Ireland is more than four-leaf clovers, potatoes and pipes calling out to Danny Boy. Here are a few reasons why you should consider a trip to the Emerald Isle.

By Jes Ware
Dublin, Ireland
Photo by iPics / Shutterstock.com

Dublin

Ireland's capital has cobblestones, corner pubs and Irish cheer—but also glamorous new hotels and striking public art installations. Here's the quick and dirty:

  • WHERE TO WANDER: Dublin is compact enough to explore on foot. Start your stroll at the Jameson Distillery for a taste of the Irish classic, then cross the Liffey River to Dublin Castle for a dose of Irish history. The National Gallery is a 15-minute walk to the east, St. Patrick's Cathedral a 10-minute walk west. End the afternoon on the rooftop of the Guinness Storehouse with a pint of Ireland's most famous quaff.
  • WHERE TO LINGER: The Old Library at Trinity College. A resplendent, barrel-vaulted hall, it’s home to the ninth-century illuminated Book of Kells, as well as busts of famous literary figures like Edmund Burke and Jonathan Swift.
  • WHERE TO EAT: Dublin has far more than corned beef and cabbage. Foodie favorite Chapter one puts a modernist twist on Ireland-sourced ingredients. Trocadero is perfect for pre-or post-theater dining, especially if you finish with the sticky date pudding. The House, in an impossibly cute seaside village just outside of downtown Dublin, balances elegance and homey comfort: Think wood-burning stove, afternoon tea and beer-battered haddock.
  • WHERE TO STAY: 
    1. The Merrion. The luxury retreat spanning four Georgian townhouses just off prestigious Merrion Square has a large collection of Irish fine art and a two-Michelin-star restaurant. 
    2. The Fitzwilliam Hotel. All the warm Irish hospitality you can expect in a smart, contemporary setting—a combination that mirrors Dublin’s modern sensibility.
Sheen Falls Lodge

Scenic County Kerry

Some of Ireland's most iconic scenery is found in County Kerry—castles and ancient ruins, rolling emerald hillsides and the surf-pounded western coast.

  • WHERE TO WANDER: The best way to see the land is to start in Killarney and follow the Ring of Kerry around the Iveragh Peninsula. It's a 120-mile loop that runs through unbelievably green hillsides and passes Ross Castle, Torc waterfall, ancient stone ruins and sheer sea cliffs.
  • WHERE TO LINGER: Skellig Michael. The mountainous island was a monastery in the 6th century and is now home to colorful puffins. You may recognize it from Star Wars: Episode VII.
  • WHERE TO STAY: Sheen Falls Lodge. One of Ireland's leading resorts, Sheen Falls sits above Kenmare Bay on 300 acres laced with rivers and waterfalls. Expect one of the best restaurants in Kenmare and unsurpassed—but still wonderfully warm—service.