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.
Getting to Ireland is very quick and easy thanks to the short flight times. Find out the best way for you to get there...
With a number of destinations to choose from, airports include Dublin (DUB), Belfast (BFS), Derry (LDY), Shannon (SNN), Kerry (KIR), Waterford (WAT), Knock (NOC) and Cork (ORK).
How you travel to your onward destination will depend where in Ireland you are travelling to. Here are your options...
Many of the airports located in large cities are close to the city centre, with Dublin being just 10km away, Cork 8km away, and Belfast International Airport and Derry both 11km away. A number of taxis, coaches and buses serve the airports and you'll be able to have a smooth onward journey.
If you are planning to visit more of the scenic side of Ireland, rather than the cities, and are using an airport such as Shannon or Kerry as a gateway for your exploration, then car hire is going to be your best option. It is the only way for you to be able to see the rural parts of the country in all its scenic splendour.
Whether you're looking for buzzing, historic cities or awe-inspiring landscape, magical Ireland will have you enchanted. Find out where to stay...
The ease of getting to Ireland from the UK makes it a very attractive option for either a short break or a longer holiday. With a range of accommodation from cosy guesthouses and B&Bs to high-end exclusive hotels, there is something to suit every budget.
Starting in the capital, historic Dublin has plenty up its sleeve to tempt visitors. Opting to stay here would allow you to visit iconic sights such as Dublin Castle, Trinity College and, of course, the Guinness Factory to learn all about the famous brew. Shoppers will be delighted with Grafton Street and there are plenty of pubs and bars in which to sample a pint of the black stuff.
Heading down to the south, Cork is another popular city for a holiday and again, whether you're looking for a budget bed or to splash the cash, you'll be able to find it here. Attractions include Cork City Gaol, Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral and Blarney Castle with that famous Blarney stone. Kiss it and legend has it that the gift of eloquence will be bestowed on you.
The Emerald Isle may be home to a number of vibrant cities and towns, but many visitors flock to experience the stunning scenery. The Ring of Kerry has earned the reputation as one of the most beautiful parts of the country and is well worth consideration for your stay. The 179km loop starts in Killarney and passes through soaring mountains, wild Atlantic seascapes and bustling villages.
The nearby Dingle Peninsula is another stunning spot and is known as a Gaeltacht area - a place where the Irish language is still spoken. Opting to stay here will treat you to beautiful beaches, boat trips to meet the harbour's resident dolphin, and ancient archaeological sites on Sleigh Head Drive.
Moving round to the wild and outstandingly beautiful west coast, this dramatic landscape will treat you to natural sights such as the Cliffs of Moher and the awe-inspiring Twelve Ben mountain range, as well as the vibrant city of Galway. You could choose to stay in one of the tiny villages such as Spiddle, Clifden or Roundstone which come alive at night with soul soaring sessions where mandolins and bodhrains echo the music of generations.
Northern Ireland is also full of bustling cities and beautiful countryside. Choose Belfast for culture and history and Antrim for the beautiful natural wonder that is the Giant's Causeway.