Whether you want to party till the small hours and enjoy the 'craic', or opt for a scenic, active or relaxing break, Ireland is a country with something for everyone.
Ireland is comprised of both Eire and Northern Ireland. The capital of the republic, Dublin, is the perfect choice for a weekend away. You'll be spoiled for choice with the wealth of cultural and historical attractions that will greet you on your arrival. Be sure to pay a visit to the renowned Trinity College and take a look at the incredible Book of Kells with its intricate artwork. The Guinness factory is a must for those wanting a taste of the black stuff or how about taking a walk along the River Liffey or in Phoenix Park - the largest park in Europe. If it's retail therapy you're looking for then head to Grafton Street and if you're looking for a night on the town then Temple Bar can't fail to disappoint.
If it's the Blarney Stone that you want to kiss, then a flight to Cork will take you to your destination. Not for the faint-hearted or those scared of heights, you're required to ascend to the castle's peak then lean backwards and plant your kiss on the famous stone!
Legend has it that if you kiss the blarney, the gift of eloquence will be bestowed on you. However, there are many other reasons why you should visit this buzzing city. A great choice for a family day out is Fota Wildlife Park which is set in 70 acres. You can wander round the park and come face to face with free roaming animals from all corners of the globe. To top it all off, Cork is home to an array of fantastic restaurants, chic bars and excellent shops.
Belfast should be your destination of choice if you are a culture-hunter. The Odyssey Arena and Waterfront Hall host a number of plays and exhibitions, and local museums and places of historical interest include the Titanic's Dock. Great choices for family days out include the award winning Belfast Zoo and W5 Interactive Science Centre.
A trip to Antrim will bring you to Northern Ireland's most famous attraction, the Giant's Causeway. Legend has it that the world heritage site was formed by rival giants millions of years ago - however geography begs to differ citing intense volcanic activity. As an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is definitely worth a visit.
A flight to Shannon will bring you to the beautiful and rugged West coast. Here soaring cliffs meet the dramatic Atlantic and there is nowhere better to experience this then the famous Cliffs of Moher located near Doolin in County Clare.
The next county up brings you to Galway where you can experience the beauty of Connemara, the Twelve Ben mountain range and pretty villages such as Clifden and Roundstone. Storytelling and traditional music is woven into the very fabric of everyday life here and visitors will be able to enjoy nightly traditional music sessions in many of the pubs. From Galway you can also take a boat trip over to the Aran Islands where many ancient traditions are upheld and Gaelic is still spoken. It really is a trip back in time with your transport likely to be horse and cart!
Flights to Kerry will allow you to experience the breathtaking Dingle Peninsula. Once described by National Geographic as 'the most beautiful place on earth,' it was also the setting for films 'Ryan's Daughter' and parts of 'Far and Away'. The Sleigh Head coast road offers spectacular views of the now uninhabited Blasket Islands and history enthusiasts will be able to examine relics along the way from the stone and bronze ages. If a boat trip takes your fancy, you'll be met by the harbours resident dolphin Funghi - and you'll be greeted by miles of golden sand and safe swimming at Inch and Ventry beaches.
For visitors planning a trip in late spring, the medieval town of Kilkenny in the place to be. Waterford is the nearest airport with May 31- June 4 hosting the annual internationally acclaimed comedy festival, The Kilkenny Cat Laughs. It offers a combination of the very best of Irish and international talent and attracts visitors from far and wide.