway. In the medieval city centre you can find the fantastic Milk Market. On Saturday morning you can buy fresh food here, among other sweet treats, like cakes, pies and pancakes covered chocolate. Along the River Shannon is King John’s Castle, a castle that has been standing there since the 12th century. The first remains of the building are even older, hailing back to when the Vikings conquered the region. The castle was built on the order on the English King John and is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe. The Castle was heavily damaged during 5 sieges in the 17th century during national and international conflicts. However, it has recently completely renovated and is now accessible to the public.
As well as some shopping streets, Limerick offers many museums and art galleries. Do not forget to visit the Stormy Teacup, a very cosy tearoom in the city centre. In my opinion, the best way to really get to know Limerick is by staying there for a longer period. The University of Limerick is also very friendly towards international students, offering a wide range of summer schools to look forward to as well!
Wild Atlantic Way.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2,500km long coastal road in western Ireland. In the far north of the Way, you can see the Northern Lights. In the west, there are many surf schools where you can learn to conquer the high waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the entire Wild Atlantic Way, you can also find many lighthouses, perfect for those fancy Instagram photos. The roads are narrow along the many cliffs which will give you beautiful views and tons of more photo opportunities.
The Cliffs of Moher are by far the most spectacular of cliffs along the Way. They are also among the highest in Europe, with the many layers of ancient rock revealing thousands of years of geology. If you enjoy hiking, you can follow the muddy paths on top of the cliffs, too. If you’re looking for a rest, Dingle is the place to be. This is a small harbour city on the Wild Atlantic Way known for its excellent ice cream. From here, you can also take a small boat trip to see dolphin Fungie, who has been around the harbour since the 1980s and actively seeks contact with people.
Any other Irish cities that we must see while exploring Ireland? Leave them in the comments below!