Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

There’s a lot to love about Ireland. The lush green landscape, the charming small-town pubs (serving up plenty of Guinness, of course), the sheep that can be found roaming the hills, and the narrow winding roads. And now that St. Patty’s Day is nearly here, we’re dreaming about all things Irish — specifically, about all of our favorite things to see on the Emerald Isle, from the Ring of Kerry to Kylemore Abbey to the Giant’s Causeway. These 10 attractions are must-sees for any lover of Ireland — even if you’re only able to visit them through your computer screen.

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Ackee and saltfish, Jamaica

Ackee and saltfish in Jamaica

If you’re a foodie, cuisine plays an important role in your vacation. We can relate. Luckily, we’ve gotten to sample a lot of great food while off investigating hotels across the globe, and we’ve particularly enjoyed discovering various destination’s specialties, from smoked salmon in Norway to macarons in France. There’s a lot of food out there, to be sure, but these seven local dishes ranked among our favorites.

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Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel

People tend to go a little crazy on St. Paddy’s day; most of us are familiar with the crowded parades, green rivers, and drunken revelry. And it’s understandable why so many get excited about their love for Ireland, which is deservedly famous for its dramatic green cliffs, roaring peat fires, lively pubs, and welcoming locals. Ranging from historic castles to modern boutiques, these nine hotels are packed with Irish charm and may help inspire your next trip — or at least help get you in the St. Paddy’s spirit.

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Pubs along Dublin's Temple Bar beckon visitors with their traditional bites and brews.

Ireland: The land of meat and potatoes. Hearty dishes like lamb stew and fish and chips may be what the Emerald Isle is known for, but that’s just the tip of its culinary iceberg. In the last decade especially, Ireland has had a culinary resurgence. Reconnecting with indigenous ingredients in thoughtful and exciting new ways, Irish chefs have re-established the island nation as a force to be reckoned with on the gastronomic stage. During our recent trip to Ireland, we got in touch with our Irish roots and enjoyed some truly delectable dishes. From shots of Jameson to shots of oysters, we got up to our ears in Irish cuisine — and now you can too. Prepare your palates, it’s time to dig into Ireland. Sláinte! 

 

Ok, So It’s Still A Lot About The Potato

At the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, visitors can enjoy beef and Guinness stew with a hearty serving of mashed potatoes.

Ireland may have grown up a lot in the last decade when it comes to cooking, but that doesn’t mean that the potato is just going to disappear over the Cliffs of Moher. The versatile root vegetable has been a staple of Irish cooking since the 1500s, served alongside meat stews, in casseroles and soups, and all by its lonesome in simple but nonetheless exquisite dishes. Champ (an Irish take on mashed potatoes) and Dublin coddle (a hearty dish with bacon, sausage, and onions) are both staples.

But one of the most delicious ways to eat a potato is in a boxty. These traditional potato pancakes, delicious in their own right, are elevated to a whole other level when stuffed with either fish, meat, or vegetables. Legend has it that this well-loved dish will even help you snag a brogue-wielding fella, for as the Irish say, “Boxty on the griddle / Boxty in the pan, / If you can’t make boxty, /You’ll never get a man.” Read More »

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When it comes to cozy winter charm — roaring fires, hot (and strong!) drinks, and snug nooks — it’s hard to top Ireland. Though winter is the off season for the Emerald Isle, it can be a magical time to visit (as anyone who has heard the song Christmas in Killarney can probably understand). Plus, hotels can be dirt cheap this time of year. So sure, it’ll be near-freezing cold, but fortunately these hotel features will warm you right up on your Irish holiday.

Toasty Feature: The Peat-Burning Fireplace

The Bushmills Inn in Antrim keeps peat fires roaring in colder months.

The Bushmills Inn in Antrim keeps peat fires roaring in colder months.

Peat is as Irish as it gets — this bog turf has been burned as fuel for centuries in Ireland, and gives off a distinct smell that some people love.

Find It At: Bushmills Inn, Northern Ireland

The quaint Bushmills Inn in Antrim is quintessentially Irish in every respect: There are fireplaces burning peat or wood throughout the property, a fantastic restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine, Irish music performed certain nights at the Gas Bar, which is lit by traditional gaslight, and 41 cozy, cottage-style rooms. The inn has a rich history dating back to 1608, when a coach house and stables stood here, and the actual main inn building dates to the 1820s; the historic character has been carefully and thoughtfully preserved throughout.

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