As some of you know, I took a life changing trip to Ireland a few years ago, which happened to be the catalyst for my current nomadic lifestyle. I haven’t been back to Ireland since, but I would like to visit again soon. In the mean time, I day dream about the charming lifestyle that I found on the Emerald Isle.
What Makes Ireland So Charming
Ireland is a gorgeous country full of greenery, friendly people, and is breathtaking all year round. Spring and summer on the Emerald Isle bring lush green grass and Wild Cherry trees in full bloom. In autumn you can take a stroll through the picturesque countryside to admire the changing leaves, and during the winter you can cozy up in some wool outerwear, sip on a steaming cup of tea, and watch the rain come down.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate that last mental image.
Many, including myself, love the small country, alas there is more than just landscape that makes Ireland a must see destination. Here are six specific reasons why Ireland is so charming.
1. Traditional Irish Music
A trip to Ireland isn’t complete without seeing a live music session, known as a trad sesh, at a pub. As you enjoy a pint or two of Guinness (which isn’t touristy – it really is a local favorite. I even tried a sip when I visited and I don’t drink), you’ll be serenaded by immensely talented and fun musicians playing native instruments, including a bodhrán, Uilleann Pipes, and the fiddle.
Expect to hear the popular songs “Danny Boy,” “The Rose of Tralee,” and “The Wild Rover” if you stick around long enough. Irish music makes my heart swoon.
Speaking of pubs, there are few things cozier than sitting by the fire with a beverage in hand at a local establishment that’s probably been there since before you were born. With their lively music, friendly faces, and often historical vibes, pubs are a quintessential part of Irish culture.
Before stopping in for a fresh pint (or tea), keep these rules in mind: Tip at least 10%, and buy a round to make new friends if you can afford it.
3. Local Sports
The Irish are passionate when it comes to sports, and while I’m not typically a sports fan, it’s hard to deny the Irish culture. If you can handle the crowds and cheering fans, seeing a local football team like the Shamrock Rovers makes for a fun adventure. Although Ireland loves its football and rugby, the country also has other sports that are completely unique, and taken just as seriously.
Sports like hurling pack stadiums and inspire betting activity on Irish sites just as readily as football and rugby. So even if you don’t know all the rules (me) or have interest in placing a bet yourself, you’re sure to get an interesting cultural experience out of it!
4. Literary Icons
Ireland has been a home to numerous literary greats. Famous writers native to the country include Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett, to say nothing of some locally famous writers of a more political persuasion. Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, even has his own gothic-inspired, four-day festival during the last week of October. Events there include seances, face-paintings, and Victorian funfair rides.
You had me at rides and face painting.
More than 1,000 castles can be found throughout the Irish countryside, and most of them are gorgeous – or at least visually fascinating in ruin. Some of the castles, including The Rock of Cashel in Tipperary and Ashford Castle in Mayo, date all the way back to the 13th century (and some sites that are more clusters of ruin than full castles are even older than that). Walking through these stunning, historic properties is like being transported to a different time, and can be an unforgettable experience that very few other countries or destinations can match.
It may sound strange to locals, but most of us can face the fact: Irish accents are undeniably captivating. In fact, according to a recent poll, which surveyed 5,000 women, the irresistible accent has been deemed the most attractive in the world! A representative of the polling site singled out actor Colin Farrell as the reason so many find the accent to be alluring. “High-profile stars such as Colin Farrell have helped bring the accent more to the fore,” he explained.
It’s a fun explanation, but truth be told anyone with an Irish accent – not just a Golden Globe winner – sounds extremely charming, and makes for one more reason to visit. I have said many times, an Irish man becomes instantly more attractive the moment he opens his mouth to speak.
Ireland is a place that will forever hold a piece of my soul, and I can’t wait to return someday to explore more of the rolling hills and local culture. Until then, I’ll continue to daydream about Irish musicians in ancient pubs.
Q: Which of the above six categories resonates most with you? Accents, and castles, and music OHMY!