One of my big passions is Ireland. Since my first visit I have felt at home there, welcomed by her people and the land itself. Maybe it’s that mystical feeling that keeps me coming back. Or maybe it’s the rugged beauty of the land, the friendliness of the people or the fabulous fish & chips. Whatever it is that brings us, my family and I will be returning to Ireland’s shores in 2012. My plans call for two trips, one in late spring and one in winter, and though my plans aren’t complete, there are a few “musts” on my Ireland bucket list for 2012.
Places to Visit in Ireland
While science tells us the hexagonal stones were created from volcanic eruptions it’s much more fun to believe the tale of Fionn Mac Cumhai (Finn McCool) battling a giant in Scotland.
Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge
Though much more stable than when fishermen first built it, the fact that you are crossing a wide chasm supported by rope is still terrifying (at least to me).
Malin Head on the Inishowen Peninsula
The northern most point in Ireland has cliffs that are said to be more breathtakingly dramatic than the Cliffs of Moher.
Older than both Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt and perfectly aligned to catch the first rays of the sun on both the shortest and longest days of the year. Magical.
Hill of Tara
One the ancient seat of power, this is where the High Kings reigned in prehistoric times. Many historic monuments are here, including the passage tomb, Mound of the Hostages, and the Stone of Destiny.
Quiet Man Cottage
The Quiet Man is one of my favorite movies of all time. Who doesn’t love feisty Maureen O’Hara? And Iowa native John Wayne holds a special place in my heart. While the Quiet Man Cottage Museum is a fine replica, I want to walk over the bridge and see the remains of the actual cottage, too.
Built as an elaborate gift this castle was also home to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester before becoming a Benedictine Community which once ran a boarding school for girls. The surrounding lands are supposed to be as gorgeous as the castle itself.
These 3 small islands off the coast of Ireland are accessible by boat- and only in good weather. This is where Irish is still the main language and you’ll rarely see English on signs.
Cliffs of Moher
While I have visited the cliffs on every trip to Ireland (it’s different every time you go) I really want to see them in a new way this time- by boat, from the base.
Do you plan to visit Ireland in the future? What’s on your Ireland Bucket List?
Giant’s Causeway by Code Poet on Flickr (Creative Commons Share Alike)
Newgrange by Robert & Cathy Ardill at Newgrange.com
Hill of Tara from Mythical Ireland
Dun Angus Fort from County Galway Guide
Cliffs of Moher is the author’s own
Jody Halsted shares her passion for family
travel in Ireland at Ireland With Kids. See
her article 26 Tips for Family Travel in Ireland.