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Few places are so romanticized as Ireland, and yet the island stands up to those unrealistic expectations. This land of mysticism and mythology, wild landscape, profound literature, and pubs full of storytellers and musicians and artists works its magic on visitors who have no cultural connections as well as those looking for traces of ancestors long left behind by generations of emigration. Ireland has remarkably diverse terrain and all the legends about its many shades of green are true. There is no more beautiful meeting of land and sea anywhere in the world than Ireland's west and north coasts, and though it may rain frequently, wild ...

Few places are so romanticized as Ireland, and yet the island stands up to those unrealistic expectations. This land of mysticism and mythology, wild landscape, profound literature, and pubs full of storytellers and musicians and artists works its magic on visitors who have no cultural connections as well as those looking for traces of ancestors long left behind by generations of emigration. Ireland has remarkably diverse terrain and all the legends about its many shades of green are true. There is no more beautiful meeting of land and sea anywhere in the world than Ireland's west and north coasts, and though it may rain frequently, wild weather only makes the days of sunshine all the more spectacular. The Irish people never fail to make visitors feel welcome and a stop in a pub anywhere on the island usually means an animated conversation, especially if the locals spot you as an outsider. Cultural and sports activities here are as good as they get, and a decade-long economic boom brought the country unprecedented prosperity, and with it a new appreciation of fine food (the appreciation of fine drink is a long and honored tradition). The economy slumped in 2008 with the worldwide recession (and sank even farther in late 2010), but the Irish are ever resilient and upbeat. Whether it's big city nightlife or rural quiet with the sea or the hills or the bogland, Ireland has it.

Larry Habegger
About the Expert

Larry Habegger is Triporati's editor-in-chief and executive editor of Travelers' Tales, where he has edited or coedited dozens of books including Travelers' Tales Australia and Ireland.

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Larry Habegger for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: To the east of Ireland, separated by the Irish Sea, is the island of Great Britain.
  • Language: English, Gaelic
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall